Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Whisper on the Wind by Maureen Lang

Hi Friends!

Here's the new novel I have to tell you about this week:

Whisper on the Wind by Maureen Lang

She risked everything to rescue him.
But what if he doesn’t want to be saved?

Belgium, 1916

The German Imperial Army may have conquered Belgium on its march through Europe, but the small country refuses to be defeated. An underground newspaper surfaces to keep patriotism alive and bring hope and real news of the war to the occupied country. It may be a whisper amongst the shouts of the German army, but it’s a thorn in their side nonetheless—and Edward Kirkland will do anything to keep it in print . . . even risk his life.

Isa Lassone is a Belgium socialite whose family fled Europe at the first rumblings of war. Now, two years later, she sneaks back across enemy lines, determined to rescue Edward—the man she has loved from afar since she was a child.

But will he ever see her as more than the wealthy, silly girl his mother once cared for as a daughter?

When Edward refuses to leave, so does Isa, and soon she is drawn into his dangerous double life. But the Germans are closing in on the paper, and Edward had never planned to put any one else at risk . . . especially the beautiful, smart, yet obstinate young woman who has inconveniently managed to work her way into his life—and into his heart.

A note from Maureen:

Whisper on the Wind holds a special place in my heart, because I conceived the idea during a time in my life when I wasn’t actively writing. I knew “someday” when I could devote myself to writing again, this would be the book I’d write. And here it is, years later—a book inspired by the true events surrounding a Belgian newspaper, La Libre Belgique. During the German occupation of Belgium in the First World War, the Germans ordered every legitimate Belgian newspaper to submit to censorship—and so sprang up La Libre Belgique, one of the few voices of opposition to the propaganda the Germans circulated. Their goal was to bring hope to a suppressed nation, and many people lost everything from their freedom to their fortunes, some even their lives to see this paper circulated. With so much material, it was easy to create a romantic tale of adventure and intrigue, so I hope you’ll enjoy the story—knowing the story-behind-the story is full of factual history.

A little about Maureen:
Maureen Lang is the author of several novels, including Pieces of Silver (a Christy finalist), The Oak Leaves (Holt Medallion Award of Merit, finalist in ACFW’s Book of the Year and Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence contests) and Look to the East (Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest winner and Carol Award finalist). She is also the recipient of RWA’s Golden Heart and ACFW’s Noble Theme Award (now the Genesis). Maureen lives in the Midwest with her family and their much-loved dog, Susie.

Visit her Web site at www.maureenlang.com

Whisper on the Wind is available at any bookstore, from Tyndale House Publishers or online at:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Whisper-Wind-Great-War-No/dp/1414324367/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276273621&sr=1-8

Barnes and Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Whisper-on-the-Wind/Maureen-Lang/e/9781414324364/?itm=11&USRI=marueen+lang

Christian Book Distributors: http://www.christianbook.com/whisper-the-wind-the-great-war/maureen-lang/9781414324364/pd/324364?item_code=WW&netp_id=754871&event=ESRCN&view=details

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Feeling the Flames? Encouragement for Life's Heat

Hi Friends,

In honor of our first hot day this summer, I wanted to share some thoughts about when we're in life's fires and the heat gets to be a little much. So, here ya go:

It was a cool autumn day when our tour bus chugged slowly up the road to Tuolumne Meadows. Majestic evergreens rose on either side of us and towered over the smaller bushes beneath them. I leaned over and opened the window, hoping to get a whiff of the sweet scent of pine. I took a deep breath and frowned. I didn’t smell pine. I smelled fire!

I stuck my head a little further out the window and searched the sky for the telltale smudge of smoke. There! A few hundred yards before us a dark plume rose over the trees.

I clutched the seat in front of me as the bus rumbled up the hill and headed toward the smoke. The road curved, and I saw it – a line of orange flames running low and fast up the bank to our right. The ground near the road was black and charred, and I knew that in minutes the entire hillside would look the same.

We pulled abreast of the flames, and I could feel the heat on my cheeks. My knuckles turned white on the seatback. Where were the helicopters? The fire trucks? The flashing lights that would tell me that someone was doing something to stop the blaze?
Then, I spotted something odd. Five rangers stood at the base of the hill not thirty yards in front of the bus. But they weren’t fighting the fire. Instead they were watching it progress.

I was about to shout to the bus driver when his voice boomed from the loudspeaker overhead. “Some of you may be wondering about the fire off to our right,” he said in the same calm, lackadaisical tone he’d used when pointing out a grove of giant sequoias ten minutes before.

“Why aren’t those rangers putting it out?” hollered someone from the back.

The driver smiled into the rearview mirror. “They aren’t putting it out because they’re the ones who set it.”

“What?” I, and about twenty others, gasped.

The driver chuckled and slowed the bus to a stop. “Yep, this here’s a controlled burn, folks. When the underbrush gets too thick the rangers burn it away to prevent wildfires later.”

So much for Smokey the Bear.

The driver continued his explanation as if reading my thoughts. “Not all fires are bad. This one will clean out the dangerous underbrush and return nutrients to the soil.” He pointed out the window. “If you look closely, you’ll see the big trees are unharmed. It may look bad now, but you just wait till next spring. This’ll be the most beautiful part of the forest.” With that, the bus jerked forward and continued down the road.

As the fire disappeared behind us, I sat back and thought about the controlled burn. I’d always considered fire a destructive force (unless of course, it was neatly contained within my fireplace!). But this was something entirely different. Here was a fire that cleansed the forest, nourished it, and prevented rather than caused destruction. Was this type of thing the Bible meant when it said “our God is a consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24 and Hebrews 12:29)? I’d interpreted that passage as a picture of God’s wrath toward his enemies. But what if “consuming fire” wasn’t an analogy for destruction, but for purification? Perhaps what Hebrews and Deuteronomy were saying was that God wants to be like the controlled burn – he wants to sweep through my life and burn up those things that are stifling my growth. Maybe the purpose of God’s fire was also to nourish me and to safeguard me from wildfires of temptation and sin.

As the smell of smoke dwindled behind us, I decided that I wanted to be like the forest. I wanted to stand still before God’s cleansing flame and let his fire do its work in my life, even if the process seemed painful, even if it was a little scary.

These days, when I see parts of my life withering away beneath God’s hand, I remember the fire on the way to Tuolumne Meadows. Then, I can trust that when God’s done, I’ll see that I, like the forest, will be beautiful in the spring.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall

Hi Friends,

Here's the new book I have to tell you about this week:

The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall
Release date Tuesday, August 31, 2010!

Headstrong schoolteacher Lena Kauffman finds herself at the center of controversy in her Amish community when a young man in her classroom refuses to submit to her authority. As her friends and family rally around her, especially longtime friend Grey Graber, things go from bad to worse when Grey’s wife, Elsie, becomes an accidental target in trouble meant for Lena. As the present unravels around them, each must find their own way through their private pain in order to find peace and a brighter future.

The Bridge of Peace is the second novel in the Ada’s House series and it returns to Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and the beloved characters from The Hope of Refuge. The Hope of Refuge—Christy finalist, Inspirational Readers Choice Contest finalist, and a Carol Award finalist.

To read the first chapter of The Bridge of Peace or see a list of places to order it online, go to http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/books/bridge-of-peace_excerpt.php .

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish community has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. She’s coauthor of an upcoming spring release, Plain Wisdom, which is a nonfiction book of touching and humorous life events written with an Old Order Amish friend.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Are You Walking a Rocky Path? Don't Give Up!

Hi Friends,

I've been considering lately when it is that we can usually best see God's glory. When is our vision clearer? When are we most likely to catch a glimpse of the wonder? And as I was thinking, I was reminded of a hiking trip to Yosemite from several years ago.

On that trip, the hiking trail zig-zagged up the mountain in a long line, studded with stones. I shifted my backpack and continued the climb. At points, the path narrowed to a thin strip or rose at angles steeper than I’d expected. In other places, I stumbled over sharp rocks covered with moss. At one point, a stream blocked the trail, forcing me to balance precariously on a fallen tree trunk to continue my journey. The trek was more than a casual Sunday hike, but I deemed it worth the work, for the view from the trail was breathtaking. Snow-capped cliffs lifted majestic faces over the lush, green valley. Proud pines rose like mighty sentinels guarding the sky. Rare flowers, dressed like princesses at a royal ball, swayed in the breeze. These sights could only be seen from the mountainside. And I knew that as I climbed higher, I would see things even more lovely.

Life is like that, too. And walking in God’s ways is a lot like hiking. The climb can be difficult, and the path rocky, but the view is beyond compare. With each step, we see more clearly the glory of God.

So, today, if rocks pile up before you, take a moment to look at the view – the tall pines of God’s love, the soaring cliffs of his righteousness, and the multi-colored flowers of His daily blessings in your life.

Look up, breathe deeply, and keep on going up the path. And may His wonder surround you at every step, whether rocky or smooth.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Unexpected Gifts - Lessons from an Ugly Pup

Hi Friends,

Yesterday on my Facebook Reader page (www.facebook.com/MarloSchalesky), I asked people to share a gift they've enjoyed from God in the past few days. It was so fun, and rich, reading through the responses and seeing all the different ways God is blessing and giving gifts in our lives. (And I was able to share about how Bryan's been able to testify in Sacramento this week before a couple of Senate committees about a bill that will, if passed, stop huge waste in spending for some of the school districts across the state -- anyone who knows anything about the troubles with California's budget knows how important something like this is!)

Anyway, as I read through the many diverse blessings and gifts God is giving people, I was reminded how God also gives us unexpected gifts -- and sometimes gifts in ugly packages (which was a major theme in Shades of Morning, my latest book). I then remembered the first time God brought that lesson home to me, many years now, when Bryan and I got our first dogs, and I found God's gift to me in an ugly little puppy named Cisco.

Here's how it happened:

"Hey, you guys want a puppy?" our friends, Steve and Angela, asked one day after church. "They'll be born in about a month."

"Nah. I got enough work to do," I said.

Steve smiled. "They're boxers."

"Boxers? Really?" My husband and I spun around. We loved boxers. But, they were hard to come by, and expensive at that, so we'd never gotten one.

"Yeah, purebreds." Steve's grin broadened. "So, what do you say?"

"I've changed my mind. We definitely want one!" The words tumbled from my mouth.

In a month, right on schedule, seven little boxer puppies were born. With hearts filled with longing, Bryan and I leaned over the litter and eyed each one. Which would we choose? Six were just adorable, with their little black faces and pushed in noses. The seventh, on the other hand, was not. An ugly pinkish-white splotch spread over his entire face, making him look more like a rat than a dog.

"Yuck. What happened to that one?" I said, pointing at the white-faced pup.

Angela sighed. "We might end up having to keep that one. I can't imagine anyone picking him."

I shrugged and studied the cute puppies.

Bryan stepped next to me. "Which one do you like the best?"

"What about that one?" I pointed to a pup with a thin white stripe up his face.

Bryan picked up the puppy and handed him to me. "This is the one I like, too."

Steve smiled. "Hey, why don't you guys take two?"

"Could we?" Bryan turned to me. "Is there another one you like?"

"Well, let me hold me a different one and I'll see."

Bryan headed toward the puppy pen.

"Any one but that ugly little white faced one!" I added as Bryan reached into the pen. Then, one by one I held the other five pups, but none seemed "just right."

Finally, five weeks rolled around. Like new parents, we gazed down at the wiggling mass of puppies. There they all were, six little black faced cuties, and one . . . wait a minute! There was the white faced pup, and he was the cutest of the bunch.

We brought all the little boxers out to play on the mat, and the white-faced one played with Bryan and I, licked our faces, and wagged his little nubby tail. I couldn't resist. We claimed our second pup.

In the years to come, Cisco became a special blessing to me. He snuggled with me when I was sad, comforted me through years of infertility, romped with me when I was happy, and sat curled at my feet when I watched television. Often, Bryan lwould look at us, shake his head, and say, "He's definitely your dog."

And to think that I once said, "Any puppy but that ugly little white faced one."

Cisco made me wonder how many gifts from God I turned my back on because they seemed a little ugly at first, or weren't what I had in mind. Maybe it was that lunch with someone who sort of bugged me, or the Bible study I just didn't have time for, or the neighborhood get-together that I felt too tired to attend.

So, even now when he's gone (Cisco died a few years ago - he just got old), Cisco is a reminder to me to look beyond my initial reactions to see what God may have for me. I try not to say "yuck!" too quickly, but instead remember that the ugly, white-faced puppies in my life may really be special gifts from God, sent just for me.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Awesome Quotes from Leadership Summit

Hi Friends!

Well, here's my weekly blog post ... three days late! Been gone on a family trip to Las Vegas (and lived to tell! ;-)), and then spent two days at the Global Leadership Summit. I thought it would be fun to share some quotes from the Summit. See what you think! Which one is your favorite??

--Leaders move people from here to there by first showing why "here" is not okay, and only then showing how great "there" will be. -- Bill Hybels

--Many of us have to-do lists, but do you have a "stop doing list" too? -- Jim Collins

--Like a tiny flashlight in a closet, it doesn't take much light to dispel the darkness. -- Christine Caine

--True leadership is helping others do better by encouraging and empowering. --Tony Dungy

--To resist temptation, remember who you are. -- Adam Hamilton

--China is back. With the cross, she will be a blessing to the world. Without it, she can be a curse. Pray for China. -- Dr. Peter Zhao Xiao

--There are problems that shouldn't be solved, and tensions that shouldn't be resolved. Progress depends on the successful management of those problems and tensions. -- Andy Stanley

--In the land between where you have been and where you want to be, trust evicts complaint. They are incompatible roommates. -- Jeff Manion

--To be innovative, you have to create an atmosphere of collaboration. -- Terri Kelly

--Our nature is to be active and engaged. That's our default. If we're passive and inert, something's wrong! -- Daniel H. Pink

--Passion and compassion are the marks of dynamic leadership. --Blake Mycoskie

--Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be. -- Jack Welch

--Others learn as much from your struggles as they do from your strengths. Be transparent. --T.D. Jakes

Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith

Hi Friends,

Here's a new novel I wanted to tell you about LAST week, but I was out of town. So here it is now. Looks fascinating!

Here's what the author, Jill Eileen Smith, has to say about ABIGAIL, Book 2 in her Wives of King David series:

Abigail released February 1, 2010 and is book 2 in The Wives of King David series. Bathsheba, book 3, releases March 1, 2011. Michal, book 1 is available now.

A little about Jill:
Jill Eileen Smith has been married for 33 years to her beloved engineer husband, Randy, and together they have three adult sons. Two sons live in California pursuing a film career, and one lives at home finishing an English degree. She was a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom for 12 years so the transition to almost-empty-nester has been tough! She is most grateful for technology, particularly Skype. Jill lives with her family in Southeastern Michigan.

Ten random things about her:
1. I am a third-born, married to a third-born, and we have three sons.
2. My maiden name and married name are the same.
3. I collect refrigerator magnets of places I’ve been.
4. I was a high-school valedictorian.
5. My hubby and I used to be camp counselors.
6. Randy (hubby) used to take me drag racing in his '66 Mustang.
7. Traveled to most of the continental U.S.; plus Canada, Hawaii, and Israel.
8. Used to sing solos in church.
9. Catered food for a music video production for my kids.
10. I love Bible trivia questions

Now about Abigail:
Abigail is the third wife of King David and her journey is one of heartache and shattered dreams, but in the end she grows stronger for what she has endured and her relationship to David takes an interesting turn.

Here's the back-cover copy:
What price must she pay for true love?
Her days marked by turmoil and faded dreams, Abigail has resigned herself to a life with a man she does not love. When her husband Nabal’s foolish pride angers David and his men, she boldly steps forward to save her family—and David, the would-be king, takes notice.

Circumstances offer Abigail a second chance at happiness with the handsome David, and she takes a leap of faith to join his wandering tribe. But her struggles are far from over. How can she share his love with the other women he insists on marrying?

Abigail follows the bestselling Michal and continues Jill Eileen Smith’s rich story of David’s wives.
Available from Amazon and fine bookstores everywhere.