Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ICRS (CBA) St. Louis, for Release of GUNS OF PROVIDENCE

P&R, publisher of my new release, GUNS OF PROVIDENCE, had me come to St. Louis for the international Christian publishers' trade show. This was my fourth time signing books at CBA. I'm grateful for my gracious handler, Rob Hajicek, whom I met when I spoke at the Reformation Faire last October in Illinois. He arranged for a signing and talk at the Vision Family Library in St. Charles. We began at 7:30 and I got going, readers egging me on with good questions, and didn't stop until after 10:00 pm (of course for me it was only 8:00 pm--the night was young!). It was fun to see folks I know from Tacoma, the Allan clan, attending (Andy studying at Covenant Seminary). Rob then took me back to the Crowne Plaza Hotel downtown to my spacious suite (thank you Ian Thompson at P&R), with an unobstructed, 26th floor view of the river, bridges and of course the St. Louis Arch (the actual view I had out my window below).

Tuesday was a pretty busy day. I had books signing floor time scheduled from 10-12 am, which is lots of fun, meeting and signing books for book store owners, distributors, and old friends. We went through almost three full cases of G of P. My friend Cal Beisner dropped by and we had a good catch up, but far too short. Great seeing Anthony now with Christian Focus Publishing in Scotland, and David Wotten (forgive me for not spelling your name correctly) with Evangelical Press, the latter made an appointment to sit down and ask if I was interesting in writing a book for them, another non-fiction biography, this one likely on Isaac Watts, who I'd love to write a biography about. I then had to scurry off to find a quiet room for an hour radio interview with Kevin Boling, Knowing the Truth radio program on Christian Talk 660 in North Carolina. We talked a good deal about fiction as a legitimate genre in which to communicate truth, with call-in questions about THE BETRAYAL, and John Calvin, as well as GUNS OF PROVIDENCE,  and other books. You can listen to the interview at, I'm told (if you don't have anything better going).

After a quick lunch with quick witted Ian Thompson, Rob drove me to a Family Christian Store for a time to meet folks and all. Rob shared with me from his vast creative imagination (remarkable and way beyond mine) various book ideas he is working on. We discovered that we have mutual friends; he and his wife Robin ministered with Campus Crusade with my good friends Rick and Lisa DeMass; small world--heaven will be like this for eternity, I'm sure of it.

Then back to meet with Ian and a whole gaggle of folks P&R sells books to for dinner at the Dubliner, and heaps of conversation, part of which revolved around the absurd things that one discovers at ICRS: Christian vampire fiction, for example. Or a T-shirt with golden arches and "McJesus: Over 6 Billion Saved." Or still worse (hard to imagine, isn't it?), a T-shirt with "Jesus, if you can't come back soon, please send Ronald Reagan." Or tennis shoes with the brand label on the heel that says "Jesus Heels." At one point as I was signing, I looked up and there was an 8-foot pickle walking around greeting folks. A bit of a modern day Vanity Fair, I'm afraid, and nothing short of blasphemous. Did have good conversation with an Aussie, Adam who manages the books store for Moore Theological College, Sidney--where I earned a preliminary Certificate in Theology some years ago (did I mention that it's a small world?).

Early morning flight to Albany to spend some time with my son, Cedric, who is training and racing at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid.  

Friday, June 4, 2010

New hymn stanza by one of my CHS student

Some of you will be familiar with the ancient hymn attributed to St. Andrew of Crete, Christian dost thou see them (a favorite of Dorothy Sayers, incidentally). The ancient hymn writer and Alexandrian teacher explores the various ways temptation comes at us--through seeing, hearing, feeling. It seems to me to explore in poetry what Lewis explores in prose, so I've been including it in my teaching of his classic anatomy of temptation, Screwtape Letters. Lewis quotes a line ("All those fasts and vigils") from this hymn, which has led me to the conclusion that they sang this hymn at the worship service at Holy Trinity, Headington Quarry, where Lewis tells us the ideas for Screwtape were hatched (On one of my visits to Lewis's church, I asked the then vicar, Tom Honey if he thought it was a valid theory. He heartily--heartily enough for me--agreed).

This is a real crack-up. One of my delightfully witty students, an accomplished cellist (my favorite stringed instrument), and poet, while preparing for her final exam in my English class today, felt like St. Andrew of Crete had not sufficiently explored all the human senses and so penned a new stanza. Here it is:

Christian dost thou smell them
With a stench so foul?
Spreading heinous odors
While they're on the prowl?
Christian do not sniff them!
By no means inhale;
Turn your nose toward heaven;
Let righteousness prevail!

Kristianna Anderson (11th grade, on left above, with her sister Mary at Canterbury in April, 2010)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


The last book in the Faith & Freedom Trilogy, GUNS OF PROVIDENCE releases any day now.