Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Victor (review and giveaway) ... by Marlayne Giron

The Victor is the first book that Marlayne Giron has written but devoted readers certainly hope that it will not be her last.

The blurb on the back cover reads:
        "A benevolent King;
        ...his sword of power;
        ...a ruthless traitor bent on revenge;
        ...and the faithful son who stands in his way with
           the woman destined to share his throne."

The book takes place in the medieval kingdoms of Ellioth and Shiloh.  Ellioth is ruled by a kind and wise king, Eloth.  He has a young son, Joshua, who will some day rule in his stead and is betrothed to the beautiful Llyonesse.  All is well in the kingdom until the arrival on the scene of the villain, Lucius, who, filled with hatred and jealousy, attempts to overthrow the king.   Not content to steal only the throne, Lucius also covets Joshua's intended bride.  Thus begins the battle between good and evil and only one can emerge the victor.

Under the title on the front cover are the words, "A tale of Betrayal, Love, and Sacrifice."  The Victor is certainly all of this and much, much more. It is a beautiful story of the love of a king for his people, his compassion for those who falter in his service, his long-suffering toward those who have wronged him, and his fairness in administering judgement.  Sound familiar?

My opinion:

I will be very honest and confess that The Victor is not the type of book that I normally choose to read.  I usually prefer contemporary fiction and, as a rule, am not too fond of fantasy.  I initially decided to read the book because I had "met" the author online and somehow, across the vast vista of the Internet, a bond was formed.  In an effort to be kind and support my new-found friend, I ordered her book.  This was an excellent decision on my part and money well-spent! 

From a purely physical viewpoint, The Victor is one of the most beautiful books I have ever seen.  The cover design is absolutely gorgeous, the pages feel rich in texture, and even the first page of each chapter has a lovely decorative design. 

From a literary point of view, this book is a marvelous work of art.  Vocabulary is marvelous and the story is sensational. The author has an obvious complete and total grasp of the material and a way of delivery that is gripping and mesmerizing.  The entire story is exquisitely done and utterly riveting.  There were times that I actually forgot to breathe because the suspense was so captivating.  The most beautiful part of the entire story is that it is an allegory of Christ’s love for the church.  It is chock full of symbolism and parallels to Biblical events.  Because I don't like unhappy endings, the knowledge that the victor had already been decided long ago was what made it possible for me to continue to read to the conclusion.  Yes, the conclusion was foregone; but the road to get to that final epic battle was a fascinating and enthralling journey.

Although The Victor is labeled for Young Adult and has complete lessons plans available for use in the classroom, it will readily appeal to readers of all ages.   If you haven't yet read this book, I highly recommend that you waste no time in doing so.  You won't be sorry!

The Author:

Marlayne Giron is a Messianic Jew who found Christ as her Messiah at the age of 17.  She has a wonderful testimony of her conversion that can be found at  She lives in Orange County, California with her husband  and her teenage daughter. She is also a career secretary who likes to read, cook, entertain, draw, ice-skate and scrapbook.

Marlayne received her inspiration for The Victor while listening to the song Fairytale, sung by artist Amy Grant.  While the song may have provided the original foundation, there is no doubt that the writer has a close and intimate relationship with the One about whom she writes. 

In addition to this book, Marlayne also writes Wish Fulfillment Stories.  These are stories that she writes by request and free of charge.   For more information about this feature, visit her website at or go to her blog at  The book can be purchased at her website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Christian Book Distributors. 

The Giveaway:

I love this book so much that I am going to make one copy available to a lucky winner.  If you are interested in winning, leave a comment.  To ensure that I will be able to contact you, be sure to leave an email address in this format: janedoe[at]whatever[dot]com.  If you are a follower of this blog, please include that information for an extra entry.

This contest has some unusual stipulations.  There is a dual purpose to this giveaway. (Sorry, Marlayne)!  Since this is a new blog, I am using this giveaway not only to promote The Victor, but also to build a readership and, hopefully, a following.  Therefore, the giveaway contest will not conclude until there are 25 followers and at least that many comments.  Please invite your friends to come and visit! 


Monday, July 26, 2010

Who Do YOU Write Like?

This link appeared on a couple of different blogs that I follow with the invitation to go to the site and have my writing analyzed in order to see who I write like.  Most of the people whose results I saw said that they write like Mark Twain.  Me, as usual, I have to be different.  The results of my analysis showed that .....

I write like
Cory Doctorow
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

That figures.  I have never read anything written by Cory Doctorow.  In fact, I will be quite honest and admit that, until five minutes ago, I had never even heard of him.  A quick search informed me that he is a Canadian activist and writes primarily in the genre of science fiction. 

Huh!  I hope that doesn't mean that my own writings are so far out there that they would be classified as science fiction; what I submitted for analysis was certainly not intended to be science fiction.  I wrote science fiction when I was in 5th and 6th grade.  I left that behind me years ago once I learned that we can't really live on the moon. 

I guess I will just have to read some writings by Mr. Doctorow to see if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  But, let's look at it this way - he is a published author, many times over, so it can't be too bad!

Try it for yourself.  Click on the "Analyze your writing!" link above and see who your writing style resembles.  It's fun and you might be surprised!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Review ...

Ozark Weddings by Anita Higman and Janice Thompson

 Do you remember that Doublemint chewing gum commercial that said, "Double your pleasure, double your fun ...?"  Well, when you read  Ozark Weddings, you not only double your pleasure and your fun, you triple it!  How can these things be?  Simply because in this delightful romantic comedy, written by an extremely talented duo, you get not one, not two, but THREE books all bound in one tantalizing cover.

As you meet the outgoing never-met-a-stranger Lark, the extremely shy and sensitive Clair, and the successful but insecure and somewhat desperate Nori, you will become so involved in their lives that you will actually feel as if you are a part of their stories.  You will cry with them and you will laugh with them; you will despair with them and you will rejoice with them as they meet and confront their male counterparts.   

The descriptions of the beautiful Ozarks of Arkansas are written so vividly that you will want to pack your suitcase and set off to explore the trails, the waterfalls, and the sights of Eureka Springs in Larkspur Dreams, Little Rock in The Love Song, and Hot Springs in Castles in the Air.

Can a workaholic and a free spirit possibly find common ground?  Can the hurts of the past be overcome by love?  Can insecurity and the stigma of divorce stifle true love?  You will find the answers to these questions and more within the pages of Ozark Weddings.  You will also see that, when God is in control, there is no obstacle that cannot be overcome.  The Love Song is especially satisfying in its portrayal of Psalms 23. 

The humor in the writing is refreshing - some of it is obvious and some of it is a bit more subtle.  Read carefully and pay attention and you will be delighted with the results.  The authors use words with great mastery and skill to paint a charming and uplifting story for the readers.  The only complaint that I have with these stories is that I was not ready to say good-bye to the characters; the stories were entirely too short and left me wanting more.  As a teaser, let me say that two statements that I found particularly amusing were on page # 217 and page #236.

About the Authors:

Anita Higman is an award-winning author and has twenty-four books published (several co-authored) for adults and children, and she has been honored in the past as a Barnes & Noble "Author of the Month" for Houston.  Some of her publishers are Bethany House, Summerside Press, Barbour Publishing, McGraw-Hill, Lillenas Drama, Roman & Littlefield, and Howard Publishing.  Anita Higman has also written for radio, television, ezine, and advertising. 

She has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art from SNU, and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.  Anita has lived in Texas for the past twenty-five years, but was born and raised on a wheat and cattle farm in western Oklahoma.  Besides writing, Anita's other interests are reading great books, going to the movies, and cooking brunch for her friends.  She lives with her husband near Houston, Texas.  (

Janice Thompson is an award-winning Christian author who also writes under the pseudonym of Janice Hanna.  She got her start in the industry by writing screenplays and musical comedies for the stage.  Janice has published over fifty books for the Christian market, crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historicals, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children’s books and more. In addition, she enjoys editing, ghost-writing, public speaking, and mentoring young writers. Some of her recent books are the three books in the Weddings by Bella series. 

Janice currently serves as Vice-President of CAN (Christian Authors Network) and was named the 2008 Mentor of the year for ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). She was thrilled to be named the 2010 Barbour/Heartsong Author of the Year, with three books on the top ten list for that house. Janice is active in her local writing group, where she regularly teaches on the craft of writing. Her online courses, “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer”     ( and her new "Fiction Writing Master Course"  have been helpful to many who want to earn a living with their writing.

Janice is passionate about her faith and does all she can to share the joy of the Lord with others, which is why she particularly enjoys writing. She lives in Spring, Texas, where she leads a rich life with her family, a host of writing friends, and two mischievous dachshunds. She does her best to keep the Lord at the center of it all. You can find out more about Janice at or  Janice's motto is "bringing you love, laughter, and happily ever afters." 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Carol Award Finalists Announced!

Congratulations to all of the 2010 Carol Awards finalists! (Formerly known as Book of the Year).

For the complete list of nominees, go to:

Coming Soon ...

Lost Island Smugglers is a new action-adventure that kids will love.
 Find out more at


"Sam Cooper Adventures are like good, family movies . . . as an ordinary kid finds himself in exciting and extra-ordinary adventures!"  Bill Myers - author

"Max Elliot Anderson brings a lifetime of dramatic film and video production to the pages of his action adventures and mysteries." Jerry B. Jenkins, Author

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How Did I Get Here?

Well, here I am. I always said that I couldn't foresee any reason for me to ever start a blog. But things change. God sometimes leads us in different directions from those that we were going in or even think we should be going. Those changes require us to be flexible and pliant to His will and to do things that we wouldn't do unless it was definitely Him nudging us in that direction. A prime example of that is this blog. I don't want to write a blog - but I feel I must write a blog. It may be that no one other than God will ever see this blog, so perhaps I will just write as if I am talking to Him. However, if you should stumble across my blog, and you must have done so or you wouldn't be reading this, I welcome you. I encourage you to stay a while and perhaps you can offer me some advice on how to make this a better and more appealing place to visit.

A few weeks ago I was a Christian, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a sometime musician, and a person who works in an elementary school. Surely that was enough! I thought that my life was pretty much established with no monumental changes on the horizon. Then I decided to do something else that I always said I would never do because I couldn't see a need for it in my life - I joined the Facebook community. I joined because a writer whom I admire had made something available to her readers that was only accessible via Facebook.

What a change that one simple decision has made! Upon registering at Facebook, I immediately encountered a host of people requesting to be my friend. One particular friend (and you know who you are), knew of my love for books. This friend is heavily involved in the world of writing and all of its related areas and knows just about everybody in the business. She began pointing writers in my direction - writers whose books I had been reading for years with no thought that I would ever make any sort of personal connection with them.

As I began connecting with these writers, I also found my attention being drawn to numerous other blogs. These blogs are written by some outstanding ladies - kind, generous, and loving women. Some of them are writers and some of them are readers. Some of them are both writers and readers. Many of them read and review books and then share the books with their followers. They often interview authors and help the readers to get to know them better. Without exception, every single blog that I have begun to follow has one primary purpose. That purpose is to honor and glorify the Creator, the Savior, the Lord, the One who is above all. These ladies will most likely never know how much of an impact they have had on me. They stirred me, they challenged me, and they made me want to become more than what I am. They instilled in me a desire to do something more productive with my love for God and my service to Him.

The next thing I knew, a seed that had lain dormant within me for many years began to sprout. A seed that I thought had long since been dug out and thrown away with the chaff. With each new blog post that I read, that seed was watered and grew a bit taller and stronger. What was that seed? It was the seed to write, to begin to express myself once again with words instead of music. I will tell you more in another post.