Readers: I haven't received these books for review yet. But once I get em read I'll come back and add my reviews to this post. The story gives me goosebumps and though I have a stack of books to plow through and review I just had to agree to read this story.
NOTE THE GIVEAWAY DRAWING BELOW!!!!
About Terror by Night:
Hardcover: 288 pgs
(Greenville, TX) – A father denied his daughter dating privileges with a certain young man. Typical teenage behavior might have included pouting, a bad attitude or perhaps even a yelling match. Never in a million years would Terry Caffey have suspected it would involve murder. Yet, in the early morning hours of March 8, 2008, Terry’s whole world turned upside down. His wife and two sons where brutally murdered and burned in the house they lived and Terry was shot twelve times…by his daughter and her friends.
Terry Caffey and James Pence reconstruct this tragic yet strangely beautiful true story of God’s sovereignty, forgiveness and grace in Terror by Night. As if the story of Caffey’s family wasn’t enough, readers will be captivated by the way God ordained the meeting between the Blind Sight author and Caffey with a burnt page from Blind Sight found at the crime scene.
About Blind Sight:
No one plans for bad things to happen. No one plans on losing their family. No one knows how to move on after horror strikes. No one. Not even Thomas Kent. After receiving a strange phone call from a long-ago friend requesting Kent to pick up a package at the airport, Kent begins a spine tingling, suspense filled journey in which he hopes to reunite the package (his friend’s children) with their mother, Justine, a traitor in the Fellowship for World Renewal Cult. Twists and turns in this page turning drama make Blind Sight not only a journey of extreme action and thrills, but one of discovering the sovereign plan of God.
Paperback: 364 pages
How I Met Terry Caffey...
Terry Caffey and I met through my karate for homeschoolers class. Back in 2005, his wife Penny brought two of their three children and enrolled them in my class. Erin their oldest daughterand Tyler their youngest son or two of my students. Over time, Erin and my daughter Charlene became very good friends. As a matter of fact, Charlene would often stay with the Caffey's when my wife and I were traveling.
Somewhere in there I gave Mrs. Caffey a copy of my novel Blind Sight. I don't remember if she read it, but she was a big reader so she probably did. As far as I know Terry had never read it.
About six weeks after his family was murdered and his house burned, Terry returned to his property and stood on the ashes of his house crying out to God. His burden that day was to understand why God had taken his family and left him behind without them.
As he was praying, he noticed about 15 feet away a brown scorched page from a book leaning up against the trunk of a tree. He went over and picked it up and read it. It just happened to be a single page from Blind Sight that had survived the fire.
But it wasn't just any page. It was the page where my main character, a man who had lost his family in an automobile accident, came to grips with God's sovereignty in his loss. When Terry picked up that piece of paper the first lines he read were, "I couldn't understand why you would take my family and leave me to struggle along without them but I do believe you are sovereign. You are in control."
It was as if God had saved or preserved that piece of paper to remind Terry that he still cared.
Some time ago, when I was struggling with my own depression over the fact that Blind Sight hadn't sold very well, I gave my book back to God. And I told the Lord that he would just use it in someone's life I would be happy. And boy did he use it in someone's life. From the standpoint of a writer I can think of no greater honor than for God to use my words to change someone's heart.
A few weeks after I learned of the connection between Terry and my book, we got together and began to discuss the possibility of telling this amazing story in book form.
Special Gift Basket Opportunity!
Each blog tour host has the opportunity to send in the name of one of their commenters for a chance to win a gift basket from the author. Dregs readers. Leave a comment by 11:59 p.m. CST on Friday the 11th to be eligible for this drawing.
This special one of a kind basket includes:
Angel- James Pence
Bind Sight- James Pence
Terror By Night- James Pence
Quality 8.5 X 11 in printing of the scorched page
DVD of Chalk Art Illustrations from James Pence
An Interview with James Pence:
1. You've dabbled in a little bit of everything career-wise. Give us a brief summary of your journey so far.
I have definitely had a colorful background as you've already mentioned. I guess the one unifying thread that has run through everything I do is the service of God. I knew when I was 14 years old that God had called me into the ministry, and I've never wavered from that. And even though that ministry now includes such things as teaching karate to homeschoolersI consider that as much a part of my calling as anything else.
Since finishing Bible College back in 1978 I have been a youth pastor, a camp director, a pastor, a prison evangelist, a gospel chalk artist, a speaker, a singer, a Web designer, a writer, a karate teacher, an art teacher, and a writing teacher. Amazingly, I'm still active in most of those things. I'm not pastoring anymore, and I've long since left directing summer camps behind me, but everything else I still do.
It would be a book in and of itself if I were to try to go into the details of all of those different things and how I got started doing each of them. Suffice it to say that I've always believed that the talents that we have are stewardships. Thus I've always felt that if I have a talent in an area I have a responsibility to develop and use it for God's glory. And that's why do so many different things. I wouldn't have it any other way.
2. There was a tight deadline for Terror by Night. Tell us a little bit about how you interviewed Terry Caffey and the timeline you had to submit your book.
There was definitely a tight deadline for Terror by Night. I had a total of 12 weeks in which to write it and that included doing all the interviewing with Terry. I'm very happy to say that I was able to meet that challenge, but there were times when I wondered if I could get it all done.
Terry and I got together every Wednesday for several hours and I would interview him. Our first few interviews were just for getting the layout of the book planned. I had to get an idea of the different aspects of the story that needed to be pulled together, sort of like a plot outline. And then I actually had a plan the storyline based on my discussions with Terry.
It was sort of a cumulative thing, because as we talked each week more questions would come up and I would make notes on those and we would discuss them in subsequent weeks.
I recorded all of the interviews with a digital voice recorder and then transferred them all to my computer. After that I edited the interviews down into soundbites of two to three minutes all according to topics. Then I put them all on my iPod and would listen to them at every spare moment. My goal was to be familiar enough with Terry's voice so that the book would sound natural and that it would sound like Terry was doing the speaking or writing.
3. Because of the intensity of this book, how did you deal with the emotional side of writing? Did it ever become more than you or Terry could deal with at one sitting?
This was a very difficult story to write and it was very stressful for both of us, but in different ways. As we went through the interview process Terry began to struggle with depression and had some rough moments. Once or twice we had changed the topic of our discussion because it was just getting to be too hard on him.
For me the stress came from the deadline more than the storyline. The fastest I'd written a book before was 20 weeks, and writing this one in 12 weeks was like running a marathon. Near the end I was exhausted, but still had to get that word count out every day. There were times when I would just become overwhelmed with the size of the task. But there was nothing to do but keep moving forward.
So we were both very happy when this project was complete.
4. You enjoy some great ministry opportunities outside of your writing. Share how God is using your other gifts to reach others for Christ.
As I mentioned earlier, in addition to being a writer I am a gospel chalk artist and a vocalist. I've been doing that for over 30 years now and really enjoy being able to use art and music to bring a message to people. For about the last 15 years I've been going into prisons with my art and music and sharing the gospel with inmates. That's been a huge blessing to me. In fact, I often say that after a prison service I've been far more blessed than the inmates. And recently God has begun to open up more doors both in prison and out. Over a six-week period, I'll be drawing in Florida, Iowa, and Alabama.
One of the great things about chalk art is that even if the people who see a drawing don't remember everything I say, they will remember the picture and the scripture that the picture represented. I've had people write me who saw my pictures 20 years ago and came to Christ through them, and now they are serving Christ in churches and other ministries. That's one of the great joys of this ministry.
5. With the re-release of Blind Sight, it's almost like two books releasing at once. What message do you hope readers will take away from reading both books?
I was so excited when Tyndale decided to release Blind Sight a second time. It's rare that a novel gets a second chance at life. And it's especially satisfying that both books were released simultaneously. And even though one is a novel and the other a nonfiction book, the message that people can take away from the books is really the same. God is sovereign.
So often we are confused when difficult circumstances come into our lives and we wonder why God would allow that. Sometimes we even get angry with him and demand an explanation like Terry did. But the message of both Blind Sight and Terror by Night is that while God doesn't explain himself to us, we can trust in his goodness and sovereign grace. We know that he is working all things together for our good and we can trust him in that. Blind Sight communicates that message by way of a novel; Terror by Night communicates the same message by way of a true story.
James H. Pence is a full-time professional writer and editor living near Dallas, Texas. James is a multi-talented writer who has been published in both fiction and nonfiction. His publishers include Tyndale House, Kregel, and Osborne/McGraw-Hill. James holds a master’s degree in Biblical Studies with an emphasis in creative writing and journalism from Dallas Theological Seminary. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in theology from Dallas Bible College.
James is also a vocalist and gospel chalk artist, and he regularly uses his talents to share the gospel in prisons. James is the author of Blind Sight, a gripping novel about mind-control cults and coauthor (along with Terry Caffey) of the new book: Terror by Night: The True Story of the Brutal Texas Murder that Destroyed a Family, Restored One Man’s Faith, and Shocked a Nation.