Sunday, August 02, 2015

Guest Post: Max Davis Discusses the Characters from his New Novel DEAD DOG LIKE ME

About the book 
(from publisher Worthy Books)
Dead Dog Like Me by Max Davis at Amazon
Megachurch pastor Nick Gregory's life is falling apart. His wife is filing for divorce. His congregation is questioning his leadership. His faith is nearly nonexistent. It goes down hill from there. When he regains consciousness after a horrific car crash, Nick realizes he is no longer in his hometown or even in the twenty-first century.
Transported back in time to 800 B.C. and into the body of King Saul s grandson Mephibosheth, Nick must quickly adapt to a completely different way of living. Can the experience of living as a another broken man, desperate for God s healing, bring healing to Nick himself if he can ever get back home?
A novel of adventure, redemption, and outrageous grace, Dead Dog Like Me takes you back in time to know more deeply a God who never changes, a God who lavishes you with His love.

Deeper into the Characters of Dead Dog Like Me
by Max Davis, special for EIR

Fasted paced and emotionally gripping, with themes of time travel, tragedy, romance, history, brokenness, and ultimate restoration, the movie would surely be a blockbuster. But the truth is; there’s nothing like a great novel. To me, a stirring read is better than a movie any day. And Dead Dog Like Me is all of that and a bag of popcorn!

Here are some of the out-of-the-box characters:

Nick Gregory: Super successful, New York Times bestselling author and Mega Church pastor who loses everything, or so he thought. At rock bottom he finds out what true success really is.

Abbi Gregory: Filling for divorce because she feels betrayed by her husband. He did betray her. Can she see past his discretions into his soul and love him again? Can their relationship actually become stronger than before?

Deuce: Family dog that teaches them how to forgive.

Mephibosheth: An ancient biblical character that Nick gets up close and personal with and in the process learns just how much God loves him.    

I hope you enjoy getting to know these characters as much as I enjoyed writing them. Mostly though, I hope they somehow touch you in a deep way. Dead Dog Like Me hit the stores June 23rd and is available everywhere.

About the book (the author's perspective)

Fast paced and entertaining, it’s also about brokenness and grace. The statement Dead Dog Like Me actually came from a scripture in 2 Samuel 9:8. Mephibosheth who was crippled and broken came to a place in his life where he saw himself as a Dead Dog. Dogs in those days were ravenous scavengers that roamed around in packs. When they died they rotted like road kill or were put on burn piles. So to call yourself a Dead Dog is about as low as you could get, especially in Jewish eyes. The thing that is amazing about this story is though Mephibosheth felt he was worthless and had nothing to offer, David invited him to eat at the King’s table everyday as one of his sons. All Mephibosheth had to do was accept the offer.

The book takes this story and applies it to a modern day setting. Nick Gregory, after incredible success, comes to a place in his life where he has hit rock bottom and sees himself as a dead dog just like Mephibosheth. All of us are broken and crippled in some way. We often feel like we don’t measure up. And come on, who of us out there hasn’t felt like a dead dog at times? What’s interesting about Nick Gregory is after he hits rock bottom, he finds God’s outrageous grace and that’s where his best life begins.

Max Davis is the author of over thirty books, has been featured in USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly, and has appeared on The Today Show and The 700 Club. He holds degrees in journalism and biblical studies. In addition to his own works, he’s done a variety of ghostwriting and collaboration projects. He and his wife Alanna, live in Greenwell Springs, LA on 40 beautiful acres under an umbrella of live oaks. They have three grown children and a brand new grandbaby. Check him out at

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Author's Casting Call, episode 36: Irene Hannon Casts HOPE HARBOR

Welcome back to another episode of The Author's Casting Call at EIR! Today we're joined by Casting Director (and author!) Irene Hannon who has picked a great cast for an imaginary film version of her latest book, Hope Harbor.

About Hope Harbor (from publisher Revell):
Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up. But life—and love—altered her plans. Now she’s home again—with a floundering farm to run…a tragic secret…and a wounded heart. Romance is not on her agenda. Nor is it on Michael Hunter’s. The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets and devastating regrets of his own. But when Tracy recruits him to help with a project that is close to her heart, winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives—including their own.

Click on the links Irene has included below for pictures of the actors she envisions for a film version of this book!

Irene Hannon Casts HOPE HARBOR
by Irene Hannon, special for EIR

I’m thrilled to be here to talk about casting for Hope Harbor, my latest novel. Hope Harbor is a charming fictional town on the spectacular Oregon coast filled with captivating characters who I’d love to see come to life on the big screen.

That said, I am now forced to make an admission. I don’t watch TV, and I rarely go to the movies. When I do have time to watch a flick, I tend to gravitate toward older classics.

So for my casting session today, I went by looks only. Not personality, not acting ability, not personal history. Looks. Period. And since actors’ appearances change from movie to movie and again in real life, I’ve included a link to show the image that best reflects the look I’m after for my characters.

Here we go!

Ben Affleck as Michael Hunter, the hero. Michael is a stranger in Hope Harbor. He’s come on a quest to find closure after a very painful chapter in his life. Michael is the kind of guy who did everything right—but still ended up failing the woman he loved. He is not in the market for romance. Here’s a link to my vision of Michael:

Amy Adams as Tracy Campbell, the heroine. Amy is a strong, determined woman who is grappling with grief and guilt. In addition, she’s struggling to save the three-generation cranberry farm where she was raised. Amy needs help with the farm—and with a project that’s dear to her heart. Guess who she recruits? ☺ Here’s a link to my vision of Tracy:

Secondary Characters
Judi Dench as Anna. Anna is an angry older woman who harbors a decades-long grudge. She is bitter and reclusive…until healing winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor and she finds herself rethinking choices she made long ago. Here’s Judi as Anna:

An unknown actor as Charley. And how fitting is that for this mysterious, ageless taco maker who has an uncanny ability to see into the hearts of town residents? Here’s the link:

A loudmouthed seagull as Floyd, the lonely gull who’s very vocal about his need for attention—and who gives my human characters a nudge toward romance with his own second chance at love. Here’s Floyd:

So there you have it—casting for many of the key players in Hope Harbor. Please visit this wonderful little town where hearts heal and love blooms so you can meet them for yourself!

Read an excerpt of Hope Harbor here:

Irene Hannon, who writes both contemporary romance and romantic suspense, is the bestselling author of more than 45 novels. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA awards (the “Oscar” of romantic fiction), a Carol award, a Daphne du Maurier award, a National Readers’ Choice award, three HOLT Medallions, a Booksellers’ Best award, a Retailers Choice award and two Reviewers’ Choice awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. She is also a two-time Christy award finalist. A former corporate communications executive with a Fortune 500 company, Irene now writes full time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Author's Casting Call, episode 35: Melody Carlson Casts ONCE UPON A SUMMERTIME

Today's episode of the Author's Casting Call features Casting Director (and author!) Melody Carlson who has chosen a fun cast for her latest release, Once Upon a Summertime!

About Once Upon a Summertime
from publisher Revell

Anna Gordon reinvents her life by giving up her dead-end job at the Value Lodge in her hometown. Her hope is to manage a stylish boutique hotel in Soho New York. But life doesn’t go quite as planned. Sean O’Neil, an old crush from Anna’s past, is up for the same position. Distracted by her feelings for Sean, Anna must decide what’s best for her future. But when she falls in love with New York she knows that even if she can’t have her ‘dream job,’ she’ll remain in the Big Apple—and hope for the best with Sean.

Click on the actors' names below for a link to a picture of how that character looks, according to our guest Casting Director... and be sure you follow the Author's Casting Call Pinterest board for links back to all previous episodes!

Meet the “Cast” of Once Upon a Summertime
By Casting Director (& author) Melody Carlson

So fun to participate in Serena’s blog! Although I visualize my books (like a movie playing in my head) I sometimes pull actors from different eras. But you couldn’t very well cast a young Elizabeth Taylor with Zac Efron, although they’d look great together. My latest release, Once Upon a Summertime, released in early summer.

Meet the ‘cast’ that played in my head as I was writing Once Upon a Summertime:

Anna Gordon could’ve been played by a young Nicole Kidman. A sincere, hardworking girl who doesn’t even know she’s pretty, Anna wants more from life. But, haunted by childhood memories of dysfunctional parents, Anna is stuck in a dead-end job. Trained for the hospitality industry, she dreams of managing a chic hotel somewhere colorful and exciting, but is afraid to make the leap. Her parents took risks and failed—she doesn’t want to wind up like them.

Ryan Reynolds as Sean O’Neil, a handsome ‘blast from the past’ who has been working overseas in hotel management. Anna remembers Sean as the hometown golden boy, and despite an old schoolgirl crush, she knows Sean’s totally out of her reach. Despite his natural ability to charm almost anyone, Sean is a genuinely good guy. But when he goes against Anna for the same management job, it starts to get dicey.

Secondary Characters

Anne Hathaway as Marley Ferris, the ‘best’ friend who might not be completely trustworthy. The energetic, beautiful flight attendant invites Anna to New York City to pursue her dream job in a Soho boutique hotel. But when they both fall for the same guy, the friendship gets tested.

Ellen Burstyn as Grandma Val, the spirited grandmother who encourages Anna to take a bite out of the Big Apple. After Anna’s parents failed to care for her as a child, Anna came to live with Grandma Val. But Grandma Val wants Anna to try her wings.

New York City, yes, this was a ‘character’ in my story. Once Upon a Summertime is the first book in a stand-alone series where the setting plays a huge role. I had such fun exploring the amazing city. And The Rothsberg Hotel was so interesting that I created a pinterest page for it.

Melody Carlson is the author of more than 200 books for women and teens. She’s won and been a finalist for various awards, including The Rita, Christy, The Carol, Gold Medallion, Readers Choice, RT’s Career Achievement Award and more. She makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of 37 years.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Karen Recommends HEARTS MADE WHOLE by Jody Hedlund

About the Book (from publisher Bethany House):
Click on the title below to find
Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund at Amazon
1865, Windmill Point, Michigan. Can She Forgive the Hurting Man Who Costs Her the Role She Loves?
After her father's death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren't supposed to have such roles, so it's only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper--even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.
Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He's secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation--the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He's not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who's angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he's in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he's unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope...and possibly love?
Karen’s Thoughts on the Story:
I’ve loved this series by Jody Hedlund from the start, and Hearts Made Whole is no exception.
(See my reviews of the novella Out of the Storm and the novel Love Unexpected for my thoughts on the earlier stories.)
Ryan and Caroline’s tale in Hearts Made Whole is one of healing, redemption, mystery, suspense, and of course, love. The lead characters each start out the story with their own problems, hurting and struggling to get by. And the way they’re presented – flaws, challenges and all – I couldn’t help but feel for them, and cheer them on towards healing, character growth, and the achievement of their goals.
It was so much fun to see the romance develop between them, despite the adversarial circumstances in which they met. The tender compassion, the discovery of flirtation, and the occasional circumstance beyond their control throwing them into close proximity… all made for a delightfully romantic read. And if romance is your thing, just wait until you get to the shaving scene. That one’s my favorite. ☺
A bit of jealousy between sisters, and between potential suitors kept things interesting, and contributed to some pretty dramatic plot twists. But the thing that impressed me most about this story, was the message about relying on God rather than other people for our strength. The characters had to make some really tough decisions, but the story’s resolution was all the more powerful because of it. I am eagerly anticipating the release of Undaunted Hope, the next book in Jody Hedlund’s Beacons of Hope series.
Thank you to Bethany House for providing an electronic copy of this book via NetGalley for review purposes.
Content: Edgy for Inspirational Fiction (Some swoon-worthy scenes and some mature topics, but nothing too scandalous, and all from a Christian worldview.)
Story: 5 stars

EIR guest-reviewer Karen Collier writes and reviews Christian fiction, enjoys book discussions, and keeps an audiobook and ebook handy at all times.  For her full bio, social links, and more check out her blog at

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Author's Casting Call, episode 33: Eva Marie Everson Casts FIVE BRIDES

On today's episode of The Author's Casting Call, Casting Director (and author!) Eva Marie Everson picks the perfect cast for an imaginary film version of her latest release: Five Brides.

Here's a little about the book 
(courtesy of publisher Tyndale House):

One dress, five women, a lifetime of memories.

Five single, fiercely independent women live together in a Chicago apartment in the early 1950s but rarely see one another. One Saturday afternoon, as they are serendipitously together downtown, they spy a wedding dress in a storefront window at the famous Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. After trying it on―much to the dismay of the salesclerk and without a single boyfriend or date between the five of them―they decide to pool their money to purchase it. Can one dress forever connect five women who live together only a short time before taking their own journeys to love and whatever comes happily ever after?

Click on the actors' names for a link to a picture of that character, as seen by author Eva Marie Everson. And make sure you follow the Author's Casting Call Pinterest board for links back to all previous episodes of this feature.

Casting Five Brides
by Eva Marie Everson, special for EIR

I have five main female characters in Five Brides and the setting is in the 1950s, so I searched for 50s actresses who I thought resembled the characters in my imagination.

The first is Joan; she is a real person and, of course, I had photographs of her from that era. But if I were to have an actress play her today, it would have to be Helen George from Call the Midwife. We'd have to either dye her hair or fit her with a wig, but she has that same spunk the real Joan Hunt possesses. 

Betty Estes would be played by Grace Kelly, Magda Christenson would be played by Mitzi Gaynor, Inga Christenson would be played by Anne Baxter (think of the Anne from All About Eve instead of the Anne in The Ten Commandments), and Evelyn Alexander would be played by Betsy Drake (but with glasses). 

The real "Betty Estes" (not her real name, however) was a beautiful blonde with loads of style and finesse. For this reason, Grace Kelly would be the logical choice to play her (were the movie version filmed "back in the day" that it took place. The "real" Magda was a pretty girl (again, not her real name), but she wasn't what one might consider glamorous like her sister, Inga, who was "fairer." For this reason, I'd choose Mitzi Gaynor and Anne Baxter to play the Midwestern sisters. Evelyn hides behind her glasses and her fear of never adding up to being more than where she came from. I've seen Betsy Drake play roles in which she displays her amazing beauty and those where she hides behind wide-eyed wonder. For this reason, I chose Betsy as my "image" of Evelyn Alexander.

Eva Marie Everson is a multiple-award-winning author and speaker. She is the president of Word Weavers International, vice president of BelieversTrust, director of Florida Christian Writers Conference, and enjoys coaching new authors through her company, Pen in Hand. Eva Marie and her husband are the parents of three fabulous children who have blessed them with the world's greatest grandchildren. Visit her at


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