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11.23.2013

The inside scoop from author Davis Bunn on his latest work


Yesterday, I mentioned a new book from author Davis Bunn, Strait of Hormuz. Intrigued? You can read chapters 1-3 of the book for free.

Q and A WITH THE AUTHOR

Q: The first two books in the Marc Royce series have been bestsellers and also won praise from the critics. Lion of Babylon won the Library Journal’s Best Book of 2011 award, and Rare Earth won the 2013 Christy Award for Suspense Fiction. What do you see is behind this success?

Davis Bunn: The stories have certainly resonated with readers. I have tried to develop a strong sense of unfolding drama, combined with a unique spiritual theme. This moral structure plays out both in the story and the characters. My aim is to create an inspirational challenge that remains with the reader long after the book has been set down. 

Q: This story includes two special components from your early life. Tell us about them.

DB: My mother worked as an antiques dealer. In truth, ‘work’ was not really the correct term, because this was a passion she inherited from her mother. They bonded while my mom was still a child, going to small eastern Carolina towns and hunting around junk stores for the sort of bargains that don’t exist anymore. 

Their first love was early Americana, a type of colonial furniture known as Jacobean that predated America’s nationhood. I never really shared this passion, but in two previous books I came to respect and admire those who do.

And so I knew a great delight in re-entering this world in Strait of Hormuz, only this time at the very highest end. Strait takes place in the rarified world of multi-million dollar art, where the richest of collectors vie with museums and galleries for items that are no longer classed as antiques, but rather as treasures.

The second special component was the location. I lived in Switzerland for almost five years, and many of the venues were places where I worked, and walked, and came to discover myself as an author.

Q: In what way is the setting important to this book?

DB: The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most critical waterways. Stretching between Iran and the Gulf States, the strait us home to two US fleets. More than a third of all the oil consumed worldwide pass through these waters. But the story actually begins in Switzerland, before traveling to the Sinai and then into the hotly-contested Strait of Hormuz.

Q: What spiritual theme is the focus of this story?

DB: One growing area of the missionary church movement is with displaced persons. More than five million Iranians have been expelled from their homeland, or been forced to flee the current regime. This includes virtually the entire Christian population. The missionary church movement has made enormous strides in bringing peace to these families and introducing Christ into the world of Muslims fleeing a Muslim government.

Q: What drew you to the missionary church movement as a theme?  

DB: I came to faith in a missionary church. I was working as a consultant based in Germany. The year I accepted Christ, the Southern Baptist Mission Board founded a missionary church in Dusseldorf. I attended the church, I grew in the church, I studied under two amazing pastors, and one of them returned to Europe to marry us. 
It was also where I learned to write. Two weeks after coming to faith, I felt called to writing. I wrote for nine years and completed seven books before my first was accepted for publication. The church, its members, and the elders all played a critical role in bringing me to where I am now. I am living testimony to the vital role played by the missionary church. 

Q: All three of the books in this series have given significant insight into the Muslim world, something critics have picked up on. What experience do you have with this region?

DB: For the four years prior to moving to Germany, I lived and worked in the Middle East. I was the only non-Muslim in the management structure of a family-owned company. They had three major arms: construction equipment, shipping, and pharmaceuticals. I rose to become Marketing Manager of the pharmaceutical division. 

One of the requirements of this job was to take instruction in the Koran and Islamic history from an imam who taught at the local university. I think this experience played a major role in my coming to Christ. 

Q: How can readers find you on the Internet?

My website and blog are at www.davisbunn.com
Facebook Author Page: facebook.com/davisbunnauthor
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/davisbunn/ -- check out my “Strait of Hormuz” board at http://www.pinterest.com/davisbunn/strait-of-hormuz/ 
Twitter: @davisbunn - http://twitter.com/davisbunn

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pictured: Davis Bunn and his wife, Isabella Bunn
Davis Bunn is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author now serving as writer-in-residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Defined by readers and reviewers as a "wise teacher," "gentleman adventurer," "consummate writer," and "Renaissance man," his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages.
Strait of Hormuz is the series finale of the popular Marc Royce Adventures. Library Journal named Lion of Babylon (Book 1) a “Best Book of 2011.” Rare Earth (Book 2) won the 2013 Christy Award for best suspense novel and was a CBA top 20 best-seller.

11.22.2013

Strait of Hormuz, a Tastefully Written Thriller

Are you looking for adventure?

I have followed fictional character Marc Royce through Iraq and Africa, and now through Switzerland, and in true Davis Bunn style, the journey didn’t disappoint. This just-released third book in the series continues with agent Marc Royce working on a covert mission for the U.S. State Department in Geneva, Switzerland. For readers who haven’t read the first two books, this one, titled Strait of Hormuz, contains enough back story to pick up without feeling lost, but I highly recommend the first two books, simply because it adds to the depth of the characters who reappear in this book. 

I’m a fan of Davis Bunn mostly because he has drawn me into a genre that isn’t typically my style. How? He does action, danger, and even violence so tastefully that my mind can fill in the details needed, without having every gory detail painted on the page. This book has its share of mystery, danger, gunfire, and betrayal, which kept a fast pace for readers who like action. It also has a softer, more relational theme, which brought balance to the plot. 

There are several threads that don’t seem to connect until near the end of the book. I enjoy that mystery. Royce is on assignment that begins with an explosion in an art gallery, and ends with, well, of course I won’t tell you how it ends. It had plenty of intrigue to keep me hooked all the way to the end. I like how Bunn weaves a faith element into the story line without it feeling pasted in. In this book, I learned something about Messianic believers without it seeming like a history lesson.

There were several aspects of this story that would make it suitable for the big screen, and I’d be thrilled to see that happen. The ongoing action, an attack from a mysterious motorcade, an assassination attempt, a chilling scene where Royce and his team encounter a vessel on the Red Sea, the multilayered relationships of Royce and his team, wondering if any of them was a mole, and much more. It was one of those books that played like a movie as I read. 

I love that this and Davis Bunn’s other books have the potential for a broad male and female audience.  The trilogy makes a great gift for the reader who likes a tastefully done thriller.

I received a complimentary copy of Strait of Hormuz from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

PLOT SYNOPSIS
An under-the-radar phone call from the U.S. State Department puts Marc Royce once again on assignment—ferreting out rumors of a clandestine operation stretching from Asia to the Mideast. At stake is Iran’s threat to blockade the narrow Strait of Hormuz, cutting off vital shipping routes and escalating global tensions beyond the breaking point.

Under the guise of investigating money laundering via high-end art purchases in Europe, Royce finds himself in Switzerland with only sketchy information, no backup, and without a single weapon other than his wits.


His appointment with a gallery owner in Geneva is a dead end--the man is on the floor with a bullet through his chest. But it turns out Royce does have backup. The Mossad has sent someone to keep an eye on this undercover op, which is of more than casual interest to the Israelis. And it's someone Royce knows...

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Want to know more about the author, Davis Bunn? Check back for tomorrow's post with a question and answer session on how he came to write this book, and more.

SWEEPSTAKES
Click this image to find out how to enter the to win.




11.18.2013

Five things I figured out in Branson, Missouri

This month, I had the opportunity to take a bus ride to Branson, Missouri with the music students from our local high school. It was an opportunity to learn how puffy my feet could get and how stiff my back could become during an all night, all day ride. I learned how to operate my iPad, dig through a backpack, eat a snack, pick up a dropped cell phone from the bus floor, and more while keeping my elbows within my 18-inch allotted space. But, that's not all I figured out during the five-day trip.

1. Despite statements people might give about the American teenager and the lack of manners in the next generation, I sat beside two wonderful gentlemen at one dinner show, and witnessed multiple occasions where teenage boys were polite to me on the trip.
On the Showboat Branson Belle for a lunch cruise.
2. The gospel is alive and well in the Bible belt. Up north, we've become accustomed to people saying happy holidays and pretty much avoiding Jesus in public venues at Christmas. Not in Branson. The gospel was given at every Christmas show, and the music was decidedly Jesus-centered.
The Haygoods family in concert during the Christmas portion of the show.
3. The loss of life on the Titanic stands as a testimony to what excessive faith in human ability can do. Despite its unsinkable promise, the boat went down within two hours of hitting an iceberg. Worse, the number of lifeboats in proportion to the number of passengers was underwhelming. A reminder to never trust so much in human power that I am irresponsible in my preparation. 
The Titanic museum in Branson.
4. Never get so preoccupied that you miss the little moments, even if they belong to someone else. As we walked past this little chapel at Silver Dollar City, I noticed a couple saying their wedding vows in the window. The bride wiped away a tear and then reached for her groom's hand. A moment of joy borrowed from people I'll never meet.
Silver Dollar City, Theme Park

5. Always notice the beauty around you, even if terror looms in the foreground. No, I did not ride this terrifying monster. Instead, I looked past it to God's artwork in the sky. 
Silver Dollar City
I won't forget my trip. I left Missouri sleep-deprived and over-nourished. But I figured out that there is good everywhere if you look for it.

10.16.2013

What happens when life doesn't go the way you expected?


So many of the blog posts I see on the internet beautifully demonstrate a repurposed and upcycled life. I had the privilege of meeting an author this summer whose story is a great inspiration for us. 

Lee Wolfe Blum (author of Table in the Darkness: A Healing Journey Through and Eating Disorder), posted an excerpt from Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley that reminded me of how God repurposes and upcycles in our lives.

What happens when you sign up for Italy and end up in Holland? Lee quotes Kingsley, who says, "But, if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things…about Holland."

Lee says, "So, don’t let addiction, comparison, or perfectionism steal any more of the life you were meant to live. Even if it is the life you didn’t imagine, or the struggle you didn’t want to have. Start seeing the tulips and the Rembrandts! It can be beautiful!" 

Be sure to read the full post for the rest of the story.



10.14.2013

Finding Treasure in Africa, Amid the Challenges



My friend Kristy has a blog on Babble called Into Africa with Kristy Carlson and her stories are great demonstrations of making the most of a difficult circumstance. 

I call Kristy a "friend" rather than an acquaintance because Kristy's husband grew up in my home area, her parents are good friends of mine, and frankly, Kristy has a writing voice that makes me feel close to her. She is raw, and real, and so easy to connect with. Kristy and her husband Ben are living in Africa working to help the people of Burundi get a fair price for their coffee beans and they are building a coffee washing station so more of the crop can processed locally and be sold at the peak of perfection.

Kristy tells the story of an African woman who she met. Kristy says,
There are a million more differences between my story’s and Christine’s, and yet we are both linked by motherhood. Meeting her was a “moment” for me. There is something about who she is and this little family she is holding together that is inspirational and motivational at the same time. Christine is a survivor of genocide, an orphan with courage and a mother with hope. I believe that mothers like Christine can provide more, be more and give more back to their families with just a few more skills under their belts. My friend Samantha believes the same. She is pioneering a program to help Christine provide for her children and I can’t wait to help. It’s a program full of hope and I, for one, am ready to see Christine and her lovely little people out of the animal stocks and living a better life.
You'll have to hop over to Babble to read Kristy's full story and others. I know you'll be hooked as soon as you see how her stories connect with a repurposed and upcycled life. Kristy has been through many ups and downs in her life in Africa, but she demonstrates how God can use those ups and downs for his glory.  


 

Kristy considers the circumstances of others when she gets to thinking about her difficulties, and often she sees how her situation isn't as bad as it could be. What difficult circumstance can you recall that didn't seem as difficult when you realized what someone else was going through?

10.12.2013

The Story Our Scars Tell


In an essay from Mary Martin Wiens, she explains how she came to terms with the scars and imperfections on her body,and how she sees them now as lines of a story. Here is an excerpt from Mary's essay. Be sure to hope over to the full post, because the whole article is beautiful.
We journey from a seed in our mother’s womb until we are planted in the grave with ever-changing bodies. Time scratches out its passage across my looks and the looks of all those I love. All our lives, our bodies manifest evidence of an existence marked by gains and losses. We gain and lose pounds, muscle, bruises, teeth, and hair. We lose elasticity and gain wrinkles. We gain scars. Our bodies process and carry our experiences, not without complaint, but with an unfailing perseverance that is worthy of both gratitude and honor. And one of the very great privileges of this life is to cherish the bodies of those I love through all their gains and losses for as long as I get to have them. We do not get to have those we love forever. In that final losing, every turn of the head and expression of the face becomes poignantly precious. So, may I have eyes to see them now.
Read the full post


10.11.2013

Finding Forgiveness for Past Mistakes


This trash to treasure story comes from an anonymous reader. A big hug to a precious woman who was brave enough to be honest with her mistakes and sensitive to the truth that God's love forgives and forgets when we own up to our sins.


You Will be Forgiven

Even in our very worst moments, God is there, answering the prayers we haven’t even sent to Him. He knows our every need before we do.


My first husband and I were having marital difficulties even before our second child was born. By the time she was 18 months old there seemed to be little left of our seven year-long marriage. We’d tried counseling, we’d moved to a different state, nothing seemed to help. I could blame the troubles on my husband, but I won’t go there. This story isn’t about his transgressions, it’s about mine.

I don’t know how it happened – well I guess I do know, but I don’t understand how it all spiraled out of control. I started seeing another man, a friend of my husband’s. He was kind and gentle, he listened to me and he didn’t judge me. Most important to me, he didn’t do drugs and he certainly did not deal drugs.

The affair went on for over a year. The lies. I could have drowned in just the lies alone. The lengths I went to to cover those lies. How I held down a full time job, kept house, and raised two children, I will never know. Certainly God wasn’t going to make this easy on me. Yet I kept it up for 13 long months.

At the time, I thought of myself as a Christian. I went to church, took the kids to Sunday School, prayed when I was in need or when I was thankful. I knew there was an omniscient God and that His Son was my Savior. Yet I lived a second life, a life outside of my family and my faith.

I came to a decision. Not the right one, I didn’t want to quit seeing this other man. I wanted to leave my first husband for him. I told myself that we would continue sneaking around until sometime after the divorce was final. Then suddenly we would appear to the outside world as if we had just started going out.

God knew that wasn’t the way this story was going to end, so He stepped in and saved me from myself when I least deserved it.

The night I was going to lay out my plan for this other man, he spoke up first.

“A girl I dated in high school called me up out of the blue. She was my first true love and I had asked her to marry me, but our lives were going in opposite directions. I guess I still love her and I want to see if this can work out for us.”

“What?” I could not comprehend what he was saying. How could he dump me when I had made all these plans?

I drove home alone in a daze. How could this happen to me? What was I going to do?

A gentle voice whispered in my ear. “Even in your darkest moments, I am here.”

How was that possible? How could God see me commit the worst of all sins and still be there for me? How did I deserve that kind of love?


I spent the next two decades asking daily for God’s forgiveness. The blanket of shame didn’t lift though; I didn’t think it was possible that He could really forgive me. Over time and with lots of prayer, I came to realize that I needed to forgive myself first. I needed to accept that I am a poor miserable sinner but that all of my stains were washed away long ago by the blood of Jesus

Yes, God forgave me. And finally I was able to receive His forgiveness.


Do you have a trash to treasure story to share? See how you can Share Your Story here too.

10.10.2013

What Message Might Christian Signs Send in Between the Lines?

Wherever you stand on one side or the other of a hot-button issue, how do you feel about how a Christian ought to present their side to the world? Should we sit back and ignore the other side of an issue, or should we be "in your face" about it?

I believe the tone we convey is the more poignant message than the message we spell out in words. The best-intended thoughts are wasted if our tone conveys something opposite from our intentions.

What do you think about the following examples? This isn't a debate about the issues, so it doesn't matter which "side" you are on. Instead, I want to know what tone you hear in the message just as it is presented. What does it say to the other side, good or bad?

1.
A billboard in Times Square from Answers in Genesis, featured on CNN.

2.
Featured in a blog post commentary from a pastor named Jim Greime (I am not sure if he took the photo or got it from somewhere else).

3.
A protester photo attributed to members of Westboro Baptist Church, a controversial group. 

4. 
A billboard in New York sponsored by Times Square Church. More info

What message does each of these signs say to you? If you feel negative about any of them, what is it about it that gives you that feeling?

Now, think about the creator of the sign? What do you think they intended to accomplish with the sign? What is the message they want to get across? How successful do you think they are are creating a change in their audience.

I'll weigh in after you've had a chance to think and comment.

The Question to Ask in the Middle of a Difficult Time

In a  blog post, Michael Hyatt shares about a time when he had every reason to ask, "Why me?" and a bunch of other similar questions. And then he shares how he learned to shift his perspective. Hyatt says: 
At this point, I could have asked myself several questions:
  • Why am I so clumsy?
  • Why did I have both hands full?
  • Why does this have to happen now?
  • Why did I have to be in such a hurry?
  • What did I do to deserve this?
The problem with these questions is that they are completely unproductive and disempowering

They are natural, of course, and probably even necessary. It’s all part of the process of grieving a loss. But ultimately there are better questions.
One of the best questions you can ask when something negative happens is this:
“What does this experience make possible?”
Read the full post to find out what positive benefits Hyatt found in having broken foot, surgery, and recovery. A fantastic example of repurposing and upcycling. 

10.09.2013

Are you a pessimist, or optimist?


When God Turns Difficult Situations into Learning Experiences

As a means of simplifying my life a bit, I am merging my Repurposed and Upcycled blog with Faith Creativity Life, and creating a topical category for posts related to God's repurposing of our difficult circumstances. This is a post I originally featured on Feb. 7, 2013.

Repurposed and Upcycled
By: Robin Hakanson Paulsen

Repurposed and upcycled are not two words that I thought should exist for me 10-20 years ago.

Obligation and shame more accurately described how I felt.

Growing up as the oldest of five in a Christian home, I was responsible and followed the rules. I tested those rules often during my teen and early adult years. The things I “got away with” wouldn’t necessarily be considered criminal by most standards.

As a young adult, I jumped in and out of relationships, looking for “the one.” Don’t we all?

I thought I had found “the one” in a man who seemed to be everything that I was not, but wanted to be. He was driven, confident, professional, in-charge and spiritual. He was on the fast track in the professional realm, he was obtaining a master’s degree and he attended church every single weekend.

All of these attributes were foreign to me and my college-age friends. Not that we were irresponsible, but these things all seemed like “the next step,” which was not the step we were on. We paid our bills, went to class and/or our jobs and were more focused on how we would invest our time and paychecks on the weekends. Not odd for most people I know in their early twenties. After meeting and dating this man, I felt I had purpose in this type of life.

Until the day that I shared two lines with him. Neither of these lines contained words. They presented themselves on an early pregnancy test.
At the time, I would have to say there was a mutual feeling of responsibility, but not a mutual feeling of happiness.

We became engaged without a proposal of marriage. It was just an expectation and I went along with it.

We went to pre-marital counseling through his church of choice. I had questions that no one in this church could answer, and in spite of every red flag, I went along with it. I later recognized that my identity was required of me.

After marriage, everything looked happy and portrait-worthy. My husband made enough money for me to stay home and tend to the house and his needs. Shortly after, our son was born.

In the next five years, three girls would follow.

I admit to feeling fortunate that I was able to stay home with my kids. I would joke that my husband worked hard so I didn’t have to.

But that wasn’t true.

I worked hard to keep up a perfect image. But everything in my life was calculated and controlled.

I begged to get counseling. He conceded once, and then never again.
Nothing and everything changed in one night. It started off similar to every other night: I had the kids fed and cleaned up for bed. They were upstairs playing while I was cleaning the kitchen. Their father walked in from work, clearly upset. He heard the kids who were having fun, but loud.

The next few seconds happened like they occurred in slow motion. A briefcase was slammed. Angry words were shouted. Threats towards the children were made. Angry actions began like they were accustomed to.

Until I shouted back.

No. I would no longer allow this scenario to take place.

He didn’t think I would fight back; didn’t see anything wrong with our relationship and refused to accept responsibility. He threatened me with all the ways he had controlled me in the past; told me that no one would believe me, said that if I left him, I would be putting myself and the children in poverty, and said the Christian community of friends I had would believe I was a fraud.

We separated and divorced. Some things he said to me that night were true; some in the Christian community decided to look the other way. But in my mind and heart, I knew it wasn’t too late to model healthy independence for my kids. I could still teach my son that it is not okay to treat a woman this way. And I could teach my three girls that it is not okay to let someone treat you in this manner.

This night all led to what I now consider my “upcycled” life.

God created something new out of old patterns and behaviors. And none of it could have happened if I didn’t start out the way I did.

Statistics show that one in four women in churches today are in or have experienced an abusive relationship.

One-third of American woman have reported being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.

And one in every three high school students has been involved in an abusive relationship.

These are more than just statistics to me. These are people in my church, in my country and potentially, in my own home. I believe that because I have my own story that is still being lived out, I can help come alongside those with their own stories of control and abuse.


I share my story when I can, when God presents the opportunity around me. The subject matter does not make me feel better about myself and how I started out, but it does show me how God can use my story that already exists to help others walking through a controlling and abusive situation. This is how God has shown me that he can repurpose things for his glory and hope for others. What I once thought of as a curse, I now feel honored…that God would choose to repurpose my story for his good.

Robin Hakanson Paulsen is a freelance journalist, licensed massage therapist and mother to four from Iowa. You can get to know her through her blog: Write-On-Mom

Thank you for your guest post on The Repurposed and Upcycled Life, Robin! We appreciate your honesty and openness. Readers, remember, Robin's story is copyrighted and belongs to her. No material from this blog post may be used with out permission from the author. --Michelle

9.24.2013

Q and A with Author Davis Bunn

Yesterday, I told you about Davis Bunn's latest book, Unlimited. Today, I would like to tell you more about the author, and about the upcoming movie with the same title. 

About the Author

Davis Bunn is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author now serving as writer-in-residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Defined by readers and reviewers as a “wise teacher,” “gentleman adventurer,” “consummate writer,” and “Renaissance man,” his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages.

Unlimited is Davis’s first screenplay to be released as a major motion picture. The book, Unlimited, is a novelization of the screenplay.

Q & A with Davis Bunn

The storyline in Unlimited is inspired by true events. What actual events inspired the story?

Harold Finch was formerly the founder and CEO of the first management-leadership consulting groups in the US. In the mid-seventies he sold the company to H&R Block for over a hundred million dollars—back when a hundred million actually meant something. Answering God’s call, he has spent the past three decades traveling the world, teaching his concepts for free and helping underprivileged children learn that they do indeed have both a purpose in God’s eyes, and the potential to succeed. His experiences form the basis for this story.

What ignited your idea for the characters to create a device that would convert raw wasted energy into useable power?

I actually wrote the screenplay for the film before writing the novel. This happens occasionally—Godfather and Love Story were both conceived in this order. While working on the film script, the producer and Harold and I were discussing what might work as a basis for the story’s suspense element. We were looking for something that had the means of revealing this ‘unlimited’ potential in people. I don’t actually remember who first came up with the idea of wasted energy, but soon as it was said, we all jumped on it.

Simon Orwell, the protagonist in Unlimited, is a brilliant, cynical electrical engineering student who finds danger irresistible. Did you model his character traits after yourself or anyone you know?

Alas, we all know a Simon. These days, this type of person is all too common. An individual with huge potential, who allows himself or herself to become distracted by the multitude of temptations that basically define modern life. And yes, I do know several such people. Some turn this into hugely productive directions, thank goodness. Usually to do so requires divine help, a clarification of focus, and strength they must reach out and ask to receive.

Many of the characters in the story are orphans. What parallels do you see between the orphans in the story and real-life spiritual orphans?

A beautiful question. While researching the core components of this story, orphanage leaders repeatedly stressed the need to teach orphans to believe in themselves and their natural abilities. Too often they see themselves as lost, without purpose, without a role to play, without chances, without love. What made this story work, I think, is how Simon Orwell shares these same feelings about himself. And how he comes to realize God is the only one to fill this need.

The title, Unlimited, has multiple layers of meaning. What does that title mean to you?

Unlimited was the title brought to me by the film’s producers. When I first began working on this story, it was just that, a title. But as I grew to know Harold, and heard him teach, and read his lesson plan, and then actually applied what he has come to call his ‘Dynamic Life Retreat’ (see Harold full teachings on his website, HaroldFinch.com) I have come to agree with them in their choice. Bringing God into the equation of life’s direction, success, and reaching full potential does reveal the true meaning of Unlimited.

Movie Trailer

9.23.2013

Davis Bunn Releases New Book, 'Unlimited'

Where would you turn if you were stuck in Mexico without a passport, your car burned up, and the one person you knew is missing? In Unlimited by Davis Bunn, Simon Orwell crosses the border into Mexico to meet up with a professor he knows well, but a simple presentation on a new energy machine turns into a nightmare. With past regrets and a hit man both on his tail, Simon has to decide whom he can trust, and figure out how to get to the bottom of the death of his friend.

'Unlimited' the movie releases October 16, and after reading the book, I'd really like to see it! Check tomorrow's blog post for a movie trailer and an interview with Davis Bunn.

My Thoughts on the Book

The book is action-packed from beginning to end, and keeps the reader engaged. I like Davis Bunn’s writing style and I like the characters he creates. Even the “bad guys” have some redeeming qualities which I like. It keeps me connected to the story, and wondering who really are the good guys and bad guys. I like that the book has a lot of action, but it’s tastefully done in a way that keeps me hooked as a reader but not so freaked out that I can’t sleep at night. I also like the way the dialogue keeps the action moving forward.

Bunn’s characters are all multi-dimensional. Simon is processing some unfortunate circumstances from his past, as well as past indiscretions. The reader sees his journey and I felt his responses were realistic and not canned. Other characters are also processing emotional baggage: being orphaned, abandoned, afraid of the drug cartel, wounded and needing to forgive, trust issues, and more. I like that Bunn weaves in an element of faith without pasting in unrealistic conversions or preachy moments.

The book is well done, and I highly recommend it to both male and female readers who like a little action along with characters on a journey of self-discovery. My only drawback would be that about 3/4 of the way through, I figured out a significant part of the mystery.

I received a free review copy of the book from the publisher. I am not obligated to write a favorable review.

Synopsis
Simon Orwell is a brilliant student whose life has taken a series of wrong turns. At the point of giving up on his dreams, he gets a call from an old professor who has discovered a breakthrough in a device that would create unlimited energy. He needs Simon's help.

Upon crossing the border, nothing goes as the young man planned. The professor has been killed and Simon is assaulted and nearly killed by members of a powerful drug cartel.

Now he must take refuge in the only place that will help him, a local orphanage. There, Simon meets Harold Finch, the orphanage proprietor who walked away from a lucrative career with NASA and consulting Fortune 500 companies to serve a higher cause.

With Harold's help, Simon sets out on a quest to uncover who killed the professor and why. In due time, he will discover secrets to both the world-changing device and his own unlimited potential.

Want to read the first three chapters? Check Davis Bunn's facebook page for how you can get them free.

Sweepstakes / Giveaway


You could win a $50 Fandango gift card plus UNLIMITED, Davis Bunn's new suspense novel. Ten additional winners will receive a copy of UNLIMITED. Enter right now by clicking this link: http://woobox.com/mp5qew 

Note: Pinning is NOT required to enter (the pins are just for fun). Simply enter your name and e-mail address in the form on Davis Bunn’s Facebook page. You can enter once per email address per day.


Rack up lots of bonus entries each day by sharing the contest with your Facebook and Twitter friends!

9.18.2013

Book Feature: When the Morning Glory Blooms

When can a mother’s nightmare also be her greatest blessing? When her teenage daughter gives birth to her first grandchild and continues being a teenager. In Cynthia Ruchti’s book, When the Morning Glory Blooms, readers walk through the journey of mom ‘Becky’ as she parents both her daughter Lauren and her grandson. It’s a heart-tugging story that draws the reader in, wondering, would I be as gracious as Becky? But that isn’t the only story in the book. Woven throughout the book are the stories of two other women, Anna, and Ivy. The stories take the reader through three different eras with the women, with an underlying thread that ties them all together.

That thread is what makes this book special. Each woman is affected in some way but premature motherhood. By this I mean mothers who are young, single, and striving to figure out what to do.

Ruchti artfully weaves a theme into the book without preaching at readers or bashing unwed mothers. Instead, she draws the reader in to explore the subject in a way that leaves them wondering what they would do in similar circumstances. Gone is the judging, replaced by a climate of grace that only comes from a writer who has lived it and understood the complexity of loving a young person through the process of stumbling and getting back up again.

A great read. I loved the blend of historical and contemporary. 

Want to know more about the author? Check out Hope that Glows in the Dark. 

8.19.2013

Becoming, Not Finding a Soul Mate

I met my husband when I was 15 years old and we started dating the summer I turned 16. We were young, and immature, but our relationship is nearly three decades old. How did I know my husband was the right one for me? I didn't know from the moment our eyes locked across the church sanctuary. Nor was it love at first date.

I ran across a blog post recently in which the author declared that her husband is not her soul mate. The author's observations about marriage and the daily commitment it takes are precisely right. But the concept of a 'soul mate' captured my thoughts. I can't declare that I don't believe in soul mates, because that isn't true. I do. The problem arises with how the term is defined. Here is how it is often perceived:
A girl makes a list of the qualities she wants in a husband. She waits because God has this one man picked out for her and when they finally find each other they will live happily ever after. Translated, she must search until she finds that one person God chose for her. The heavens will part and her heart will flutter when she meets that man.
What's wrong with this? It sets up a fairy tale with expectations potentially too high for any human to reach. And there is no biblical support for the concept as define this way. The idea of a list of characteristics that the perfect mate will have is also flawed if we have created such a list without consulting God in any way. There is no biblical indication that God will bend his will to meet mine. Rather, it's the other way around.

But, I refuse to throw away the idea of a soul mate. The problem is with how we are misguided in our definition of the term. I believe my husband is my soul mate. Here is why:
I believe in God's sovereignty and I believe he will lead me to make decisions that are in my best interest, if I keep my heart surrendered to his leading. I believe that when two people keep their hearts in tune with God, he will lead them to the best mate who complements each. When God is in charge of a marriage, two people become soul mates because their souls are each so tied to God that they become one with each other. Rather than a mate chosen for me from the beginning of time, my husband is a godly man who crossed my path at a time when we were both open to God's leading in our lives. And the list of qualities I'd dream of in a husband? Godly and loving were the only two items that needed to remain on the list. The rest were artificial 'needs.'
God does have a plan for every person's life. For some, it is to marry. For others it isn't. For those who do marry, it is impossible to make a wise choice in a mate without involving God in the process. In this, he does lead us to the right person for us. Many might reject the idea of a soul mate based on the divorce rate in our country. Far too many people go contrary to their own conscience in marrying, having been swept away by an illusion of commitment with no real depth in the relationship. As soon as reality sets in and the relationship becomes work, they decide their spouse wasn't their soul mate after all.

In contrast, I believe my husband became my soul mate the moment he slipped a ring on my youthful finger nearly 24 years ago. I committed to love him, through the ups and downs, no matter what came our way. I pledged to hang in there, even when the infatuation wore off and I didn't feel as in love. We committed our souls to God, the the ever-present glue that binds us together. 

God did have the two of us set apart for one another. Not in some predetermined match program guided by our wish lists for a spouse, but because God knew I would need a patient man who knew how to handle me when I flip out. I would need a kind and gentle husband to soothe my rough edges. And my husband would need a wife who would pep talk him through days of raising support for full time ministry and keep a well-organized home to balance his child-like fun-loving spirit. He brought us together because He determined it, not because we dreamed it to be in a list.

The future husband I created in my mind when I was fourteen or fifteen years old was founded on foolish immaturity. God brought me a man who had a depth I couldn't have imagined at that young age.


A soul mate does not mean a perfect mate. It means our souls are both committed and dependent on God to help us get through every imperfection we bring to the union. That we work through our conflicts and stay true to the promise we made. 

We aren't like two kids in love anymore. We sit in our recliners at night, one sleeping, the other on her laptop writing blog posts. We poke each other all night long to get the other to stop snoring. We argue sometimes and act selfishly. Yet, we're more soul mates now than ever before because the grace of God has carried us through so much. 

We didn't find our soul mates. We became them.


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