Some Shout Outs


Just wanted to pass along two organizations that do good work:

Milton Stanley, longtime friend of this blog and blogger, links to some of the best Christian blog excerpts on the Web over at Transforming Sermons. He has a new publishing company called Transforming Publishing. Milton says, “This new venture has the potential to be a vehicle both for bringing some of the best Christian blogging voices to print and making high-quality Bible studies and commentaries widely available for preachers, teachers, and serious students of the Word.” If you’ve ever considered publishing your Christian writing, contact Milton through his blog.

Sara Wilson of the Fresh Air Fund reminds us that it’s not too late to be a host family for inner-city kids looking to get away to the countryside. As the site explains:

THE FRESH AIR FUND, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Nearly 10,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs annually. In 2008, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. 3,000 children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2,300-acre site in Fishkill, New York. The Fund’s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year.

As a rural denizen who worked in camping ministry for many years, I think this is a worthy cause. If you want to know more about hosting, please see the Fresh Air Fund Host page.

And I would be remiss if I fail to mention books by two friends of mine:

Joe Lacy’s Mountain Reign, the fictional account of the ascent of a ’50s-era Kentucky high school basketball team, captures the feel of the coal mines and the court like nothing I’ve read before. Joe has a way with a phrase that I envy, and for anyone who loves sports, this would be a fine read.

Wayne Holmes teams with Patsyann Maloney in The Making of a Madam, the true story of Patsyann’s descent into the world of prostitution and her subsequent conversion to Christ. If you’re a fan of a bio well told, it’s a gripping tale.

Joseph Lacy and Mountain Reign


Joseph Lacy's 'Mountain Reign'High in the hollers of ’50s-era Kentucky, God’s grace rains down on a team of boys and one determined coach in an Appalachian school destined for destruction. In Mountain Reign, author Joseph Lacy blends the best of sports fiction with a touch of the divine as he follows the hardcourt exploits of roundballers who don’t know when they’re outgunned.

Guard Veacher Phelp’s rude upbringing in a coal mining town beset with poverty and darkened by days in the belly of the earth only spurs him onto hopes of victory in Lexington. But his Hazelwood High School Flyers, in their last year as a school, have little hope of beating the powerhouse suburban Kentucky schools—until a Melungeon outcast joins the team.

Coached by Slade Greyman, a WWII vet with a dark secret, the Flyers begin their unlikely rise to the upper echelons of Kentucky basketball in a series of heart-stopping games. But then a litany of injuries, the antagonism of the the local coal honcho, the lure of the opposite sex, the call of the mines, and the revelation of the Coach’s hidden sin threaten to undo Hazelwood’s last chance at glory.

Author Lacy packs his first novel with court-pounding action, glorious mountain scenery, heartbreak, and hope. He portrays a way of life few people know, weaving elements of Coal Miner’s Daughter and Hoosiers into the quintessential Kentucky basketball novel. And his effortless skill at hill country metaphors can’t be matched. Whoever coined the term “turn of a phrase” surely was thinking of Mountain Reign.

If you want evocative writing that epitomizes what sports fiction has to offer, Mountain Reign is a book you’ll adore.

Joe Lacy is a good buddy of mine, the perfect Kentucky gentleman, and one of the quartet that makes up The Write Brothers, my writers group. I had the privilege of reading Mountain Reign as it took shape, and I was continually amazed at Joe’s scholarship and deft phrasing. I hope soon to post Joe’s thoughts on writing in response to my rant on the state of Christian fiction. An interview here may follow.

If you’ve got a sports fan in your household or you get horse rooting for the underdog, you can pick up Mountain Reign from Amazon (just click the link or the book cover). A fine Christmas present and the perfect read to start a new year.