Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help self-published/indie authors. These authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. If I can help even a little bit with the marketing, I’m happy to do it. Below is my review of The Modern Christ by Dan Hambright. It’s a modern take on the story of Jesus.
The Modern Christ is the story of Jesus, but set in modern times. Imagine if Jesus was born to Mary in our time, and then imagine it’s set in America. In this retelling of the story of Christ, Jesus is born to Mary in the 1980s in a car dealership in Bethlehem, PA. It is the exact story of Jesus with a modern twist, but contains the same message of a virgin birth, the Son of God, and His sacrifice.
One thing that was important to me about this book was that the basic story of Christ was not changed. The people around him didn’t change either. Mary, Joseph, the apostles, John the Baptist, and even a couple of presidents with the last name of Herod are all in the book. It’s wild to see Jesus with a cell phone and riding in cars, but the heart of the story is still there. It’s proof you can put Jesus in any time and the result will be the same. He will serve as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. I think it’s a unique perspective that could make Him seem more relatable to the people of today. After all in His day, He was modern. This is a thought-provoking take on the story of Jesus. The story of Christ is always going to get five stars from me. Highly recommend.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Hambright believes the best books are the ones that stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page, and as an author, he strives to influence his readers in the same way with each of his novels. When he’s not writing, you can find him hiking through the state parks of Oklahoma, playing sports with his son, having deep, philosophical conversations with his daughter, or spending time with his beautiful and amazing wife. He lives in Yukon, Oklahoma with his wife and two children.
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This is another one of the books I reviewed for the February edition of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society.
In 1755 York, Virginia, 28-year-old chocolatier Esmée Shaw has never quite gotten over her former fiancé, Captain Henri Lennox, although it has been ten years. Now considered a spinster and determined to forget him, she is running her mother’s chocolate shop and working on new recipes. When Henri returns to complete a lighthouse in Chesapeake Bay, a former dream of theirs, Esmée is more shaken than she lets on. As war with the French seems more and more likely, will Esmée and Henri find a new peace of their own?
This is a well-written historical romance, and the dialogue rings true to the period. Bitter stings of lost love and hope of a new start are complicated even more by news of impending war. The writing is beautiful, but the plot moves slowly at times. It does pick up in the second half of the story. The history of the time is well researched. The technique of chocolate making in colonial times is fascinating, and I found myself craving chocolate while Esmée was creating her confections. Esmée is a very strong and accomplished woman for the time period, and the book is better for it. The politics, treachery, and conflicts of that era are well portrayed. There is a Christian theme of trusting God’s plan. Fans of historical romance and U.S. history will enjoy this book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Proud of her heritage, she is also a Daughter of the American Revolution. When not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.
According to Publishers Weekly, “Frantz has done her historical homework.” With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California. Foreign language editions include French, Dutch, Spanish, Slovakian, & Polish.
It’s time again for Self-Published Saturday, the day each week when I highlight only Self-Published/Indie authors. As I always say, self-published authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing to marketing and more. My goal here is to just give authors a little bit of help with the marketing aspect. The book featured below is The Origin, the first in the A1 Mission Agency series. This is a Christian Children’s detective story written by new author Timothy Beavin.
This is a fun Christian detective story for the younger middle grades. When Toby and Scott learn that their cousin, Scooter, is coming to stay for the summer, they are apprehensive to say the least. Scooter is bad news and always in trouble. In fact, he’s just gotten out of juvenile detention. However, when Scooter arrives, they find he has changed in a big way. Together, the three of them soon face some local troubles of their own. A gang of bullies and thieves is after them, led by Vick Daugherty. The son of a pastor, Vick always seems to get away with his crimes. Working together, Toby, Scott, and Scooter try to find ways to end the bullying and bring Vick and his friends to justice, eventually forming the A-1 Mission Agency.
This is an entertaining Christian story for children ages 8 to 10 about trusting Jesus, standing up for your friends, and facing injustice. It is quite short at 46 pages, but it could be the perfect length for younger kids. This is the first of a planned seven books by new author Timothy Beavin. I found the Christian themes to be helpful and well described for younger readers. The way Scooter explains John 3:16 is true and easily understood, but also amusing. The book ends in a surprising way that will lead us to the next installment in the series. There is a little bit of “telling instead of showing” in places, and the book could use another edit, but overall this was an enjoyable read with a fantastic premise. Timothy Beavin has created an adventure-filled Children’s Christian Detective story that will delight young readers.
I received a free copy of this book from the author. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
I would also like to welcome Timothy Beavin to the Indie/Self-Publishing world, and there is a Q&A with him below.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Timothy Beavin is a 22 year old Texan who is currently attending Bible College in California. He has been writing since he was 13 years old and has just self-published his first book in the A1 Mission Agency series: The Origin. Beavin combines events from his childhood with his Christian faith and information he has learned in Bible College to create a fun Christian detective series for kids.
LINK TO BUY
AMAZON *Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the book for free.
Thanks again to author Timothy Beavin for answering these questions and providing more insight into his book.
First, tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, where do you live, and what inspired you to write this series?
A: I am a twenty-two-year-old man who grew up in the state of Texas. I currently live in California, attending my sixth semester at Bible College. I have loved creative writing ever since I was thirteen years old, and now I desire to incorporate what I have learned from Bible College into my storytelling.
The Origin is your first book and appears to be the first in a series. What is the inspiration behind your creation of this story/series and these characters?
When I was younger, my friend Trent Taylor and I started a club called ‘The Alert Detective Agency’. I based this series on all the adventures I wish my friend and I could have gone on. The character ‘Toby O’Dell’ is basically a fourteen-year-old version of myself thrown into a crazy adventure. The character ‘Scott O’Dell’ (Toby’s brother) was initially based on my friend Trent Taylor (who I dedicate this book to). However, Scott turned out to be very prideful and self-righteous, which admittedly does not resemble my friend at all. I did this in order for him to have a character arc throughout the series.
– The character ‘Scooter Denham’ (Toby and Scott’s cousin) was merely based on a figment of my imagination. He is the one who kick-starts the boys’ journey. Without Scooter, Toby and Scott would never have gone on the adventure. Similar to how my friend Trent and I never went on any real adventures.
– The character Holly Banks was created as a romantic foil to the character Toby O’Dell. She is the only female lead, and I find her really interesting. I look forward to where she goes in the future.
– The character ‘Vick Daugherty’, was designed to be a reoccurring nemesis for our heroes. Plus, I thought it would be really interesting for him to be a spiritual foil to the character Scooter Denham.
As a new self-published author, what are the things that you’ve found the most surprising, easiest, and hardest about writing and self-publishing your first book?
Honestly, it was super easy beginning the project, but finishing it was the most troublesome part. Figuring out all the self-publishing details was really mentally stressful, but looking back, it wasn’t nearly as impossible as I had once believed.
Based on the way this book ended, I’m assuming a sequel is in the works. When do you expect to release it or are you working on something else?
There will be (God-willing) seven books in this series. I plan on releasing the second book by at least summer of 2022. However, only the Lord knows how quickly this series will be finished, but I expect it to be a very fun time while I am doing it.
As self-publishing is still a new adventure for you, have you found help and mentors along the way?
A: There was nobody I knew personally who self-published a book before, so I had to teach myself. But the Lord blessed me with a supportive family, as well as brothers and sisters in Christ who encouraged me through the process.
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Meghan DeFord and Sean Eagle are married cold case detectives who usually work together, but are now working separate cases in different cities. Meghan is teamed up with another detective, trying to help a woman find her father, who vanished without a trace. Sean is continuing to work a case of two missing boys and is teamed with a detective who is troubled and lashing out. At the same time, Meghan has decided to try and make contact with her father, who has never been in her life. She consults her mother, Diane, about the best way to approach him.
This is an interesting Christian mystery with a solid message of God’s love and forgiveness. I really enjoyed the interactions between Meghan’s mother and grandmother (and their three dachshunds). However, there are times when it seems that things are tied up too neatly and quickly. I have seen God work this way, but it usually takes time. There is also a little conflict in my opinion between the way Meghan describes her mother and the way Diane is actually portrayed. Meghan describes her as unmotherly early in the book, and she is one of the reasons that Meghan doesn’t want to become a Mom. However, in the book, Diane is portrayed as a delightful person who is very dedicated to her daughter. She is briefly portrayed as a stressed single Mom early in the book. Since the DeFord women were first introduced in the novel Bringing Maggie Home in 2017, that conflict may have been resolved in that book.
The two mysteries are interesting and engaging, and the personalties of all the detectives are explored.
If you enjoy Christian mysteries, you will enjoy this book. I suggest reading Bringing Maggie Home first.