Monday, March 23, 2015

CFBA: The Tomb by Stephanie Landsem

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Tomb
Howard Books (March 17, 2015)
Stephanie Landsem


A word from the author:
I write historical fiction because I love adventure in far-off times and places. I’ve traveled since I was a teenager—backpacking through Germany and Eastern Europe, studying German in Salzburg, eating gelato in Italy, and riding camels in Morocco were some of the highlights. Travel kindles my imagination, fuels my love of history, and introduces me to one-of-a-kind characters. It’s the best kind of research.

When I can’t travel, I read. I love fiction, of course, but I’m often found behind a stack of history books or searching the web for historical tidbits. How people lived together, worked, and what they ate (I love food!) is usually what catches my imagination. No matter where or when we live, people are more alike than they are different. I love to find the similarities between our lives and those of the men and women of the ancient world.

I make my home in Minnesota with my husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When I’m not writing Biblical fiction, I’m feeding the ravenous horde of kids and their friends, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about my next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.


In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.

Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.

Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.

When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?

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

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

CFBA: Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Bethany House Publishers (March 3, 2015)
Dina L. Sleiman


A word from the author:

Since selling my first book, I have also become an acquisitions editor for the company. I am a member of the Inkwell Inspirations blog, HEWN Marketing, ACFW, and a contributor to Christian Review of Books. I hold publishing credits in poetry and songwriting, and I was the writer and featured teacher in a nationally distributed instructional dance video for children. I have written several songs about the plight of the Islamic people, which have been produced in association with the Christian Broadcast Network. In addition, I have taught college and high school classes in writing and literature, as well as homeschool classes in the fine arts, and now enjoy teaching at writers conferences throughout the nation.


Where Legend and History Collide,
One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent

Born a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father's failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village--a group that becomes known as "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest." Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he's forced to reexamine everything he's known.

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Salt Covenants: A Novel on the Spanish Inquisition

Clash of the Titles is excited to announce this year’s Olympia Finalists!! 
Please congratulate:

*Kelly Goshorn
*Madelyn Herbert
*Mary Vaitkevicius-Vee

All three authors’ entries will go to our Round 3 judges:
Karen BallBecky Philpott, and Becky Wade.

The winner will be announced on April 8th!

And now, for our featured novel!


“In her historical novel, The Salt Covenants, Sylvia Bambola paints a masterpiece with words.” Micki Sorbello, artist and free lance writer

The Salt Covenants 
by Sylvia Bambola

About the book:

“But these plans they have laid out for me like an embroidered rug, showing me where my feet must travel, is to me an awful penance for sins I did not commit.” --Isabel

Spain 1493: Millions of Jews are forced to convert to Christianity or flee their homeland or die. Caught in this web is young Isabel, who has broken her mother’s heart by her sincere conversion to Christ. But her conversion is not enough to shield her from the eyes of the Inquisition, and in order to save herself, she is forced to marry a man she does not love and flee to a faraway land with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage. Here she struggles to make a life in this wild new land, struggles to adjust to her new faith, and struggles to find love. But how is she to survive? With all the risks and hardships? And can she find love with the sophisticated Antonio Villarreal who unexpectedly enters her world? And what of the dangerous Enrique Vivar? Will his hidden agenda cost her her life?

Purchase Book

What others are saying:

“Bambola (Rebekah’s Treasure) elevates a simple historical tale into something transcendent, in this beautifully written novel about a young Jewish noblewoman, Isabel, who flees the Inquisition on Christopher Columbus’s second voyage to the New World.” Publishers Weekly starred review

“This is not a quick read, but Bambola (Rebekah's Treasure) adeptly depicts a time and place not often explored in Christian historical fiction. Her theme of loss of ethnic culture suffered by the Jews and Native Americans should resonate with readers. Isabel is a well-developed character living in a cruel world, who never succumbs to becoming cruel herself. There may be some crossover appeal to readers of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir.” Library Journal 1/1/15

“Bambola’s gift for storytelling in this work of historical fiction is noting short of remarkable.” Sallie Yusko, pastor, founder of Women of Worth and Destiny, conference speaker and writer

“In her historical novel, The Salt Covenants, Sylvia Bambola paints a masterpiece with words.” Micki Sorbello, artist and free lance writer

What COTT voters had to say:
--It's been a long time since I've read anything set during the Spanish Inquisition. I would LOVE to get my hands on this book. :)
--Sylvia this looks very interesting!
--I really love the cover of "The Salt Covenants"! I have a thing for beaches and the model really makes an eye-catching cover. Plus the book description sounds really unique.
--I love books that touch the heart. By Chapter 3, I cried about the injustice of the Inquisition period. Sylvia must have spent hours researching the data given. Excellent and spell-binding !
--Sylvia is a very talented author. Her books are ones you don't want to put down.
--Sylvia this sounds fascinating.
--I totally enjoyed this book. I hated to put it down and was sorry when I reached the end. Great Job Sylvia!
--This is a fantastic book. Very impressed with this author! Well written as she takes you along the journey of the Inquisition and travels to the new world. Highly recommended!
--Sylvia your next book looks wonderful!!!
--Historical fiction is a challenge for an author to fit the characters to the time in a believable manner.. Sylvia Bambola does it!
--I'm sure God has given each of you such talent that you are pleased to share with us. However, I based my vote on the novel historicity displayed in The Salt Covenants. Rosie
--Your novels are always well researched and address interesting issues. This one is of particular interest to me because of the time period...amaangela
--Creative, ingenious, captivating...your books always take me With them! Looking forward to going on the Salt Covenant journey.

A moment with Sylvia:

What is the one take-way you’d like to leave your readers?

Answer: Well, there’s actually two. The first is that forgiveness is paramount. Both getting it and giving it. Without it we will never heal those deeply buried wounds. The other thing is that as Christians we must not allow history to repeat itself. The ill-treatment of Jews by the Church and the rabid anti-Semitism during the Spanish Inquisition was troubling. But now that anti-Semitism is once again rearing its ugly head, we, Christians, must take a stand against it, as well as to stand with God’s chosen people.

What do you find most challenging about being a writer:

Answer: For me, the most challenging thing is the marketing. I’m not a fan. But I do it. I suspect that’s a problem with most writers. Still, I’d like to be like Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote, whose only responsibility (regarding writing) seemed to be to write novels while someone in the background handled all the p.r. and marketing for her. I guess one can dream.

About Sylvia:

Born in Romania, Sylvia Bambola lived her early years in Germany. At seven she relocated with her adopted family and saw the Statue of Liberty and America for the first time. But the memory of those years in post World War Germany inspired her to write Refiner’s Fire, which won a Silver Angel Award, and was a Christy Finalist. Her frequent moves as an “army brat” gave her an opportunity to see America and fall in love with her new country. Bambola has authored seven novels, has two grown children, teaches women’s Bible studies, and is learning the guitar.

CFBA: Spy of Richmond by Jocelyn Green

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Spy of Richmond
River North (March 1, 2015)
Jocelyn Green


Jocelyn Green is a child of God, wife and mom living in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She is also an award-winning journalist, author, editor and blogger. Though she has written nonfiction on a variety of topics, her name is most widely recognized for her ministry to military wives: Faith Deployed. Her passion for the military family was fueled by her own experience as a military wife, and by the dozens of interviews she has conducted with members of the military for her articles and books, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and its sequel, Faith Deployed...Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. She is also co-author of both Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front (forthcoming, May 2012). Her Faith Deployed Web site and Facebook page continue to provide ongoing support, encouragement and resources for military wives worldwide.


Trust none. Risk all. Richmond, Virginia, 1863. Compelled to atone for the sins of her slaveholding father, Union loyalist Sophie Kent risks everything to help end the war from within the Confederate capital and abolish slavery forever. But she can't do it alone. Former slave Bella Jamison sacrifices her freedom to come to Richmond, where her Union soldier husband is imprisoned, and her twin sister still lives in bondage in Sophie's home. Though it may cost them their lives, they work with Sophie to betray Rebel authorities. Harrison Caldwell, a Northern freelance journalist who escorts Bella to Richmond, infiltrates the War Department as a clerk-but is conscripted to defend the city's fortifications.

As Sophie's spy network grows, she walks a tightrope of deception, using her father's position as newspaper editor and a suitor's position in the ordnance bureau for the advantage of the Union. One misstep could land her in prison, or worse. Suspicion hounds her until she barely even trusts herself. When her espionage endangers the people she loves, she makes a life-and-death gamble.

Will she follow her convictions even though it costs her everything-and everyone-she holds dear?

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

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

CFBA: Then Sings My Soul by Amy K. Sorrells

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Then Sings My Soul
David C. Cook (March 1, 2015)
Amy Sorrells


An Indianapolis native and graduate of DePauw University, Amy lives with her husband, three boys and a gaggle of golden retrievers in central Indiana. After writing and editing for her college newspaper, she combined a nursing degree with journalism and creative writing, which led to publishing and editing a wide array of medical and nursing writing and multimedia projects over the past 21 years, a position as director of communications of her church’s children’s ministry, as well as a weekly column for a local newspaper which ran from 2009-2012. She has been a two-time semi-finalist for the ACFW Genesis awards, and was the winner of the 2011 Women of Faith writing contest.

When she’s not reading or writing, Amy loves spending time with her three sons; spicy lunches and art gallery walks with her husband; digging in her garden sans gloves; walking her dogs; up-cycling old furniture and junk; photography; and friends.


When Nel Stewart returns home due to the sudden death of her mother, she realizes her beloved father, Jakob, is struggling with dementia. With the reappearance of a high-school sweetheart, deliveries from Ukraine addressed to her, and the discovery of a mysterious, vintage aquamarine gemstone, Nel senses God is pulling her into the past to restore their faith and their futures. Told partially through Jakob's flashbacks of fleeing genocide-ridden eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, the novel combines elements of mystery, history, faith and romance to reveal how God redeems the broken years ... and our future.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Then Sings My Soul, go HERE.