"Plows Down" ~ Great Title For A Murder Mystery

The plows are down in Brooklyn!!!

The scene outside our house on Avenue S in Brooklyn. Two plows stuck with a row of buses behind them.

Another view of buses unable to continue on Avenue S, Brooklyn. This is a major artery which had been plowed at least once earlier in the storm. These buses weigh tons and are trying to maneuver through six inches to a foot of snow over a layer of ice.

Steven James, Inspy Awards 2010 Winner, Thriller/Suspense/Mystery

It was a total blast taking the journey our committed panel of judges in the Inspy Awards 2010 Thriller/Suspense/Mystery category embarked upon. A pilgrimage into what demonstrates the highest levels literary talent in the general area of Christian crime fiction — and what constitutes Christian themes in literature.

Winner:  Steven James ~ The Knight

The statement issued by our panel of judges: Mark Buzzard, Kim Ford, Tim George, Dee Stewart, and myself.

How does one (who has no Christian reference points) make that first step toward the Lord? Where does that first question about spirituality come from? How does the author make it believable? Steven James makes it believable. This question encapsulates many of the judges’ thoughts about Patrick Bowers as he struggles to solve a series of grizzly crimes in the INSPY Award winner for the Thriller/Suspense/Crime Fiction category. The literary skill employed by James creates a story that steals the reader’s sleep while also stealing their breath. Creating an unforgettable set of characters who face an unimaginable and escalating series of terrifying crimes, James captures both the imagination and heart of the reader as he spins his tale.

Steven Jame’s website: http://stevenjames.net/

A Christmas Title with Some Angst by Shawna Williams

I’m thrilled to Shawna Williams doing a holiday interview as her new book In All Things has just been released. I’ve gotten to know Shawna in the last year and I absolutely can attest that she’s on of those Christian ladies who is lovely inside and out. Now on to the interview.

Nike: You know  In All Things is the perfect Christmas themed novel for this blog, even though it’s not a crime fiction novel. A lot of people are in a bad place as the holidays approach, while others get uplifted by the season only to plunge back into their usual depression in mid-January. Angst and self-doubt are some emotions your main characters are all too familiar with. What made you write this book?

Shawna: This book had originally started with a dream I had. It’s prequel, No Other, was inspired from that same dream. I wanted to write a story about God’s Grace and His sovereignty in all things. I don’t know anyone who has led a perfect life, made all the right choices and never had anything bad happen. Life isn’t easy, but God is always in control, working wonders and creating beauty from devastation. It’s usually not instantaneous, but it is assured. I wanted to write a story that portrayed this.

Nike: Your heroine, Meri, a successful actress in the novel, is disappointed when she comes home for Christmas to her abusive parents and finds nothing has changed. Isn’t it true that many of us who walk with the Lord have made huge changes in our lives, whereas some dysfunctional  family members and friends may have made the choice to remain as they were. How does this realization impact Meri and the direction the novel takes?

Shawna: It drudges up a lot of old pain that she’s buried for a number of years. For ten years, she’d told herself that what they thought of her didn’t matter. Jakob’s love was enough. Only it wasn’t. Jakob’s love was good, but he, like anyone, is only human. The love he offers is genuine, but it’s not enough to satisfy the soul. That kind of love only comes from God. Meri doesn’t learn this right away. She’s hurt, and the pain goes through a number of stages; rebellion, vengeance, self-blame and self-destructive behavior. Meri has to accept that some things are beyond her control, and allow God to help her work through her grief so she can understand what she’s been craving all those years was Him.

Nike: Jakob is such a complex character. He’s helped to make his wife Meri a Hollywood star, sacrificing a lot of his own life…only to find out being a celebrity may not have been what she wanted. In addition he has his own family issues. How does he reconcile all this?

Shawna: He is a complex character. Jakob’s biggest issue has always been his pride. His pride isn’t the snooty kind, it’s the protective kind. When he’s unable to protect or be all the things that he believes he needs to be he gets defensive. In the first book, No Other, Jakob had to face down a lot of this because of the internment that happened to his family. In In All Things there is one more thing he has to turn loose and trust to God, and that’s Meri. Pride had a lot to do with him pushing for Meri’s success because Jakob wanted to be good enough for her. He also wanted to cover the disgrace he’d brought to her by getting her pregnant before they were married. He believes that by being successful these other things will be forgotten. Instead of Meri learning to trust God and turn to Him for her needs, she’s always relied on Jakob. Jakob has to accept that he can’t be all that Meri needs, and when he tries to be he gets in the way. It’s hard for him to admit this. He’s afraid of failing her, and terrified of losing her. Entrusting her fate to God is a real struggle.

Nike: What would you like your readers get out of reading In All Things?

Shawna: Pretty much the same things Jakob and Meri learn. But also, there are side stories involving Jakob’s family and Roger, and I want the reader to ponder on the good things that come from the bad – not just in the story, but in life

Nike: Let’s talk about you. What’s your favorite part of the holidays?

Shawna: Everything. My kinds call me Christmas crazy, and I just adore every second. The time spent and memoires made with family are the best!

In All Things can be purchased at the Desert Breeze website.  http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-118/Shawna-Williams-In-All/Detail.bok

It can also be gotten at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/In-All-Things-ebook/dp/B004A14PPQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1291432352&sr=1-1