Tag Archives: Ted Dekker

Erin Healy to Publish Stranger Things, a Novel of Suspense and Hope #thinplaces #sextrafficking

Bestselling novelist Erin Healy’s latest supernatural thriller, Stranger Things, comes to stores on New Year’s Eve! I can’t wait to read my copy; it sounds amazing and I’ve loved all her other work. In regards to this particular book, human/sex trafficking is a cause I am really interested in and support and I was enouraged to read that she also has a heart for this social issue and incorporated it into her novel.

As an author, she does a wonderful job of mixing spirituality with the supernatural and is one of the masters of allegorical literary fiction.  I have always loved Ted Dekker, which introduced me to Erin after she has co-written several books with him. Both are stellar writers in that they succeed at opening those small windows in your brain to make you think harder and longer during and after reading their books.  They are two of my favorite authors.

When I read Erin’s work, I delve deeper into myself, into humanity, into existence, and into the questions of spirituality and purpose. She reaches out and touches my soul. I imagine this book will also speak to me.

ST_surprises-300x225

So here’s the synopsis for Stranger Things and a chance to read the first two chapters….then following is a short interview and all the other information about the upcoming book, Erin, and how to connect to her. PLUS there is a chance to enter for a giveway!

Stranger Things, Synopsis~

Stranger ThingsIn the forest’s burned-out hollow, a house of dark secrets also glows with bright promise.

Serena’s career as a high school biology teacher comes to a halt when an angry student makes shocking accusations. Stunned and suspended, Serena retreats to the forest where she usually finds peace of mind. But on this day she encounters a killer and his prisoner—as well as a stranger who dies to save Serena’s life.

The stranger, Christopher, had dedicated his life to rescuing girls from forced prostitution—starting with his sister Amber. They formed a tiny nonprofit organization to protect girls and have been working furiously to bring down John Roman, the powerful criminal who first took Amber and has ruined scores of young women’s lives since.

When Christopher’s grieving colleagues suspect Serena of being in league with Roman, her life spirals further out of control. How will she clear her name? Why did this stranger protect her with his life? And what is the meaning of the visions she sees every time she visits the gutted house where he died?

If you’d like to read the first two chapters of Stranger Things, click here.

Add to your GoodReads shelf NOW!  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18126907-stranger-things

Check out the COOL Pinterest Board here—> http://www.pinterest.com/erinhealybooks/stranger-things/

******************************************

ENTER TO WIN~

Enter to WIN one of 10 autographed copies by clicking here (A U.S. shipping address is required and books will be mailed after January 1 2014—-> a Rafflecopter giveaway or go here—> http://www.erinhealy.com/2013/11/30/stranger-things-giveaway/

******************************************

ST leaves

Interview with Erin Healy~

Welcome, Erin! (BTW, that always feel a little strange, since it’s my name too-lovely to share it!)  It’s so wonderful to feature you here on the blog. I’ve been a longtime fan of yours for many reasons. I’m looking forward to your answers surrounding some questions on your new book, Stranger Things!

Q:  How was your idea for Stranger Things born?

A:  Two years ago, during a Good Friday service, my pastor (Kelly Williams of Vanguard Church, Colorado Springs) asked the congregation: “If a complete stranger died while saving your life, wouldn’t you want to know everything you could about that person? Wouldn’t you want your life to honor that person’s death?” He challenged us to consider Jesus Christ in a new light—as a stranger, as a savior we might not know as well as we think we do. This idea has roots in Romans 5:8—“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Before I ever had the chance to know him, while he was a complete stranger to me, Christ died for me. The Message translation says “when [I was] of no use whatever to him.” Why would he do that? Have I investigated him thoroughly enough to connect my own life with his purposes? This is all background, though. Stranger Things isn’t an overtly Christian tale as my previous novels have been, but it’s a parable about these questions.

Q:  Stranger Things sounds like a pretty dark read. Why did you choose to write about sex trafficking?

A:  Human trafficking (of which sex trafficking is a subcategory) is the world’s third-fastest growing illegal industry behind drugs and weapons. It is the most horrifying kind of modern captivity I can imagine, and my research proved that even my imagination fell short of reality. I picked it because it’s a real contemporary crisis, but also because it profoundly symbolizes the kind of bondage that Christ came to end (Isaiah 61:1-3). Freeing the captive, physically and spiritually, is a high calling for followers of Jesus who want to express their gratitude for his sacrifice and demonstrate his love through the continuation of his work.

Q:  What does all this have to do with the “thin places” that you’re always talking about?

A:  The traditional (Celtic) definition of a thin place is a physical location in the world where the division between physical and spiritual realities falls away, a place where we can see the greater truth of our existence. In my stories I use the term “thin place” to define moments when a person experiences a sharpened spiritual awareness about what’s really going on in his or her life. Stranger Things  is the first novel in which I’ve combined both ideas. The thin place is a physical location, a burned-out house in a sparse terrain, where Serena discovers her purpose. “There are places in the world where you will encounter things so real that you will be surprised others don’t have an identical experience,” Serena’s father tells her. “But then you will realize that the clarity given to you is a gift from God. Perhaps this gift is just for you, maybe also it will touch the lives of others.”

Q:  Did anything surprise you while writing the novel?

A:  I started with intentions to write about an Asian-based trafficking ring, but in the course of my research was distressed to learn just how close to home the problem lies. Though it’s impossible to get a precise count of how many people are victims of sex trafficking in the US, most estimates fall between 100,000 and 300,000 (mostly women and children). Since I learned this my own awareness has expanded, and I’m happy to see just how many efforts are already underway—not only in the US—to end this atrocity. The Polaris Project is a great place to begin learning about global human trafficking.

Q:  What do you hope readers will take away from Stranger Things?

A:  I hope the novel is layered enough to meet each reader individually. Maybe some will be challenged to investigate Jesus Christ further. Maybe some will use their new awareness of trafficking to do something about it. (I’ve joined the prayer team of a local home for girls rescued from sexual slavery.) To date my favorite response to the book was from the person who found herself looking in a new way at the strangers who surrounded her. She felt unexpectedly protective and concerned, on heightened alert to ways in which she might be able to help them. In other words, ways in which she might be able to do what Christ did for her. So many opportunities! If we all moved through the world with eyes like that, what might change for the better? I love to think of all the possibilities.

Stranger Things Details~

Length: 368 pages
Publication Date: Dec. 31, 2013
Company: Thomas Nelson
ISBN-10:  1401689582
ISBN-13:  9781401689582

Stranger ThingsPraise for Stranger Things~

Of the novel, Library Journal says: “Serena Diaz’s teaching career came to an abrupt end when a student falsely accused her of sexual misconduct. Seeking solace in the woods, she discovers that a gang of sex traffickers has taken over a vacant house. Serena is almost captured by one of the criminals but is saved by an unknown man who has been shadowing her. He is shot, and Serena escapes with her life. But she is drawn to know more about this stranger who died for her. What follows is a suspenseful story of danger and pure evil. Whom can Serena trust in a world that seems intent on serving its own self-interests? VERDICT – Healy (Afloat; coauthor with Ted Dekker, Burn and Kiss) has written an edgy, fast-paced spiritual thriller that will please Dekker fans.”

Erin Healy, Biography~

Erin HealyErin Healy is the best-selling co-author of “Burn” and “Kiss” with Ted Dekker and an award-winning editor for numerous best-selling authors. She has received wide acclaim for her novels “Never Let You Go,”,”The Baker’s Wife,” “House of Mercy,” and “Afloat.”

Healy earned her bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in communication studies from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA. She began her career as an editor for Christian Parenting Today before serving as a book editor for WaterBrook Press. Healy founded WordWright Editorial Services in 2002 and specializes in fiction book development. She has worked with many popular authors in a number of genres such as Frank Peretti, James Scott Bell, Melody Carlson, Colleen Coble, Robin Lee Hatcher, Gilbert Morris, Lisa Samson, Randy Singer and Robert Whitlow.

While her interest in supernatural fiction grew she while working with Dekker (she edited 12 of his well-known, heart-pounding stories before collaborating with him as a co-author), her interest in the spiritual realm has always been a part of her. “The Irish girl in me is fascinated by the concept of thin places, a Celtic name for locations in the world where the veil between physical and spiritual realities is so delicate that a person can see through it. For me, thin places are revelations about what it means to be a spiritual creation in a physical world. I write supernatural suspense novels from a Christian worldview, with eyes open to God’s mysterious side and where His world world intersects ours,” she explains.

Healy currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO, with her husband, Tim, and two children. She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the American Christian Fiction Writers.  Erin can be contacted through her website www.ErinHealy.com or through Facebook at erinhealybooks.

Social Media Links to Connect with Erin Healy:

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Google+

Subscribe to her blog

You can help by using these hashtags for posts you might share related to Stranger Things or search for them on your sites to follow the updates or get involved in the conversation: #StrangerThings #ThinPlaces #SexTrafficking

6 Comments

Filed under Feature Articles, Guest Posts, Q and A with Authors

Ted Dekker Takes Risk with New Serial Novel Eyes Wide Open

Identity (Book 1), Mirrors (Book 2), Unseen (Book 3) and Seer (Book 4) are all part of a four episode thrill ride from New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker.  Combined, these sections puzzle together an almost 300-page book called Eyes Wide Open.  First launched at the end of December with the free Identity, it continued at a one book per week serial pace and are now all currently available in e-book format separately. In February, all will combine as Eyes Wide Open for purchase as a paperback or as one e-book. It is also available in audio book format.  I love the covers of each book too, which I’ll show throughout the post. They are amazing and fit the story perfectly! Great symbolism!

Eyes Wide open no whiteSynopsis for Eyes Wide Open, The Complete Story~
 
Who am I?
 
My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen and I’m about to die.I’m buried in a coffin under tons of concrete. No one knows where I am. My heart sounds like a monster with clobber feet, running straight toward me. I’m lying on my back, soaked with sweat from the hair on my head to the soles of my feet. My hands and feet won’t stop shaking.Some will say that I m not really here. Some will say I’m delusional. Some will say that I don t even exist. But who are they? I’m the one buried in a grave.My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen. I’m about to die.So who are you? In a return to the kind of storytelling that made Black, Showdown and Three unforgettable, New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker drags that question into the light with this modern-day parable about how we see ourselves.Humming with intensity and blindsided twists, Eyes Wide Open is raw adrenaline from the first page to the last pure escapism packed with inescapable truth. Not all is as it seems. Or is it? Strap yourself in for the ride of your life. Literally. (Young Adult)
 
My Review Continued~

Ted Dekker is one of my top five favorite authors of all time in any genre. When he sent out an e-mail asking his loyal readers to sign-up for an exciting release, and offered the first section free, I jumped at the chance to check it out. Identity really held my interest and I moved through it in an hour or less and couldn’t wait for the next installment. The action was intense and I felt like the main character, Christy, fell through the proverbial Wonderland rabbit hole and into a milder version of an evil asylum all to end up popping through (instead of in) a coat closet to Narnia. 

IDENTITY_ebook_cover_MC

By the way, Identity was still free at the time of this post:  http://www.amazon.com/Identity-Eyes-Wide-Open-ebook/dp/B00ATRCPSE

My head was spinning throughout Mirrors and I was as confused as the characters were. The Wonderland analogy in a demented and diluted sort of way kept appearing to me as well as similar allegorical themes such as sometimes illusions can seem so real that they become real.  I was really confused and a little horrified (which is a good thing) by the beginning of Unseen, but parts of it also really touched my heart and I could relate to this message. It’s one I struggle with. It is a Christian message, more clear than in most any other book I’ve read by him, but for me, so endearing. Really, anyone can use a reminder on the message of hope and beauty. It is about humankind and love.  I wish so much I could tell you, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.

Corridor

I couldn’t wait for Seer to hit for purchase this week and luckily enough it came early. And with it, as I read it, came an enlightenment on the entire book, as how we stumble sometimes upon an enlightenment in our life.  I was so happy and fulfilled.  We need to sometimes not just “take off our rose-colored glasses” but also put on our lenses (or lamps as in the book) and see our light and “the” light.  Dekker, through the other characters, reminds us that everyone’s timing and road is different.  Just as some of the other characters weren’t complete by the end, I was also left hoping for more about a mysterious stranger we are introduced to in book 3 and 4.  At the end of Seer, I was pleasantly surprised and excited to see that he announced a new novel (maybe a series) focusing on this character and probably some of the other characters we already grew to know and feel compassion for.

Ted Dekker Unseen

Don’t try to read that cover of Unseen instantly, it won’t work. It is just the only cover I could find….

I will always want to read anything he likes and I won’t judge if I’ll continue to read him or not based on any certain book or series. Why? Because he is always pushing his own boundaries as well as ours as readers; he’s trying new things and taking risks. Sometimes that works better than other times, but he always entertains as well as makes a reader think (as long as that reader is willing to think).

He is a Christian author and sometimes his books are allegorical in nature, but many of his suspense thrillers can be read by anyone who just loves straight mind-bending psychological suspense. He doesn’t always sell himself as a Christian author.  However, in this series none of the marketing materials or content (plus he self-published using his Outlaw Studios so there isn’t any Christian publisher involved) mentioned that there would be a Christian message. He already has some secular horror and suspense readers up in arms over there being no “warning.” Is that something that needs to be done? What do you think?  I thought the message was an important one, whether you are a Christian or not, and anyone of any belief could find inspiring and motivational insight behind the message he presents in this book. 

Ted Dekker SeerIn regards to his marketing choices as well, he also didn’t really announce it as a young adult novel. Reading his other books, I felt the writing style was plainer and thought it didn’t quite feel like him. Anyone reading him for the first time should not judge his other works on this. I felt that he either rushed this plot and prose and didn’t polish it up, or he meant it for young adults. Without him saying which, I struggled with the whole book on this point since I was caught off guard. Again, as with the point previously mentioned, maybe he wanted to gain as many readers as possible to get to a #1 Amazon spot, but I feel he did himself a small injustice as an author.

Also, I bet if he announced as young adult appropriate, which it was, he would have gotten more readers. Many of his books teens probably shouldn’t read due to their nature so parents wouldn’t know to purchase for their kids too. It is totally teen appropriate and the message such a good learning point for them. It needs on a YA list!  When doing research for this blog (there is nothing up on his website as of 1/15/2013) it took me days to find any reference to it being a young adult genre, which I finally spotted on an Amazon synopsis (you can see for yourself on the synopsis I posted from there).

The only other final thing I have to remark on, and I hate to do it to my favorite author, but he really needed to slow down with this book. He really needed to hire an editor and if he did, he needs his money back. This was the most awful display of missed words and errors that I have ever seen in a bestselling author. Many times I got held up on a word that was missing and I am fast reader who skims. I don’t know how many times I remarked on this. It made me feel as if he just didn’t put the care into it. Yes, the first book was free but his reputation is on the line with new readers. What kind of impression is this? Also, the next three books were $2.99 each for about 100 pages each…that is quite a bit of money for me to spend–$10 for a 300 page e-book.  We have a collection of his books on our shelf too, if we wanted to get the combined paperback in February it would be another $14.99 and how do I know that the errors will be corrected??  He may get away with leaning on the fact that people like me who are dire hard fans will purchase anyway, but really we should still get our money’s worth.  If you are going to self-publish more works Ted Dekker, please hire an editor (I’m available!!).

That said, readers and Ted too, don’t take me wrong. I am a marketer and PR person by trade and I tend to have an eye that looks towards these issues. I know that Ted Dekker took a big gamble on self-publishing, which means he has to write and market his own books. (I’m happy to offer advice!)

Overall, it was a great new endeavor in taking a risk and trying several new things which are serial e-books, making a prequel so huge that everyone wants to join the club for what’s coming up next, offering his first free e-book section to create a buzz, and for him, self-publishing. I’m glad I was paying attention to his Facebook page and was already signed-up to receive his e-mail messages. It’s how I knew about the book coming out…his website doesn’t have any info. He really does treat his loyal fans well, so if you are a fan, be sure to sign-up on his website to get email notices or follow his Facebook updates.

I loved the story overall. It messed with my mind and made me think and cry and wonder all at various times. It felt surreal and yet real and it took ahold of my thoughts for weeks. I’d recommend the read and I really can’t wait for the next novel.

Ted Dekker, Biography~

td-headshotTed Dekker (born October 24, 1962) is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty novels. He is best known for stories which could be broadly described as suspense thrillers with major twists and unforgettable characters, though he has also made a name for himself among fantasy fans.
 
He is a New York Times bestselling author of over thirty novels. Heralded as a “master of suspense” by Library Journal, Dekker has sold millions worldwide, establishing himself as one of the most widely recognized author brands. Dekker was born to missionaries and grew up among cannibals of Indonesia, and his peculiar upbringing gives him a unique perspective outside the cultural bubble, allowing him the freedom to share provocative insights in his fiction.

Because his parents’ work often included extended periods of time away from their children, Dekker describes his early life in a culture to which he was a stranger as both fascinating and lonely. It is this unique upbringing that forced him to rely on his own imagination to create a world in which he belonged.

After leaving Indonesia, Dekker graduated from a multi-cultural high school and took up permanent residence in the United States to study Philosophy and Religion. Upon earning his Bachelor’s Degree, he entered the corporate world and proceeded to climb the proverbial ladder. But his personal drive left him restless and, after many successful years, he traded corporate life for wide range of entrepreneurial pursuits that included buying and selling businesses, healthcare services, and marketing.

In the early nineties while visiting a friend who had just written a book, Dekker decided to pursue a long held desire to be a novelist. Over the course of two years he wrote two full length novels before starting from scratch and rewriting both. Now fully enamored by the the process and the stories, he realized that storytelling was in his blood and a new obsession to explore truth through story gripped him anew.

He sold his business, moved his family to the mountains of Western Colorado and began writing full-time on his third novel. Two years and three novels later his first novel was published.

Dekker’s novels have sold over 5 million copies worldwide. Two of his novels, Thr3e and House, have been made into movies with more in production. Dekker resides in Austin, Texas with his wife Lee Ann and two of their daughters.

You can find him at Teddekker.com and Facebook.com/teddekker.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

The Priest’s Graveyard by Ted Dekker is an Engaging Thriller that will Keep You Turning Pages Late Into the Night

Tim Busbey, my much more entertainment savvy fiance, also has a blog on which he writes book reviews (among other writings) and we’ve decided to exchange our reviews on each other’s blogs in hopes that will be helpful to our readers! He is a writer himself, penning a novel in the thriller genre and you can read some of this first chapters also on his blog.  He most recently read Ted Dekker’s latest book “The Priest’s Graveyard” and his guest blog/review is below. If you wish to read his blog further, it is www.timbusbey.wordpress.com.

The Priest’s Graveyard is an Engaging Thriller that will Keep You Turning Pages Late Into the Night
by Tim Busbey, www.timbusbey.wordpress.com

“The Priest’s Graveyard”
By Ted Dekker
Center Street
In Stores Now

If there’s one thing Ted Dekker knows, it’s evil. Not just over-the-top, stereotypical, cartoonish, made-for-movies evil like a lot of writers create. Dekker knows how to get inside the minds of real people and explore that dark place that most of us are afraid to admit even exists. Almost makes you wonder what is going on in Dekker’s brain. Should we be afraid of him? Just kidding, Mr. Dekker. But seriously, he certainly has a gift for mining the depths of despair and depravity that lurk deep in the human soul. In “The Priest’s Graveyard,” Dekker again shows us how seemingly normal people can behave in unimaginable ways when put in the wrong situation.

This time around, the two “normal” people are Renee Gilmore and Danny Hansen. Renee is a recovering heroin addict from a broken home rescued by a knight in shining armor. After nursing her back to health, Renee and her knight fall in love. When he fails to return home from work one day, Renee knows something awful has happened and she becomes intent on gaining vengeance on the man responsible for her husband’s death. Danny is a Bosnian immigrant who saw the brutal murder of his mother and sister during the country’s tragic civil war. Years later, Danny emigrated to America hoping to escape the demons of his past. Now a priest, Danny doles out vengeance on evil men who have so far escaped justice at the hands of our system of justice.

When their paths cross, Danny is pulled into Renee’s quest for justice. At first, Danny attempts to dissuade Renee from continuing on this path, attempting to keep her from becoming like him. Eventually, Danny begins training Renee in his ways of vigilante justice and she proves to be a more than able student. Together, the pair travel down a dangerous, twisting path that leads them both to the edge, and takes them across lines they never thought they’d cross.

Dekker takes the reader on a journey with Renee and Danny, a journey where the characters and the reader alike come to see that love is the answer – not laws or rules or vengeance. Again, as he has become expert at doing, Dekker weaves a brilliant allegory about the true Christian life, a life built on accepting the sacrificial love of Jesus, not following a system of rules and regulations. But he does it in such a way that, for a casual reader, they can simply enjoy the story as a heart-stopping, riveting thriller.

“The Priest’s Graveyard” is an engaging thriller that will keep you turning the pages late into the night. It’s the perfect story for any Dekker fan and any fans of high-adrenaline thrillers.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give “The Priest’s Graveyard” a 4.5.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Other blogs