Worth A Read

Visit the author online at http://www.phildavidsonbooks.com/.

Visit the author online at http://www.phildavidsonbooks.com/.

Dreamer, a suspenseful novel by author Phillip L. Davidson, is not your typical Christian fiction book.  There are some moments of rough language and some situations that can be viewed as paranormal.  This is not the type of “easy-going” Christian romance that I normally read and review.  However, I am open to trying new things.  And the fact that main character David Elliot is motivated, at least in part, by his intense love for his wife made this book worth reading.

This book is action-packed.  If you like something fast-paced, this one will be well worth your time.  My only issue with it is the language.  I realize that in wartime, the language used is much different than what I am used to using and hearing on a daily basis.  However, if a book is being marketed to a Christian audience, I do feel the author should take that into account and tone down some of the language used.  Though I enjoyed the story line, the language alone will keep likely keep this book from making it my “read again” shelf.




About The Book:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dreamer-Phillip-Davidson-ebook/dp/B00EZVKPFU/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dreamer-Phillip-Davidson-ebook/dp/B00EZVKPFU/

Is the Dreamer good or evil? As war looms between Britain and Argentina over the barren Falkland Islands, Major David Elliott is having nightmares. Long ago, in a dark jungle near Cambodia, he failed to do his duty. That duty was to execute a member of his team. David’s weakness eventually led to his team’s capture. Tortured by the Viet Cong, they revealed the dark secrets of the CIA’s Phoenix program. Forced to leave the service in disgrace, his men now live in the ‘darkness’. What do the dreams mean for them? David’s wife, Sonia, sees them as harbingers of evil things to come. A revolutionary in Argentina before the war, she escaped to America and became a citizen.

Now, Captain Alvarez, head of the Argentine Secret Police, wants her back. He devises a plan that lures her into returning to Argentina where she is imprisoned on Los Estados Island. Meanwhile, a mystical creature has summoned David and his former team to gather once more to honor the ‘covenant,’ a pact they made with each other when they believed their lives were coming to an end. Together, with an errant priest, Father Perez, they reluctantly agree to assault Los Estados and free Sonia. As they travel across Mexico, Central and South America, they encounter the CIA, Contras in Nicaragua, the M-19 narco-terrorist group and the United States Navy; while all along being shadowed by the mystical entity. Is the entity God or Satan? Will submitting to the will of the entity allow David and his men to stand in the light of men once again? Is the Dreamer good or evil? You decide.

Dreamer is a tale of redemption, honor, courage, belief in God and betrayal! If you enjoy military fiction, this book is for you.

The Rules of Writing Christian Fiction

I have had a lot of ideas for novels, and I’ve looked at the guidelines set forth by a lot of Christian publishers to see where some of my ideas fit in.  It has amazed me to see that stories I would consider “Christian fiction” would not be acceptable by some publishing houses.  Why?  Because the characters I have in mind are too real.

One of the “rules” I’ve seen over and over again is that main characters should not be divorced.  That is sad to me.  The whole idea of divorce is sad.  I do believe that marriage is meant to be between one man, one woman, and is to last “until death do us part.”  No couple, especially not a Christian couple, should go into a marriage thinking, “I love this person today, but if in ten or fifteen years this isn’t working out, I can leave and start over.  No big deal.”  It IS a big deal.  Marriage is a big deal.  It is something that is meant for life, and should not be entered into lightly. 

Sadly, things happen.  Life happens.  And there are Biblical reasons for divorce.  Adultery is one.  If you think adultery does not happen in Christian marriages, think again.  Remember Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggert?  OK, so those two men are from the 80’s and maybe you don’t remember them.  But what about Amy Grant and Vince Gill?  Both were married to others when they began their relationship, and both are Christians.  It happens.  It shouldn’t.  There is no excuse for it.  But it does happen.  And though I don’t believe it is named in the Bible as a reason for divorce, I can’t imagine God is against a woman leaving her husband, even if he is a “good Christian man,” who is physically abusing her or her children.  While I do believe God meant for marriage to be a “one and done” sort of thing (you know—a once-in-a-lifetime, this-is-forever arrangement,) I think He understands that humans are, well, human.  We are flawed.  It grieves Him deeply when He sees two of His children give up on the marriage He brought together.  I don’t think He is in anyway pleased when a marriage ends, no matter the reasons for it, but I don’t think that He stays angry forever about it, either.

Which is why I don’t understand why divorce should be a taboo subject for a novel.  More accurately, why should I be afraid to write about a character who has survived a divorce? 

Maybe it’s a man whose wife was having an affair.  Maybe he was determined to save the marriage, but she walked out, she served him with divorce papers.  And maybe he has taken the time to learn from the experience, to look at the marriage and see not only what she did wrong but what he might have done that led to the choices she made.  Maybe he has grown closer to God because of that divorce and now is ready for a real relationship, one where he is sure to put God at the center.

Or maybe it’s a woman who left her husband to save her life.  Maybe she was beaten daily by this man who claimed to love her.  Maybe the only way to stay alive was to get away from him, to physically leave him and to end the marriage.  And maybe she, too, has had a lot to learn through the experience.  But maybe her heart was hurt so badly by him that she is afraid.  Afraid to love, afraid to trust, afraid of her own choices.  Maybe her ex-husband was the one who introduced her to God in the first place, so she isn’t even sure if she can believe in Him anymore.

Either of those characters could have an amazing story to tell.  A full novel worth of story?  Who knows?  But if I am writing for a traditional publisher, I wouldn’t be able to really find out.  Because this man and this woman were divorced, they would not be viewed as acceptable main characters for a traditionally published Christian novel, at least not through many of the publishing houses I have looked into.

That makes me wonder—would we, as Christians, view these characters as less than acceptable members of our church just because they were divorced?

It kind of reminds me of the old saying “love the sinner, hate the sinner.”  We don’t have to agree with what others have done to love them.  In many cases, we don’t even have to know what others have done in order to love them.  Jesus only asks that we love them.

And if He asks me to write a novel about a divorced man or a divorced woman, I plan to do it.  No matter what the traditional publishing houses say about it.

Review of OCEANS APART by Karen Kingsbury

   Conner Evans has a perfect life in Florida with his wife and two daughters. A highly respected airline pilot, Conner feels beyond blessed. News of an air tragedy over the Pacific Ocean reminds him how fragile life can be. But it’s been so long since he flew in that area of the world that Conner is sure he knew no one on that flight. He goes on with his life, not letting that one plane crash affect his life. Until the phone call from a strange lawyer. There was someone on the crashed plane that Conner knew, a flight attendant he had shared one night with nearly a decade ago. She has left Conner with the one thing that she loved and cherished in this world- her eight year old son, Max. The son Conner never knew existed.

   Over the past five years I’ve read many Karen Kingsbury books. I thought I had reached the point where I would not have another “new” book by Karen Kingsbury to read until she published another. In fact, I was so disappointed with her most recent series that I was not sure I wanted to read anymore. Then I came across “Oceans Apart”.

And I suddenly remembered all of the reasons I have enjoyed Karen Kingsbury’s work.

Her characters are real people, who just happen to be Christians. Conner has lived his life by hiding his indiscretion from his wife. Michele, his wife, suffers from self-esteem issues and forgiveness. They are not perfect, but they still love God. They have made mistakes, but they still know God loves them. They are enough like me to make them feel like friends. I loved reading about them.

Of course, saying that I read about these characters at all is not completely accurate. I didn’t read “Oceans Apart” so much as I listened to it. “Oceans Apart” is one of the books that I’ve recently listened to on Audible.com. The narrator, Joyce Beam, brought the characters to life, just as much as Karen Kingsbury’s words did. It was a very enjoyable experience, one I would highly recommend.

A Review of Davis Bunn’s HIDDEN IN DREAMS

Dr. Elena Burroughs- a leading authority on dream analysis- is starting a new life in Florida. Just as she begins to settle into her new job, an unexpected visitor stops by. Shortly after, Elena begins to have a series of dreams- very detailed, specific dreams of worldwide financial crises. She isn’t sure what is more frightening- the dream itself, that others are having the same exact dream, or the fact that dream is coming true.

  “Hidden in Dreams” pulled me in from the very first page. Just when I thought I had figured out what was happening and where the dreams were coming from, the author threw in another twist. I loved not being able to guess what was coming next!

  Though Davis Bunn and many of his characters are Christians, the book itself was not “overly religious.” I liked how non-believing characters were encouraged to consider their might be a “higher power” at work in the universe. The Christian element was there, but the suspense, the story itself, was the main focus. In fact, I think many Christian today could learn a lot about how to live from Elena. She made no secrets of or apologies for her faith in Christ. But never once did she force her beliefs on others or think less of someone just because he or she didn’t hold the same beliefs.

  How much better would this world be if more Christians walked in faith like that, rather than just talking about their faith.

Looking Forward

I can’t “blame” my writing career on Karen Kingsbury.  God is the one who gave me the talent I have and He is the one who put into my heart the burning desire to write books that glorify Him.   But Karen is the one who first made me think that sharing the stories God has given me could be much more than just a dream.

The number of times I was told that Christian books would never sell….  I don’t know that I can count high enough to give you a number.  But it happened often enough that I even believed it for a while.  It wasn’t until an on-line friend suggested I read something “anything, really” by Karen Kingsbury that I changed my mind.  Her books were good; her talent very real.  And she has sold more than a few books.  My goal with my writing isn’t to see title after title at the top of The New York Times Best Seller List (though I wouldn’t be totally upset to see that happen, either.)  But seeing what she has done makes me think that it is possible, with a lot of hard work, for me to actually contribute something, financially, to my family through my writing.

God may have put the desire in my heart, but Karen has set an example for me to follow.

I’ve read pretty much everyone of Karen’s books that my library carries, and I’ve even added quite a few of her titles to my personal books collection.  (My favorites?  One Tuesday Morning and Even Now.)  I follow her on both Facebook and Twitter, and find myself anxiously awaiting whatever story she comes up with next.

I was really anxious to read her Bailey Flanigan Series.  Reading through the books about the Baxter family, I got to see Bailey grow up.  I could hardly wait to see what would unfold for her as she navigated her way through her 20′s.  Over the weekend, I read the final two books in this four book series.  I have to say that I was a little disappointed.  The series did not end the way that I thought it would, and for the first time I found little “quirks” in Karen’s writing style that annoyed me.  When I reached the last page of the final book, I was actually happy to be done with it.  I honestly didn’t think I’d be interested in reading another of her books for quite a while.

And then I found this trailer.   Oh my goodness!!!!  I so cannot WAIT to read this one.  Of course, it’s about the Baxters, and I am so hooked on their lives!  Coming Home looks to be another great story.

Holy eBooks, Batman!

In early May, I thought I would celebrate 5 years of writing full time by giving away three of my novels free for the Kindle. My husband wasn’t sure what he thought about that. He was concerned that by giving them away, I was losing money. The ebooks weren’t selling before, though. It’s not always easy to get your books purchased when you are an “unknown” author. I thought that if I could give away a few copies and then sell copies of the other titles, it would be well worth it. I chose to only do three titles–FORSAKING THE CALL, SUMMERTIME, and MIRACLE PLAY–because they were the only ones I had formatted for Kindle. I put them up for free for 2 days each and worked on formatting the other two books. Yesterday, both SHATTERED and THE LADIES OF FAITH went up on Kindle for a 2-day free promotion.

This morning, I checked on sales numbers and was pleasantly shocked at what I saw.

A total of 300 free copies of FORSAKING THE CALL were downloaded. An additional 20 copies were purchased.

A total of 276 free copies of http://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Play-ebook/dp/B007MNX776/ref=sr_1_4_title_0_main?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1338382026&sr=1-4 were downloaded. An additional 6 copies were purchased.

A total of 386 free copies of SUMMERTIME were downloaded. An additional 18 copies were purchased.

So far, 692 free copies of THE LADIES OF FAITH have been downloaded and a staggering 852 copies of SHATTERED have been downloaded. No paying sales on those two yet, as the free promo is still going on.

Did you add up those numbers?? I did. It is over 2500 copies of my books that have gotten into the hands of readers just this month. “Only” 44 of those were paid, so I only get royalties on those 44 books. My husband looks at the 2500 books that I don’t get paid and gets said. I look at the 44 that will earn me some money, and I am excited! Before this month, I had not sold any electronic copies of my books. If I hadn’t taken a chance and offered the giveaway, I likely would not have sold those 44 books.

I am not in the writing business to make money. Sure, I’d love to make a steady income at this. I would love to have a studio purchase movie rights for one or more of my books and earn enough that my husband doesn’t have to go spend his days in a hot factory. But the money isn’t my guiding force. My goal is to get my work into the hands of readers, to find people who have never heard the message of Christ’s love and use my work to plant a little seed in their lives. That is my goal. And the free Kindle promotion seems to be helping me to reach that goal.


I’ve been struggling a lot with writing this review.  Not because the book wasn’t real written, because it was.  Not because I didn’t enjoy the book, because I did.  My struggle has been in finding the right words to use.  This book was very powerful and emotional, right from the beginning.  It’s so hard for me to think of just the right words to adequately describe the way I felt while reading this book.

The book I am talking about is Special Delivery by Kathi Macias.  It is the second book in her new Freedom series.  While I have not read the first (it has been on my MUST READ list for quite a while now, and, after reading this book, has now moved to the top of the list), I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.  There was enough backstory woven through this to understand what happened in the first book, but not so much that it took away from the enjoyment of reading this one.

Special Delivery is the continuing story of Mara, a young woman with horrible first-hand experience of the horrors of human trafficking.  At a young age, she was forced into modern day slavery by her “loving” uncle.  Thanks to the help and kindness of a pizza delivery man, Mara was rescued from her dark past and has made a new life for herself.  What she doesn’t know is that her uncle, though he is behind bars, still holds considerable power and is bent on making her pay for what he sees as her betrayal.

This is more than just Mara’s story, however.  Other young women are featured throughout the book, each in some way affected by the human trafficking trade.  At times, I was confused about the women.  I had trouble keeping track of who was who and where each girl was from.  That didn’t really detract from the story for me.  It just made it so that I had to concentrate a little harder on the reading.

This is not a book that can be read quickly.  There is just too much information here.  Macias delves into the dark world of human trafficking with a deep understanding of the problem.  This wasn’t my first time hearing about modern day slavery.  Within the last two years, I’ve actually heard about two trafficking rings in my home start that were broken up.  Still, reading about Mara and Francesca and Lawan brought tears to my eyes.  That they could be real girls, possibly working in my hometown, breaks my heart.

There was a time when I considered writing a book like this.  After hearing about human trafficking and how near impossible it is for young girls to escape a life they never chose for themselves, I wanted to write a book about a woman who survived it, a woman who dedicated her life to helping others find a way out.  There is still a small part of me that would like to do that someday.  At least there was before I read Special Delivery.  I am not sure that I could handle the emotional toll of writing a book like that.  And if I did, I am certain I would not compose something nearly as gripping as Kathi Macias has.

I highly recommend this book.  But beware—it is not a light read.  Not only do I advise having a good amount of time to devote to reading the book, I also advise readers to have a box of tissues handy.  Your heart will be touched by the women in the book and the God they learn to love.

You can read more about Kathi Macias and her work at her website.

Special Delivery can be purchased at Amazon.com by clicking here.

, Contemporary slavery, humantrafficking, Kathi Macias, modern day slavery Leave a comment

D is for Dreams

It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain then.  
Proverbs 13:19, New Living Translation

I was 12 when I discovered my love of books.  Anne of Green Gables.  That is the book that first got me hooked.  There was nothing I loved more than getting lost in reading a good story.  Nothing, other than writing my own stories.  At the time, I had a teacher who was very supportive and very demanding, all at once.  She nurtured my dream to write by pushing me to put my thoughts on paper.

There was a time, though, when the dream nearly died.  I knew that I wanted to write, but I was scared.  Scared that I would have to write what the world wanted.  Scared that making a living with words would mean turning my back on everything that my parents had taught me.  That fear, even during the moments when I was not really living for Christ, held me back from writing anything.

I did spend some time writing stories that I am ashamed of now.  I loved the feedback that I was getting, all the kudos about my stories.  But it felt hollow.  The stories were not honoring God in any way.  Even though I wasn’t living for Him, somehow I knew that He didn’t approve of how I was using the talent He had given me.  And though people seemed to like what I was writing, I was unable to really enjoy it.

Ever since I started trusting that my dreams are in His hands and not trying to hold them in my own, things have been different.  I have a new joy in my writing, something I hope that my readers pick up on.  I still get compliments on it.  I still have people tell me how wonderful my stories are.  The difference?  Now I can smile and say, “I just let God write it through me.”

Miracle Play Preorders

I have so many things that I want to get done today!  Not many that I absolutely need to get done, I suppose.  So that makes me lucky in some ways.  Yet I still have no clue where to begin.  If I don’t do something soon, I will never get anything done.  And I do so want to get something done.

Well, since you sat through that babble, I suppose you deserve a little something special!  As you may know, my fifth novel Miracle Play will be available on April 5.  I can hardly wait for that!  Already I have a book signing lined up for the 14th.  I just need to know how many books I should have on hand.  So, I have a question for you—would you like a copy of Miracle Play?

In case you don’t know what the book is about, here is the trailer for the novel….

The books will sell for $15 each on April 5.  But I am offering a special on preorders!  Anyone who orders a book before March 16 will only need to pay $12 for their copy.  If you are in the Jackson, Michigan area, I will deliver your book to you for free.  If you need me to mail the book to you, the shipping on it will be $2.

To preorder your copy, please leave your email address and the number of copies you would like in the comments section after this blog post.  Or you can email me at  and put MIRACLE PLAY PREORDER in the subject line.  Let me know how many copies of the book you need and how you want them delivered to you.


An early morning call shatters Caryn Becker’s world.  Unable to cope with her brother’s news that he is gay, Caryn rejects him and disappears into her own turbulent like as a young widow and single mom.  But when David is attacked and nearly killed, Caryn is forced to make hard choices about family, faith and her own future; choices that take her to the very edge of grace.

To be totally honest, when I first heard that Christa Allan had a new book out, I didn’t care what the book was about.  She could have written 500 pages about watching paint dry or grass grow, and I would have wanted to read it.  OK, so that might be a bit of an exaggeration.  But I enjoyed her first book so much that I would have read The Edge of Grace no matter what topic it covered or how the plot twisted.  The first book was written in such a fluid, conversational style.  I had great hopes for the second.

And I was not disappointed.

The story really hit home for me (check out what I posted about it yesterday if you want to know why.)  Dealing with a gay family member can be very confusing, to say the least.  Caryn’s reaction to her brother’s was very real—“he’s doing something that I don’t approve of and can’t relate to, so I am just going to ignore him.”  Her attitude didn’t make the “problem” go away or turn back the clock to a time when she didn’t know that David was not happily in love with the woman he was planning to marry, but it did help Caryn to cope with the shock.  At least in the very beginning.  It was interesting to watch Caryn move from denial to acceptance, even though the metamorphosis meant changes in her own life and in her way of thinking.

The Edge of Grace was a very well-written story about a topic many Christians struggle with.  This book earns my highest recommendation.  I can’t say that I agree with all of the opinions expressed in this book, but that is OK.  At least reading it forced me to consider positions other than my own.

I think Caryn said it best herself in this speech to her brother near the end of the book: “And God is reaching me, maybe in very small steps, that He is the final judge, not me.  And that my job, for as long as I am here, is to reach out and love.”

That is something I think we all should keep in mind before we start hurling insults and accusations at one another.

Christa Allan is the author of Walking on Broken Glass and the mother of five.  Christa teaches high school English.  She and her husband, Ken, live in Abita Springs, Louisiana.  Visit Christa on the web at http://www.christaallan.com.