Friday, August 24, 2007

Today’s Relevant News

Immeasurable cruelty! Some monster deliberately sets 5-yr-old Youssif on fire in Iraq. Unfathomable. My thoughts? The world has gone worse than whacky and we need to stand up for righteousness. My only consolation is that Youssif and his family are coming to America and I’m praying they hear the Gospel and come to know Christ.

Then we’re reminded of Michael Vick’s victims. He drowned or hung the dogs that didn’t win, after already torturing them their entire lives. My thoughts? He deserves the same treatment. But our God is a God of mercy so let’s pray that Vick gets maximum sentence and that he too comes to know Christ in prison. Maybe he’ll have time to do some good on this earth before meeting his maker.

We also learned that Mother Teresa—someone I’ve admired for years—had serious doubts about her faith. Am I surprised? No, not at all. If she really knew Jesus, she would be vulnerable to doubts as we all are. But more importantly, she did not have sound teaching Let’s face it, her faith was based on an unbalanced system, not solely on the Bible. That would make it shaky. And if she didn’t have true faith (I personally believe she did based on years of studying her life and quotes, but only God really knows), then having doubts would be explained by a lack of Christ’s indwelling life. The Bible and the indwelling Holy Spirit help dissipate doubts. Add to that mix a good assembly of believers to encourage and allow us to hear good teaching and you have a good recipe to build up your faith—although hard situations and trials never fail to test it. Without those essential ingredients, it’s almost impossible to hear God’s voice.

That’s my take (at least, briefly put). What’s yours?

Other news includes that Berlin Zoo has a new baby elephant. I’d so love to see him. I absolutely love elephants. They are incredible animals—and their qualities could put a lot of humans to shame. More on that another time…

Janey L. DeMeo Copyright©2007 August 24th

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Legend of the Firefish

I must confess that The Legend of the Firefish is not a book I’d normally pick to read. I mean pirates are not my usual cuppa cha. But as I began reading it, I got hooked. Maybe I got ensnared by Talon—evil personified, God forbid! She gave me the willies. Very creepy. Or did I see myself in Panna? God-fearing, feisty, a little naïve, and with a monstrous mission. These are the two key female characters, although I must mention Hen, the endearing personification of motherliness.

I don’t think I identified with the key player, Packer Throme, because frankly I’m not a boy—although I live with two and I bet they could plug into this character, especially my son. The characters are very well portrayed, distinct and enough stereotyped to allow us to recognize them from life.

The book is filled with adventure, action, pirates, intriguing plot and gore. Yes gore. Blood spilling fights. It all had a purpose. Polivka brilliantly portrays the horror of life, sin, evil and carefully weaves the beauty of mercy into his story. That to me is what Firefish is really about.

Sure, Firefish is the story of Packer Throme, a young man who loves God and is also in love with the young and beautiful pastor’s daughter, Panna Seline.

Packer has apparently failed at seminary, but seeks to make a difference in the world and, like most of us, is has mixed motives; he wants to combat evil but he also wants to marry Panna. Should he risk his life to try and improve the world of his poor fishermen in his world? Or should he stay and settle down with Panna ignoring the knowledge left to him by his now deceased father?

Packer finds himself joining the pirates in the quest to follow his father’s discoveries and help find the fiendish firefish. His goal is to improve the economy of the poor fishermen in the world he grew up in. Unexpectedly, Packer finds himself targeted by Talon who is driven by cold blooded cruelty that shows no bounds.

I really should say no more. You just need to read the book. And I’d especially recommend it for men and for boys. How hard it is to get our teen boys to read. Maybe this will lure them in. It did me—and I ain’t no pirate person.

Brief interview with author, George Bryan Polivka. (GBP = author, JD = me, the interviewer).

JD - George, did you draw your inspiration for this book from the Pirates of the Carribean craze?

GBP -- No. I wrote "Firefish" a dozen years ago.

JD - I see mercy as a key thread throughout the book. Is mercy a facet of God's nature you particularly hoped to portray?

GBP -- Yes. That, and the heart of the believer that craves it, knowing mercy is not deserved. I like to talk about faith as what happens on the other side of despair, and I tried to work that out in the story.

JD - Did you write this book for any particular audience?

GBP -- It's for the people of God, in response to the command, "Feed my sheep."

JD - Do you think see the book being made into a film? (I do and I even have a suggested actress for Panna).

GBP -- I see the book as a film when I write it! I have written movie scripts and television programs. But I'd love to hear how you see Panna. I can't mentally cast it myself; the characters are too real for me... and they aren't actors!

JD -- Thanks George. Keep on writing, and killing those firefish. We'll be looking for the next book.

GBP -- You're welcome. And it's available now! Amazon or your local Christian bookseller. "The Hand that Bears the Sword."

Check out some of my fellow bloggers’ reviews of The Firefish:

Trish Anderson
Brandon Barr
Wayne Thomas Batson
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Frank Creed
Lisa Cromwell
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Merrie Destefano
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Russell Griffith
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Christopher Hopper
Jason Joyner
Dawn King
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Terri Main
Rachel Marks
Karen McSpadden
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Lyn Perry
Deena Peterson
Cheryl Russel
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika Schultz
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Daniel I. Weaver

Monday, August 20, 2007

One Little Secret

I first met Allison Bottke at the Write-to-Publish conference in Illinois a few years back. Today I’m reviewing her book, One Little Secret. Tomorrow, I’ll hop back on the loop of the CSFF blogtour.

For a boomer babe new to chick-lit and new to So Cal where the story takes place, I enjoyed One Little Secret. The plot centers around Ursula Rhoades, a middle-class, educated boomer chick with an almost perfect family. Ursula’s life is comfy—until a secret silently sows pandemonium.

Ursula typifies the submitted, steadfast Christian mom and wife who places family above her own dreams. But when an opportunity opens for her to fulfill a latent dream, she begins recording an album with a famous, “sexy dude” rock star—incognito. Meanwhile, her own husband is caught up in his own ambitions as a lawyer—and is away for several months on a case. So are the kids. Ursula is quite alone. Quite the set-up for trouble.

Although Ursula appears spiritually solid, some of her behavior leaves us questioning her maturity—and turning pages. For example, Ursula is often alone with Nik, and there is a clear, although controlled, play of chemistry between them in spite of their age-difference. While Ursula never betrays her marital status, she does put herself in precarious situations. At one point, Nik turns up at her house at 5am where she is all alone—and has been for weeks, making her vulnerable. Ursula invites him in. Not a wise move—especially since Nik is attracted to Ursula.

This kind of predicament keeps the tension rising as the reader wonders if Ursula will, in fact, cross the line. Some would argue that she already crosses the line by ignoring God’s mandate to “abstain from all appearance of evil.” Whatever viewpoint you take, from the angle of plot only, the dilemma keeps us turning pages—albeit with a bit of a “tut, tut!”

Bottke is generous with detail. I enjoyed the décor in Ursula and Don’s bedroom (my favorite color), and some of Ursula’s footwear sound gorgeous. Nothing is spared to show the opulence of Hollywood and riches. (On a personal note, since living in So Cal near some the world’s richest people while working with some of the poorest, the paradox often leaves me perplexed!). So, if you’re into boomer chick lit intrigued by glitz and Hollywood, you might want to give this book a try. I think you’ll enjoy it! You can order it on And while you're there, check out Allison's U-Turn series.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Adam's Amendment

This blog is decidedly varied in its content—although if you’re smart, you’ll see the common thread. Needless to say, as well as literature, music, culture, philosophical issues, philanthropic issues, this blog focuses on suffering. As founding president of Orphans First, I’m concerned that children suffer, and hope to encourage folks to make a difference for one, two, more children. It actually bothers me intensely that any victim suffers—especially the small and defenseless. That’s why I sometimes draw attention to the suffering of animals.

Today, someone emailed me this blog url. I urge you to look at it whether you’re interested in animals or not. Personally, I think we should care about animals hurting just because they hurt. And because they’re helpless victims. But if that’s not where you’re at, maybe this will prick your ears. There’s a distinct link between cruelty to animals and murdering humans. One commonly leads to the other. Read more about it here and see what you can do to help:

Here is a direct quote from that blog (used by permission).

“Help prevent cruelty and torture to animals in the State of California. Help ensure these heinous crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and perpetrators will be justly punished with a longer prison range. Currently, California law allows only a MAXIMUM of 3 years, which is greatly out of proportion with the seriousness of the offense - help raise the limit to a maximum of 6 years. Statistics show that individuals that commit crimes against animals are FIVE TIMES more likely to commit violent crimes against humans. Animal cruelty is a serious crime, which should result in a serious punishment. Sign this petition, and urge local legislators to create a bill to help amend this law, and impose a stricter sentence. It only takes a moment, and it's such a worthy cause! Adam is a tiny kitten who was burned alive in June of 2007 in Santa Rosa, California. Ensure that crimes like this will be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Learn more about this petition at”

Thanks for caring enough to check into this. As I’ve suggested in a previous post, dealing with this kind of cruelty can help prevent cruelty to children. May God soften our hearts to do His will in these types of situations, and keep us from becoming cold or indifferent!

Until soon,
Janey DeMeo