Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo


This book is quite a revelation and there is so much the little boy reveals that is entirely Biblical. It is so hard to fathom Colton experienced so much in just three minutes in Heaven. I know there are a lot of people who need affirmation as well as deep assurances that Heaven is absolutely for real, just as Jesus is for real, and the Bible is for real.

My faith is such that I do not need this kind of assurance because I have gotten all my assurances from Scripture. After all my God created the heavens and the earth. My God calmed the sea and walked upon it. I do not need the experiences of a little boy to assure me that Heaven is real for I have received that knowledge through the Holy Spirit.

I do not think we will have wings because John tells emphatically  that we will be like Jesus. He did not sport wings when He appeared to the 500 witnesses or even to the disciples in the locked room. However, I won't let that minor detail influence my awe at the knowledge of a little boy who died on the operating table for a few minutes especially when he is so strident in insisting a person MUST know Jesus before he/she dies. I agree heartily.

Rating: 5 of 5 stars


Now I Walk On Death Row by Dale S. Recinella

I have read a lot of nonficition, and Christian nonfiction. I have not read something so moving or so compelling as this book since "Held Hostage" by Ken Cooper. Dale actually mentions Ken Cooper's ministry and the impact it had on those he was ministering to in his own ministry.

I have always known there are saved Catholics just like there are saved Baptists; and there are unsaved Catholics just like there are unsaved Baptists. Dale Racinella portrays the epitome of  a full blood, true blue Christian, saved by grace and doing the work Jesus had prepared for him to do before the foundation of the world.

When I read of those who minister to prisoners, I always think of Jesus teaching "When I was hungry, you gave Me to eat; when I was thirsty, you gave Me drink; when I was sick you visited Me, and in prison you came to Me..." loose paraphrase.

Dale Recinella had the courage to ask, "Did Jesus really mean what He said?" After a long walk, he received his answer which was an emphatic, "Yes!" He has been blessed through so many sacrifices as he and his family strive to do what Jesus said do.

I highly recommend "Now I Walk On Death Row". It will make you cry, it will make you laugh, and it will jump start you into believing Jesus meant exactly what He said, and deeply desires you to do what He said to do. I shall pray for this man because Jesus is using him in a mighty way to offer hope to the dying, and help to those who desire to meet Him. It takes great courage to do what Dale and his family are doing. I'm wondering if you have that same courage to ask, "Did Jesus really mean what He said?"

Five of Five Stars

Inspiring Memoir in the Tradition of Born Again
As a high-powered finance lawyer, Dale Recinella was living the American dream. With prestige, power, and unthinkable paychecks at his fingertips, his life was least on paper. But on the heels of closing a huge deal for the Miami Dolphins, Dale's life took an unfathomable turn. He heard--and heeded--Jesus's call to sell everything he owned and follow him. Thus began a radical quest to live out the words of Jesus--no matter what the cost.
In this quick-paced, well-written story, Recinella shares his amazing journey from growing up in an ethnic neighborhood in Detroit to racing through "the good life" on Wall Street to finally walking the God's path for him of ministry on death row.

Dale S. Recinella has served for twenty years a volunteer chaplain and for thirteen years as a lay chaplain for Florida’s death row and solitary confinement. A licensed Florida lawyer for over thirty years, Dale also serves as vice president finance and planning for Christian Healing Ministries. He and his wife, Susan, have five children and live in Macclenny, Florida.


Marketing: The B-Word by Randy Ingermanson

This is an excerpt from Randy's newsletter which I HIGHLY recommend...

4) Marketing: The B-Word

Recently, I did an interview on the blog of Larry Brooks at One of the questions he asked was this one:

If you had an elevator ride with an aspiring writer who recognized you, what would you tell him is either the biggest and costliest mistake newer writers make ... or the best thing they can do for their skill-set and career ... or both?

That really got my neurons firing. Here's the answer I


New writers often fail to understand the importance of branding. When you attach your name to a novel and publish it, that's an implicit contract you're making with your reader: "I promise to produce more fiction like this in the future."

If you violate that contract, then your reader feels cheated. Even if your next book is fantastic, it's not what the reader was expecting.

This has nothing to do with being "typecast" as an author. It has everything to do with setting expectations and then meeting those expectations.

Let's say you go to a Chinese restaurant and order their "Buddha's Delight Vegi Plate." The meal is amazing. You tell all your friends about it. You come back a month later with your buddy and . . . that plate is no longer on the menu. In fact, all the Chinese food items are gone. Instead, you've got a choice between an incredibly tempting "Eggplant Parmesan" or an equally inviting "Chile Relleno."

Those are great dishes, both of them. But you came to the restaurant to have Chinese food! And that's exactly what you didn't get. No matter how good the actual menu is, the restaurant violated its implicit contract with you. And you're mad as heck. Rightly so. You won't go back to that place and you'll tell all your friends to give it a skip.

Consistency matters. Quality and consistency.

When we talk about an author's brand, we mean the set of expectations the reader has when they see your name on the cover.

If you don't want to meet those expectations, that's fine. Do the right thing and use a different pen name for that new, cool category you want to write.

Treat your readers the way you want to be treated.
They'll reward you for it.

That's a pretty long answer. Many authors hate the "B-word" -- branding -- because they don't want to be "typecast."

That's understandable. That's common, in fact.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tried to kill off Sherlock Holmes because he felt that his "literary energies should not be directed too much into one channel."

Eventually, public clamor forced him to bring Sherlock back for many more adventures.

Conan Doyle worried that the time he spent writing the Holmes mysteries "may perhaps have stood a little in the way of the recognition of my more serious literary work."

Can anyone remember what that more serious literary work actually was? Sherlock Holmes has trained several generations of young people to think logically. What could be more serious than that?

But what if you really can't be bottled up in one single brand? Then what do you do? Are you doomed?

Not at all. If you're running a successful Chinese restaurant and you desperately want to start cooking Italian food, the solution is simple: Open an Italian restaurant under a different name and sell some pasta.
Ditto if you want to open a Mexican restaurant.

The one thing you don't want to do is call them all the same thing. "Lotus Garden" would be a fine name for a Chinese restaurant. Not so much for Italian or Mexican.

A brand is a fairly squishy thing, but I like to think of it as a combination of three things:
* Your name.
* The associations people think of when they hear your name.
* The advance decision your fans make that "I want that author's next book, whatever it is" COMBINED with the advance decision your non-fans make that "I have read that author's work and I won't buy it again because it's just not for me."

If people don't know your name, then you have a weak brand.

If people know your name, but they really don't have any strong associations with it, then you have a weak brand.

If people know your name and if when they see your name on the cover of a book, they INSTANTLY know what that book is going to be about AND they know whether they want that book or not, then you have a strong brand.

So if you want to split your brand, the simple solution is to write under one or more pen names. You can make a big secret out of this or you can be totally open.
Either way, nobody will really care.

What your readers care about is that when they see your name on the cover, they know right away whether they want the book or not. Life demands enormous numbers of decisions from us every day. A strong brand is one fewer decision that your fans have to make.

If you write under multiple names, this will certainly mean that some of your fans are going to LOVE one of your names and HATE one of your others.

This is good. This means that you won't lose readers who don't happen to like everything you write. Your separate brands may lead to widely separate fan bases.

Have you defined your brand (or brands) yet? If not, you can get started right now. Bear in mind that branding is a life-long process, so you'll never really finish, but it's one of the most important things you can do in your writing career.

Here's how to start. For each category of fiction that you want to write, answer these questions:

* What author name will I use for books in this category?
* How many books do I intend to write in this category?
* What three things do I want people to think INSTANTLY when they see this author name in large letters on the cover of a book?

I strongly recommend that you use a different author name for each category.

The number of books that you intend to write in a given category will determine how much work you want to put into promoting the brand for that category.

The associations that you want people to make with your author name will define the length of your books, the quality of your writing, the type of art on your covers, and the publishers you choose to work with.

Branding is a painful process. It forces you to examine yourself closely, and that can be scary.

You can always soothe the pain of that self-scrutiny by going out to eat at your favorite Chinese-Italian- Mexican restaurant

8) Reprint Rights

Permission is granted to use any of the articles in this e-zine in your own e-zine or web site, as long as you include the following 2-paragraph blurb with it:

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, "the Snowflake Guy," publishes the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 25,000 readers, every month. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit

Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.


The Alarmists by Don Hoesel

Here is a suspense novel that is written from a sociologist's POV, no wait, it's from the villain's POV, no wait, it's from the POV of a scruffy henchman who roams the desert. In other words, this is a bird's eye view of a story about the Mayan calendar ending on 2012 with a diabolical villain who actually wants the world to end; and it's up to Brent Michaels to figure out how it's going to happen.

Typical professor submerges himself in facts and details from seemingly random violent acts because the elite military group can't do it without him. The story traces across continents which is fun.

Hoesel does a great job with character development. The evil guys are evil and the good guys behave, but there is a quality within the characters that make them breathe the same air you do. You feel the desert heat, you feel the concussion from explosions, and you can taste the tea.

I seriously hate stories that jump from one character's Point of View to another character's POV. It is irritating to me and interrupts the story flow for me. However, this story kept me turning pages and that is a very good sign of a good tale told well. You won't be disappointed in it. I give it three stars out of five.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Alarmists
Bethany House (April 1, 2011)
Don Hoesel


Don Hoesel is a Web site designer for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal. He was born and raised in Buffalo, NY but calls Spring Hill, Tennessee, with his wife and two children. The Alarmists is his third novel.


The 2012 phenomenon that's going viral around the globe has led sociology professor Jameson Richards to study the impact on society when, like the Y2K scare, 12/21/12 comes and goes with hardly a wrinkle.

This is the date that, according to the Mayan calendar, the doomsayers predict the world will end. Richards teams up with General Michaels, a scientist stationed at the Pentagon whose job it is to monitor the world's fanatics, keeping an eye out for potential terrorists. Together they uncover something sinister going on beneath the surface, linked to billionaire and media mogul Jeremy Maxwell, who also happens to be a huge manufacturer of weapons systems.

The 2012 date has captured Maxwell's attention too, and he's looking to cash in on the public's fear and paranoia. And what he instigates--along with his corrupt partners--nearly starts another war in the Middle East, while also bringing the world to its knees economically. It's up to the professor/general team to blow the whistle on Maxwell, hopefully in time to avert a major catastrophe.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Alarmists, go HERE
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