Tag Archives: Hot Apple Cider

Friday Findings: A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider


Hot Apple Cider – the book – is a best-selling inspirational anthology, in the tradition of Chicken Soup for the Soul. It makes a terrific gift for someone in need of a little encouragement, or someone who simply enjoys reading a variety of stories written by “real” people. Watch for A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider – coming on May 1, 2011. Both anthologies are published by That’s Life Communications.

Co-editor and contributor N.J. Lindquist writes:

Over 30,000 copies of Hot Apple Cider have gone out through World Vision’s Girls Night Out and Couples Night Out programs and another 15,000 have gone out through other means. We’re hoping for similar results with Hot Apple Cider 2.

Congratulations to everyone whose work was chosen for the book. While some of the contributors are veterans, others are being published for the very first time.

A. A. Adourian, Scarborough, Ontario

Brian C. Austin, Durham, Ontario

Paul M. Beckingham, Vancouver, British Columbia

Bonnie Beldan-Thomson, Pickering, Ontario

Glynis Belec, Drayton, Ontario

Mary Ann Benjamins, Brantford, Ontario

Vilma Blenman, Pickering, Ontario

Bill Bonikowsky, Surrey, British Columbia

Ann Brent, Brights Grove, Ontario

Connie Brummel Crook, Peterborough, Ontario

Marguerite Cummings, Toronto, Ontario

Kevin J. Dautremont, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Donna Dawson/Fawcett, St. Marys, Ontario

Angelina Fast-Vlaar, St. Catharines, Ontario

Rosemary Flaaten, Calgary, Alberta

Ed Hird, Vancouver, British Columbia

Ron Hughes, Smithville, Ontario

Evangeline Inman, Fredericton, New Brunswick

David Kitz, Orleans, Ontario

Marcia Lee Laycock, Blackfalds, Alberta

N. J. Lindquist, Markham, Ontario

Les Lindquist, Markham, Ontario

Heather McGillivray, Chelmsford, Ontario

Heidi McLaughlin, Westbank, British Columbia

Ruth Smith Meyer, Ailsa Craig, Ontario

M. D. Meyer, Norway House, Manitoba

Wendy Elaine Nelles, Toronto, Ontario

Kimberley Payne, Millbrook, Ontario

Judi Peers, Peterborough, Ontario

Gloria V. Phillips, Collingwood, Ontario

Johanne E. Robertson, Toronto, Ontario

Denise Budd Rumble, St. Marys, Ontario

Jayne Self, Orangeville, Ontario

Adele Simmons, Whitby, Ontario

Janet Sketchley, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Jeannie Lockerbie Stephenson, London, Ontario

T. L. Wiens, Beechy, Saskatchewan

The official release date for the book is May 1, 2011, just in time for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Canada Day. [Information from the Hot Apple Cider website and the press release]

Review: Mohamed’s Moon, by Keith Clemons

Mohamed's Moon, by Keith Clemons

Mohamed’s Moon, by Keith Clemons (Realms, 2009)

Imagine coming face to face with your body double, who’s your opposite in nearly every way: finances, style, faith. You’d have to admit your evil twin is good looking though, and you have some similarities: you’re both university students who love soccer—and the same woman.

For Matthew Mulberry and Mohamed el Taher, it’s definitely not love at first sight. They don’t want to believe they’re brothers, identical twins separated at birth. Matthew is a Christian, Mohamed a Muslim extremist up to his eyeballs in a terrorist plot. Add in Layla, another Christian, who’s torn by feelings for both brothers.

A plot like this could come across as contrived, propaganda even, with cardboard hero and villain. Instead, award-winning author Keith Clemons gives us two vibrant, fundamentally opposite young men who are each seriously committed to their own understanding of God and His dealings with humanity. Each one’s reasoning makes sense to himself, while he sees the other man as clearly deceived.

If anything, Mohamed’s faith seems the stronger of the two, but I think that’s because we see him spend more time thinking about it. And he has a lot to think about. As well as wrestling with the ethics of mass murder, he’s drawn to compare the harsh Allah who calls him slave with the Christians’ Jesus, who claims God is love and who offers to call him son.

The action divides between California and Egypt, present and past. The flashbacks weave in smoothly, and the author uses just enough lyrical language to evoke the scene without slowing the pace. For example, here’s the California coast: “Waves crashed with a thunderous roar, only to be sucked back with a whoosh, leaving the shoreline bejewelled with fingernail shells sparkling in the crimson light of the dying sun.” (p.215)

Keith Clemons’ taut writing style pulls the reader into the story and keeps the pages turning. This isn’t a novel designed to paint all Muslims as terrorists, or all Christians as ideal. In each camp we see examples of devout behaviour and human failing. While Mohamed and his friends are extremists, other peripheral characters are Muslims living peaceful and caring lives.

If all power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, then the excesses and evils of the extremist leaders say far more about human depravity than about the deity they claim to serve.

The author’s Christianity is a clue to which side he’s on in comparing the two faiths, but he treats both fairly. He acknowledges the help of former Muslims in understanding Mohamed’s mindset.

Through twists, turns and surprises, Keith Clemons delivers us to a satisfying ending. Nothing is pat or easy, and none of the three main characters will ever be the same again.

The novel’s key characters are all of Egyptian origin, and it was an interesting experience for me as the fly-on-the-wall Caucasian reader to belong in the story world’s ethnic minority.

Canadian author Keith Clemons writes issue-related fiction. His previous novels, Angel in the Alley, These Little Ones, Above the Stars and If I Should Die, are all award-winners, and I have no doubt Mohamed’s Moon will follow suit.

You can read an interview with Keith at Interviews and Reviews and the Hot Apple Cider site. To read other reviews of Mohamed’s Moon, visit Promptings, Writer-lee, Writing Right, Interviews and Reviews and Deborah Gyapong’s blog.

Review: Hot Apple Cider

Hot Apple Cider: an anthology

Hot Apple Cider: Words to Stir the Heart and Warm the Soul is a collection of personal experience articles, short stories and poems by Canadian Christian authors from a variety of denominations.

Edited by N.J. Lindquist and Wendy Elaine Nelles and with a forward by Canadian Christian fiction icon Janette Oke, the anthology features work from 30 professional members of The Word Guild.

Content ranges from the light-hearted and humorous to serious topics such as the death of a loved one, cancer, infertility, loneliness and family conflicts. Unlike some anthologies, there’s no sentimentalizing, no over-dramatization. Just real people writing about real situations, and faith in a real God who makes a difference. Truth presented through articles, poetry and fiction, accented with restful black and white illustrations.

Canadian Christian writers are a vibrant and articulate group, and Hot Apple Cider is a wonderful sample of some of their work. Even though each selection is self-contained, I found myself reading “just one more” when it was time to stop.

The book is available online or through local bookstores. The authors also donated 30,000 copies to World Vision to be given out at FaithLife Financial’s Girls’ Night Out events across Canada in 2008.

Seven entries from the anthology were finalists in The Word Guild 2009 Canadian Christian Writing Awards–and five won awards! More recently, Hot Apple Cider was chosen by the Church Library Association of Ontario for its 2009 One Book/One Conference focus.

It’s great to see Canadian authors who are Christian getting exposure in our country. Hot Apple Cider was a treat to read, and I know I’ll dip into it again and again. I enjoyed it so much, I bought a second copy and gave it away on my blog.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this ground-breaking project. Bring on volume two!

One Book / One Conference

Out of 12 nominations, The Church Library Association of Ontario chose one book for everyone at their 2009 fall conference to read and discuss. It’s quite an eclectic list, and the ones I haven’t read I’ve heard good things about. What a great way to raise awareness of quality Canadian writing.

Nominated books were:

The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill

Broken Angel, by Sigmund Brouwer

The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Steven Galloway

Christianus Sum, by Shawn J. Pollett

Cibou, by Susan Young de Biagi

Hot Apple Cider, N.J. Lindquist and Wendy Elaine Nelles, editors

Love Comes Softly, by Janette Oke

Mohamed’s Moon, by Keith Clemons

One Smooth Stone, by Marcia Lee Laycock

The Shack, by William P. Young

Shaded Light, by N.J. Lindquist

Vengeance, by Donna Dawson

I’ve read a lot of these books, although some were before I started doing regular reviews. If you want to see which ones I’ve reviewed, just click on the “reviews” tab at the top of this page.

Each one would have been a fine choice, and the most votes went to Hot Apple Cider. Since it’s an anthology from 30 Canadian authors who are Christian, covering a variety of topics in non-fiction, poetry and fiction, there’s sure to be something to please each participant in the One Book / One Conference event.

Congratulations to each author whose work was nominated!

Review: Northern Lights: An Anthology

Northern Lights: an anthology

Northern Lights: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Writing in Canada, Byron Rempel-Burkholder, Dora Dueck, Doug Koop, eds.  (John Wiley & Sons, 2008)

What does it mean to be a Christian living in Canada? Does our national identity affect our spiritual one?

The Northern Lights anthology came together as an exploration of “the many faces of being Christian in Canada” (p. 1). In essays and poetry, the selections attempt to trace out our “spiritual geography.”

Northern Lights is filled with beautiful and often thought-provoking writing. When I picked it up, I was glad to see some authors whose work I always enjoy, like Mark Buchanan, Susan Fish, and Linda Hall, and to “meet” many new-to-me authors. The best-known contributors are Bruce Cockburn, Michael Coren, Preston Manning, and Rudy Wiebe.

These are stories to savour slowly, not to rush. Some you may want to chew on for a bit, maybe mull over and discuss with a friend. I liked the ones in the first section, “Dance to Creation,” best.

The anthology is more an exploration of the significance of ideas and events than a simple telling of tales. It feels to me like a literary journal, or perhaps a university-level discussion—not hard to follow, but treading some deep water in places.

It’s almost inevitable to compare Northern Lights with Hot Apple Cider, since both anthologies of Canadian Christian writing released in the same year. They’re both fine books, and I’m glad to see them raising awareness that, yes, there are plenty of talented Canadian Christians who write. I hope many people will read these books and discover new favourite authors.

Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “My books are water; those of the great geniuses are wine—everybody drinks water.” Northern Lights may be a fine wine. Hot Apple Cider may be more of an “everyman” drink. We need both.

Northern Lights is a book well worth reading, and you’ll probably want to look for more works by the authors you like best. You can get it through your local bookstore or online through John Wiley and Sons, Chapters-Indigo or Amazon.ca.

It must be awards season…

A number of books you’ve seen on my free books page are up for awards these days:

Finalists for The Word Guild Christian Writing Awards (winners announced at The Word Guild Awards Gala, 17 June, 2009) include:

Cibou, by Susan Young de Biagi: in both Book—General Readership and Novel—Historical categories.

Vengeance, by Donna Dawson: in both Novel—Contemporary and Novel—Mystery/Suspense.

Stories from the anthology Hot Apple Cider are short-listed in seven categories: Article—General Readership (two), Article—Inspirational/Devotional (two), Article—Personal Experience, Article—Profile/Human Interest, and Short Story.

Finalists for the Daphne du Maurier contest (winners announced at the Romance Writers of America National Convention, 16 July, 2009) include:

Suspicious Minds, by Christy Barritt: Inspirational Romantic Mystery/Suspense.

Finalists for the Faith, Hope and Love, RWA Chapter’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest (winners announced at the RWA Conference in July) include:

Shadows at the Window, by Linda Hall: Romantic Suspense

[This one hasn’t been one of my free book offers yet, but Shadows in the Mirror, previous book in the series was.]

Congratulations to these authors and to all the others who are up for these and/or other awards!

Books by Canadian Christian Authors

My blogroll has sections “For Readers – General” and “For Readers – Suspense” and today I want to point out two blogs which highlight Canadian Christian Authors.

Books for Book Lovers, by Kimberley Payne, and

Interviews and Reviews, by Laura Davis.

Also, the Hot Apple Cider website is featuring weekly interviews with the authors who contributed to the book.