Saturday, August 13, 2011

Interview with Christian author, Gina Holmes



Gina Holmes is the bestselling author of Crossing Oceans and the newly released novel, DRY AS RAIN. She's the founder of Novel Rocket, (formerly Novel Journey), a registered nurse, wife and mother who makes her home in Southern Virginia. You can learn more about her at www.ginaholmes.com




Your debut novel hit ECPA, Amazon, PW and CBA bestsellers list (some throughout the span of a year!) For several weeks Crossing Oceans was the #1 free kindle download and then stay in the top hundred for a long time.

Beside the commercial success, your book was a finalist in every major Christian book award, including: Christy, ECPA, Retailer’s Choice, Carol Awards, and won RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice and an INSPY. Does having that kind of success put the pressure on for your second book?

I try not to think too much about it. I didn’t expect that kind of success but am very grateful for it. I had a lot of pressure on me on this releasing novel, not because of the success of the first book, but because, unlike the first, I didn’t have all the time in the world to write it. Some books flow smoothly, this one I had to yank out like a bad tooth. I faced multiple rewrites, some of them pretty major, all while trying to promote my all important first novel. I was still working full time, mothering, running Novel Journey (now Novel Rocket) and all of that, so this was a tough tough book for me to produce.

Tell our readers about your latest release, Dry as Rain:


I'm a really bad pitchman so I'll just repeat the back of the book copy:

Behind every broken vow lies a broken heart.

When Eric and Kyra Yoshida first met, they thought their love would last forever. But like many marriages, theirs has gradually crumbled, one thoughtless comment and misunderstanding at a time, until the ultimate betrayal pushes them beyond reconciliation. Though Eric longs to reunite with Kyra, the only woman he has truly loved, he has no idea how to repair the damage that’s been done.

Then a car accident erases part of Kyra’s memory—including her separation from Eric—and a glimmer of hope rises from the wreckage. Is this a precious opportunity for the fresh start Eric has longed for? Does he even deserve the chance to find forgiveness and win back Kyra’s heart . . . or will the truth blow up in his face, shattering their last hope for happiness? A richly engaging story of betrayal and redemption, Dry as Rain illuminates with striking emotional intensity the surprising truth of what it means to forgive.

You can read the first chapter HERE.


"Holmes grabs the reader with a unique storyline about infidelity and what it truly means to forgive after betrayal. By looking at the situation from a different angle, the author provides a great deal of food for thought and contemplation." RT Book Reviews – September, 2011


Library Journal says, "Fans of emotionally packed domestic fiction will love it."





This novel feels so much different than Crossing Oceans. Why did you choose to take such a different path?

I didn’t intend to write something completely different and I think it feels that way because of the characters telling the story. In Crossing Oceans, Jenny was our narrator and she was a melancholy, all woman sort.

In Dry as Rain, we have Eric, who is a man’s man and doesn’t think in flowery language and descriptions so it would have been wrong to write him that way. While both books have a heavy subject matter, Crossing Oceans was much more so. You can’t get heavier than dying, so it was bound to be more emotional, no matter how I wrote the next book.

But, my genre seems to be relational drama which both are and I like to pepper in a quirky cast and that’s true of both books.

You took a lot of chances in this book. First writing first person from a male’s perspective, secondly to have the protagonist someone who does a lot of things that aren’t very Christianly, like cheating on his wife, drinking, lying, etc. Are you afraid this might hurt your sales in the Christian market?

Afraid? No. Concerned, sure. While I don’t personally have a problem with Eric drinking a beer, the rest I have a problem with too. The thing is Eric’s a nominal Christian at the beginning of the book, lukewarm about his faith like many who call themselves followers of Christ. This is his journey though and he doesn’t end up where he begins. I wanted to tell the story as truthfully as I could and at the end of the day let the chips fall where they may.

What happened to your long time website, Novel Journey?

www.noveljourney.blogspot.com is now www.novelrocket.com You can get to it by either address but we decided on an overhaul because we wanted to drop the blogspot address and just have a dot com. The guy who owned Novel Journey didn’t return our emails to sell so we had to do something a little different. This turned out to be a good thing maybe because we’d been chewing on broadening the site for some time. We’ve got some exciting changes now, the most notable is the addition of “Rocket Pages” a sort of Craig’s List for writers to find the services they need to launch and sustain their career.

What’s going on with you personally?

Well, I’m blissfully married, mom to two, stepmom to three, and owner of 2 dogs and a fish. I bought a guitar and hope to start fiddling with that soon and just writing a lot. Nothing too exciting over here but that’s the way I like it. I’m the happiest I’ve been in my life. I’ve accomplished many of the dreams and goals I’d hoped to and I always tell my husband, if I died today, I’d feel I lived and full and rewarding life. Not that I’m looking to die just yet.

What are you working on now?

I can’t give the title yet as that’s a work in progress but it’s a story very close to my heart. I’m more excited about this one than anything I’ve ever written. Hopefully my publisher agrees and you see it on the stands in the next year or so. That’s really all I can say for now.

Tell us something we don’t know about you.


I’ll tell you a few. I thought I was afraid of heights until I bungee-jumped and loved it. I’d love to skydive for the first time in the next year, white water raft and get at least a little skill on the guitar. My husband is a talented songwriter. My kids are the sweetest in the world, (yes, the world!), and I love to get my hands dirty. That should do it. Thanks for having me!

Thanks for a great interview, Gina. All the best with the books. :)





Thursday, August 11, 2011

Book review - Hell Is Real ( But I hate to Admit it) by Brian Jones

"This is one of those easy to read, laugh out loud, quote-highlighting, you gotta hear this kind of books. It takes you by surprise as humour and heart are interlinked to bring a compelling Biblical argument for the reality of Hell and at the same time strips away our reservations in presenting it to unbelievers.

There are portions of the book that present God in such a harsh light that it will make you want to put the book down. Jones is quite blunt as he contrasts the love of God with the wrath of God. He uses the term “Apocalyptic urgency’ for the sense we ought to have that not only is the return of Christ imminent but so also is the entrance to hell for so many. There was one line that particularly caught my attention, “Apocalyptic urgency is not about saving your friend from hell. It’s about saving your friend from God.” That’s a shocking statement until you consider the inherent truth - it is the wrath of God that a sleeping world needs to be made aware of and the consequence of that wrath is hell!

There are moments in the book when Jones will likely offend you and other moments when he will draw you with conviction to repent. Certainly the book is more than a discussion on the reality of hell, it is one of those spurs that God uses to move us to agree with truth and change some of the ways that have caused us to neglect discussing this topic with those whom we know are yet not Christians. Jones takes the time to lay out several practical steps in the book on evangelism, good ideas but the first eight chapters are what will catch your attention and challenge you to respond. Well worth the read."
****

Recently, the media has ignited in a brimstone blaze of controversy over the question of Hell, and the idea that’s generating so much attention is that Hell isn’t real, and even if it were, a loving God wouldn’t possibly send people there. Is Hell real, or is it a concept that is misguided and out of place in today’s Christianity? Many believe the answer to this question will have profound implications on the future of the faith, and important personalities on both sides of this question are drawing lines in the sand.

Brian Jones, a pastor in suburban Philadelphia, can relate to this controversy. Jones had a secret he’d been hiding for years: He didn’t believe in Hell. In Hell Is Real (But I Hate to Admit It) (David C Cook, August 2011), Jones relates that after seminary he came to the conclusion that “the Bible’s teaching about Hell was inaccurate at best and hateful at worst. What I was taught as a child was a lie, and now that I was becoming a pastor I was sure I’d never perpetuate that ridiculous myth again.”

But after an amazing experience that required him to rescue several people from an apartment fire, Jones began to re-think his stance on Hell. His uncertainty on the subject led him to Scripture, and as he studied God’s Word, he felt an overwhelming sense of conviction. “What I discovered shocked me. I had always assumed that the Bible contained only a few scattered references to Hell. I was wrong; it is taught everywhere.”

Watch the video trailer!

Drawing upon Scripture and his own experience as a pastor who didn’t believe in Hell, Jones began writing Hell Is Real with the hope that he would humorously and transparently push readers into a head-on collision with what he calls “apocalyptic urgency,” the all-consuming conviction that overtakes someone when they realize that Hell is real and it is within their power to help people avoid going there. The key to this apocalyptic urgency, according to Jones, is for Christians to realize that the largest need that faces mankind is the need to be saved from God’s wrath, which results in a real, literal Hell. Without the urgency that a belief in Hell instills, Christians “will inadvertently create the single greatest holocaust human civilization has ever seen.” In the end, Brian believes that the reason most Christians don’t tell their friends about Jesus has nothing to do with not knowing how—it’s because they don’t think they need to. “Hell Is Real is about transforming apathetic Christians into sold-out evangelists,” states Jones.

In a world eager to toss aside the distinctive beliefs of historical Christianity, voices like Brian Jones’ must be heard. It’s imperative that Christianity is represented by people who have wrestled with these relevant questions, but who’ve come to more thoughtful and traditional understandings on such crucial matters. Hell Is Real is interesting and entertaining, but it is, above all, unflinching in its endorsement of a literal, biblical Hell.

About the Author: Brian Jones is the senior pastor at Christ’s Church of the Valley, an innovative community of faith in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Brian is a graduate of Cincinnati Christian University (B.A.) and Princeton Theological Seminary (M. Div.) and has served in leadership positions in churches for over twenty years. His humorous and raw style has made him a popular speaker for conferences, seminars, churches and retreats.

Hell Is Real (But I Hate to Admit It) by Brian Jones
David C Cook/August 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7814-0572-0/272 pages/$14.99
www.brianjones.com ~ www.davidccook.com


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

No amount of fear can increase our bank accounts, and no amount of losses can decrease God’s provision”—quote from Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta.

“Few women have experienced a seemingly endless string of tragedies like those that shattered the life of Janet Perez Eckles. But in a lively tone that reflects her vivacious personality, Janet teaches us how to reclaim our joy through biblical principles and real life examples. In reading Simply Salsa and applying the scriptural lessons, everyone whose heart has been broken or whose body has been afflicted by devastating illness will find herself dancing to the music of our Heavenly Father. (Review by Louise M. Gouge, author of At the Captain’s Command)

For only 24 hours Tuesday, August 9, order this life-changing book from Amazon.com and receive lots of bonus gifts and a chance to win a $100 American Express gift card or a round-trip airline ticket.

Watch video for more details: http://bit.ly/peQ9n2


and visit Janet at www.janetperezeckles.com