Saturday, June 30, 2012

Interview with Robert B. Lowe and a Giveaway!

Robert, welcome to Hardcover Feedback! Would you tell us a little about yourself?
This is my first book and I’ve cycled through 3 careers to get here. I was a newspaper reporter for 12 years, then a lawyer for 5, then I helped launch software startups. I plan to make writing the final job.

A lot of people are on Twitter these days, so can you describe Project Moses for us in 140 characters or less (which is the size of a tweet)? 
Project Moses is a thriller in the Grisham mode with a couple who uncover a bioterrorism plot and must expose it before they are hunted and killed by the conspirators. 

When did you begin writing Project Moses? What inspired this book and how much research was involved in writing it? 
I began writing Project Moses in the mid-90s when I was between jobs. I put it on the shelf for more than 15 years and got it out in late 2011, rewrote some parts and published it in January. Having written as a journalist and being a mystery buff, the genre was a natural. I did quite a bit of research in to the genetic science that is the focus of the grand conspiracy. 

What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer? 
Having been a reporter where much of the job is writing and seeing co-workers produce books certainly made it seem much more doable than if I had spent those years doing something totally different. 

What was the first book you ever wrote about and was it ever published? 
This is it! 

Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual? 
I tend to have a lot of food scenes because I enjoy cooking a good food. When I’m stuck and need to get going, I sometimes just start describing food – hopefully in a way that fits into a scene – and that gets me moving. 

Do you have a favorite character or one that is especially close to your heart? 
The main character in what I expect will be series is a reporter, Enzo Lee. He’s a bit of an alter ego and I can channel a lot of my thoughts and reactions into him. I certainly identify with him the most. However, he’s fond of a female detective and a newsroom co-worker and I like those characters quite a bit. 

What is the best gift you have ever received, do you still have it and who gave it to you? 
Probably a BB gun when I was 7 or so. It’s long gone. 

What is something that you have always wanted to do, but just haven't gotten around to it yet?
Travel a lot more than I have. 

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you hope to find in your suitcase? 
A permanently charged Kindle with 1000 books, fishing tackle and a resourceful companion. 

What is your all-time favorite book? 
It’s hard to say. Some that left me saying “Wow” were the Autobiography of Malcolm X; Spectator Bird (Wallace Stegner), Cutting for Stone and several by V.S. Naipal. 

Other than yourself, who is your favorite author? 

If a TV show was based on your life, what type of TV show would it be (i.e., comedy, drama, suspense, etc.) who would you choose to play the leading character (you), and what would the theme song be? Why? 
For some reason as I’m pondering this question, the introduction of Magnum P.I. is running through my head. So, I think I’ll go for that: action with a nice comedic touch and a main character who is earnest, has some charm and is self deprecating. 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 
I enjoy playing golf, going to movies and socializing over good food. 

Are you an early bird or a night owl? 
Early bird. Usually up by 6 am. 

What is your favorite TV show and/or movie?
Lately, I’ve been enjoying the new series “Awake” but also a big Modern Family fan. 

If you were throwing a dinner party and you could invite five people (fictional or real, dead or alive), other than family or friends, who would you invite and why? 
Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Jesus Christ, Adolph Hitler and Disraeli.  

If you had the opportunity to go anywhere you wanted, at anytime in history, where would you go and why? 
Some English ship in the 1700s stumbling on a Tahitian island because I think it really was the equivalent of a paradise for those sailors given what their lives were like in England and on a long voyage. Most other times/places would be a letdown from the high expectation, I think. 

What are you currently working on? 
The next Enzo Lee novel in the series. 

Where can people connect with you online? 

Thank you so much Robert for being on Hardcover Feedback!

"...a taut thriller...with an ideal fusion of wile and wit." - Kirkus Reviews

"I especially liked all of the supporting players...from the slick and twisted the sassy, gay police woman." S. Turtle

Enzo Lee, 37, a burned out reporter, has forsaken investigative reporting on the East Coast to churn out feature fluff in San Francisco. He likes his North Beach apartment, steps away from his Chinatown roots. Running, tai chi, great food, women who are attracted to his exotic looks. Life is good. Then, Lee is ordered to cover the unexplained deaths of a local judge and prosecutor. Intrigued by the connection, and the judge’s attractive niece, Sarah Armstrong, Lee begins to uncover a bioterrorism scandal whose perpetrators - including government officials and Silicon Valley titans - will kill to conceal. When Lee and Sarah become targets, the question becomes whether the pair can evade their hunters and piece together the story before their time runs out. Project Moses is set in San Francisco, New York and Silicon Valley. By a Pulitzer Prize-winnng author.

Product Details:
Paperback: 296 pages 
Publisher: Enzo Publications (March 19, 2012) 
Language: English 
ISBN-10: 0615614159 
ISBN-13: 978-0615614151 
Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches 
Available to purchase at Amazon

There will be a grand prize giveaway during the tour for 4 signed paperbacks.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, June 29, 2012

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Exposed by Shannon Deitz

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

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

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Hopeful Heart Ministries (May 18, 2012)

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***

 Shannon Deitz is a woman in love with God and excited about her faith. But it wasn't always that way. While still a teen, her boyfriend was tragically killed in an auto accident, and she began to question a God who would claim a young man with so much life yet to be lived. At the fragile age of seventeen, she was raped and she began to distrust a God who would allow such a thing. Again, as a freshman in college, she was raped a second time, and she began to earnestly put as much distance between herself and God as she possibly could. At the age of 27, having run from God as far as she could go, she found herself at the bottom of a life that was no longer tolerable. Having no place to go but up, she looked to Heaven. And there was God, surrounding her with His peace. It was the beginning of a love story that has grown more beautiful with each passing day.

Shortly after her love affair with God began in earnest, Deitz felt a distinct calling to begin teaching the teens at her local church. Her work with teens led to a full-time youth ministry. Within the next four years, that ministry bloomed, allowing her to witness God's amazing work in her church and her life. In 2007, her youth group was voted in the top five of EWTN's Catholic Youth Groups in the United States, and in 2008 she was invited to speak on God's unfailing love at the World Youth Day Festivities in Sydney, Australia. In 2011, she was again asked to speak at the WYD Festivities in Madrid, Spain.
Deitz has also served as a team speaker for the Franciscan University Steubenville Youth Conferences in Ohio, Louisiana, Florida, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Washington State, collectively reaching more than 40,000 teenagers. She also reaches out to her audiences through her popular blog, .

Deitz has been a 'featured columnist' on She and her husband, Neal, live in Kingwood, Texas, where they are active in their local church and community. The couple has two sons, Ryan and Seth, who provide them with endless joy and reason to continually count their blessings.

Information regarding her book and current speaking schedule may be found on the site, as well as specifics for engaging her as a speaker for an upcoming event.

Visit the author's website.

We all yearn to be loved. It is our self-imposed litmus test for worthiness-our way of confirming we are special and knowing that we matter. Acclaimed author and speaker Shannon Deitz understands that yearning well. Raped at seventeen and then again as a freshman in college, she felt completely bypassed by love. Rebelling against the violent attacks on her body and struggling to quiet the pain through self-abuse, her feelings of worthlessness eventually became so palpable she could not fathom how anyone-most especially God-could love her. This only caused her to push deeper into her own torment.

Then, at the age of 27, unable to fight the battle raging inside her any longer, she gave it all up. Face down on her bedroom floor with her life in shambles all around her, Deitz surrendered every aspect of her being to God. She gave up the self-judgment, the condemnation, the need to be better. She let it all go. And, in that moment, every fear faded away and for the first time since childhood she experienced true peace.

Now, a dozen years later, having shared her remarkable story of transformation in her critically-acclaimed and award-winning book, Exposed: Inexcusable Me...Irreplaceable Him (Pleasant Word Publishing, 2010), Deitz is taking her message to audiences across the country and abroad. Passionately sharing her own story, she unabashedly offers new hope to the hopeless and rekindles flames in coals of faith grown cold.

Product Details:

  • List Price: $14.99
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hopeful Heart Ministries (May 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985250305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985250300



Why me?

I have asked this question many times in my life. Growing up, I wondered why I felt so ugly and wanted so much attention, why my older sister told me secrets I never wanted to hear, why it felt like our family was falling apart and I couldn’t do anything to stop it, and why it felt like bad things kept happening to me and I never could catch a break.

The most common response would be that “it all happens for a reason.”  Looking back, however, it is obvious to me that is not necessarily true. I cannot ignore the decisions that were made on my part, or my sister’s, friends’, family’s, or acquaintances’, and not recognize the course life took because of our decisions.

Some would argue that God is the reason. God is in the illnesses or forces of nature that strike hard and uproot your core existence, forcing your hand in strength and causing your tomorrows to change. Everything else? Well, that is due to an abuse of God’s gift of free will. I cannot look back at my life and ignore the fact that free will, on my part or the part of others in my life, led to life-altering circumstances.

What it comes down to is the reaction.

How do I respond? How do I move forward? What do I internalize? To whom do I turn?

When a stranger among the 1.2 million Catholic Young Adults that had gathered for the 2005 World Youth Day festivities in Köln, Germany called me by name, I didn’t have time to respond, react, or internalize. I only knew that I needed to go and listen.

Once I heard the message, I could no longer feel sorry for myself or throw out blame. I was called by name, and it was about time I reacted.

Why me? Why not?

The ‘Nothing’  Child

Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it (Mark 10:15)

In the beginning, under the watchful eye of an enormous thunderbird, wings outstretched, in the barren, blistering city of El Paso, outlined with white rock alongside Coronado Mountain, our family of six struggled against the clashing waves of good and evil. At the age of seven, far too young to comprehend the very real but incomprehensible battle, I was sucked into the undertow.

Perched like a vulture on the arm of the couch, with her bronze legs folded up to her chest, my thirteen year old sister Carrie smirked and said, “I’m not your sister.” My older brother, Kyle, who was only seventeen months younger than Carrie, sat beside her and laughed, “Yeah! We’re not your brother and sister!”

“Yes. You. Are!” I protested each word sharply and with great calculation. Carrie and Kyle were inclined to gang up on me, when all I longed for was to be accepted and involved in everything my siblings did and invited to every place they went.

“Nope,” Carrie said. “Daddy is not my daddy.”

My undeveloped mind could not grasp what she was trying to say. Of course Daddy was her daddy! We had the same sandy hair. My face was a little more round than theirs, but they were all I knew as family. No one was supposed to look alike anyway. In a flash of a moment, the world I knew to be predictable and safe was shaken and unrecognizable.

I ran to Mom, who was busy in the utility room sewing a dress for one of us girls, flung my arms around her waist, and wailed, “Carrie says she’s not my sister!” Carrie and Kyle, who had been running close behind me, stopped short and nearly toppled on top of us when they reached the door. My sobs were muffled in Mom’s lap, but I could still hear the disappointment in her voice.

“She is your sister, and that is not nice to say.”

My head shot up in a flash. “See! You’re lying!”

“No we’re not!” Kyle insisted. “Dad is not our dad, Mom.”

Mom sighed a long, slow, “the weight of the world had just been dumped on her shoulders” sigh. I looked into her green eyes, and for the first time I really saw her. She had jet black hair that was cropped and straight—completely the opposite of my waist-length, wavy mop– and a beautiful, small oval face with a smile that radiated warmth and love. We looked nothing alike.

Fear came alive within me. “Am I adopted?”

“No, Shannon,” she sighed again, “but your daddy did adopt Carrie and Kyle.”

“See,” Kyle said as he tapped my shoulder. “I told you so.” He and Carrie started to laugh, and I wailed louder.

Mom called for my father. “Tom!”

“What?” he shouted from the living room.

Mom pulled me up with her as she stood. “Let’s all go into the TV room. We need to have a family talk.”

Within the sanctity of my home, amidst those closest and dearest to me, who I knew to be my family, I was prematurely stripped of the honor young children have to be naïve and carefree.

Tears began to build at the corner of Mom’s serene eyes as she explained the details of her first marriage in a way that my young mind could comprehend. It wasn’t until I was in college, struggling through my own personal trials, that I finally understood the story and became privy to the rest of her secrets.

Mom’s first marriage was sad, abusive, and short-lived. It began soon after high school and ended when her husband returned home from Vietnam. The demise of her innocence, however, began much earlier.

Mom’s earliest memory goes back to when she was still in her crib, and it is the first of ten years of memories of a stolen childhood and loss of innocence. The eldest of five, she was the only one to claim the pink bow in her testosterone filled home. “Thank God,”  she’d say. If her brothers had been girls, they, too, would have suffered at the perverted hands of her father.

Like many girls who suffer in silence, to the outside world my mother seemed to have it all. She was captain of the cheerleading squad, bubbly, bright, and envied by her friends. At home, she was envied by her mother. But my mother did not ask for the kind of attention she got from her father. Instead, she spent her teen years pushing every memory of him into a tiny black box in the corner of her mind, and began seeking after the love her young soul craved.

Pregnant too young and married too young, Mom entered into a new world of abuse, orchestrating a spiraling descent that eventually led her into recovery. The box was opened, and she wanted to heal, help, and forgive.

As a seven-year-old, I couldn’t help but wonder where this past marriage left me. Where did I fit in? Was this why Carrie and Kyle were always giving me a hard time, when all I wanted was to be with them?

My mind reeled as I realized the obvious gap that had formed between us as children. Carrie and Kyle were so close in age, and they were five and six years ahead of me. Morgan and I were three years apart. Morgan was the baby. She was cute and entertaining, and I felt like an annoyance. The divide between us created a festering knot of insecurity.

“I’m nothing!” I wailed, perched on Dad’s lap with my head tilted back dramatically.

Giggling, Dad mustered a serious tone. “You are too something. You’re my little girl.”

“No!” With great zeal, I shook my head and added, “Carrie’s the oldest, Kyle’s the only boy, and Morgan’s the youngest! What am I? Nothing!” For my young mind, this was the truth.

One afternoon, Carrie changed course with a simple gesture of kindness. Desperate for her acceptance, I jumped at the opportunity.

“Hey, Shannon, come here for a sec,” Carrie called as she walked past my room and into her own.

“Is this a trick?” I thought. Fueled by excitement and honor, I jumped up from the floor. She never asked me into her room, but, after hesitating, I stepped in.

“Hey, come here,” she said. “I want to show you something.” She was on her stomach with her legs fanned out on the bed.

Without hesitation, I hopped up onto her bed and sat Indian style beside her. Her profile was magnetic, and in that moment I couldn’t help but stare. As far as I knew, my time in her room and presence was limited. But the more I stared, the sadder I felt. Carrie was a classic beauty. Her eyes were a petite almond shape and tortoise green. Mine were round as quarters and mint blue. The slope of her nose finished into a defined and delicate tip, and mine formed a small but not so delicate round ball. Everything about Carrie was distinct and defined yet feminine at the same time, and, even though I was still a young girl, everything about me was unusual. I had big round eyes, full lips, and a widow’s peak that came to a dramatic point in the middle of my forehead.

She held a shiny piece of paper that looked like a small poster. I looked over her shoulder to see what held her attention. It was a list including photographs of pills in all shapes, sizes, and colors, with their names below them.

“I’ve done this one, and this one . . . and this one,” she said, smiling with a strange satisfaction as she pointed out the various medications she had taken. That was what I thought, at least—that they were just pills. Medicine. I never understood why she was pointing out pills, and giggled as she did so, but then again, I was in her room and she was paying attention to me. That was all that mattered.

Of course, I knew nothing about recreational drugs. I knew there was a big scare about not accepting stickers from strangers because there was some kind of poison called LSD on the backs of them. I knew not to talk to strangers or take anything from them. Carrie was not a stranger.

That wasn’t the last of the invites into her room. No longer was I nothing. Instead, I felt like something, because Carrie, the most beautiful, funny, and perfect girl was finally taking notice of me, her bratty half-sister.

For months I trailed behind Carrie and her new boyfriend, Jose. I sat in on their conversations and make-out sessions, being sure not to be seen but staying close enough to be there if she needed me for anything. It was fascinating to witness the same girl who would sometimes rant and practically spit bile at my parents become giddy when this boy was around, often to the point of being taken over by hysterical laughter. The medications she had pointed out in her room were never seen. I was unsure if she was taking anything. If anything, this boy was a cure for whatever had made her sad and angry.

I noticed that the more Jose was around, the more Mom and Dad would yell at night when I was supposed to be sleeping. I would hear the door to Carrie’s room slam, and I would press my ear up to the wall that separated us and listen to her muffled cries and curses. Sitting on the corner of my bed, I would pray to God, asking him to make my parents leave her alone. All I knew of God was that he was our protector and I needed him to protect her.

One night, I gathered up the courage to leave the safety of my room and enter Carrie’s without her permission. She was sitting in the corner, scratching on her desk with the tip of a ballpoint pen. “What do you want?” she grumbled.

“Are you okay?” I whispered, afraid that if my parents heard me in her room she would get in more trouble.

She shrugged her shoulders with little effort. “They don’t get it. They are so stupid.”

“Yeah,” I said in bogus agreement. I didn’t think my parents were stupid, but I was desperate for Carrie’s approval.

Her face softened when she turned to look at me, and she stopped tormenting her desk. I smiled because I knew I had said the right thing. I am not sure what she saw in me at that moment, or if she ever truly considered me a friend, but I was the only one around who was eager to listen. A sense of trust began to develop between us.

Weeks and months passed, and I became more knowledgeable about what Carrie was doing as I listened in on various conversations of her sexual prowess, hearing words that made no sense, and feeling the air around me thicken with sounds and moans that sounded as if she were being wounded. And during her last years in our home, I unintentionally witnessed these acts that were beyond my years and understanding.

When it came to Carrie, nothing ever felt right. She was like an injured animal that had lost trust in the ones who wanted to help her most. When I was sucked into this vortex, spinning uncontrollably as Carrie whirled around in the air above, battling the unfair tactics of parents and social propriety, I hadn’t even reached puberty. She was beyond reach, and although I had become so immersed in her teenage world, I was still a helpless child, looking up and desperately trying to save her.

None of us were aware. My mother’s demons had entered into my sister’s world wreaking this havoc in our family.  Carrie was only six when her innocence was stolen. Mom thought she could protect us by keeping a watchful eye and she took a chance by taking us with her to attend a family reunion. Unfortunately, my grandfather’s disease was never cured. Tainted by someone she loved and trusted, my sister did not know how to create that tiny black box in the corner of her mind to block the sickness of what he did to her. Instead, she retaliated against the pain she held inside never sharing her dark secret. Like my mother, she, too, sought after love and healing, but never through healthy means or relationships.

In many ways, he hurt me, too—not physically, but through Carrie’s retaliation and through her search for the love that his disease created. All I did was love my sister. All I wanted was to see her happy and be able to witness God’s protection. I wanted to finally rest inside, because I knew she would be OK. Instead, my hope faded with each passing day.
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Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Guest Post From Maria C. Furlough

Yup! This is me at 13 years old. Who knew? Who knew that this beautiful, young, innocent 13 year old girl thought she was fat and immeasurably imperfect. I cannot emphasize enough how sad it makes me to look back at this photo and think about how much I hated looking in the mirror. I think about how I overly analyzed every small detail of my body and had a long list of attributes that needed drastic changing. But my sadness is not for the girl you see in this photo and the loss of her innocence...the sadness comes from the realization that every single day young girls everywhere go to war on themselves over the way they think that they look. I so badly don't want them to be like me.

It seems hopeless. Physical beauty has seemingly won over the hearts of every teenage heart from here to Timbuktu. Insecurity now seems like a rite of passage, something we all just deal with on a daily basis. Call me naive or call me unrealistically optimistic...but I sincerely believe that things are going to change. Something is wrongly broken in our culture if the young lady in this picture, the young lady in your home, your class, or your neighborhood looks at her perfectly made body and thinks one word: fat.

The good news is you no longer need to be a "sideliner." Someone who watches life happening around them but takes no action. Life is happening to you and the young ladies that you know and it is taking us captive. Will you join me in taking tiny steps from stopping it from taking one more innocent young life?

Step 1 Take a verbal stance against physical beauty obsessions when possible. You would be surprised how many opportunities you get to turn people's eyes off of how they look. When I was in CT for a book signing one lovely lady said to me "Insecurity isn't my problem, eating is. Food really gets me, I cannot stop eating, and I don't know what to do." I held her hand and lovingly said to her, "Give your mind, your heart, and your spirit a break. Take some time off from thinking of food for awhile and just focus in on God and His Word." The expression on her face brightened as she said to me, "Would you believe that I have never even thought of that before? Thank you." Give it a try. Give someone verbal encouragement, love, or guidance that has nothing to do with their physical body.

Step 2 Give your own mind a break. I think about my body, looks, clothes, and appearances more times in one day than I can even count… so I decided to fast from these thoughts. Sunday I even went to church without makeup on. My high school students reminded me last week that it was no longer cool to say "OMG," BUT, if it were let me just say...OMG! You have to understand, the world nearly stood still on its axis when I told my husband I was leaving for church without first applying my usual beauty routine. Amazingly enough, I survived it.

Step 3 Decide what you truly believe about beauty. A couple of years ago I set out on this journey to minister to young girls and I noticed a saying that was often flung around "True beauty lies on the inside." I flung it around too, why not? Then I thought about it one day, "Do I actually believe it?" After all, I was more guilty than the next person at sizing people up according to their looks. Truth is, people say the right thing all the time…that it doesn’t matter how you look or what size you are. But then why are we surrounded by a world obsessed with physical perfection? So, all I have control over is my own mind and my own home and in my family we have claimed war against an emphasis on looks. Am I sure how it will all turn out? No. But my husband and I have sat down and created a battle plan kill dead definition of beauty that is based on size and body composition.

I pray that this just be the beginning for us. I could sit here and write and write for hours about how far God has brought me since this picture was taken. Today, I can proudly put this picture up on my wall with the caption "Wonderfully and Perfectly Made." Because of this, because of the huge work of healing God has done in my life, I know that there is hope for our daughters. A hope of a different future where the decisions we make are based on strength and confidence instead of insecurity. May we partner together in this hope through Your Daughter Needs a Hero.

About Maria C. Furlough: 
Eighteen years ago, an eleven year old girl looked in mirror and for the first time in her innocent life…she realized she hated what she saw. That girl was me. It continued to be me until in my early twenties I realized two things: God had a bigger plan for me than that and part of that plan was for me to help other girls not be like me.As God slowly picked me up out of the pit I was in, I began to look around me and see many of factors that contributed to my poor body image. As a youth leader I watched, studied, and prayed for the young girls God put into my life. I struggled with them as they constantly asked about the caloric content of the cookies I put out or begged me not to take pictures of them. It made me so sad to see so much of myself in them. Then one day, after an interaction with parents, it hit me like a ton of bricks “they don’t know!” Their parents, my parents…they didn’t and don’t realize the depths that insecurity reaches. It was time for action.

After the birth of my first child, Faith I sat down at my computer to write. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. I actually wrote all the way through the birth of my second child David (it took me quite awhile with two under two at home!!!). What I wrote is simple: parents you need to know…Today my family and I live in North Carolina and we excitedly begin this journey as an author and speaker. My husband Dave is the catalyst behind all that I do. He has encouraged me and enabled me to be on this journey and I am so thankful for his love and his companionship. My daughter Faith, now turning four, inspires me every day to stand firm to the message I believe in. It is for her that I take serious every word I utter about beauty. It is for her I strive to be a woman who models a God given security in prayer that she will not struggle the way that I did. It is for her my life’s mission is now clear. My son David is now two and he is the ball of laughter and energy that keep this home going. His smile, his laugh it is all contagious and I look forward to the man God is molding him to be. Furlough baby # three, Aaron has officially arrived into our lives. Since the day he was born he has been a perfect reminder of God’s grace and love for us. Aaron is our perfect gift.

Authoring is by no means my life, but it sure is something God has excitedly called me to do and I look forward to all that the future has in store! May this book, this blog, this life of mine bless you as we partner to help our girls into a life of true worth.

Feel free to contact me at any time at for more information on booking events, signings, prayer needs, or simply to share your story.

Maria’s latest book is Your Daughter Needs a Hero.
You can visit the author’s website at

About Your Daughter Needs a Hero
What drives teenage girls? What tempts them? What causes their insecurities? More importantly, what can parents do to make a difference in their lives? Author Maria Furlough battled self-image and self-esteem issues as a teenager, and in Your Daughter Needs a Hero she uses a mix of personal stories and years of experience counseling teenage girls in youth ministry to show parents what their teenage daughters are going through and how best to help them.

Furlough explains how things such as fad diets, the media, and pornography influence a teen girl’s body image, and she guides parents on how to counteract the constant pressures and influences that affect teen girls every day. This book will show parents how to effectively build their daughter’s self-esteem, self-image, and, most importantly, their faith in God and in their parents. If you have a daughter, Your Daughter Needs a Hero is a must read!

Product Details: 

  • Perfect Paperback: 192 pages 
  • Publisher: Tate Publishing (March 13, 2012) 
  • Language: English 
  • ISBN-10: 161346794X 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613467947 
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Available to purchase at Amazon & Tate Publishing

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One Chance In A Million by Cathy Marie Hake (Review)

Having endured a grueling voyage from the British Islands, Mariam arrives at the Chance brothers' ranch expecting to help her sister care for two children and six men. But Miriam is shocked to learn that her sister has died and her two nieces have been neglected. When the Chance brothers order Miriam to take the next ship back to her home, she digs in her heels. Her place is with her nieces - even if that reduces her chances of marriage to about one in a million. As the months pass, though, will Miriam come to believe that maybe one Chance is all she needs?

I GIVE THIS BOOK:1 star1 star1 star1 star

A historical book that is a very speedy read - perfect for when you want to have a book you can read in one sitting. The story reminded me quite a bit of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (one of my favorite old movies) in a few different ways: 1) Miriam was a great cook - like Milly, 2) When Miriam arrived at the Chance brothers' ranch, the place was filthy and as soon as she was able, she started to clean it up, and 3) There was a scene where there was a cabin raising with a competition (but minus the feuding) - like the barn raising scene in the movie.

After reading One Chance In A Million, I found out it is part of a series of six books, but thankfully it is the first! All six of the books have been combined into two 3-in-1 books, the first is California Chances and the second is Kentucky Chances. I hope to be able to get these books soon, so I can read more about the Chance brothers! I would recommend One Chance In A Million to fans of good clean historical fiction.

If you found this review helpful, will you please click yes HERE. Thanks!

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Ride of Her Life by Lorna Seilstad (Review)

The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is a six year old. Widowed two years ago, Lilly leaves the shelter of her intrusive in-laws' home to stand on her own and provide for her young son by working for the summer as a cook at Lake Manawa. However, her in-laws find that life utterly unsuitable for their grandson, and when a row ensues, a handsome stranger--who designs roller coasters, of all things--intercedes on her behalf. Still, Lilly is not about to get involved with any man, especially this cocky (though charismatic) gentleman. Little does she know she is about to begin the ride of her life.Filled with delightful characters and the romance of summer, The Ride of Her Life is another supremely entertaining story from the witty Lorna Seilstad. Readers will laugh out loud and sigh contentedly as they spend the summer of 1906 in Lake Manawa.

I GIVE THIS BOOK: 1 star1 star1 star

After reading the first two books in this series, Making Waves and A Great Catch, I was really looking forward to reading The Ride of Her Life - I was so sure I was going to love it! However, I was very disappointed in it. I think my expectations might have been too high for this book, because the first book was excellent and the second book was very good. I hate being in the minority with an opinion on a book, but that seems to be the case with this one. Every review I have seen so far for this book has been extolling it, but it just didn't do it for me. 

I loved Lilly in Making Waves, but in this book she just came across as very annoying, negative and paranoid. I couldn't connect with her like I did with Marguerite and Emily. I tried so hard to find something, but came up empty. The other characters in the story were great: Nick was fun and charismatic, Eugenia made me laugh, and Lilly's son, Levi, was SO adorable you can't help but love the little guy!

If you have read the first two books, you will probably still want to read this one. But if you are thinking of getting this book to read by itself, I don't think I would recommend it. I would however recommend this series as a whole - the first two are great!

***I received a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.***

“Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

If you found this review helpful, will you please click yes HERE. Thanks!

Product Details:
  • Paperback: 381 pages 
  • Publisher: Revell; Original edition (May 1, 2012) 
  • Language: English 
  • ISBN-10: 0800734475 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800734473 
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Available to purchase at Amazon

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A Life In Time And Space: A Biography of David Tennant by Nigel Goodall (Review)

David Tennant is the most powerful actor on British television. Witj two National Television awards to his credit and numerous other theatrical accolades, David has proven he's here to stay. David was appearing on screen even before he was out of school and appeared in several high-profile dramas for the BBC. But, undeniably, it is his energetic and eccentric portrayal of the Time Lord in cult sci-fi drama Doctor Who for which he is most famous. Fulfilling his childhood dream, David has been voted 'Best Doctor' by readers of Doctor Who Magazine and the 'coolest character' on UK television in a 2007 Radio Times survey. As a budding young actor, David received raved reviews for his work on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Nearly ten years on, he returned to his roots and took up possibly his most challenging and successful part to date - the title role in Shakespeare's Hamlet. In this, the first ever biography of the charismatic Scottish actor, Nigel Goodall traces the events and circumstances that have shaped David's life and career so far and transformed him into a hugely influential artist, and the coolest man on television.

I GIVE THIS BOOK:1 star1 star

I think David Tennant is a great actor, but this biography was kind of boring. It went into so much detail about other people (Hello! I am reading this because it is supposed to be a biography of David Tennant, not every other person mentioned in this book!). There is not enough about David and his work in this book to justify it being called a biography of him. The book is only 200 pages and I would say less than half of it talks about him and even those pages don't say all that much. After finishing it, I felt I could have learned the same  on wikipedia and in less time! If you really want to read this book, I would recommend borrowing it first, if possible.

If you found this review helpful, will you please click yes HERE. Thanks!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

CFBA Tour: Rebel by Linda Windsor

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
David C. Cook; New edition (June 1, 2012)
Linda Windsor

Linda Windsor makes her home at a restored and "growing" late 18th century home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Above the Windsor front door hangs a sign saying "Fort Necke, assigned 1684, established 1830," which means the land grant is older than the current building. She purposely left off the ageing brought on by the restoration to her mind and body - not enough space to accommodate the number. Chronologically, she admits to celebrating another birthday, just like the rest of us, each year on July 8th -- which also happens to be the anniversary of the day the Liberty Bell cracked.

Amid the often chaotic "country inn" atmosphere, Windsor has written quite a collection of historical and contemporary romances as both Linda Windsor and Linda Covington. Windsor's historical novels are known for her distinctive voice and flair for incorporating history with romance and adventure, while her contemporary romantic comedies are guaranteed to warm the heart, lift the spirit, and tickle the funny bone. Windsor insists that nothing is more entertaining than life itself, be it past or present.

With a degree in education from her local university, one of the greatest rewards to the innate teacher in Linda was hearing from readers that her Irish Gleannmara series was approved for some middle school English book reports as well as being used in home-schooling. To Windsor, entertaining, or keeping the pages turning, while educating is as much as any historical novelist can ask for.

With Merlin dead, the succession undecided, and the Celtic church on the defensive from Rome, intrigue sweeps the court of the High King Arthur. But it’s battlefield news that consumes Queen Gwenhyfar’s young scribe, Kella O’Toole: her fiancé is dead and her father gone missing.

Determined to find him at all costs, Kella defies the queen’s orders and sets out for Pictish territory. Her foster brother Alyn, a disillusioned priest who questions his calling, agrees to help her. The journey itself is perilous. But it’s their secrets that land Kella and Alyn in a viper’s nest of treachery that threatens both their lives and the future of Albion.

Can they summon the love and faith they need to find their way not only out of danger, but into happiness? Brilliantly researched, vividly imagined, and movingly written—a memorable climax to the Brides of Alba series.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Rebel, go HERE.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore (Review and Nook Color Giveaway!)

Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through . . .


Brielle’s a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake.

Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.

Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than Jake or Brielle has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.

A realm that only angels and demons—and Brielle—can perceive.

I GIVE THIS BOOK:1 star1 star1 star1 star

Angel Eyes started off really slowly and was very vague about what happened to make Brielle so depressed - too vague in my opinion. By the second chapter, I was a kind of bored with it and thought if it continued to bore me once I reached 100 pages I might not be able to finish it. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself getting into the story around page 80 and a few pages later I didn't want to put it down - persistence really paid off with this book!

There were a couple of little things that I may not agree with spiritually, I say may because I have never really considered them before. One of them was how the "good" angels would be assigned to protect people who weren't believers, like Brielle. I know there are cases where people survive after being in a horrible accident without a scratch on themand they aren't believers - so maybe this could be true? However, I am leery to believe anything without knowing what Scripture backs it up.

Overall, Angel Eyes was a fun book that really made me think. I think this is a great debut novel and I am looking forward to reading the second book in the trilogy, Broken Wings. If you like supernatural fiction, you should enjoy Angel Eyes.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.***

If you found this review helpful, will you please click yes HERE. Thanks!

Product Details:
  • Paperback: 336 pages 
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 29, 2012) 
  • Language: English 
  • ISBN-10: 1401686354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401686352 
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Available to purchase at Amazon

Celebrate with Shannon by entering her "Angel Eyes" Giveaway and connecting with her during the Author Chat Party on 6/26!

One "angelic" winner will receive:
  • A Brand New Nook Color
  • A copy of Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on June 25th. Winner will be announced at the "Angel Eyes" Author Chat Facebook Party on 6/26. Shannon will be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills and giving away some great prizes!

So grab your copy of Angel Eyes and join Shannon on the evening of the June 26th for a chance to meet Shannon and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 26th!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Footprints Prayer

One night I had a dream... 
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and 
Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. 
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; 
One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. 
When the last scene of my life flashed before us, 
I looked back at the footprints in the sand. 
I noticed that many times along the path of my life, 
There was only one set of footprints. 
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest 
 and saddest times in my life 
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it. 
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, 
You would walk with me all the way; 
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, 
There is only one set of footprints. 
I don't understand why in times when I 
needed you the most, you should leave me. 
The Lord replied, "My precious, precious 
child. I love you, and I would never, 
never leave you during your times of 
trial and suffering. 
When you saw only one set of footprints, 
It was then that I carried you.

Read more:

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Interview with Carl Alves and a Giveaway!

Carl, welcome to Hardcover Feedback!  
A lot of people are on Twitter these days, so can you describe Two for Eternity for us in 140 characters or less (which is the size of a tweet)?
A historical fantasy novel covering 12000 years of history chronicling two immortal enemies.

When did you begin writing Two for Eternity?  What inspired this book and how much research was involved in writing it?
The genesis of this novel stems from a thought I had kicking around in my head for a long time – what would it be like to live forever.  If one lived forever, that person would have lived all over the world, would be able to speak a multitude of languages, would have performed every imaginable occupation and would have countless skills.  This in itself doesn’t make a story, so I had to create a foil for this character, someone who had similar skills and backgrounds, but was an evil entity.  The next thing I contemplated is what periods in history would make for interesting writing, and a number of time periods immediately came to mind.  As I began to research and write the novel, a theme started to develop in my mind, and that was to in my own way correct some of the incorrect depictions of history.  There is saying that he who wins the war writes the history.  What is taught in history classes is often skewed as a result.  I tried to use some alternative, non mainstream sources of historical events when doing my research.

What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer?
The author that most influenced my was Stephen King and the book that most influenced me is The Stand by Stephen King.  That novel was so well written, so epic in nature, and had characters that came to life.  I read the book when I was in high school, and I remember when reading it that I never wanted this journey to end.  Whenever I picked up the beat up paperback copy that I had, I was thoroughly absorbed into the world that King created.  It was reading this novel that made me want to tell my own stories, not that I thought I could ever write anything at that level.

What was the first book you ever wrote about and was it ever published?
I first started writing in high school.  After about a year I came to the conclusion that I wasn't very good at it, not to mention that I majored in Biomedical Engineering in college and had no time to write.  I restarted about seven years later when my wife urged me to start writing again.  That was the point where I got serious about learning how to write and pursuing it professionally.

My first novel, “Conjesero”, is a horror novel about a shape shifting serial killer.  I’m in the process of re-writing it.  It amazes me as I do the re-write how my writing has evolved since that time period.  I read some parts of the book, and my reaction is “What was I thinking?”  It also shows me that I have to continually improve my writing and learn more about the craft of writing.  I don’t think I will ever get to the point where I’m fully satisfied with the quality of my writing.  There is always room for improvement, and writing is a continual evolution.

Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual?
I do virtually no outlining, other than maybe a two or three sentence high level overview.  I am constantly working out the story in my head.  Usually I'm looking at the next two or three chapters, figuring out the plot details, the dialogue, any action scenes.  I also work out in my head longer term what's going to happen in the story, and working out the story arc. I usually start off with maybe the two or three main characters and then as the story goes along I create new characters.  Sometimes these characters evolve as the story evolves.  I have killed off characters or saved characters who I thought I would kill off based on how they develop during the course of writing the story. 

By the time I sit in front of my laptop, the writing tends to flow easily because I know what I want to write and how I want to do it.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend this method to other writers.  I think the development of plot and character isn’t a formulaic thing but something that each writer has to figure out. 

Do you have a favorite character or one that is especially close to your heart?
Raiken, the protagonist in my novel Two For Eternity is someone who resonates with me.  Raiken has been alive for 12,000 years.  He has lived everywhere, performed every type of occupation, has been rich and powerful as well as poor and meek, and can speak dozens of languages.  Unlike Vrag, his immortal counterpart, he always tries to use his knowledge, skills and experience for the betterment of those around him.  He starts off in the novel mostly concerned about protecting his family and those around him, and then evolves into someone who is more of a protector of humanity in general as his counterpart, Vrag, raises the stakes in the deadly game they play.

What is the best gift you have ever received, do you still have it and who gave it to you?
My wife introduced me to the wonderful world of e-books when she gave me a Nook for my birthday.  I don’t think e-books will ever completely replace traditional paper books for me, but I think the Nook is great for traveling and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

What is something that you have always wanted to do, but just haven't gotten around to it yet?
My lifelong dream was to have a novel published, and Two For Eternity satisfied that dream.  I guess the next one would be to make it onto the New York Times bestseller list.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you hope to find in your suitcase? 
I would want flint to start fire, a spear for fishing, and a bow and arrows for hunting.  What can I say, I’m a practical guy.

What is your all-time favorite book?
The Stand by Stephen King.  Brilliant novel.

Other than yourself, who is your favorite author?
Stephen King’s early work is phenomenal.  So many of his novels resonate deeply with me.  I’m not so fond of his more recent work, however.

If a TV show was based on your life, what type of TV show would it be (i.e., comedy, drama, suspense, etc.) who would you choose to play the leading character (you), and what would the theme song be? Why?
It would probably be a drama of a family man trying to juggle a million different activities and responsibilities with family, work, and writing.  I would like Juaquin Pheonix to play my character just because we’re around the same age and he’s such a phenomenal actor.  The theme song would be “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns-N-Roses. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I don’t have spare time.   I work full time as an engineer at a pharmaceutical company, and I have two small children.  My wife is a physician and I frequently have to take care of the kids.  I write whenever I have the opportunity to do so.  If that means a few minutes here and there, then so be it.  Other than that I work out on a daily basis and enjoy watching sports.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?
I suppose both.  I’ve come to the conclusion that sleep is overrated.  Lack of sleep helps me get things done.

What is your favorite TV show and/or movie?
I’m really enjoying Game of Thrones these days.  The writing for the series has been great with memorable characters, excellent tension, great action and great drama.  I have yet to read the series by George R.  R. Martin, but I look forward to doing so.

If you were throwing a dinner party and you could invite five people (fictional or real, dead or alive), other than family or friends, who would you invite and why?
Stephen King, Darth Vader, Captain America, Charles Barkley, and Theodore Roosevelt

If you had the opportunity to go anywhere you wanted, at anytime in history, where would you go and why?
I would go to the time of the Vikings circa 1000 A.D. around the time that they were travelling to North America.  This was a time period that I wrote about in Two For Eternity.  For one things, the Vikings were really fascinating.  Secondly, I would like to document first hand that the Vikings arrived in North America prior to Christopher Columbus.

What are you currently working on?
I generally work on about three or four different novels/short stories at any given time.  I like to bounce back and forth between them, which helps keep things fresh.  Right now the project I am most excited about is a novel entitled Beyond Ragnarok, which is a post apocalyptic version of what takes place after the Battle of Ragnarok from Norse mythology. I am also getting ready to do the edits with my project manager for my forthcoming novel Reclamation Mother Earth.

Where can people connect with you online?
People can reach me at, on Facebook I’m listed as Carl Alves, and on Twitter @authorcarlalves.

Thank you so much Carl for being on Hardcover Feedback!

From the beginning of human history, two immortal beings have battled against each other. Vrag has pulled the strings of malevolent leaders, and has caused endless destruction and chaos. Raiken, his immortal counterpart, has opposed him at every turn.

Two for Eternity is both a historical and contemporary fantasy thriller that takes many controversial interpretations of history. From ancient Egypt and Babylon, through the time of Christ in Judea, spanning the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, through World War II, Raiken and Vrag have engaged in an inhuman battle of wills. Now, the stakes have never been higher as Vrag has set his sights on the destruction of society. Raiken has always been the defender of humanity against his immortal enemy. They will battle one last time to settle their score for eternity.

Product Details:
  • Paperback: 330 pages 
  • Publisher: Weaving Dreams Publishing (November 1, 2011) 
  • Language: English 
  • ISBN-10: 1937148041 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937148041 
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Available to purchase at Amazon

Enter to win Two For Eternity by Carl Alves. Giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada only! To enter, all you have to do is follow this blog in at least one way and then complete whichever extra entries you want in the Rafflecopter form below. If you are not familiar with how to use Rafflecopter HERE is a link to a how-to video. Giveaway ends July 8th at 11:59p.m. (e.s.t.). Good luck!

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