Thursday, July 31, 2008

Never Give up on Writing a Story that Moves You

rhythms of grace
Today CFB launches our 1 question summer interview series. My galpal, Marilynn Griffith, author of this month's new release Rhythms of Grace( Aug, Revell, $11.89 using the blue link) answers the question:

Me: What do you do when the journey of writing your book interferes with your real life?

marilynnMG: Oh goodness. The journey of writing this book is a book in itself. This is my true first novel, but it wasn't published until almost ten years after I started it. With my then five boys under age five and my two older girls homeschooling, it was a busy time, but not too busy for Grace, Brian, Ron, Zeely, Jerry and Joyce to get under my skin. I tried to give up on the book more than once, but in the end, I had to know what happened. No one person inspired Grace, though I myself was raped at a young age and am a birth mother. She handled her experiences differently than I did mine. Better really. I can't take credit for her though. She just showed up one day, looked at Brian and started to dance.


Grace Okoye was a promising young dancer when her career was cut short by a brutal assault that left her scarred for life. Twenty years later, when her past gets in the way of her happiness, she heeds the invitation of her dance instructor and returns home to help hurting children and rediscover the rhythms of grace. What she doesn't expect is to meet a man who already seems to know her beat. But for all they share in common, the biggest thing in Grace's life is noticeably absent in his--faith. She's finally found the love of her life, but can she choose between him and God?


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday Readup: Giveaway Winner, Tyler Perry, Free TeleSeminar & My Book Update

It's Wednesday and Time for the Weekend Readup

VisioMarina Woodsns in Print Presents a Book Marketing Teleseminar

This Saturday August 2, 2008 Marina Woods, the “Queen” of Inspirational Book Promotion and President of the Good Girl Book Club, is joining the Visions in Print Writer’s Group to teach you… Read more

My Book Update:

Thanks to Rhonda McKnight my baby, my first manuscript has been shipped off to a publisher who says they have been waiting on baited breathe for the final. Taking prayer requests for its success y'all. :) Thank Rhonda for being so sweet to me by visiting her blog and subscribing.

Tyler Perry and author, Stephanie Perry Moore shoot Georgia Sky
In August, Tyler Perry will begin shooting a 3 Part Direct to DVD YA Christian Series, "Georgia Sky." The DVDS are based on Atlanta Author, Stephanie Perry Moore's Payton Skyy Christian Teen Novel Series. The movie is about two sixteen-year-old girls of different races who attend different highschools, but share the same faith and same city.

And the Winner is
Okay last week I hosted the 7 Secrets to Love Giveaway here and took in your entries. Thank you. The winner of this book is MrFresh, Twitter user and producer of the VibesnScribes Podcast. Hope you enjoy the book, MrFresh. :)

Stay tuned by subscribing via email. In August I will have more giveaways. And if you haven't already there's still time to enter the Jerry B. Jenkins book and bookmark giveaway.

Related Articles:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Off Topic Tuesday: Will the US House of Representatives Slavery Apology Affect Prejudice?

7.7.07 reading blythe meet
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House of Representatives was poised Tuesday to pass a resolution apologizing to African-Americans for slavery and the era of Jim Crow.

"African-Americans continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow -- long after both systems were formally abolished -- through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity and liberty, the frustration of careers and professional lives, and the long-term loss of income and opportunity," the resolution states"
Click here for more...

Trailer Park Tuesday: Anathema

Good Trailer Park Tuesday Morning! This week we spotlight Colleen Coble's Anathema.

Snapshot: Anathema Even though she knows her Amish parents would disapprove, Hannah Schwartz slips away to meet her boyfriend, Reece Ericson. When she returns home, Hannah discovers that her parents have been murdered and their prized handmade quilts stolen! Years later, a shunned Hannah returns to the scene. Can her family---and her faith---be restored? (Thomas Nelson, Harcover, 336 pp, $22.99, $15.63 via Amazon(click title link above) or click this link in sidebar for an additional 10% off the Amazon purchase.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Christian Fiction News: Steven Curtis Chapman, Ted Dekker, Donald Miller Unite

Donald Miller, Philip Yancey Join Ted Dekker On Newly Combined Roster

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – July 28, 2008 – Creative Trust, Inc., an elite artist management firm with music, media, and literary clients, has formed a new literary division in partnership with Kathryn A. Helmers of Helmers Literary Services (Colorado Springs, Colo.) announced Dan Raines, CTI founder and president.

Helmers, a 30-year publishing veteran, will transition her roster of notable writers, including Blue Like Jazz author Donald Miller and What’s So Amazing About Grace author Philip Yancey, into her new role as managing partner of Creative Trust Literary Group. They join a boutique list of CTI authors including N.Y. Times best-selling suspense novelist Ted Dekker (House, Adam) and premier women’s author/speaker Angela Thomas (Do You Think I’m Beautiful?).

“No one in the business is better at finding and developing great content than Kathy,” said Raines. “Her reputation as a passionate author advocate and her keen sense of content development has attracted some of the most original and creative voices in publishing today. We are honored to join together in building this new literary partnership.”

Creative Trust, Inc., originally founded in 1989 to manage music artists such as Steven Curtis Chapman and Third Day, expanded into literary representation in 2001 with a unique mission: to apply its expertise in client management to serving authors with a comprehensive, brand-marketing strategy across multiple platforms such as film, radio, Internet, graphic novels, events, and corporate and charitable partnerships.

“The challenges to literary success are pressing the need to develop targeted reader communities and expand market penetration and awareness for authors,” said Raines, who has built Creative Trust with partners Jim Houser and Jeanie Kaserman and has expanded its literary business with agent Katie Sulkowski. Leveraging the explosive success of authors such as Dekker and Thomas, CTI has demonstrated that it can grow an author’s influence beyond the book world.

Helmers began her career in magazine publishing in New York before earning an M.A. in English (University of Denver, 1981) and building an extensive track record in book editorial and publishing management. In 1995, she began work as a literary agent with Alive Communications, Inc. Her strengths in conceptualizing and developing book projects as well as her ability to grasp and interpret a writer’s vision have led to work with authors such as Richard Foster, Cynthia Heald, Richard Land, Donald Miller, Brennan Manning, Brian McLaren, Eugene Peterson, Walter Wangerin, Jr., and Philip Yancey.

Through the new partnership, Helmers envisions “an ability to support writers more comprehensively in a changing industry that keeps upping the ante on value-added services.” She continued, “in Dan and his team, I found kindred spirits in subverting the dominant paradigm—not only for success in the publishing and entertainment industries but ultimately in planting the seeds of cultural transformation through the power of ideas and artistic expression.”

Helmers and Raines describe their new venture as applying the depth and substance of Helmers Literary Services to the breadth, innovation, and media expertise of Creative Trust. “We look forward to the synergy of our combined efforts in extending the brand platforms of our clients through proactive development of book, film, and other media initiatives,” said Raines.

# # #

Creative Trust Author Roster

Fil Anderson
Kent Annan
Craig M. Barnes
Gayle Beebe
Deborah Bedford
Carmen Berry
Palmer Chinchen
Steven Curtis Chapman
Ted Dekker
Patton Dodd
Christopher Fabry
Jean Graham Ford
Leighton Ford
Nathan Foster
Richard J. Foster
Pete Gail
Sissy Goff
Melody Green
Tracy Groot
Rachel Hauck
Cynthia Heald
Erin Healy
Gareth Higgins
Quin Hillyer
Todd Hunter
Timothy Johnson
Tony Jones
Mark Labberton
Richard Land
Brian McLaren
Carl Medearis
Donald Miller
David Nasser
Philip J. Newell
Doug Pagitt
John Perrodin
Kristin Russell
Peter Scazzero
Geri Scazzero
James Bryan Smith
Angela Thomas
Melissa Trevathan
Phil Vischer
Christopher Webb
Peggy Wehmeyer
Ken Wilson
Vinita Wright
Mark Yaconelli
Trent Yaconelli
Philip Yancey

Guestpost: Marina Woods of Good Girl BookClub

a goodgirls read together
by Emma Dash

Summer Spa, Retreat, Reads & Rocco Treats

So sorry, Diva Chicas for sending my letter to you so late. See. I'm on a retreat -- a spiritual spa for Queens if you will at a hidden destination in the mountains on the East Coast. I had been invited to so many cruises and festivals and conferences, but my soul needed to take a pause and reflect on what is real and right in this world. Jesus Christ. So I left all the men in my life (including my young honey dip) and my laptop. But I didn't leave my stationary and a pack of stamps. No, chicas -- That's my lifeline. Keeps me connected to you, you Good Gorgeous Girls. So what can a Gospel Diva possibly do to occupy her time without men and media?

Oh, sweethearts, let me tell you. Great Books!!

I have a great Book Diva friend who respected my wish to be sight unseen, but knew I heart books. Everyday she has sent me some choice reads. Today I want to share them with you. When you don't have a television or an internet connection you want to read stories that are visual and that have some substance. Now's not the time to be reading dumb mess at a spiritual retreat. Nor is it a time to read lusty dramas that would make me want to run home to my honey dip, my guilty pleasure -- Pray for me.

Now back to Good Reads for a Good Girl-

I am holding in my hand Rebeca Seitz' Coming Unglued. For those of you scrapbook divas this book is the second of her a Sisters, Ink series. It is about Kendra, a woman after my own heart. She shares my dilemma, loving the wrong man, while a good one is within arms reach. If she were a real woman I would have invited her to this retreat.

In fact, there are a few other ladies who need to be here with me. Jasmine Larson Bush of Victoria Christopher Murray's Too Little Too Late and a Sin and a Shame needs to pack her bags tonight! Judge Vanessa Colton-Kirk of Reshonda Tate Billingsley's Can I Get a Witness needs to get a plane ticket and come on. Gretchen Hanover of Melody Carlson's A Mile in my Flip Flops needs to pack some more sandals and meet me here. All these women got man issues and can't seem to understand their destinies. Thank goodness Sherri Lewis's Keeva Banks and Shara Anderson (Dance into Destiny) carpooled with me here.

While here we've been rejuvenated. We learned how to Be Last for God (Jeremy Kingsley,) How to Make Love as a Way of Life (Gary Chapman) and once or if we ever marry, How to Keep His Pants on Until He Gets Home (Joyce Oglesby.)

We've ministered to some teenagers in the area. I shared with them Claudia Burney's The Exorsistah and Robert Liparulo's "Watcher in the Woods" for Teen Fright Night, Melody Carlson's Mixed Bags, Lisa Samson's Finding Hollywood Nobody and Debbie Vigule "The Summer of Cotton Candy" for the Teen Angst Books and Brunch.

Sounds delicious-

Speaking of eating -- If you live in the New York Area cutie chef, Rosco Dispirito wants you to invite him to your home. Yes, Ma'am!! "New Cooking Show on A&E with Celebrity Chef Rocco DiSpirito. Rocco is looking for people with unique and compelling stories who need Rocco's help in the kitchen to share these significant moments over an intimate and sumptuous meal. He will teach you what to cook, where to find the ingredients and how to prepare the ideal meal for your extra special occasion. To apply for the show please email Kris @, please include your name, age, phone number, a recent photo and tell them why you need Rocco's help!

I am learning so much about the woman I am to be and can't wait to see how these books transform you. Since I am still away, please email my dear friend, Marina Woods and have her own pass on any emails to me. I will be refreshed and back on the scene in August. And I would love to meet you. Yes, ladies, this Diva will be attending the Faith and Fiction Lovers Retreat in Destin , FL. If you see me there, come eat at my table. I might have a treat for you, those of you who think you know my true identity. No, I'm not Marina Woods.

Until fall,


(c) 2008-2010, Good Girl Book Club Worldwide, Good Girl Magazine and Good Girl iMedia. All rights reserved. Words, image and concept, Anonymous Gospel Diva, may not be used, reproduced, copied or altered without express written permission.

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Has Blogging Lost Its Relational Focus? Part II

This weekend at The Master's Artist Blog journalist and author Deb Gyapong asked the question:

Has the Blogging Novelty Worn Off?

I answered a lil over there, so I could expound upon the answer here. My answer is no. Blogging has not worn off. As a novelty...that's another subject.

Deb, we are sisters in Christ! I wrote about the same topic last week at CFB:Has Blogging Lost its Relational Focus?

Blogging has taken new forms
I say no.What has happened is that more people are talking using different forms of social media than they were when blogging became popular. Blogging via blogs like CFB is just one form of blogging. Miniblogging like Twitter and Utterz and some FaceBook Tools are being used widely. People are using Blog Talk Radio. I am using it more as well as Youtube and

We love to communicate and fellowship. We have to be receptive and open to other forms of media. See where it fits in our focus and apply them if necessary. There are ways to use them all and keep with them all. I will be talking about those things in more detail in the September issue of The Christian Communicator Magazine. Subscribe because I will have a second installment breaking down different forms of social media in the winter issue of the magazine.

Tonight my write-or-die chick Sherri Lewis will be on Blog Talk Radio, which is a great audio blogging tool you can incorporate in your own blog and reach thousands of people without having to type or come up with a great blog title. Come here us at 8PM EST on Ella Curry's Radio Show

Selfish Blogging
On the other hand we have become --and I've been guilty of this--Selfish Bloggers. We stay in our bubble and blog about what matters to us and never share this information with others or go out to our favorite links and blogging friends and see what they have to say about their world. We have forgotten that we are communal and belong to each other. We need to be sharing what we know and then go out to where people congregate and fellowship with them. We could organize meetups to meet other bloggers in our towns. It's easy to get lost into your own world, but if we won't this platform to stay viable we have to return to what made it best:

  • cross commenting
  • fellowshipping
  • and linking
  • meeting us in the marketplace

Now are you guilty of being a selfish blogger? I know I am. Join the Christian Fiction Network to began fellowshipping again. We have over forty blogging authors in communing. If you want to stay on top of new social media that can be helpful for authors and ministers join Vertical Promotion Network Or if you don't have time, hire me. I'm pretty affordable. :)Email me off loop for my rates.


TMA: Utterz Audio Blogging Me & Marina Woods on Book Marketing

Click Here to Hear my AudioBlog

Today at The Master's Artist Blog I will do something a bit different. I am going to introduce you to mini audioblogging. To participate plug in your headsets and hit the yellow arrow above. You can hear my entry for today and get a chance to respond. My guest host on this utterz experiment is my good friend, Marina Woods, Editor & Chief of Good Girl Book Club Magazine, the largest online magazine for Christian book readers. We are discussing the most common marketing mistakes authors make. Listen and join us. Marina's response is below. Click on and listen.

Click here to hear Marina's Response

In summary Marina's answer is that author's are not promoting in places where their target market congregates. She also shares the most shocking explanation she has heard from a Christian author on marketing. You can leave your responses here or open a free utterz account and respond via telephone or your computer. Moreover, Marina has a special surprise for authors seeking free advice for marketing and promotion. Read on for more details after you listen to our audioblog. Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Giveaway Sunday: Win a Kait Emerson Lollipop Dress

Kait Emerson Designs is giving away a darling Chocolate Lollipop Dress to one lucky winner. The giveaway is being hosted by Notes From My Nest. To enter, visit, for details. Deadline to enter is noon (EST), 7.30.08. Open to US residents only.

Guestpost: Sherri Lewis Book Event Invite

Hey everybody!!!

Just wanted to let you know about a booksigning coming up next weekend. Not only will you get to meet an awesome group of authors, but you'll have a chance to support a group of young boys in a book club called Boys Who Dare (Dare stands for Dream About Reading Everyday.)

On Friday, August 1st, in Atlanta, Georgia signing with Travis Hunter, Denene Milner, Nick Chiles, Sherri Lewis, Tia McCollors and DiShan Washington to raise money for a group of young men in a program called Boys Who Dare. This is a group of young boys (ages 6 - 16) who belong to a monthly book club, but who are now raising money to attend the inauguration in January! Barnes and Noble will be donating a percentage of every book sold to this cause. Imagine, we can change these young men's lives. Please come out, and support not only the authors, but these young men!:

Friday, August 1 7:00PM -9:00PM 2370 Union Road, SW Atlanta, Georgia 30336

Friday, July 25, 2008

Why Don't You Have a Marketing Plan for Your Book?

utterz-imageEIC of GoodGirl BookClub Magazine and I are chatting about the worst mistakes an author can make? Listen and comment here, on utterz or at Twitter.

Mobile post sent by deegospel using Utterz. reply-count Replies. mp3

Weekend Chat & Contest: Have you ever been a Part of a Social Movement Inspired by a Book?

I read books and therefore receive many kinds of bookmarks for gifts. I have jeweled ones, cute Hello Kitty Ones, and your basic paper variety. But this summer I received the best bookmark ever, so far. Jerry B. Jenkins' Riven bookmark.

Why am I gaga over this bookmark? Look above. It comes with a pin. The pin is designed in the shape of a crucifix with the words "Riven" inscribed on top. When I saw it I immediately knew I wanted to wear this.


  • It's a evangelism tool
  • It's a book marketing tool
  • It invited community into the discussion
I will talk about these whys in detail through the week and would like you to help me write these posts, so I am opening this discussion up to the community via utterz, twitter and on your blogs. I have 2 questions for you. Let me know your answers between now and August 3, 2008, and you will get the chance to enter a drawing to win a free copy, of Riven and the cool bookmark that I'm wearing. So The questions are:

What's Your Favorite BookMark? Or What's Your Favorite Tee-Shirt?

(I just won a cool Eat.Live. Tweet Tee-Shirt last night at The First Online Tweet-up hosted by my new buddy, Billy Fairchild AKA Tw3nty3ight

Have you ever been a part of a Social Movement inspired by a Book or Media Platform?

I have been a part of a few: Terry McMillan's novels changed not only my perception of AA women, but my generation, as well as Sweet Valley High, teen novels. I'm pretty sure Sherri Lewis' The List, which comes out in March 2009 will start a revolution among progressive, single Christian women. And of course you know I'm Twitastic.

About Jerry B. Jenkins' Riven, the novel:

Brady Wayne Darby and Thomas Carey could hardly have been more disparate individuals. Yet when Darby, a no-account loser raised in a dingy suburban trailer park, encounters Carey, a weary man of God, an entire state—indeed a nation—is affected. Embark on a wondrous journey where death, guilt, and despair are unfathomably trumped by rebirth, forgiveness, and hope. (Tyndale, 560pp, $24,99)
Click here to order.

Mobile post sent by deegospel using Utterz. reply-count Replies. mp3
Click here to listen.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Write-or-Die Chicks Unite: Claudia Burney & Rhonda McKnight

Coming in July
This month my Write-or-Die Chick, Author Rhonda McKnight is spotlighting my other Write-or-Die Chick, Claudia Mair Burney. So on Write-or-Die Chick Wednesday. I would like to repost a book review of Claudia's new young adult thriller, The Exorsistah via Rhonda's blog. You go, girls!!

Rhonda McKnight and Claudia Mair Burney

Onto the Review....

Welcome Janice, glad to be partnering with you.

This is what "Janice Said" about Exorsistah by Claudia Mair Burney:

Ms. Burney has introduced us to Emme, a young sister who has survived the perils of the foster care system only to step straight into the ominous world of demon possession and at the same time is ambushed by the precariousness of young loves first bite. Now Emme is used to seeing demons and knows that by using the Word of the Lord she can keep them off of her. But on her first day of freedom she meets a young, fine Blacktino brother who is not only kind but can also feel the demons she can see!

Visit to see the rest of the review

Let me just say. I read the Exorsistah Claudia's earlier drafts of the novel and this book is such good fun. Check out the conclusion of the review and come back here because Claudia will be visiting CFB very soon to chat about this book.

If you want to be a part of Write-or-Die Chick Wednesday, hit me up and yes, you need a blog.

Wildcard: Be Last

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

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

Today's Wild Card author is:

and his book:

Be Last

Tyndale House Publishers (Jun 15 2008)


Touching the hearts of more than 65,000 people a year, Jeremy Kingsley is passionate about seeing the lost come to Christ and the saved walk more intimately with Him. Jeremy, the founder and president of Onelife Ministries, is a highly respected teacher and one of the most sought-after speakers today. He has interacted with hundreds of thousands of people in the United States and has also been involved in ministry in Africa, Mongolia, India, and Central America. His servant spirit, transparent heart, and deep love for Jesus challenge listeners to live authentic lives dedicated to Christ. Jeremy and his wife, Dawn, live in Columbia, South Carolina, with their sons, Jaden and Dylan.

Visit him at his website.



How Do I Become Great?

“Being Last” by Living a Life of Service

What tops your list of things that you’re good at? Is it writing or cooking or dancing or accounting or music? Are you an accomplished engineer or the chairman of a board or a decorated athlete? Maybe you’re the guy who can fix any computer problem or the woman who can parallel park on any street in the city. The options for showing off what you do well are nearly endless.

But being good at something and being great at it are not the same. There is a difference between having strong skills and being great with those skills. The same is true for our Christian experience. Maybe you’re known as “pretty good,” a Christian who can teach well or sing well or lead well or memorize well or serve well. Have you ever wanted your Christian experience to become great? Maybe you’re not even very good at following Jesus right now but you still want to become great. That kind of hunger usually resides in those who have met Jesus and have seen how amazing he is.

When you think about your Christian experience, would you call it “great”? Would you say that you have achieved “greatness” or at least are headed in that direction? The question may be a bit too hard to ponder, but the quest for greatness is a topic worth pursuing. Of course, there is no way to determine the “greatness” of one’s life with Christ until we define the word itself. And that can be a difficult task because our presumed definitions are often skewed by the surrounding culture’s values.

When it comes to business, music, or sports, greatness is easier to define. For example, the statement that Michael Jordan was a great basketball player is hardly contestable. His six championships, Olympic gold medal, MVP awards, appearances on All-Star teams, scoring records, and game-winning shots prove it. His actions and awards place him above all his competitors. Boxer Muhammad Ali, football receiver Jerry Rice, and golfer Tiger Woods have accomplished similar feats in their own sports, feats that demonstrate greatness. But how do we define greatness in the Christian life? Can checking stat sheets and lists of awards provide a clear standard for evaluating the greatness of a Christian? How do I become great?

Is it worth expending the energy required to experience God’s great life for us? Well, if I’m defining greatness, I don’t know whether it’s worth pursuing. And if you’re defining greatness, I’m not sure you’ll want to chase an arbitrary idea that you made up for yourself. But if the greatest One of all defines greatness for us, we would be wise to learn what he says—and the greatest One who has ever lived has spoken about greatness. The King of kings and Lord of lords has told us how we should approach the journey toward greatness. So just like golfers who pay thousands of dollars for instruction from Tiger or computer software engineers who listen intently to Michael Dell, we should drop everything and tune into Jesus’ approach to greatness.

God’s Cheering Section

The John 12:41 the writer explains that the prophet Isaiah saw and described the glory of Jesus in Isaiah 6. So if we want to get a taste of how great Jesus was before he came to earth as a human being, we should check out what Isaiah saw in his vision of the Messiah’s glory hundreds of years before Christ came. It may take a little time for us twenty-first-century Americans to understand how profoundly Isaiah’s vision depicts Jesus’ greatness, but stick with me, and I’ll try to explain. First, let’s see what Isaiah 6:1-4 says:

It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke.

Words certainly do not do justice to what this experience would have been like for Isaiah. One moment he is praying, and the next moment he is swept into a vision of the Lord himself. He sees the inside of God’s heavenly home—a temple different from the one Solomon built on Mount Zion because of the giant throne in it—and he encounters a sanctuary full of creatures bringing down the house with their alternating chants focused on Jesus.

In this vision Isaiah sees a room filled with seraphim. Now these are not the type of angels who look human or your classic “two wingers.” These are special beings that have three pairs of wings. Each pair of wings has a specific purpose. When these beings are in the presence of Jesus, they use one pair of wings to cover their faces out of humility. With the second pair they cover their feet out of respect. They use the third pair to maintain flight. Apparently it takes specially designed body parts to give Jesus the honor he deserves when you’re in a room filled with his magnificence.

The job of the seraphim is simpler to describe than their unique physique. The seraphim have only one reason to exist: to tell God all the time how awesome he is. All they do is shout back and forth, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” and let their chants about his global glory blow up the decibel meter. They were created to be his constant cheering section, like a “divine dawg pound”! What a life! Imagine constantly getting to cheer for your favorite sports team in its home stadium and knowing that your team is the eternally undisputed world champion.

Do you understand what all this hoopla means? These heavenly beings have been created for the single purpose of chanting and cheering about Jesus’ glory. That’s all they do. Think about it. You’ve got to be indescribably great if angels have been created just to shout about you forever. Suppose you went up to one of these angels and asked, “Excuse me, Angel 3058, what is it that you do?”

Angel 3058 would reply, “I yell about how amazing Jesus is.”

If you asked him, “What do you do after work?” he’d say, “There is no ‘after.’ I just keep calling out how great Jesus is.”

If you begged him to come help you with something, he’d have to respond, “I can’t stop telling Jesus how amazing he is. We’re about to start the MVP chant, and there’s just no way we can have one less voice publicizing God’s fame. I’ve got to go!”

That gives Jesus the right to define greatness for us if he desires.

When Does Jesus Teach Us How to Become Great?

If Jesus is so great, then he knows that we need him to show us how to become great. A few times in his life would have seemed prime opportunities for him to do that. Maybe his birth would have been a great time? If he was going to teach us how to be great, he should probably have started off his time on earth with a grand entrance. Christmas morning should have been more like the Fourth of July, with fireworks coming out of heaven to light up the whole earth. Jesus should have flown in like a comet whose blazing light dwarfed the radiance of the sun so that every human being would have been awakened by his arrival and overwhelmed by the warmth of his presence. Then he could have ordered his seraphim posse to start up a universal chant and shake the atmosphere with their shouts of his holiness. The ensuing light, heat, and earthquake would certainly have moved all the people on the planet to cover their eyes, tremble in awe, and acknowledge that someone greater than all others had descended on their world.

He could have been born in a palace to a great king and queen. Lived in the most luxurious “crib” ever built. Had silk diapers, cashmere blankets, the purest baby food, gold teething rings—the whole nine yards. But nothing of the sort happened. Jesus took an entirely different approach.

Instead, he came out of Mary’s womb to an audience of animals in a small Judean town called Bethlehem. His parents were from Nazareth, a town in the Galilean backwoods with a reputation for producing nothing good (see John 1:46). His adoptive dad was a blue-collar worker struggling to make an honest shekel, and his mom got pregnant with him before she was married. That had to have had people talking—a pregnant girl “showing” before the wedding. That was not a great situation. To all appearances, Jesus came on the scene like just one more illegitimate child, born into a poor backwoods family, with little hope of doing anything great in his life. Remember, there was no room for him in the inn. But suppose there had been room in the inn. What if you had been born in a Motel 6? Would that be embarrassing to you, or humiliating? Well, Jesus didn’t even get that. When he was born, his mother laid him in a manger, a feeding trough for farm animals. Why would Jesus—the One with angels created to tell him how great he is—come to earth that way, birthed around smelly farm animals and dung droppings? Now God did supply angels to make a special announcement to a group of local shepherds, but otherwise the world went on essentially undisturbed. Only some rich guys from the Far East saw any other sign that the glorious One had come to earth. Few people even knew he had come. That just doesn’t seem to communicate greatness.

If Jesus’ greatness was not revealed in a big way at his birth, then maybe that revelation came during his adult life? The closest we do come to an event where Jesus reveals his glory on earth is the Transfiguration. As Mark 9 records, Jesus took three of his disciples and went up on a mountain, where he was transformed into a figure shining with glorious light. The disciples who were with him fell down in awe and could only stumble for words. They were getting a view of Jesus’ true glory and didn’t know how to react. At one point Peter even asked if they could build shelters for Jesus and his two glorious companions, Moses and Elijah, to inhabit.

For the three disciples, this experience would have been a lot like Isaiah’s experience. Is that what Isaiah saw? They got to see God’s glory glowing around Jesus and hear the thunderous voice of the Father say, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him” (Mark 9:7).

And we should. But seeing a bit of Jesus’ glory for a few moments was different from having him teach the disciples how to be great. All of his miracles—healing the blind, bringing people back to life, walking on water, and casting out demons—showed his greatness, but then Jesus was fully God and fully human. What about giving us humans a chance to be great? Where was the recipe for greatness?

The friends Jesus made and the people he touched showed no signs of having achieved greatness through meeting the right people in places of power and influence. Jesus himself was actually known as a friend of low-life Jews who collected taxes for the oppressive Roman government. He spent time with drunks and prostitutes in his effort to call Israel back to holiness. He did not wine and dine at fancy Roman parties or get chummy with the priests who controlled the Temple and ran the Jewish law courts. His compatriots were anything but great, and he did more to make the famous and powerful leaders of Roman Palestine angry at him than he did to win their respect and honor. So he certainly did not teach us how to be great by working his way up the ancient corporate food chain into a place of authority and prominence.

So if not at his birth and not throughout his life, maybe he would teach us greatness during his final entrance into Jerusalem at the beginning of Passover, just a few days before he died? That would have been a great time to show us. He could have slowly gathered a mass of followers who would all rise up and crown him king when he entered the city. He could have taken a patient and covert approach that waited until enough people recognized his greatness before he called on them to declare it publicly in word and deed. In this approach, the disciples could have organized music and choirs. There could have been a Jewish army of 500,000 soldiers and an angelic army of one million, with other followers dressed in fancy robes and carrying banners. All of these could have descended on the city in full battle array with a thousand chariots and great stallions leading the charge. Now that would have been great!

But no such rise to greatness occurred during the Triumphal Entry. Instead of a parade of chariots and stallions leading an army marked by banners proclaiming Jesus’ kingship, Jesus came waddling down the Mount of Olives toward Jerusalem on a young donkey. Instead of a band with music echoing through the valley, a crowd of ordinary people came out, shouting his praise and throwing branches and clothes on the ground in front of him. Those with power and influence in Jerusalem gave him no respect, and a few Pharisees even told Jesus to make his little followers stop shouting. Although his small band of followers showed their support, Jesus did not show us how to unleash greatness and ascend to status and prestige at just the right time in one’s career. He came to a city where influential people plotted his death.

In our search to find out where Jesus teaches us how to become great, we seem to be running out of time. He didn’t seem to show us how to do it when he came on the earthly scene or while growing up here, and he didn’t seem to show us how to do it when he arrived at Jerusalem for his final days. Or did he? He certainly had a ministry full of great acts, but he spent most of his time with the poor and rejected elements of the Jewish population instead of working his way up to the top. But now, with only days left before his death, there’s another chance. Do you remember? He broke up a conversation among his disciples about who was the greatest, and he dropped a huge bombshell: The last will be first. The humble person is the greatest. Jesus had actually been showing us the whole time, from his birth all the way to this point. But he had been saving a special final lesson for the night before his death. And now for everyone who had missed it being displayed his whole life, he would show us very plainly how to become great.

Getting Down and Dirty

In John 13 we find Jesus around a table with his disciples for the Last Supper. They have all just come in from a day of ministry in the dusty streets of Jerusalem. Their feet are dirty, and there is no servant to wash the filth from them. So Jesus picks up a towel, gets some water, and decides to be the humble servant among his disciples.

Now the other men in that room knew how inappropriate it would be for any of them to touch one another’s feet, much less the One who had angels created to praise him! The job of foot washing was saved for the lowest of the low, the servants of the servants. Only the least important, most underprivileged people—in other words, those who had been born poor, among a bunch of farm animals—got stuck with that duty. In fact, rabbinic documents show that rabbis and Pharisees in the time after Christ would force their disciples to serve them in every way that slaves would serve their masters except for one thing: They were never, ever to touch anyone’s feet. That was simply too demeaning for any “respectable” human being to endure.

So the statement Jesus made by washing his disciples’ feet would have been profound. He had said before that greatness came from humbling oneself. He had said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first” (see Matthew 19:30), but now he was showing it. He was getting down and dirty. Most kings get served. His greatness would not be achieved by working his way up through the political or religious ranks. He did not try to schmooze powerful people or gather an armed crowd that could rise up against the establishment and make him king. His greatness was being worked out as he went out of his way to serve those around him. In a move that ran counter to his culture, he descended to greatness.

Do I Know How to Serve?

When I was twenty-two, I spent a couple of years as an intern under Adrian Despres, an itinerant evangelist with Kingdom Building Ministries and the current chaplain for Steve Spurrier and the University of South Carolina Gamecocks football team. I was under the impression that the internship was designed to help me improve as a speaker. I traveled with Adrian to different speaking events all over the world to see what he could teach me about effective communication.

To my chagrin, I found myself attending a bunch of events for my “speaking internship” but never speaking. Adrian would invite me along, tell me where to sit, and then have me listen to him. Eventually he let me start introducing him before I took my seat, but still I didn’t get a chance to speak. I constantly wondered whether I had misunderstood the point of the internship. Did Adrian not know that he was supposed to help me become a better communicator, a professional speaker, and not a better audience member? He did finally carve out a one-minute opening spot where I could share a story before sitting down, but that hardly gave me a chance to warm up before taking my seat.

As I kept tagging along to different events, I became more and more bewildered about how I could learn to improve my communication skills. Instead of speaking and getting his feedback, I got to participate in his strange “rituals” before and after his presentations on stage—offstage actions that I thought had nothing to do with speaking. Sometimes we would arrive early at a camp or a church, and he’d have me set up tables and chairs, maybe even vacuum or volunteer in the kitchen. Adrian was the kind of guy who picked up trash and put away shopping carts that other patrons had left scattered around the parking lot. I tried to remind him that “people get paid to do those jobs,” but he didn’t much care. He would say, “I know. I just want to help ’em out!” Those “rituals” were part of his approach to life and ministry. Maybe somehow these things were linked to Adrian’s speaking ministry.

One day, about a year into my internship, Adrian asked if I thought my internship was going okay. On the inside I was thinking, Not really! How in the world can I get better at speaking if I don’t speak? Doesn’t practice make perfect or something like that? Of course, I didn’t come out and say those things. I just answered his inquiry with an affirmative and waited for an explanation. That’s when he said something that I’ll never forget: “Before we started this whole thing, I knew you could speak. I didn’t know if you could serve.”

Adrian’s comments changed my life. I wanted to be a great speaker. Adrian wanted me to be great spiritually.

Let those words ring in your head for a while, and fill in the blank with whatever you are good at. I know you can organize; I just don’t know if you can serve. I know you can set up a network in a day; I just don’t know if you can serve. I know you can lead a Bible study and pray in public; I just don’t know if you can serve. I know you are good at any number of things; I just don’t know if you can serve.

You see, Adrian knew that humility + service = greatness. Prideful people usually don’t serve unless they do it out of wrong motives. Do you know how to be last? Let that question sink into your conscience. Let it measure your true greatness. And ask yourself, If someone tested you for the next year on whether or not you were a humble servant, what would that person find? Would you show yourself to be great? Would you imitate Jesus and descend to greatness? Or do you have trouble taking a backseat and being last?

I Came to Serve

Jesus’ ultimate act of humility is described in a poetic formula that Paul likely borrowed from a first-century hymn. The song tells the story of Jesus in his glory making the tough choice to get down and dirty on earth as a human servant. Paul writes, “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). What “divine privileges” did he give up? Jesus did not give up his deity. But he did give up his rights to full glory, complete majesty, a sinless environment, and continuous praise. The Greatest gave all that up to be last.

When you think about it, Jesus gave up majesty for a mud hole. He came from a trophy room to a cold, smelly manger and a sickly world. Hollywood’s Cribs has nothing on the mansion and glory Jesus left behind. He gave up a throne room of perfect peace for a place of conflict, where abuse, criticism, suffering, ridicule, and indescribable pain would follow him for thirty-three years and ultimately take his life.

Paul’s words in Philippians 2:6-8 make it clear that Jesus’ painful and humble service was no accident. He didn’t come expecting to receive glory and the accolades of the world. He knew all along that true greatness lives in the form of lowly service. He knew that the path to success in God’s economy required a descent to greatness—an unusual twist in our expectations.

Our culture presumes that being first, richest, hippest, happiest, and most liked is the key to finding joy and contentment, the key to being great. The good life is marked by convenience and freebies. Even the church, in some instances, mistakes a blessed life with an easy and unchallenged life. But Jesus calls us to give up our pretensions of greatness defined by fame, carefree living, or accomplishment. Contrary to popular opinion, greatness is defined by the humble and often hidden actions of a person who has given up on coming out on top. It’s consistently putting Jesus and others first. Living a life of greatness is actually walking a difficult path of self-sacrifice and inconvenience, driven by a greater concern for others. A truly great person does not need to be served but is bent on serving others. Jesus said it himself: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 28:20).

So now, let us begin the journey of being last and descending to greatness.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What a Book Cover Should Do ...Compel You

Rhythms_cover_2Just came via mail a book w/ a great cover that evokes conflict, soul and passion.'s a Christian novel, Mary Griffith's Rhythms of Grace

Why Don't You Have a Marketing Plan for Your Book?

Citizen Broadcasting - Blog Talk Radio
Last night on Blog Talk Radio we had an encore discussion on book marketing and promotion. There were many things learned from this week's chat that I will discuss further later this week, but the thing that stood out the most was a few of the authors in the chat room and on the show had goals of become bestselling authors, but did not have an idea of the business of selling books and thus, the cost in promoting it. So this morning while out shopping for another driver's seat for my car I opened this question up for discussion on Utterz(listen below:)

What is the disconnect? Why aren't authors thinking of a marketing plan? And how can I help you make that connection? Tell me what you need.

Mobile post sent by deegospel using Utterz. reply-count Replies. mp3

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wildcard: The Falcon and the Sparrow

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

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

Today's Wild Card author is:

and his/her book:

The Falcon and the Sparrow

Barbour Publishing, Inc (August 1, 2008)


MaryLu spent her early years in South Florida where she fell in love with the ocean and the warm tropical climate. After moving to California with her husband, she graduated from college and worked as a software engineer for 15 years. Currently, MaryLu writes full time and resides in California with her husband and 6 children.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc (August 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602600120
ISBN-13: 978-1602600126


Chapter One

Dover, England, March 1803

Dominique Celine Dawson stepped off the teetering plank of the ship and sought the comfort of solid land beneath her feet, knowing that as she did so, she instantly became a traitor to England. Thanking the purser, she released his hand with a forced smile.

He tipped his hat and handed her the small embroidered valise containing all her worldly possessions. “Looks like rain,” he called back over his shoulder as he headed up the gangway.

Black clouds swirled above her, stealing all light from the midmorning sun. A gust of wind clawed at her bonnet. Passengers and sailors unloading cargo collided with her from all directions. She stepped aside, testing her wobbly legs. Although she’d just boarded the ship from Calais, France, to Dover that morning, her legs quivered nearly as much as her heart. She hated sailing. What an embarrassment she must have been to her father, an admiral in the British Royal Navy.

A man dressed in a top hat and wool cape bumped into her and nearly knocked her to the ground.

Stumbling, Dominique clamped her sweaty fingers around her valise, feeling as though it was her heart they squeezed. Did the man know? Did he know what she had been sent here to do?

He shot her an annoyed glance over his shoulder. “Beggin’ your pardon, miss,” he muttered before trotting off, lady on his arm and children in tow.

Blowing out a sigh, Dominique tried to still her frantic breathing. She must focus. She must remain calm. She had committed no crime—yet.

She scanned the bustling port of Dover. Waves of people flowed through the streets, reminding her of the tumultuous sea she had just crossed. Ladies in silk bonnets clung to gentlemen in long-tailed waistcoats and breeches. Beggars, merchants, and tradesmen hustled to and fro as if they didn’t have a minute to lose. Dark-haired Chinamen hauled two-wheeled carts behind them, loaded with passengers or goods. Carriages and horses clomped over the cobblestone streets. The air filled with a thousand voices, shouts and screams and curses and idle chatter accompanied by the incessant tolling of bells and the rhythmic lap of the sea against the docks.

The stench of fish and human sweat stung Dominique’s nose, and she coughed and took a step forward, searching for the carriage that surely must have been sent to convey her to London and to
the Randal estate. But amidst the dizzying crowd, no empty convey-
ance sat waiting; no pair of eyes met hers—at least none belonging to a coachman sent to retrieve her. Other eyes flung their slithering gazes her way, however, like snakes preying on a tiny ship mouse. A lady traveling alone was not a sight often seen.

Lightning split the dark sky in two, and thunder shook it with an ominous boom. For four years she had longed to return to England, the place of her birth, the place filled with many happy childhood memories, but now that she was here, she felt more lost and frightened than ever. Her fears did not completely stem from the fact that she had never traveled alone before, nor been a governess before—although both of those things would have been enough to send her heart into a frenzy. The true reason she’d returned to her homeland frightened her the most.

Rain misted over her, and she brushed aside the damp curls that framed her face, wondering what to do next. Oh Lord, I feel so alone, so frightened. Where are You? She looked up, hoping for an answer, but the bloated clouds exploded in a torrent of rain that pummeled her face and her hopes along with it. Dashing through the crowd, she ducked beneath the porch of a fish market, covering her nose with a handkerchief against the putrid smell.

People crowded in beside her, an old woman pushing an apple cart, a merchantman with a nose the size of a doorknob, and several seaman, one of whom glared at Dominique from beneath bushy brows and hooded lids. He leaned against a post, inserted a black wad into his mouth, and began chewing, never taking his gaze from her. Ignoring him, Dominique glanced through the sheet of rain pouring off the overhang at the muted shapes moving to and fro. Globs of mud splashed from the puddle at her feet onto her muslin gown. She had wanted to make a good impression on Admiral Randal. What was he to think of his new governess when she arrived covered in filth?

Lightning flashed. The seaman sidled up beside her, pushing the old woman out of the way. “Looking for someone, miss?”

Dominique avoided the man’s eyes as thunder shook the tiny building. “No, merci,” she said, instantly cringing at her use of French.

“Mercy?” He jumped back in disgust. “You ain’t no frog, is you?” The man belched. He stared at her as if he would shoot her right there, depending on her answer.

Terror renewed the queasiness in her stomach. “Of course not.”

“You sound like one.” He leaned toward her, squinting his dark eyes in a foreboding challenge.

“You are mistaken, sir.” Dominique held a hand against his advance. “Now if you please.” She brushed past him and plunged into the rain. Better to suffer the deluge than the man’s verbal assault. The French were not welcome here, not since the Revolution and the ensuing hostilities caused by Napoleon’s rise to power. Granted, last year Britain had signed a peace treaty with France, but no one believed it would last.

Dominique jostled her way through those brave souls not intimidated by the rain and scanned the swarm of carriages vying for position along the cobblestone street. If she did not find a ride to London soon, her life would be in danger from the miscreants who slunk around the port. Hunger rumbled in her stomach as her nerves coiled into knots. Lord, I need You.

To her right, she spotted the bright red wheels of a mail coach that had Royal Mail: London to Dover painted on the back panel. Shielding her eyes from the rain, she glanced up at the coachman perched atop the vehicle, water cascading off his tall black hat. “Do you have room for a passenger to London, monsie—sir?”

He gave her a quizzical look then shook his head. “I’m full.”

“I’m willing to pay.” Dominique shuffled through her valise and pulled out a small purse.

The man allowed his gaze to wander freely over her sodden gown. “And what is it ya might be willing to pay?”

She squinted against the rain pooling in her lashes and swallowed. Perhaps a coach would be no safer than the port, after all. “Four guineas,” she replied in a voice much fainter than she intended.

The man spat off to the side. “It’ll cost you five.”

Dominique fingered the coins in her purse. That would leave her only ten shillings, all that remained of what her cousin had given her for the trip, and all that remained of the grand Dawson fortune, so quickly divided among relatives after her parents’ death. But what choice did she have? She counted the coins, handed them to the coachman, then waited for him to assist her into the carriage, but he merely pocketed the money and gestured behind him. Lifting her skirts, heavy with rain, she clambered around packages and parcels and took a seat beside a window, hugging her valise. She shivered and tightened her frock around her neck, fighting the urge to jump off the carriage, dart back to the ship, and sail right back to France.

She couldn’t.

Several minutes later, a young couple with a baby climbed in, shaking the rain from their coats. After quick introductions, they squeezed into the seat beside Dominique.

Through the tiny window, the coachman stared at them and frowned, forming a pock on his lower chin. He muttered under his breath before turning and snapping the reins that sent the mail coach careening down the slick street.

The next four hours only added to Dominique’s nightmare. Though exhausted from traveling half the night, rest was forbidden her by the constant jostling and jerking of the carriage over every small bump and hole in the road and the interminable screaming of the infant in the arms of the poor woman next to her. She thanked God, however, that it appeared the roads had been newly paved or the trip might have taken twice as long. As it was, each hour passed at a snail’s pace and only sufficed to increase both her anxiety and her fear.

Finally, they arrived at the outskirts of the great city capped in a shroud of black from a thousand coal chimneys—a soot that not even the hard rain could clear. After the driver dropped off the couple and their vociferous child on the east side of town, Dominique had to haggle further for him to take her all the way to Hart Street, to which he reluctantly agreed only after Dominique offered him another three precious shillings.

The sights and sounds of London drifted past her window like visions from a time long ago. She had spent several summers here as a child, but through the veil of fear and loneliness, she hardly recognized it. Buildings made from crumbling brick and knotted timber barely held up levels of apartments stacked on top of them. Hovels and shacks lined the dreary alleyways that squeezed between residences and shops in an endless maze. Despite the rain, dwarfs and acrobatic monkeys entertained people passing by, hoping for a coin tossed their way. As the coach rounded one corner, a lavishly dressed man with a booming voice stood in an open booth, proclaiming that his tonic cured every ache and pain known to man.

The stench of horse manure and human waste filled the streets, rising from puddles where both had been deposited for the soil men to clean up at night.

Dominique pressed a hand to her nose and glanced out the other side of the carriage, where the four pointed spires of the Tower of London thrust into the angry sky. Though kings had resided in the castlelike structure, many other people had been imprisoned and tortured within its walls. She trembled at the thought as they proceeded down Thames Street, where she soon saw the massive London Bridge spanning the breadth of the murky river.

Her thoughts veered to Marcel, her only brother—young, impetuous Marcel. Dominique had cared for him after their mother died last year of the fever, and she had never felt equal to the task. Marcel favored their father with his high ideals and visions of heroism, while Dominique was more like their mother, quiet and shy. Marcel needed strong male guidance, not the gentle counsel of an overprotective sister.

So of course Dominique had been thrilled when a distant cousin sought them out and offered to take them both under his care. Monsieur Lucien held the position of ministère de l’intérieur under Napoleon’s rule—a highly respectable and powerful man who would be a good influence on Marcel.

Or so she had thought.

The carriage lurched to the right, away from the stench of the river. Soon the cottages and shabby tenements gave way to grand two- and three-level homes circled by iron fences.

Dominique hugged her valise to her chest, hoping to gain some comfort from holding on to something—anything—but her nerves stiffened even more as she neared her destination. After making several more turns, the coach stopped before a stately white building. With a scowl, the driver poked his open hand through the window, and Dominique handed him her coins, not understanding the man’s foul humor. Did he treat all his patrons this way, or had she failed to conceal the bit of French in her accent?

Climbing from the carriage, she held her bag against her chest and tried to sidestep a puddle the size of a small lake. Without warning, the driver cracked the reins and the carriage jerked forward, spraying Dominique with mud.

Horrified, she watched as the driver sped down the street. He did that on purpose. She’d never been treated with such disrespect in her life. But then, she’d always traveled with her mother, the beautiful Marguerite Jean Denoix, daughter of Edouard, vicomte de Gimois, or her father, Stuart Dawson, a respected admiral in the Royal Navy. Without them by her side, who was she? Naught but an orphan without a penny to her name.

Rain battered her as she stared up at the massive white house, but she no longer cared. Her bonnet draped over her hair like a wet fish, her coiffure had melted into a tangle of saturated strands, and her gown, littered with mud, clung to her like a heavy shroud. She deserved it, she supposed, for what she had come to do.

She wondered if Admiral Randal was anything like his house—cold, imposing, and rigid. Four stories high, it towered above most houses on the street. Two massive white columns stood like sentinels holding up the awning while guarding the front door.
The admiral sat on the Admiralty Board of His Majesty’s Navy, making him a powerful man privy to valuable information such as the size, location, and plans of the British fleet. Would he be anything like her dear father?

Dominique skirted the stairs that led down to the kitchen. Her knees began to quake as she continued toward the front door. The blood rushed from her head. The world began to spin around her. Squeezing her eyes shut, she swallowed. No, she had to do this. For you, Marcel. You’re all I have left in the world.

She opened her eyes and took another step, feeling as though she walked into a grand mausoleum where dead men’s bones lay ensconced behind cold marble.

She halted. Not too late to turn around—not too late to run. But Marcel’s innocent young face, contorted in fear, burned in her memory. And her cousin Lucien’s lanky frame standing beside him, a stranglehold on the boy’s collar. “If you prefer your brother’s head to be attached to his body, you will do as I request.”

A cold fist clamped over Dominique’s heart. She could not lose her brother. She continued up the steps though every muscle, every nerve protested. Why me, Lord? Who am I to perform such a task?

Ducking under the cover of the imposing porch, Dominique raised her hand to knock upon the ornately carved wooden door, knowing that after she did, she could not turn back.

Once she stepped over the threshold of this house, she would no longer be Dominique Dawson, the loyal daughter of a British admiral.

She would be a French spy.


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