Thursday, December 31, 2009

In-Sight by Jerry Webster

Ward McNulty had it all…his own syndicated column, the love of the beautiful co-anchor for Channel Five News, and powerful friends—including congressional hopeful, Chet Garner. But in his pursuit of wealth and fame, Ward had distanced himself from his traditional Catholic family—especially his father—a common man with very uncommon insight.

State Senator Garner convinces Ward to support the conversion of the sleepy island town of Timuqua into an exclusive resort to be named “North Beach.” However, this pits Ward against his own father—a resident of the island—in a bitter eminent domain battle. Too late Ward learns that North Beach’s financial backers are not who or what they appear. And when Ward balks at being asked to slander his father’s attorney, he suddenly finds himself blind, broken, and charged with DUI manslaughter. Overnight, the whole structure of Ward’s “successful” life comes crashing down around him. He loses his job, his girlfriend, his eyesight, and is about to lose his freedom. When all his former “friends” abandon him, Ward turns to the only man who’ll stand by his side—his father.

In the meantime, North Beach’s financial backers will stop at nothing—including murder—to get what they want. In the ensuing struggle, Ward learns the secret of his father’s uncanny insight and the true meaning of sacrificial love.

In-Sight is the story of fall, forgiveness, and redemption…of deeply instilled family values triumphing over a culture gone awry…and of a lost son coming home. It’s for anyone who believes that God has a hand in destiny and is not completely surprised when He draws back the curtain for a brief instant and allows a glimpse at another reality.


Interview with Jerry Webster:

Q. Why did you write this book?
R. About three years ago I was on a silent retreat. One of the meditations was on the gospel of the talents and we were challenged to think about what talents we had that we’d never used for the Lord. My BA was in English Lit., but I’d never done much with it. By the time the retreat ended, I decided to try to write fiction—but fiction that would serve the Master. However, I had no idea of where to begin. So I turned to prayer and meditation for inspiration. All I got in return were intrusive thoughts about a movie one of my kids had rented called Shallow Hal. It was about a very superficial young man who judged everyone by their looks—their beauty or lack thereof…until he was hypnotized to see their inner character rather than their outward appearance.

Every time I tried to think of something to write about, the memory of Shallow Hal kept pounding at my mind’s door. Finally I discussed it with a spiritual mentor, and he suggested that—instead of purging the intrusive thought—I should go with it and see where it leads.
That night I got home, grabbed a pad of paper, and starting writing down “What if” questions. What if a man really could see inside others—their character instead of only their looks. What if a worldly, selfish, sinful man could see the condition of his own soul…whether he was alive with divine grace, dead in mortal sin, or “wounded” by past sins? How would that affect him? How would it affect his relationship with others?

From that thin thread of an idea, the plot for In-Sight was born.

Q. What was the hardest part?
R. Initially, the hardest part was in trying to come up with a scenario in which the protagonist, Ward McNulty, could develop in-sight into his own and others’ souls. It had to be placed in a context that made it believable. Before even beginning, I did some research into other men who had actually possessed this gift—Don Boscoe, Padre Pio, and the Cure d’ Ars—to name just a few. Then I coincidentally happened to read about a woman who was temporarily blinded after being thrown from a horse. So I did some research on temporary blindness caused by trauma. When I put these two together, I was able to come up with a plausible scenario in which a formerly healthy young man might be temporarily blinded—and in which his “sight” would be altered when he emerged from his physical blindness.

Q. What was the easiest or most fun?
R. I really had a lot of fun with a minor character, Emma Lee Wheeler, who plays a significant role at the end of the novel. She was an elderly black woman who worked nights on a hospital janitorial staff so she could help her daughter and two grandchildren. She was also a spiritual delight—a very kind woman who reflected God’s love on everyone she met. She and Ward developed a bantering relationship while he was hospitalized after his DUI accident. The give and take of their exchanges was a lot of fun to write. I was smiling almost the whole time—and I watched my wife smile, too, when she proof-read the novel and got to that part in the book. I think it was the most fun I had while pounding out the story.

Q. What do you hope people get from your book?
R. I hope that they’re entertained. Otherwise I would have written pure apologetics. But by weaving a moral into an entertaining tale, I hope that the moral will make more of an impact.

Most of all, I hope that the readers will recognize the spiritual realities of their own souls—that it might cause them to look inside and wonder what they would see if they had in-sight. I remember a saintly friend of mine once told me the story of how he had asked God to allow him to “see” his sin. How God granted him that grace—and how he wept bitterly for hours afterwards and was finally consoled beyond anything he’d ever experienced by the sense of overwhelming love and forgiveness.

The other thing I hope readers get out of In-Sight is some sense of God’s love for us—no matter what we’ve done—the knowledge that He can and does forgive all…if we just ask.

Q. How do you want to be remembered as an author?
R. I’d like to be remembered as a man who could spin a good yarn with a good message. If all I had wanted to do was to entertain, writing In-Sight would have been a lot easier. I love the old classics that weaved a moral seamlessly into the thread of the story so that the reader absorbed it almost without being aware that it was happening. That’s a goal of mine. Hopefully, as I write more and become better at the craft, I’ll be better able to emulate those masters of yore.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Help My Husband Has Sexually Abused Our Daughter: a devotional by Debra Butterfield

Help! My Husband Has Sexually Abused Our Daughter is a 30-day devotional based on the Book of Psalms. Written from personal experience, Debra L. Butterfield leads readers through the tumultuous journey of emotions mothers experience with this ordeal. Each reading includes four sections: My Story, Lesson, Take Action and Prayer.

Interview with Debra L. Butterfield

Why did you write this book? I wrote the book because I wanted mothers to know they were not alone in this ordeal and I wanted to help them through it.

What was the hardest part? Even though I thought I was fully healed from my experience, I had some emotional moments that revealed I still felt wounded in some areas. Writing the book helped me gain additional healing.

What was easiest or most fun? The easiest and most uplifting part by far was reading through the Psalms to find appropriate verses to use with each chapter.

What do you hope people get from your book? It is my intent the reader find hope, encouragement, and healing for her wounded spirit as well as practical tools to help her child and family heal.

How do you want to be remembered as an author? I'd like to hope that the openness and honesty about my life breaks down reader barriers and helps them to know I truly care about them and their lives.

What's next for you?
I am working to build a readership through an online magazine called Glory and It's designed to bring readers hope and encouragement for the tough issues in life like abuse through stories of real people and the victories they have experienced.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why Is There a Menorah on the Altar? Jewish Roots of Christian Worship by Meredith Gould, Ph.D.

In her newest book, author Meredith Gould invites readers to learn more about the Jewish sources of Christian rites, rituals, and traditions. She draws upon scripture and historical sources to explain how Judaism has influenced liturgical worship; the design and décor of church sanctuaries; and how Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation are rooted in Judaism. Includes: questions for reflection; activities for individuals or groups; a glossary, easy-to-follow timelines, and key Christian-Jewish documents.

Website Link:

Interview with Meredith:

Why did you write this book?

Raised Jewish, I was taught that cultural and religious identity were synonymous; both permeated our home. Having come of age during the 1950s and 1960s, I was raised during a time when this was true for most Catholics as well.

When, as an adult, I became a practicing Catholic, I was somewhat shocked to discover how much had changed. Younger Catholics seemed fairly clue-free about how to create – let alone sustain – their Catholic identity outside church. As a result, I ended up writing The Catholic Home: Celebrations and Traditions (Doubleday, 2004).

While giving lots of parish-based talks about Catholic culture, I became aware that most Catholics know precious little (or nothing at all) about their Jewish roots. No joke: for some it came as news that Jesus was Jewish. (Really, I'm not making this up.) But, I was also delighted to discover a great curiosity about and hunger for learning more about Judaism among Catholics of all generations; that's why I wrote Why Is There a Menorah on the Altar?

What was the hardest part?

In both the "Foreword" and "Afterword" I describe some of the difficulties I experienced while writing this book. These difficulties ended up being personal, which is weird because I'm not exactly reticent about revealing factoids about my life in my published work.

I absolutely did not expect that researching and writing this book would plunge me into (yet another) murky night of the soul. Truly the hardest part was coming to terms with the fact that while Christians in the liturgical church (i.e., Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican-Episcopalian) might be ready to embrace their Jewish roots, some Jews had "issues" about my qualifications (read: chutzpah) for writing this book. So what if I had scholarly training, I'd deserted the tribe!

My Conservadox Jewish therapist, who provided much positive support during my years of Catholic formation and when I worked for a parish, finally got very directive. One day after I wept my way through a session, he said, "Forget about writing for other Jews. They won't understand what you’re trying to do." What was I trying to do? I was trying to make the case for more similarities than differences among and between us.

What was easiest or most fun?

You might think that doing lots of research was tough, but I loved every head-banging moment of sorting through historical and biblical scholarship, reading theology, studying scripture, and then making all that highfaluting stuff accessible to regular folks.

I also had a lot of fun making quirky connections and poking some gentle fun at this and that. I was thrilled when Christopher Ringwald, author of A Day Apart: How Jews, Christians, and Muslims Find Faith, Freedom and Joy on the Sabbath and editor of the diocesan paper in Albany, NY characterized my book as "erudite and charming and breezy (in a good way)" on

What do you hope people get from your book?

My hope and indeed my prayer is that as a result of reading my book, readers develop deeper appreciation and gratitude for their Jewish legacy. And, having developed deeper appreciation and gratitude, I hope they commit to cultivating this in their children and grandchildren.

Scholarly theories abound about why it took nearly a century for a religion called Christianity to emerge from Judaism. In my book, I invite readers to look at this history through the lens of Judaism, then offer my own perspective – a family feud spinning out of control to the detriment of all its members.

How do you want to be remembered as an author?

In addition to being fondly remembered as an author who made readers laugh about things not normally considered funny, I'd like to be remembered for helping to heal the shattered world of Christian-Jewish relations. And, what the heck, I'd like to be remembered as an author who tried to break through barriers to ecumenical understanding. Not too ambitious, eh?

What's next for you?

If you'd asked me this question while Why Is There a Menorah on the Altar? was in production, I would've said, "Absolutely not another book." Thanks to the human capacity to forget pain, I've begun futzing with a book I started, then set aside, approximately six years ago. Sooner or later, I'll get around to writing a book about the spiritual value of fear. Write what you know, right?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Through the Open Window by Anne Faye

Lucy Lyons is a woman trying to escape her past. Content to work as a librarian and live alone with her dog, all she wants is a simple life with no complications. When she decides to take the plunge and begins to write a novel during National Novel Writing Month, she gets much more than she bargained for. Her writing will not only force her to face her own secrets, but will also put her in the path of a handsome artist who shares her love of the written word. "Through the Open Window" is an engaging novel about the secrets we keep and the hope for second chances.

Why did you write this book? I had always wanted to write a novel. Last year, I decided I would do National Novel Writing Month in November. I knew that there was no way I could get the 50,000 words done in one month, but I decided I would get as much done as I could. Of course, then I needed an idea. Around October 30th, the idea of writing about someone doing National Novel Writing Month came to me. After that, the story all fell into place. It actually took me until January to finish the story.

What was the hardest part?
There was a point in the middle of the project when I just hated the whole thing. I felt like it wasn't worth all the aggravation and frustration of trying to squeeze in writing on top of all the other busyness of life. But once I got through it, the thrill of completing it was well worth it.

What was easiest or most fun? Most fun was checking my word counts on a daily basis and watching them go up. Hitting 50,000 words meant so much to me, even though the story wasn't done and I had to keep going. There was a great sense of accomplishment.

What do you hope people get from your book? I hope people enjoy the story. It is light reading and a bit of a tearjerker. I hope that they come to care about the characters and spend some pleasant time reading it.

How do you want to be remembered as an author? I want to be remembered as someone who wrote stories that touch the heart.

What's next for you? Right now, I am working on promoting "Through the Open Window" and hope to begin work on a new novel soon!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Self-Publisher's Guide by Karen Coiffi

Do you have a book in you dying to come out? Do you want to self-publish a book you’ve already written, but you’re not sure what to do? Well, The Self-Publisher’s Guide is for you!

From Writing Your Book, to Self-Publishing Options, to Creating a Website, to Promotion - it's all included in this handy guide.

Topics include: learning to write, critique groups, being ready for publishing, choosing a publishing company, creating visibility through promotional strategies, bringing traffic to your site, resources, tools, and much more.

The Self-Publisher’s Guide offers great self-publishing and promotional tips, advice, information, examples, and resources!

Purchase link:

Why did you write this book?

There are three reasons I wrote this e-book. The first is that I listen to a number of teleclasses about writing and marketing. Hearing the questions asked from some attendees I realized there are many writers who don’t know the basics. I wanted to address these issues in an affordable manner.

The second reason is because I am a reviewer for and I review a number of self-published books. So far, almost every one of these books, it is obvious, has not been professionally edited. If fact, it is apparent that most of them haven’t even been critiqued.

I find this sad because a few of these self-published books had good stories. It is difficult to do a review for a book that is poorly written. One of the books I read didn’t even have dialogue punctuation. I am hoping that through The Self-Publisher’s Guide author’s who are taking this road will be better equipped to produce a quality book. I made the price of this e-book very affordable so those, like most of us today, with little money can still afford this guide.

The third reason I wrote this book is because I self-published a children’s bedtime story, Day’s End Lullaby, and this e-book. I put a lot of effort and time researching self-publishing and looked at a number of Print on Demand companies. I wanted to share this information with others who are venturing onto the self-publishing road.

What was the hardest part?

The hardest part was keeping the guide small. There is so much information on writing, publishing and marketing that it was difficult to narrow down the information I wanted to include in this 22 page e-book. It is intended to be a starting point that touches on everything from writing the story, to publishing it, to promoting it. While there are a number of very informative manuals that go into greater detail in these areas, The Self-Publisher’s Guide is meant to guide the writer so he/she knows in which direction to head, along with providing step-by-step instructions.

What was easiest or most fun?

The entire e-book was easy to write. When you know the topic well and there is so much information available, it’s easy to write about it. It began as a simple and basic 10 page guide, but every time I reread it, I added something else. Finally, I told myself I had to stop at 22 pages – I could have went on and on. And, it was fun trying to publish it.

What do you hope people get from your book?

I hope this e-book guides those who are beginner writers and those who are thinking of self-publishing onto the path that helps them produce a quality book. By taking time, a little effort, joining a critique group with experienced authors, and the extra cost of getting a professional edit, a poorly written or mediocre book can be turned into a great book.

This is especially true of children’s books. There are a number of tricks, strategies, and rules that are unique to this genre. If you’re not aware of them it’s a give-in that your book will reflect it.

How do you want to be remembered as an author?

I guess I want to be remembered as a good writer, one who knows the craft (still learning), and one who ‘pays it forward.’ What I mean by the last part is: recently I read in The Writer that writers are a generous lot. They give of their time and knowledge – they ‘pay it forward.’ I want to be remembered as part of that group.

What's next for you?

I have a number of things brewing. I’m working on a couple of children’s stories, I write articles about writing, marketing and health, and I want to write a guide for beginning writers, specifically children’s writers. As I mentioned above, writing for children involves additional rules and strategies. I know many beginner writers would benefit from a guide to get them started in the right direction.
In addition to this, I have the Karen and Robyn Writing for Children Newsletter that I send out monthly. It includes information, advice, tips, and links relating to writing, marketing, and reviews. In fact, sections of The Self-Publisher’s Guide are included in monthly installments. It also includes news bits from DKV Writing 4 U ( To subscribe readers can go to and just sign up!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Chaunce of Riches by Chelle Cordero

Ben Johnson was hired as a bodyguard for a rich widow and her kid, but he never expected to be working for the woman who had abandoned him just when he had needed her the most. Damn it all, he still wanted her. Samantha Chaunce never thought she would have to explain why she married the rich man instead of Ben. Or that her husband had been murdered...and Ben was the prime suspect.

An Interview with Chelle Cordello:

Why did you write this book? In yet another one of my random thinking spurts, I wondered how far a woman would go to help the man she loves – that’s how Samantha was born. I paired Sam with a guy who was educated in the "school of hard knocks" and who still had an attitude about those who "had".

What was the hardest part? Researching the setting so that it seemed authentic – while I've been to Baltimore and most of the other areas, I was not as familiar with them as my own backyard. Fortunately the internet provides a wealth of virtual sightseeing.

What was easiest or most fun? I will very often talk aloud as one of my characters as I write and I enjoyed talking like Samantha who went from being a financially poor orphan to the very rich widow of a publishing mogul. I enjoyed pretending some of the airs.

What do you hope people get from your book?
Enjoyment, on the surface. And I guess I'd like them to think about what they would be willing to do for the people they love.

How do you want to be remembered as an author? I think I just want to be "remembered".

What's next for you? My next novel Common Bonds: Tangled Hearts will come out next February. This is another romantic suspense that involves some unusual twists of fate, greed, deception and hot romance.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Christmas Cookies are For Giving by Kristin Johnson and Mimi Cummins

More than a cookbook, CHRISTMAS COOKIES ARE FOR GIVING is a celebration of family, friends and the joy of giving. Stories, recipes, tips and more...

Smells of cinnamon…cookie cutters…rolling and baking…eating dough…warm times with friends and family…Christmas cookies are a universal symbol of sweetness and family tradition at Christmas. But the joy of Christmas cookies goes beyond eating. In CHRISTMAS COOKIES ARE FOR GIVING, Kristin Johnson and Mimi Cummins reawaken the fun of giving Christmas cookies, as they remember doing when they lived next door to each other when young children.

From the original short story “The Giving Christmas Cookie,” which shows a family brought together by a special cookie at Christmas, to nearly 50 scrumptious recipes with mouth watering photos, to the timely, easy directions for making homemade “Gifts in a Jar,” CHRISTMAS COOKIES ARE FOR GIVING shows that old-fashioned Christmas gifts are the antidote to cynicism about Christmas. The secret to celebrating your family and friends may not be in the mall, but in your pantry where you’ll find the ingredients to make Triple Chocolate Caramel Brownies, Nut Roll, and Vanillekipferl—The Giving Christmas Cookie. Give this book as a present, and you may be rewarded when someone you love bakes the goodies in this book for you.

An Interview With Kristin Johnson:

Why did you write this book?
My childhood friend Mimi Cummins started, which is a top-rated Christmas cookie site. We came together in California for one of our reunions, and out of a reminiscing session with my mother came the idea to do a Christmas cookbook--not just any cookbook.

Both Mimi and I grew up around wonderful bakers--her grandmother, my grandmother, and my mother. We used to live next door to each other and have many fond memories of Christmas cookies at each others' homes. Somehow we knew that we had to blend the recipes with stories about giving, family, friends and, of course, cookies! We had many stories from our childhoods, and Mimi solicited stories from the community.

What was the hardest part? I would say selecting the recipes, because there were so many yummy ones--also the stories. Another challenge was to make the spirit of the book stand out from other cookie books out there. I think of it as a Christmas storybook with recipes.

What was easiest or most fun? Working with my childhood friend Mimi Cummins. We had a blast doing this book. Also, getting lots of new recipes to try, and writing the short story "The Giving Christmas Cookie".

What do you hope people get from your book? You don't have to give the most expensive presents to make Christmas, or any occasion, special. In these economic times people are looking to simplify as opposed to the excess that we're all taught we should want. The Gifts in a Jar recipes especially are a terrific low-cost and thoughtful gift. Cookie dough bonds people together. As the stories from people on that were published in the book illustrate, making and giving food is a spiritual experience and a way to connect family and friends.

How do you want to be remembered as an author? As an uplifting influence, whether I'm writing science fiction, literary love stories, screenplays, teleplays, or whatever I am currently passionate about,

What's next for you? I'm doing many projects, and hoping to get my teleplay "" produced. Other than that, writing, writing, writing!