CSFF Blog Tour – The Return, Day 3 (And a Little More)

Well, once again I have some announcements to make before we get to our content. Thing is, that’s ANNOUNCEMENTS.

First, as you know, Merrie Destefano has been running an interview with me over at her blog, Alien Dream. Today she kindly included an excerpt from one of my novels. Now if you’ve explored here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction, you may have stumbled upon the first chapter of Return to Efrathah, book one of The Lore of Efrathah. Then too, you may have read the opening scene of book two Journey to Mithlimar which Nicole posted over at Into the Fire as part of her “Saturday Sample” some weeks ago.

So, when Merrie asked for an excerpt, I thought, do I give something that’s a repeat? Do I give the opening of book three, Battle for Revín (which, in my opinion would give too much away)? Or do I offer something outside The Big Project.

I opted for the latter, so if you stop by Alien Dream, you can read the opening of The Only, a 2006 Genesis contest finalist entry.

Speaking of contests, we’re on to the other announcements. The winning entries of the Harvest House Talk Like a Pirate contest (and I think today might actually be The Day, the National Talk Like a Pirate Day) are being posted over at George Bryan Polivka’s blog, the very cool Cap’s Pub.

And that reminds me, Bryan has his Web site up. WOW! This one is very kewl—a worthy fantasy site, to be sure. I suggest you take a peek at Nearing Vast. (This actually reminds me of some of the ideas I have for my some-day Web site. 😀 )

One more announcement, and this another contest. Wayne Thomas Batson, in offering books for my next Fantasy Challenge, thought up an idea for his own contest, and he doesn’t mess around. This one is a good one! And the sooner you start, the more you can win. You have to read it yourself to get all the details. I suggest copying off the Treasure Tasks Key (you’ll understand when you stop by Enter the Door Within) and keeping it handy so you don’t miss an opportunity.

And now, at long last, back to The Tour. I am of course referring to Austin Boyd‘s The Return.

Here’s where I have to come clean. I am not finished reading The Return. I have something like 150 pages yet to go. At first I thought I would offer a partial review, but then realized there was a better option. The Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, of which I am a member, is featuring The Return October 10-12, so I can post my complete review then.

Anyway, I still have more to say about the Mars Hill Classified series, so the final review will have to wait.

As I was stopping by a number of other blog tour participants’ sites and reading their comments, I realized I have said very little about the Christian part of these books. The thing is, they are VERY Christian in a completely natural way, so the Christianity doesn’t stand out as a thing separate from the story. It fits into the story because the protagonist is a Christian. His wife is a Christian.

These Christian characters then do what Christians do—they struggle, pray, trust, fear, obey, grieve, depend, love, sacrifice, hope, stumble, believe, endure, share. In other words, their Christianity is a part of them and therefore it comes out in the way they deal with life, just like the need for air makes one breathe.

The world that astronaut John (Hawk) Wells lives in, whether it is Mars, the Space Station, Earth, the Epsilon space ship, is not a “Christian” world. Most of the people he relates to are not believers. Occasionally he’s chided for his faith, and he’s “accused” of being “such a Boy Scout” as if this is a bad thing. At one point, he’s even left off the final selection for the Mars mission primarily because of his beliefs.

Hawk takes the negative in stride and doesn’t back down from what he believes. He even finds ways to tell those who want to listen more about his faith. And when he can’t—when it is too late for some he cares about—he grieves and feels remorse.

In other words, I believe Austin has written these characters in a thoroughly believable way, which translates into him writing about Christianity in a thoroughly believable way. It is definitely one of the strengths of the novels.

I’ve kept you long enough. Explore (notice the space theme there 😛 ) what others are saying about The Return.

Trish Anderson Brandon Barr Jim Black Justin Boyer Grace Bridges Amy Browning Jackie Castle Valerie Comer Karri Compton Lisa Cromwell CSFF Blog Tour Gene Curtis D. G. D. Davidson Janey DeMeo Merrie Destefano or Alien Dream Jeff Draper April Erwin Linda Gilmore Beth Goddard Marcus Goodyear Jill Hart Katie Hart Sherrie Hibbs Christopher Hopper Becca Johnson Jason Joyner Kait Karen Dawn King Tina Kulesa Terri Main Rachel Marks Karen McSpadden Eve Nielsen John W. Otte Lyn Perry Deena Peterson Rachelle Cheryl Russel Chawna Schroeder Mirtika Schultz James Somers Speculative Faith Steve Trower Laura Williams Timothy Wise

Published in: on September 19, 2007 at 11:56 am  Comments (8)  


  1. These are genuine Christian novels, the way “it” is in the lives of Christians. I commend Austin for his authentic portrayals of all kinds of characters. We’ve seen them all in one form or another in our lives. Truly an enjoyable, strong trilogy.


  2. I agree, Nicole. As I recall, you prefer science fiction to fantasy, is that right? But neither is the genre of first choice.

    Still, you found the trilogy enjoyable, strong. And you read all three books. My point is this—all this emphasis on genre is a little off. Good stories, regardless of genre, will draw readers. Good stories. Hmmmm. Seems we’ve talked about THAT before. 😉



  3. Actually, Austin Boyd’s books are the only sci-fi books I’ve read, and I’m with him as far as his description of them: “techno-thrillers” or “space adventure/thrillers”. The only reason I picked it up in the first place was because of his credentials, thinking the authenticity would make up for any “sci-fi” jazz I didn’t like. And then once into the story, I never once believed ***SPOILER*** the aliens were real, even though the way he wrote it, it was hard not to.

    Honestly, Becky, and forgive me for this: I don’t like either genre for me. I don’t like historicals, chick (or any) lit, either. I like some romance (which is what I write), suspense, mysteries, thrillers, contemporary adventure, legal, cop, military stuff. All contemporary. No fluff.

    Having said all that, I think what you and the rest of your Fantasy Fiction group of writers are doing is absolutely fantastic and commendable, and I believe you’re making an in road to this CBA publishing gig. And I believe your blog is a major player in garnering attention to this genre.


  4. Wowzers. When Wayne does a contest he goes all out, doesn’t he! Looks like some of his folk are gonna have points in the thousands by the time he closes it off! And…I can see the contest generating a lot of talk–and sales. Great idea.

    Congrats also to the winners of the Nearing Vast pirate contest!


  5. Thanks for the mention of the Isle of Swords Treasure Hunt, Becky! And, Austin, sorry to come in on your tour. I’m hearing GREAT things about your books!


  6. Becky,
    Good discussion and good book review, as always. I really like that you pointed out the Christian character in Austin’s book. And you know, as much as I say like sci-fi, the bottom line isn’t the genre. It’s the quality of the story. I’ll even read chick-lit (not my favorite) if it’s top notch.

    And I agree with Nicole,
    “…what you and the rest of your Fantasy Fiction group of writers are doing is absolutely fantastic and commendable, and I believe you�re making an in road to this CBA publishing gig. And I believe your blog is a major player in garnering attention to this genre.”

    I do believe this forum and this blog tour is doing a worthy and honorable task: promoting good Christian speculative fiction.

    Thank you, Becky, and the entire team of CSSF members, for working so hard to promote this genre of fiction.

    Great job!

    Becky, thanks for the great interview and story excerpt too!


  7. I believe your blog is a major player in garnering attention to this genre. – it’s true .


  8. Thanks for the input, all. I appreciate your kind words.

    And Wayne, it’s a privilege pointing readers to your contest. You have great, fun ideas, so it’s a no-brainer to let people know. 😀

    Merrie, sorry I had to rescue your comment from Spam. Don’t know why, but every once in a while it gets … overly protective. (And don’t you just love WordPress for having a Spam filter that doesn’t require you to type in a security code?!)

    Nicole, I think I’ve got it now—NO speculative fiction on your favorite list.

    Hahaha—if I were to make such a list, I would probably say, No romance. BUT I do like stories that include romance. My one disappointment in Austin’s books was by-passing the budding romance between FBI agent Terence Kerry and his soon-to-be wife Shawnda. And still, if “romance” is the end-game, I’d rather find a different book. Strange, huh.

    Still, one of my favorite books is Pride and Prejudice. So, story wins out over genre for me.



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