Posts Tagged ‘ Jesus ’

We are Thankful…And so are our Authors!

Hello Fiction Fans!
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we here at River North were just thinking about all the things we are thankful for. We thought it would be fun to ask a few of our authors what they are thankful for and this is what they said:

Captive Trail author Susan page Davis:

I’m very thankful for my family. Jim and I hope to spend this Thanksgiving with four of our six children and five of our eight grandchildren. Maybe in a future year we can get all of them together! Time spent with loved ones is perhaps the blessing I cherish most. 

Long Trail Home author Vickie McDonough:

I’m thankful for a happy, healthy family and that my husband is working full-time again. Over the past three years, he has been laid off four times, including right before Christmas last year. Also, our #3 son just returned from a year’s deployment in Egypt and will get to share the holidays with us this year. 

Pearl in the Sand author Tessa Afshar:

After losing power for a week due to twelve inches of unprecedented snow in October, I have been thanking God more than ever for the small things – for a hug from a friend, for sharing laughter with family, for my quiet times with God, for my hot water bottle. And definitely for my hair dryer!

Lone Star Trail author Darlene Franklin:

I am thankful for a faithful God who never changes, for friends and family, for the opportunity to do what I love most in the world–write.

Faith Deployed…Again author Jocelyn Green:

Other than my precious family, which goes without saying, I’m thankful for the sacrifices military families make for the rest of us, and for the freedom we still have in this country to boldly proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I was just on the Gary Chapman radio program for Veteran’s Day and I don’t take for granted the blessing it is to be able to speak truth through mass media without fear of repercussions.

What are you thankful for this year? We would love to hear about it! 




God’s Providence, A Sprained Ankle, and German Emigration in Texas (part 2)

Well, so far we have covered German emigration in Texas in our last blog—along with the common thread of life, the providence of God.

By 1845, Texans had fought to keep the land that they had settled. They fought against natives. They fought against Mexico. When the main character of Lone Star Trail, Jud Morgan, encountered the waves of immigrants from Germany threatening to take over Texas’s land, he was ready for a fight.

Jud’s mother, Mrs. Morgan offered a place for the Fleischers to stay after their wagon accident. Mrs. Fleischer was injured and their whole world was torn apart. While under his roof, Jud began to admire their daughter, Wande Fleischer. Kind and compassionate, she was not what he had expected from his enemy. They shared a common belief but attended different churches. The Fleischer’s lost a daughter to illness and the Morgan’s lost a daughter to the Comanche. Wande was waiting on her marriage to Konrad. But, Jud was beholden to no man.

Forced to face the hardness of his own heart, Jud begins to see the people of God as individuals, capable of great compassion and terrible evil. But it may be too late for him. After Konrad breaks Wande’s heart, the pastor from the Fleischer’s church appears to have taken his place.  And, now fire is rising from the direction of the Fleischer’s new farm.

However, sometime God hides surprises.

You might remember from the last blog that I never made it to the ICRS convention in Atlanta on Monday because gale force winds and rain swept through Chicago and canceled my flight setting everyone in a rush to wait standby on the next few flights.

But God is good.

I called my son to pick me up at the airport. It was his last night at home before leaving for California where he will be stationed for the next two years. Prepared to leave on my business trip, we said our goodbyes before l went to bed on Sunday. I was delighted to have one more evening with him. An inconvenience turned into a blessing.

So, on Tuesday morning, I finally flew out of O’Hare and was on the shuttle bus from the airport in Atlanta headed to the conference hotel. Late to my first meeting, I had my phone in one hand looking for the number of the person I was going to miss. I reached out to grab the handle of my suitcase, my heel caught the edge of the pavement and I fell off the sidewalk twisting my ankle and was saved from hitting the driveway by the kind shuttle bus driver. But my ankle was done for. It was the beginning of a convention with three days of meetings crammed into two and I could hardly walk.

Did I learn anything from this? Yes. Don’t text and walk. Don’t get so consumed with other things that you are blind to what is right in front of you—whether it is the blessing of another evening with someone you adore, the edge of the sidewalk, or the promise of love. God hides surprises. All you need to do is pay attention.

A Note from Linda Lee Chaikin, Discussion Questions for Hawaiian Crosswinds, and A Giveaway

Greetings dear Reader: you probably know that a “motif” is a reoccurring thematic element in a story. A reoccurring theme in Spoils of Eden and Hawaiian Crosswinds, books 1 and 2 of the Dawn of Hawaii trilogy, is the motif of an absent father-image. This “absence” is meant to represent a spiritual need in the story people who will find satisfaction in either reconciliation or personal fellowship with God as Abba Father. Can the disturbed hear the true voice of God, who calls them in the cool of the evening to walk with Him as Father in a renewed spiritual paradise of faith and redemption?

“I ascend to my Father and ( because of Christ’s death and resurrection) your Father.” “….And I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians. 6: 17, 18.

How does this theme apply in varying and differing degrees to: Eden Derrington and Rafe Easton, to Eden’s cousins, Zachary, Silas, and Candace Derrington, and to Rafe’s close friend, Keno Hunnewell?

Rafe Easton:

1. Rafe Easton’s father was deliberately left to die after an accident, and his gentle mother unwisely married Townsend Derrington, the man Rafe suspected of murder. As a boy, Rafe could never prove his suspicions. He was bullied by his step-father and watched Townsend manipulate his helpless mother. When Rafe grew into his late teens he suddenly left Hawaii on his first youthful voyage to French Guiana searching for the famous but illusive pineapple slips. Do you think he actually knew about the pineapples to introduce on the islands? Or was he running from the growing hatred simmering in his heart for Townsend, who’d robbed him of the father he’d loved and respected and also controlled his future inheritance. Was Rafe fleeing the desire to kill Townsend and reap revenge? How do you think Rafe was able to handle his hatred for such injustice and robbery?

2. Later, with pineapple success in Honolulu, Rafe Easton began to reestablish Matt Easton’s name on the Big Island. Did he do this to goad Townsend and his other competitors in the Derrington family?

3. What do you think actually motivated Rafe to save baby Kip on the shores of Molokai and adopt him? Do you think Rafe’s own experience as a helpless boy may have motivated Rafe to want to protect Kip and even adopt him? Do our sufferings have a spiritual harvest of good and evil? Who decides the outcome of the fruit of our experiences?

4. Do you think Rafe is suspicious about who may be the true biological parents of Kip? Is he uneasy? Do you think this is the reason why he wants to adopt Kip as soon as possible?

5. In Spoils of Eden, Rafe was determined to stop Eden Derrington from going to the leper colony to work with her father. In Hawaiian Crosswinds Rafe has come to an agreement with Eden to support her desire for a time. Why do you think he changed? Or did he? Does he now understand the emotional need Eden has in gaining her father’s acceptance?

6. When Eden is abducted and her death apparently imminent, Rafe apparently lost control of his hatred for Townsend. He said he would kill him if Townsend took the last thing in his life he loved. What do you think? How evil is the sin nature? Why do we need to be filled with God’s Word and His Spirit?

7. Do you think Rafe will actually grant his friend Keno his share in Hawaiiana pineapple plantation so Keno will have an inheritance with which to marry Candace Derrington?

Eden Derrington:

8. Is Eden Derrington finally coming to see the emotional dangers in her father’s naïve insistence that he can save his wife Rebecca from her fate of leprosy? Then why does she still feel committed to work at his side on Molokai?

9. Why was Eden so afraid to tell Rafe who it was she saw in Hunnewell’s garden the night a spy for Queen Liliuokalani prowled? Important papers were stolen identifying those who were working to make Hawaii a part of the United States. What was Eden’s motive for refusing to cooperate with Rafe? When she had to choose whether or not to fully trust him with her fears, what obstacle do you think was finally removed between her and Rafe?

10. What will it take to convince Eden to marry Rafe before she goes to Molokai with Dr. Jerome? What did she discover the night of the fire when Rafe’s beloved Hanalei plantation was burning? Can any good emerge from the dying ashes of dreams and the hate of others heaped upon us? Is it ever so dark in our lives that God cannot deliver?

Keno P. Hunnewell:

11. Keno Hunnewell is Rafe Easton’s closest friend. They are like brothers. Keno suffers from a feeling of rejection by the big haole planters because of his lack of a legal “birthright.” But what all important birthright means the most to the woman who loves Keno, Candace Derrington?

12. Keno’s lack of a personal father and denied rights of birth in the wealthy Hunnewell family seem huge to him. In contrast, Keno can point to the spiritual realization that all of us can become legitimate children of Father God through His Beloved Son, Jesus Who is Heir of all things. Who would you rather be, a child of the richest oil sheik in the Middle East or a joint heir with Christ for all eternity?

Zachary and Silas Derrington:

13. What is the cause for cousin Zach’s anger and jealousy toward the arrival of his halfbrother Silas Derrington? Do you think Zach is insecure? If so, why do you think so? Does his need for acceptance from his father Townsend justify resentment and jealousy toward Silas?

14. Why is Silas resentful and cynical toward the while Derrington family? Does he want to make a rift between Zach and their father Townsend?

15. Zachary and Silas are jealous of each other. They are at odds, trying to win first place with their bullying father, Townsend Derrington. What are they looking for in the relationship with Townsend? Will they find it in the godless symbol of Cain? (Townsend)?

16. Why is Townsend so hard on his son, Zach? Why does he prefer Silas? What does this say about his role as a father? Should a father ever show favoritism to his sons and daughters? Why? Why not?

Candace Derrington:

17. How is Eden’s cousin Candace different from the other Derrington cousins when it comes to her deceased father whom she never knew? Could it have anything to do with the privileged relationship she has enjoyed with Grandfather Ainsworth? Did Eden and Zachary have this privilege?

18. The glorious hymn “Abba, Father!” would send the souls of Eden, Rafe, Keno and the others in Hawaiian Crosswinds to the spiritual heights if they heard it! Do you know why it would thrill them? Have you ever heard this song? If so, what does it mean to you?

Last thought from the author:

Through Christ, God is now our Father. We are members of God’s household. Home is where God is. The Lord Jesus made all this possible for each one of us who trust Him as our one and only Redeemer. For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross to bring many sons home to the Father. Isn’t the love of God awesome? His loving arms are outstretched to you. Come, Home awaits us. Abba Father.

Respond with a thought or two and you will be entered to win both Spoils of Eden and Hawaiian Crosswinds. The winner will be announced on Tuesday the 5th.

Know, Love, Serve

We went to Starbucks for our River North Fiction team meeting. This Starbucks location is an oasis in the city—tucked under the elevated commuter train and all too conveniently located close to our offices. Only two blocks away I can easily find an excuse to stop in: it’s rainy or snowy, too hot, I’m tired, it’s Monday . . . or Friday, the team finished our business plan, or we just need to catch up. With the constant flow of caffeine addicts (me included) and soft playing music, the team reconnects around our common mission: to produce fiction that will help our readers to know, love, and serve Jesus which goes hand-in-hand with our mission which is to know, love, and serve our readers.

What does this mean for Moody Publishers’s River North Fiction?

For one, we will only produce fiction that has a redemptive message. After all, isn’t that what Christ was doing when he told stories? He pointed to His Father and His Father’s kingdom. Often God was not in the story at all. Jesus used common everyday occurrences as illustrations that were understood by the audience—or should have been! Stories they could identity with and stories they could place themselves in. With characters who were often searching—longing for something lost like a son, or a coin, used as a parallel for His kingdom.

Next, we hope to provide a community around the love of Christian fiction. I stood on the train platform this morning and surveyed the community of commuters collected there. Weekday mornings I join the population of people gathered around the common experience of riding the train to work. You can tell who the daily commuters are. They crowd together at evenly spaced intervals in anticipation of the train doors opening in the same spot like it does every weekday morning when the commuter rail line pulls into the station. And everyone looks to the west in anticipation. Most regular commuters have a favorite car and line up waiting together. We might make eye contact and smile, some even say “hello” and may chat a while. We come together around a common goal. That is what we are attempting to do with our novels and here at our blog. But unlike the fleeting community that gathers for a few minutes every morning and disbands, we hope to establish a relationship with those of us gathered around a fondness for Christian fiction.
So, we want to hear from you. What do you like about reading novels? What kinds of stories do you long to engage with? Who are your favorite authors? Why read fiction, anyway? Is fiction true?
Please join us. We would love to have you as part of the River North Fiction community.


Deb Keiser
Acquisitions Editor

When is it best to “off” a character?

The email I sent to one of our fiction authors yesterday was hard for her to hear. (Let’s call the author Margo to protect her identity. I’m sensitive to giving away a plot-twist in her upcoming book).

I thought that the death of one of Margo’s characters was the best way to shape the story. One of Margo’s characters must die. It was a beloved friend of the main character, Susan, when any friend was hard for her to come by. But the story needed it; the reader would be served better by the loss; then Susan would grow stronger in Christ because He was all she had left. Margo must “off” the beloved friend.

Margo protested. Although the character was deathly ill she could not bear the thought of it. Here is the email exchange as we toyed with the life of the character.


Don’t you think the readers will hate it if we kill him off?


Yes, I think they will feel the pain. 

But I also think it will make a more convincing story. Plus we have women readers who can identify with horrendous loss and need to know that God is there with them in it. Like Christ sacrificed his life for Susan; through her loss Susan gained a new heart for God. 

If you feel strongly about the loss so will your readers. That is a good thing. 

So, do you think you can do it? Wish I could be there for moral support! 🙂


We’ll “off” him, no problem.

 Isn’t that what we love about fiction? Great characters we feel passionately about. Characters we adore—or loathe. Well-developed characters that make us feel their longing, pain and joy. Characters we hate to see come to an untimely end. Then there is the dark side of every story and the characters that are so evil that we cheer when justice is done. This is what makes a good tale a memorable one.

At Moody publisher’s new fiction line, River North Fiction, we plan to serve you, the Christian fiction reader, by bringing you stories replete with engaging characters that will encourage and inspire you as well as challenge you to see the invisible, living God. You will glimpse love, pain, joy, heartbreak, and through it all grasp the enduring love that our God has for His creation: you.

So over the course of our blog posts Brittany and I will be sharing life, love, fiction and faith. We hope to hear what you think, what you like, and what you want to see.


Deb Keiser

Acquisitions Editor