Thursday, October 22, 2015

FLORIDA AUTHORS OFFER SUPER-SIZED STORIES FOR PINT-SIZED READERS!

Florida Authors
Offer Super-Sized
Stories for Pint-
Sized Readers!
______________________________

I'm particularly stoked
about this feature, as it
unites my all-time favorite
folks — authors and kids.
______________________________

For parents, what could possibly be more important and rewarding than spending quality time with our little ones while they're still "little" ones? Those moments are precious and few  trust me. Although one day it may feel like life will forever be a chorus to a Barney sing-along  BAM! seemingly over night life becomes a chorus to a Harry Chapin tear-jerker. Simply put, we just can't measure the value of one-on-one connection with our kids trips to the beach, playing ball, watching TV — maybe even a little old-fashioned story time. And these fabulous Florida children's authors have a host of engaging stories to share with the special kids in our lives, based on the personal connections they've enjoyed with the special kids in their lives.

AMY SWEEZEY
It Never, Ever
Snows in Florida
Available NOW on Amazon
Growing up in Michigan, author Amy Sweezey experienced more than her fair share of beautifully brutal snowy seasons. And as a mother of three, the now popular Orlando TV meteorologist devotes an enormous amount of time year 'round, talking to kids throughout Central Florida about — weather.

"When I started reading to my Florida-born children about the seasons, I soon discovered most winter books are about cold and snow. I decided Florida kids needed a story to remind them that our weather is a little bit different than our friends and family who live up north."
-Amy Sweezey

Author Amy Sweezey
In her debut children's book, Amy relies on her personal experiences with weather — living in both the cold Midwest and the warm Southeast, to create a fun and educational story for youngsters everywhere.

Amy's semi-fictional tale of A.J. and his TV meteorologist mom is a super treat — even for a us BIG "kids." However, her story truly pops off the page and springs to life through the engaging contributions of award-winning Florida illustrator, Ricardo J. Rodriguez. BRAVO!

AmySweezey.com
______________________________

VIOLET FAVERO
Silly Yaya
Available NOW on Amazon
Written and illustrated by Violet Favero, Silly Yaya speaks to that one-of-a-kind relationship between children and their grandparents — and how many kids even have unique nicknames for their "Yayas." It's a story with which Violet is all too familiar, as she now has dedicated her life to caring for her own grandchildren. 

Silly Yaya by Violet Favero
The first in Violet's Silly Yaya series, this eye-catching page-turner possesses all the authentic warmth and charm of many of the best-loved books from my own childhood — and for those who, like myself, grew up during the mid to late super-groovy '60's, you know that's a wonderful thing, indeed. Two VERY enthusiastic "thumbs-up!"

______________________________

APRIL AWALT
To the Sun and Back
Available NOW on Amazon
In her first children’s book, Florida author April Awalt pays tribute to her son, who she always told, "I love you to the moon and back" — that is until he discovered that the sun was actually further away. A heartfelt tale of parental love, To the Sun and Back was written as part of April's much-needed personal healing process after losing her son to meningitis at age ten.

“I lost my son suddenly, and I did not know how to deal with it. In writing a happy book based upon a true story, I was able to honor the love that I have for him — even in his passing.”
-April Awalt

I was psyched to meet
author April Awalt.
April hopes that her story will help raise awareness regarding meningitis, as well as other infectious and deadly diseases. More importantly, she hopes that it will encourage parents to value the time spent with their children.

“This book does not deal with death, but rather places a focus on special moments that parents share with their children when they spend time together. I just want to encourage parents to make time for those moments, realize how precious they are, and to cherish them when they happen.”
-April Awalt
______________________________

-Christopher Long
(October 2015)

The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
Get it on Amazon.

Currently in development...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: "Not My God" by Ken Babington

BOOK REVIEW
Not My God
My Life as the Pastor
of the Man Who
Murdered John Lennon
- Ken Babington -
_________________________

Despite the provocative
title, the debut memoir
from Ken Babington is,
in reality, a mixed bag.
_________________________

Truth be told, NONE OF US deserve the grace and forgiveness of God. Yet, through the blood, shed by Jesus Christ at Calvary, that glorious FREE gift IS available — TO ALL OF US — even crazy people who gun-down pop culture icons.

Shortly after murdering beloved former BeatleJohn Lennon, outside New York City's famed Dakota apartment building in December 1980, 25-year-old Mark David Chapman announced to the world that God had told him to commit the heinous crime. Then-34-year-old South Carolina pastor, Ken Babington, took issue with that statement. "NOT MY GOD," Babington exclaimed, upon seeing the sensational magazine headline.

With several years of prison ministry experience already under his belt, Babington reached out immediately to Chapman in late 1980  just as he had done previously with near countless other inmates from around the country. Months later, Chapman responded to Babington's outreach. A personal connection was made — and so began an unlikely 35-year relationship.

Author and (now) First Baptist Church of Cocoa Beach pastor, Ken Babington, is seemingly wise, knowledgeable and compassionate. And he succeeds in coming across as genuinely likable without an agenda, other than an honest and pure desire to reveal to readers the grace and forgiveness of God that's available through Jesus Christ — albeit via Chapman's rather dubious testimony. But based on the brief glimpses of Babington's personal life, the fistful of fast-forward accounts of his other ministry experiences and the numerous random inspirational anecdotes offered throughout, I'd wager a bet that there's at least three or four truly powerful books buried within, and worthy of escape from this particular mixed bag.

What I struggled with was not Babington. I would have actually enjoyed getting more of him from the book. What I struggled with was the perception that the central character might still be nuts. Mark David Chapman apparently began hearing and responding to "the little people" in his head at a very early age 250 pages later, I honestly didn't see where much has changed over the years.

The fact that Chapman remains quite possibly the most universally hated man currently on the planet is irrelevant to me. I struggle with anyone who plays the "God told me to do whatever" card while spewing memorized Scriptures and committing despicable acts and / or making dopey statements. If his salvation is truly legit (this time), all I can say is "praise Jesus" — there IS hope for us ALL! But it seems to me, Chapman lost any shred of credibly that he might have had after he "cried wolf" the first time. Hence, my concern here, is that Mark David Chapman's "testimony" will actually be perceived by the World as a yellow penalty flag on the field setting "Team Jesus" back 15 yards. 

Spreading the "Good News" of Jesus Christ is honorable and admirable. The value in showing the goodness, grace and forgiveness of God to everyone around the world  immeasurable, indeed. And for that, Ken Babington scores high marks here. And I encourage him wholeheartedly to continue sharing his personal stories based on the real life (and likely more effective) testimonies of the others he's encountered while involved in his various ministry endeavors. 

-Christopher Long
(October 2015)

_________________________


Not My God on Amazon
_________________________


The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
Get it on Amazon.

Currently in development...