Sunday 27 December 2015

Dark Edge: Prequel to the COIL Series by D. I. Telbat

In Dark Edge, Prequel to the COIL Series, Christian suspense by D.I. Telbat, we find an international thriller providing background to Corban Dowler and the COIL Organization.

CIA Agent Corban Dowler has refused a kill order, therefore, he is sanctioned for assassination by the very agency he has worked with for years. As Corban runs for his life, he must cut all ties and even abandon his wife in order to keep her alive. His new relationship with Jesus Christ may cost him everything . . .

But Corban has a plan. He knows God's persecuted need his specialized skills, so he follows a lead to India though poisonous clutches and a German hit squad are close behind. Disguised as a bearded Muslim weapons smuggler, Corban initiates a rescue in the midst of millions of Hindus participating in the Ganges River bathing festival. 

We also meet first-recruit ex-Mossad Agent Chloe Azmaveth and her husband as they brainstorm with Corban about a new organization to serve God's people worldwide. 

With Bonus Chapter One of Dark Liaison, Book One in the COIL Series, and cover art by Streetlight Graphics, Dark Edge will not disappoint as you follow the founder of COIL to the Edge of darkness. And we learn again, there is no redemption without sacrifice . . .

The Guru's Review: 

I have wanted to read a Telbat novel for so long now. I have bought all his novels since the first Coil novel was released in 2011 and have followed his newsletters since as well. All this has done is continually whet my appetite to read these, but having authors continually request me to review their work has meant that I have been unable to start until now. I decided that between Christmas and the New Year I would read a novel of my choosing, so hence this opportunity to read Dark Edge. 

I must say that waiting this long has been very much worth it! Christian special ops and Christian military are genres that I love to review (amongst others) and now this series is a worthy addition.  The other factor that encourages me to say this is that Telbat's motive for creating this series is the persecution against Christians in countries where its political environment is not Christ friendly. I thoroughly enjoyed this in another series by author Martin Roth in his Brother Half Angel Thriller series, where the 
focus (is) on the persecuted church. They feature Brother Half Angel, an abrasive former military man who heads a clandestine new military order that is dedicated to fighting for the rights of persecuted Christians around the world.
I love the similarity between what I have discovered in both these series and the different bases of operation; Roth's special ops team being out of a major Korean church while Telbat's out of a specially created special ops trained Christian organisation for this purpose (COIL). 

I am really looking forward to reading the rest of this COIL series. Dark Edge has set the stage really well. I am impressed with Telbat's story telling and his knowledge of how CIA operatives work. It is obvious that he has researched this and done it well. His translation of this knowledge to how Dowler operates against this organisation that has turned against him sets the pace for one intriguing read and definitely draws you in. There is a touch of Jason Bourne (from Robert Ludlum's novels and film series of the same name) in Corban Dowler and the situation he finds himself in. Not sure if that is intentional or not, does not matter, it makes for one absorbing action and suspenseful account and I guess sets more of the flavour for the rest of the series.

I really appreciated the spiritual aspects of this novella. It is great to see a 
Christian author show no fear in presenting what the power of the Gospel is and the redemptive power it contains including the spiritual change that takes place by the Spirit upon conversion and thereafter. In Dowler's case, he is changed from a ruthless killer to one whom by the Spirit of God now residing in him, values life as God does and, therefore, refuses to kill anymore and is willing to lay down his life for God and what being a believer in Him means even to be hunted and marked for death. However, God then turns this death sentence around and uses Dowler as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and past operative knowledge and experience to rescue Christians persecuted by oppressive governments and organisations. 

I classify this type of account as Redemptive fiction where, according to the creator of this fiction type, David Bergsland, this is where,

These books offer standard rebirth scenarios where a person accepts the Savior as their Lord. They give their life to serve Him and their lives are transformed—sometimes almost violently, often slowly and gently. They show a realistic look of the daily walk of faith for a believer. A clear Messiah is revealed who died for our sins. Through repentance and baptism, a person is forgiven and cleansed, beginning a new life in the Kingdom of God.
The truly excellent books on this level share these truths easily, without pretension, in common human relationships. They recognize that most people do not carry on conversations by quoting scriptures at each other. They cover the arguments pro and con. They leave it to the person to decide, recognizing that you cannot talk anyone into salvation. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. The only source of guidance is the scripture, with occasional visits from angels and the like. God speaks through the Bible or other believers primarily. 
I am pleased to see that there are elements of this description in Dark Edge. Based on this, I can look forward to more of the same in the rest of this series. As I said in my reviews of the Brother Half Angel Thriller series, I pray that this series can do a number of things; alert non-believers to the hope and life that exists in a relationship with Jesus, encourage a greater understanding of the plight of persecuted Christians in the believer and non-believer alike and encourage more Christians to pray for these Christians and even to be empower to follow God's call to do whatever He wills for them to do for these persecuted. 

I very much look forward to the rest of this series, having my spirit edified, my relationship with God challenged and being educated in the plight of persecuted Christians.

I applaud Telbat (and Roth) for creating this redemptive fiction that not only
entertains but does more as just mentioned and this is what Christian fiction should.

Highly Recommended.

Monday 21 December 2015

The Veil: Crisis (book 2: A novel ... of current Biblical proportions) by DJ Edmonston

For Jacob Stowell, things couldn’t get any stranger. His whole life had been turned upside down and inside out. All he had ever known or believed was being tested. His former life as a successful architect, husband, and father now seemed like a distant dream as he and Strang were being relentlessly hunted by assassins. As they hunkered down in a safe house they worked diligently to unravel the decoded notes of the late Jeremy Richards. With the help of investigational journalists Shayne Wylder and the young but tenacious Billy O’laughlin, Richard’s notes begin to reveal a staggering list of international financiers, politicians, central bankers, media moguls and industrialists all somehow intertwined in the construction of a shadowy framework raising more questions than answers.

Back in Orlando, God continues His revival, spreading well beyond the ground zero of Pastor Alan Caldwell’s small community church. Hundreds of thousands are being reached in Central Florida and potentially millions more worldwide as reports continue to come in of further revival outbreaks in China, Mexico and even Iran.

Despite the outpouring of God’s love the world appears to be plunging deeper and deeper into Crisis as the global financial market becomes, even more, unstable, and the Middle East erupts as nation after nation falls by the hands of jihadists seeking a caliphate.

Jacob, Strang, Pastor Alan and the rest of the growing fellowship pray even more diligently as the small nation of Israel becomes more and more isolated in the world, being surrounded by her enemies who are set on her very destruction.

Prepare for a riveting ride at breakneck speed in Crisis,’ book II of The Veil series.

The Guru's Review: 

Sometimes a sequel or the next book in a series can be a bit of a letdown or does not do the first book justice. Not so with this book or with this author. Edmonston is very consistent with everything readers were introduced to in the book in this series, The Veil; style, action packed, fast paced, relational characters, spiritual warfare, demonology, angelology, the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit, prayer, Spirit-filled but flawed Christians. It also continued what I wrote in my review of The Veil, that it,
entertained, my faith in Christ either strengthened, edified or challenged to go to the next level in Him and to be educated in Christian living, biblical doctrine, spiritual warfare and many other topics that will deepen my Christian worldview. Edmonston more than achieves this for me in this novel.
This seems to be what to expect from Edmonston's style and motive for writing and is what I love about this type of fiction.

You hit the ground running in this novel which is very evident in the first chapter.Everything is developed further, plot lines, the pace, action, demonic activity, the romance, conspiracy, deception, political corruptness, prayer, the Holy Spirit's direction and involvement, the deepening and developing relationship between the Christian characters. One thing this novel does is deepen one's "addiction" to this series and everything that has been outlined previously and anticipate immensely the next instalment.

I really felt at home and at peace in this novel just like I did in the previous one and I believe will be the case in the third instalment. Why do I say this? He writes with a sincerity of heart and mind that is totally committed to God and out of his relationship with Him and is totally based on the guidance and direction of the Spirit, leading to what I outlined in my review of The Veil, that of Spirit-Filled fiction, description created by author, David Bersgland, where the characters are, 
,....evangelicals who have come to a deep and close personal relationship with Jesus, communicating daily about needs, direction, seeking guidance, praying for/receiving healings, and so on. Now, I’m not talking about characters who are necessarily pentecostal, but those who have a real relationship with the Lord which includes regular communication, direct guidance, prophetic implications, a touch of the miraculous, and the normal evidences of Christian life as presented by Jesus in Mark 16: 14-18,
"Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
and who have
....real relationship with the Lord which includes regular communication, direct guidance, prophetic implications, a touch of the miraculous, and the normal evidences of Christian life as presented by Jesus in Mark 16: 14-18
I am looking forward to this latter quality/characteristic of Edmonton's style. Seems to be quite his trademark and a fine one it is at that.

I cannot add anything to this review as most of what is relevant to this novel has been recorded in my review of The Veil, Book 1.

Highly Recommended.

Friday 18 December 2015

My Year In Books 2015

My Year In Books 2015

(courtesy of Goodreads My Year in Books 2015)

This post is to say a huge THANK YOU to the authors of the books I have read this year, for enriching my spiritual life, my knowledge of the Bible and how to live more in a closer relationship with God and His Word. I have not only been entertained but have been spiritually uplifted, challenged and even confronted with issues that God needed to highlight to me.

Never let it be said that God cannot use Christian fiction in all its genres and its authors to minister to reader's needs outside of being entertained, while reinforcing in the author that they are writing for Him and not just because they have the talent to do so.

It has been my honour and pleasure to read, review, interview, highlight, promote and have you as a guest on my blog. 

So authors, click on the image below, find your book(s) in MY Goodreads Year in Books 2015 display and give yourself a moment to be proud of your achievement and give God the glory for all He has achieved with the talent, creativity, inspiration that He has given you. I appreciate all of you and look forward to supporting you all again next year. 

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Author/Novel Spotlight: Dony Jay

I first met Dony Jay when he asked to join one of the Facebook groups I belong to. When I saw from his profile that he has a debut novel and read its title, The Warrior Spy: A Thriller (A Warrior Spy Thriller Book 1), I immediately checked it out on Amazon and was excited as this was another novel in the genres I love, this one being Christian military (although, Dony classifies it as a spy thriller, hmm, may have to add this as another genre to my list!). I am not able to review this at this time, so I offered Dony an Author/Novel Spotlight post.

So sit back and let Dony talk about this intriguing novel, its background and Christian themes, and himself as an author.

However, to whet your appetite and pique your interest, here is the book cover and its description: 

The CIA has a problem. It's best clandestine operatives keep turning up dead. And now, as if things couldn't get any worse, a Defense Department scientist, specializing in high-energy lasers, has gone missing. America needs answers. And fast. 

Delta Force operator Reagan Rainey, on temporary duty assignment with a secret CIA entity known as Directorate Twelve, is tasked to do just that--get answers. But to do so, he not only has to outwit and outmaneuver a dangerous cabal of foreign actors believed to be at the center of it all, he must contend with a deadly assassin who is bent on destroying him. 

Relying on his bedrock faith in Almighty God, Rainey is forced to race against the clock to uncover what is really going on and why, before his beloved America is pushed to the brink of war. 

The Warrior Spy is the first book in the Warrior Spy thriller series. It is jam-packed with heart-pounding action, all-out spy warfare and a new American hero that is sure to please. 

It's comparable to thrillers by such authors as Robert Ludlum, Brad Thor and Vince Flynn, while also containing a clear faith element. If you love for-God-and-country-type books, The Warrior Spy was written for you!

Now a word or two (or more!) about Dony: 

Dony Jay is a husband and father of two. He has a BS degree in Criminal Justice. He's served in law enforcement for more than 12 years, having spent most of that time as an investigator.

Dony considers himself an insatiable book addict. He began seriously writing in late 2010, his goal: to author a fresh Christian spy thriller series that champions not only America as she was founded but also her strong faith-infused heritage.

When it comes to writing and life in general, he finds inspiration in the sacrifice and dedication to duty of those who selflessly serve others, particularly in the cause of freedom and liberty for all. He is a proud American as well as a firm believer in the truth, love and hope of Jesus Christ.

When he's not reading or writing, Dony enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports (mostly soccer), hiking, and cheering on the Philadelphia Eagles.

He lives in beautiful Pennsylvania.

In Dony's words, he speaks candidly of the background to Warrior Spy and the journey to becoming a published author: 

I have always considered myself a book addict, which is probably putting it mildly. Sometime in 2010, I began to get the urge to write a thriller. I read all kinds of books, but my favorite fiction genre is the spy thriller genre. It occurred to me that there was just no Christian spy thriller series out there (none that I had read to that point, at least) that came anywhere close to the general market thrillers I love to read. Of course, there are quality Christian novels/thrillers out there, but none that I found had a magnetic and memorable protagonist over the course of a series. I'm talking a protagonist like a Mitch Rapp (Vince Flynn) or a Scot Harvath (Brad Thor) with respect to Christian fiction. Someone that men and women alike are drawn to. So I decided to create that type of character first and then set him loose in a story. Reagan Rainey would be just as lethal and capable as a Rapp or a Harvath, but he would have something that neither of them had: a bedrock faith in Almighty God. Something that immeasurably sets him apart from them.

For about 6-8 months or so, I did the usual thing: queried agents looking for that daring soul to take a gamble on an unknown. I got modest feedback, but no real interest in representation, so after prayer and encouragement from some author friends and, of course, my lovely wife, I decided to venture out into the deep waters of independent publishing (aka self-publishing). Thus, I created my own imprint: Merry Hill Publishing and voila! On December 3, 2015, through much toil, sweat, and tears--with the stellar assistance of several key people in the indie world, The Warrior Spy was born.

Through the book and the coming Warrior Spy Thriller series, my goal is to not only provide entertainment and excitement to readers but also to do the following:

1) Draw readers to the truth, love and hope of Jesus Christ. This is my number one goal, but the writing doesn't have to be preachy.

2) Commemorate and honor all those who daily protect the innocent and defend freedom; freedom is certainly not free.

3) Champion American values--traditional American values--and the idea of American exceptionalism, particularly due to her biblical heritage. That is what has made America great. I believe this is why America and the world more broadly are going through such tough times lately. We've grown away from a firm reliance on Divine Providence.

4) Inspire. There are real heroes out there, you might not know it from the current media climate, but there are. Through compelling fiction, I hope to inspire readers to recognize these heroes, perhaps even make them strive to be better people, to serve their fellow man.

5) Make people think. About what is important in life, and what is trivial.

6) Bring Christian (and non-Christian) men especially back to faith-based thrillers. I want my books to appeal to readers of Christian fiction and also general market fiction. I know, I've got high hopes, right... TBS (Cable TV station) had a slogan sometime ago that went, "Movies for guys who like movies." Well, I guess you could say I write books for guys (gals, too) who like movies but also like to read. LOL.

And Dony makes an important point of stating the Christian themes in Warrior Spy: 

1) God is always in control and He is faithful. No. Matter. What.

2) The power of prayer is very real. 

3) Good ultimately prevails.

To further highlight Warrior Spy, here is an excerpt chosen by Dony:

Persistent shards of sunlight penetrated tiny cracks and crevices in the tightly pulled blinds. They knifed their way far into the room, exposing the intricate wood grain texture of each plank in the floor. It was quite a spectacle within the safe house, as clusters of clouds outside drifted in front of, then past, the sun. The invading light would quickly dim and disappear, then in an instant, return with ferocity. Each time, the sunlight seemed more intense as it splintered into a latticework of squares, rectangles, and trapezoids across the floor. 

Now, a little more than three hours since they’d been in Nika’s apartment, Rainey sat in a lumpy, cappuccino-colored recliner. His eyes were fixed on the Fox News Channel’s footage of the salvage effort taking place along Lac St-Louis. Including the crew, all 215 people aboard Flight 612 had perished last night in one inexplicable instant. Rainey shook his head as he took in the carnage being hauled up onto barges and flatbed trucks. A small army of people clad in red search and rescue gear spanned the panorama. 

“Any word on what caused it?” inquired Alcott from behind his laptop. 

“No. Just a lot of speculation.” 

“Well, now,” said Alcott. 


"I just got an update from Job about that phone call Nika made.” 


“Number comes back to a pre-paid assigned to Telus Mobility. Metadata puts the phone in the same general area where Horst was taken. Date and time fit, too. And get this… The phone is still active. It’s hitting off a tower in the St-Lèonard area of the city as we speak. Job has it narrowed down to a specific address. It’s about twenty minutes from here.” 

“So what’s the plan?” 

Alcott stood up. “He wants you and me to go recon the location. Drummy and Bobo are to stay on the girl for the time being. I’ve requested some more people. For us to properly tail one person, let alone two, we’re going to need them. He said he’ll get back to me. It’s your call. What do you want to do? You wanna wait?” 

Rainey shook his head. “No. We can’t. Intel’s perishable. We might lose our lead in the meantime. No, we do what we’re told. We go to the address and develop the situation.” 

“My thoughts exactly. Let’s do it.”


If you want to investigate Dony more, he can be found here: 


Twitter: @DonyJayBooks


Newsletter: Dony Jay's Reader Intel Bulletin 

After all this, if you want to buy Warrior Spy, you can here: 

Monday 14 December 2015

Daniel and the Sun Sword Blog Tour Day 1: What Is It About, Anyway? Monday, December 14th

Today, I’m happy to host Nathan Lumbatis on his blog tour to promote his new book, Daniel and the Sun Sword.

In this Post…
  • What is Daniel and the Sun Sword Really About?
  • Author's Social Platforms
  • Link to buy Daniel and the Sun Sword on Amazon
  • Book Trailer
  • Author Bio
  • Blog Tour Schedule
What is Daniel and the Sun Sword Really About?

It didn't take too many years of being a counselor before I started realizing that almost all people, at some point in their lives, struggle with the same questions:

1) Why do bad things happen?
2) If God is good, why doesn't he intervene immediately to relieve suffering?
3) If I'm a child of God, why aren't I immune to trials and difficulty?
4) Do my problems mean that God doesn't love me?
5) What is my destiny and what is my identity?

Four years ago, when I began writing Daniel and the Sun Sword, I heard these questions posed in various forms by a particular type of client. At the time, I had several orphans and foster-children on my caseload. They were a wounded, confused bunch—wards (sometimes temporary, other times permanent) of the Alabama Baptist Children's Home, DHR, or the Wiregrass Children's Home. Their stories were similar: abandonment; neglect; termination of parental rights due to abuse, drugs, mental impairment—you name it. But whatever the reason, the result was the same: loss of identity, fear, and distrust.

It was easy to see these children as being different from me simply because their emotional problems were so pronounced. But fairly quickly, I began realizing that the burning questions they posed were the same ones I had. Only, the positive circumstances of my life had shielded me from the accompanying sense of urgency and desperation experienced by my young friends.

For the Christian, the intellectual answer to these questions jump readily to mind: the Spirit of the Age is at work in the world, destroying, killing, harming, devouring. But the Spirit of God works all plans, all wills, all choices according to his purpose. He will take the seeming triumphs of evil and work them out for the good of those who love him.

But the reason so many, Christian and non-Christian alike, nonetheless struggle when life goes awry is because it often, though not always, takes a lifetime of experiencing God's presence in the midst of joy and peace,  pain and trials—in short, in the midst of adventure—before the intellectual answers become experiential realities. Unfortunately, that is usually the only way we learn. In light of this, one might ask, "How could I KNOW that God is good even when evil abounds unless I experience his Peace in the midst of evil?" Could we honestly say we would believe it if we never experienced it?

Don't get me wrong: experiences are important, but they are not everything. They are balanced out, and rightfully interpreted by, Truth. It is my experience that God gives Truth first and experiences second. Truth to prepare the heart, and experiences to verify.

And that brings me back to the point: Daniel and the Sun Sword, I hope, will present many with Truth. More specifically, I hope it will present Truth to young men and women who desperately need to understand Sonship Theology: that redemption is more than Mercy—it's Grace in the form of our adoption as sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father. Real, actual, concrete sons and daughters.

It must be more than a metaphor or platitude, tossed casually about in Christian conversation. It must be real.

Daniel and the Sun Sword is fiction. It is NOT a work of theology, and please don't think that I am attempting to write doctrine. But it does contain Truth: namely, that if you seek redemption, it, and much more, is within your grasp through adoption as Sons and Daughters of God.

Daniel and the Sun Sword Description:

Thirteen-year-old Daniel is about to be adopted. But when he learns his new
 family wants him as a slave, he runs away with the help of his new neighbors, the naïve and cowardly Ben, and Raylin, a mysterious girl with a shady past.

He begins to second-guess his decision when the cave they hide in transports them to the ruins of Machu Picchu, where they find themselves embroiled in a battle between ancient gods of Life and Death. To top things off, the God of Life draws Daniel into the fray by adopting him as his son and setting him on a quest to complete a broken, mystical sword, a task that will pit him against the god of the underworld.

Now, Daniel and his friends have just one weekend to find the shards before a hoard of supernatural enemies catch up. But that’s not all they face. A trap has been set that even Daniel wouldn’t expect, and he just took the bait.

Will the power of his Heavenly Father be enough to save them?

I had Nathan as a guest blogger here on November 14, where he provided some background to the mythology that is included in this novel from a Christian worldview. If you want to read about this, the link is here: 

Amazon link to buy the novel:  

A little about Nathan Lumbatis:

Twitter: @NathanLumbatis

Nathan grew up in the woods of Alabama, where he spent his time exploring, hiking, and dreaming up stories. Now, as a child/adolescent therapist and author, he’s teaching kids and teens how to redeem their stories using Biblical principles. He still lives in Alabama, where you will find him with his wife and three kids every chance he gets. 
Blog Tour Schedule: (Click on name to go to their blog)

A) D&SS Blog Tour Day 1, December 14:

Peter Younghusband: Daniel and the Sun Sword: What is it About, Anyway?

B) D&SS Blog Tour Day 2, December 15:

Ashlee Willis: Literary Losers

C) D&SS Blog Tour Day 3, December 16:

David Bergsland: Author Interview

(D) D&SS Blog Tour Day 4, December 17:

Brent King: Author Interview + Book excerpt

E) D&SS Blog Tour Day 5, December 18:

Mikelyn Bolden: Book Excerpt

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Interview with the Authors of The Crossover Alliance Anthology 2

To celebrate the release of the 2nd Anthology of The Crossover Alliance, we have conducted an interview of sorts to showcase the contributing authors and to give some background to their stories to see where the edgy and speculative elements originate. There are no questions in this interview, just the authors being in the driver's seat telling of their inspiration that led to their stories.

Before we continue, here is the background to The Crossover Alliance for those visitors who do not know what we are about:

The Crossover Alliance is an online publishing company built around edgy Christian speculative fiction - in general terms, Christ-centered speculative fiction with edgy content, such as sexual themes, language, drug use, or violence. The term 'edgy' not only encompasses content though - it can also be applied to certain situations/themes/character deficiencies that are not typically found or ‘allowed’ in Christian fiction. This unique genre crosses the line of both secular fiction and Christian fiction and creates a new breed - not just to appeal to a wider audience, but also to shed light on realistic, entertaining writing that has the power to appeal to both Christians and non-Christians alike.

The Crossover Alliance is where light shines brighter in the darkness.

What We Publish

When we say 'Speculative Fiction' you might be wondering what that covers exactly. The term Speculative Fiction encompasses a multitude of different genres: fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, etc. But the term Speculative can also be applied to fiction that attempts to 'speculate' on spiritual matters. Much of Tosca Lee's work is speculative, as her book, Havah - The Story of Eve, tells of what happened in the Garden of Eden, the fall of Man, and Eve's life after the Garden. However, since the exact situations occurring within the Garden and within Eve's own life are not fully detailed within the Bible, Tosca has to speculate on what might have occurred. This is fiction, but it is speculative because she is speculating. All this to say that in the Crossover Alliance, the term speculative means much more than just science fiction and fantasy. The term can encompass mysteries, thrillers, and even historical pieces.

To investigate more about The Crossover Alliance, go here:

The Crossover Alliance Anthology - Volume 2

Human trafficking. Vampires. Abortion.

These aren't typical themes you would find in a Christian story. But this isn't a typical collection of Christian stories. In the Crossover Alliance's second volume of short stories showcasing edgy Christian speculative fiction, you'll journey through worlds of fantasy, fight against slavery, face your darkest demons, and confront an overwhelming darkness that only the King's light can overcome.

Just don't turn away from these tales, because, in these stories, light shines brighter in the darkness.

Ok, grab a coffee and let the authors of The Crossover Alliance tell you about their stories that comprise our 2nd Anthology:

Elijah David.

Author of The Debt Keeper.

Bio: I am a copywriter and editor in the Chattanooga area. I've been writing stories since I was in middle school and though I always wanted my stories to reflect my faith, I didn't always go about it in the ways people expected. A peer told me that writing about elves and magic was Satanic while I worked on my first novel, but I thankfully shook off his comments because I recognized them as stemming from a small view of the power of story and the freedom and creativity we are called to in Christ.

When I came to Chattanooga as a graduate student, I wanted to push the limits of what I could do as a writer and as a student in my creative writing program. I decided early on to write a series of stories set in the same town, John Valley, to give myself a setting and cast of characters to work with throughout the program. The first story to appear through that effort eventually became the story in this anthology, "The Debt-Keeper," and it flavored the rest of the collection.

The original concept for this story was "What would it look like if Christ's three days in the grave when He confronted death and hell were moved to the modern American South?" Creating a setting in which that was possible made narrative decisions for the others stories that allowed me to have fun exploring that setting. I am happy to say that two other stories from John Valley have recently been published in a Halloween anthology from Oloris Publishing ( I am hoping to write more stories in John Valley soon, including a haunted house tale that's been stewing since I finished the first set of stories.

Mark Carver

Author of The Tattered Man.

Bio: Mark spent more than eight years in China before returning to the USA with his wife and two children. Besides writing, Mark is passionate about art, tattoos, heavy metal, Gothic literature, and medieval architecture.

He lives with his family in Atlanta, GA.

I wrote The Tattered Man in Farmer Jake's Cornfield when I was a sophomore in college in 2002. During that time, I was particularly interested in the charmingly creepy stories of Ray Bradbury, and I wrote this story as a sort of homage to his style. I am especially proud of this story for winning the 2002 Saugus, MA Ghost Story Contest, even though I have never been to Saugus or even heard about it before that contest. My prize was a t-shirt.

Michael Emert

Author of The Duogla Stones

Bio: After a very long hiatus from dabbling in poetry and screenwriting, I began writing fiction in late 2014. This newfound love consumes me, maybe too much (Nah, what am I thinking?). With little time, and a wife and three boys whom I adore, I try to make the most of the time I do have. As I see it, I am a slow writer, but I’m trying to come up with ways to improve and become more efficient.

I have a very odd path back into writing, and part of that path are these three books, which helped me gather the focus and determination needed for this step: Wild at Heart, A Million Miles In a Thousand Years, and The Inheritance Cycle series. One thing that John Eldridge said in Wild at Heart is, and I paraphrase: The reason so many men spend so many Sundays watching football from the couch is because that’s the biggest adventure they will ever have. That was me at the time. That was the kickstart I needed to live a bigger adventure. I still love football, but I no longer need it; I have a bigger adventure to live, and I want to share it with you.

The Duogla Stones is the first of five short stories in a series that I am currently wrapping up. The series is called The Dwarves of Getallumane. Each story is woven integrally to the others to form a single plot, while at the same time able to stand alone with plots unique to each character. In addition to this short story series, there will be an accompanying novel series which takes place in the broader land. It may have been a mistake of mine, but I have intentionally written the Dwarves of Getallumane series in such a way as to leave the reader with questions that will ultimately not be understood without the context of the novel. So I guess I’m thinking about the big picture. The full series has a tentative release date of February 2016. Part of my journey into writing involved voiceover, as odd as that sounds, so when the series is complete, I will be creating an audio version as well.

The inspiration for the short story series about dwarves comes from my real life. My day job keeps me busy in the mines, just like a dwarf. I work full time as a hard rock miner, so I get a unique perspective on mining that most people do not get. Having hands-on mining experience was very helpful in writing these short stories, so I was able to incorporate real practices and procedures into them.

I have also recently finished the first draft of a long Sci-fi novel. This project is what I am most excited about, but I guess I should not talk about it much yet.

Rodolfo Diaz

Author of Template of the Rephaim

Bio: In speculative fiction, I have been published twice before, both times in e-magazines. (Both magazines went out of business shortly thereafter but I don’t think that was my fault.) The first one was “A Measure of the Depth” in Residential Aliens, a Christian-themed speculative fiction e-zine (residentialaliens/measure-of-depth) and the second one was “The Designer” In Ray Gun Revival, issue 57, 2010. Both are in the Military Science Fiction category.

The rest of my publication history is in the engineering and physics technical literature (about 90 articles combined peer reviewed and technical conferences, 4 book chapters, and about 29 patents in the open literature.)

Almost all my fiction writing has been done with my daughters in mind; so it is by nature anchored around female protagonists, and character driven. (Of course, that means that my list of favorite authors includes Anne McCaffrey and, on the YA front, H. M. Hoover.)

The Background to my Story:

As a standalone story, you could think of “Template of the Rephaim” as a “what if?” story: What if the Conan the Barbarian stories took place in Victorian England? If you have read Robert E. Howard’s stories, I hope the same sword and sorcery motifs, and the same physicality, come through.

But, as you ask for background: these stories are a kind of Historical Fiction. It is our 19th century except that, where today we think of Montague Summers’ books as records of superstition (The Werewolf, The Vampire his Kith and Kin, etc.) and of Jacques Vallee’s Passport to Magonia as another speculation about the UFO phenomenon, all those things are here true and connected.

As a horror story, I wanted to create a world where supernatural evil exists but where demonic powers do not have arbitrary powers – which is the problem (the lie) with most of mainstream entertainment horror movies. I mean, for instance, the Bible does not ascribe to demons the power or authority to kill people. (Ok, one apocryphal Book notwithstanding.) So, the challenge was, how to craft the stories within those constraints.

There is another challenge. This is horror fiction. How do you carry out its purpose (deliver its message) without crossing the line? I’m reminded of an interview that Cristopher Lee gave in 1975, in which he touched on this from the angle that his job was to be an actor in horror movies, and as he said, regarding one of those movies, “we felt a little uneasy. You know, you are saying terrible things... “

Patrick Todoroff

Author of Sozo

Bio: A childhood automobile accident left me somewhat less than athletic, and so I became a voracious reader early on, particularly of poetry, military history, sci-fi, and fantasy. However, I didn't start writing my own spec-fiction until my mid-forties. I would scribble scenes and storylines between stained glass commissions and ended up taking a creative writing course at a local college in 2009. It was there my first novel (Running Black) took shape, which was self-published late the following year. Since then, I've adjusted my work schedule to include more writing time, and hammered out another novel, (Shift Tense) two collections of related short stories, (the Clar1ty Wars books) the Celtic ghost story, "The Barrow Lover" and the stand-alone short, "Sozo".

Writing Blog: Amazon Author Page: Patrick Todoroff

Story Background:

"Sozo" was one of those all-consuming road flares of inspiration; something that burst in my mind without invitation, and gripped me until it was finished. I really can't link it to any specific inciting incident. I wrote and re-wrote it over the course of a month. I guess certain political/social tensions, military actions, and the ugly reality of human trafficking all coalesced into a piece about basic human decency and responsibility to act, however flawed the person or action.

Lelia Foreman

Author of Then Shall All the Trees of the Field

Bio: Lelia Rose Foreman here. My first published work of science fiction was the short story Hope in Orbit 21, edited by Damon Knight. In print now is the middle-grade science fiction novel Shatterworld. Presently I am working with my oldest son, a video game artist, on a young adult series to be called Tales of Talifar which we hope to start publishing in 2016. (Be looking for The Scarred King) I am thrilled to have a story in Crossover Alliance Anthology 2.

Story background:

I love the anthropomorphic psalms and Bible verses where nature is celebrating God. I’m also a fangirl of trees. So of course, I love Isaiah 55:12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. I wondered: What if the verse were not metaphorical, but literal? What would a world in which trees had enough sentience to worship God look like?

John J Zelenski

Author of The Attic

Bio: John lives in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania where he watches the seasons unfold with his wife and two children. He has written two novels, Walker’s Vale and The Journal of Ezekiel Walker. Walker’s Vale is presently in pre-production with Allegentsia Productions in Hollywood being adapted into a motion picture.

I have always loved stories. Whether being the performer or sitting in the audience, I’ve always believed that a good story will be remembered forever. Creating and writing stories is my ultimate form of expression - relating to others who I am (or not) and where I’ve been (or would like to go).

As an author, it is my preference to write from a Christian perspective in the supernatural / paranormal / horror genre. That being said however, having had my own paranormal experiences as a child, I felt this style of writing was chosen for me rather than me inadvertently discovering the unexplained.

My philosophy, if you can call it that, is simple yet profoundly complex. In the words of one of my story’s characters, “Not everything in this life can be explained.” And to me, that is the crux. The unexplainable, the unresolved, the questions that simply have no answers hold the key to recognizing life’s greatest mystery. Only an unlimited God can know the limits of our understanding. Without the darkness, we would not appreciate the light.

In my story, The Attic, a man realizes that the seeds of sin he’s planted throughout his life have finally borne much evil fruit. Negative emotions we hold onto – those things we refuse to let go of, will eventually take root and will produce byproducts of their own kind. It is at that time when we look in the mirror and no longer recognize the person staring back. The heart is a fertile soil. What we allow in will bring forth a harvest – very good or extremely evil. My inspiration for this story came from Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Michele Archer

Author of Innocent Blood

Bio: My name is Michele Archer; I’ve published two novels with MuseItUp Publishing, “The Calling of Mike Malone,” and, “Danny Doc Dilly and the Dangerous Duck.” In the fall of 2016 they will be producing my third novel, “Spectre.” Before that there have been a number of short stories published in different magazines.

I’ve always enjoyed telling tales. Even when I was a little kid growing up in Los Angeles, I and my friends would get together to see who could tell the scariest story, or at least the one that held everyone’s attention. (In my experience…The Lady in White gets them every time.)(Oh, you don’t know that story? About the girl in white who keeps showing up along the roadside? I’ll have to tell you sometime. …you know, some people even say that it’s true…)

My anthology story, Innocent Blood, was given a pass on for many years. When the rejection letters had any kind of explanation it was this: “The places where you talk about abortion clinics selling body parts are much too unbelievable. This will never happen. Pushing your politics is not appreciated.”

To an extent, that was understandable because I started writing the story in 2004 and, of course, such a horror had not been heard of yet. But if you are writing speculative fiction, you look at the current state of things and ask yourself what’s next. It’s not a political question. In this case it was the obvious next step, because man playing God sends us into such a downward moral spiral.

Then, of course, once the action is established, you ask the question again…what’s next? What then happens to innocent blood? That is where the possibility for horror grows so huge that the Lady in White looks like a gentle fairy tale by comparison.

I’m very thankful that the Crossover Alliance was willing to take a risk and enter this story in its anthology.

Nathan James Norman

Author of The Silver Dance and The True Light

Bio: I am a reluctant Southern Baptist pastor. I say "reluctant" because I had intended to make the creative arts my career. Over the course of seminary training, one of my professors (J. Kent Edwards) showed me how I could incorporate my creativity into expository, biblical preaching. So, while most of my energy goes into preaching these days, I also host a monthly podcast that features free audio speculative fiction from some amazing Christian authors. ( I also try to write my own fiction when I have the time.

Two of my stories appear in this year's anthology.

The True Light is a story I wrote in honor of my wife. From the time we began dating to the present, she has always found herself walking in very dark and difficult places. Sometimes those places are actively hostile to Christians. Whereas many would just walk away from such challenges, she is stubborn and resolute for the Lord. Like all of our walks, hers an an imperfect one, but she continues to persevere. This story reflects this reality.

The Silver Dance was born in a homiletics class with J. Kent Edwards ( After spending quite a bit of time trying to figure out the story in 1 Samuel 14, I spent two hours driving home late one evening. As I crawled along the Southern California highway, this story came to mind. Word for word. I sat down at a computer the next day and wrote it all out. (For those interested I preached a first-person sermon from this text this summer: I normally don't like stories that do this sort of "biblical ripoff" but for some reason I felt like this worked.

Jess Hanna

Author of The Reflecting Pool

Bio: Jess is an author of supernatural thrillers that explore spiritual themes. As a devoted follower of Christ, Jess aims to write stories that intrigue and entertain while tirelessly pursuing the truth. He resides in Grand Rapids, MI with his wife, and works in the publishing industry.

I became involved with The Crossover Alliance when it was a simple attempt to group together Christian authors writing edgy, speculative fiction. From the time my fellow alliance members hatched the truly insane plan to grow it into a publishing entity, I hitched my wagon to the cause. I am an official Crossover Alliance member and author, with all rights and privileges that come with such a position.

In my case, I write horror. That's right. I write horror with lots of uncomfortable terrifying moments, and copious amounts of bloodletting. But with a message of redemption, of course. My message is simple. Give Jesus a go and sidestep the horror. Otherwise, you might end up as a featured character in one of my cautionary tales.


My latest entry into The Crossover Alliance Anthology, volume 2 is The Reflecting Pool. This demented tale of young love and its folly was inspired by nothing more than a picture of an abandoned reflecting pool at an estate in Florida and a vague sense of gothic direction. Once I started writing, the characters became clear and before I knew it I had a complete short story. Sometimes, all it takes is a single moment or a flash of thought to be the spark that ignites the fire of a story. And as long as I am inspired and have the desire, I will continue to write. I hope you will join me.

David N. Alderman

Author of unLoved

Bio: David is the founder of The Crossover Alliance. He is an indie author of more than a half-dozen books and participates in National Novel Writing Month each year. When he's not writing or spending time with family, you can find David racking up his achievement score on his Xbox 360, questing in Guild Wars 2, or killing opponents in a game of Half Life 2: Deathmatch on Steam.




I seem to have an easier time writing short stories than I do novels. That never used to be the case. I always dreaded short stories because there’s more pressure to be on point and tell a story in a lot less words than when writing an epic novel/novel series where you can pack everything with extra dialogue and action scenes. Short stories are just that: short, and to the point. When I sat down and wrote out the draft for unLoved, the story came so naturally, I wondered if it had been trapped inside of me for a multitude of years. But it only took me a couple of days to sketch out the whole thing.

My main character, Leah Worth, is perpetually bullied by life and those around her. She is abused – physically and emotionally. She is forsaken by those who were charged with loving and caring for her. I can relate to her on a scope of different levels. I’ve had many points in my life where I have felt the same. I’ve been betrayed, I’ve been neglected, and I’ve been unLoved. There were times I felt worthless, times I felt unimportant and unnoticed. Invisible.

The challenge with writing unLoved wasn’t the character demons, as I’ve faced them in my own life before. The real challenge was the sexual content. Leah is a sex slave who is constantly traded around the intergalactic space lanes, treated as an object, as a pleasure toy for others’ enjoyment. With a powerfully tragic background, she falls in line with thinking God has abandoned her to a life of filth and degradation. She is essentially unLoved – or at least feels that way.

In a society where sexual content is given a sparkle and shimmer that makes it appealing even in its most grotesque forms, it’s hard for many Christians and non-Christians to believe that a Christian story can be written with sexual content. Many Christian writers cover up the filth with cleverly written lines that veer the reader around things ‘too tough to face’. With unLoved, I faced sexual slavery head-on and imagined what it would be like to be a character stuck in that kind of life, traded like a tarnished cup full of immorality for every man and woman to take a sip of.

In the end, we are faced with the question: Are we really unLoved when bad things happen to us? Even if our whole life feels like it’s been on the wrong side of the tracks, does it mean God has abandoned us? Or do we trust that Jeremiah 29:11 is true when it says, “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”?


Thank you, authors of edgy, speculative fiction for giving us a glimpse of the creative talent that God has gifted you with! Readers always appreciate where a story comes from and it is even more real and special when you tell us of your inspiration! This can only encourage us to read your work, and develop a greater love for this developing and emerging genre.