Tuesday Book Review: “Man At The Cross Road”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

man at the cross road jeanne blanchet


silver-awardIBPA Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for Historical Fiction

Man At The Cross Road

by Jeanne Blanchet, Ph.D.

ISBN: 9781478778547


Man at the Cross Road is the gripping story of Marcus Casca, the exactor mortis who headed the death squad that crucified Jesus. After serving his army stint, the tough, desensitized legionary returns to Rome, where, unable to readjust to civilian life, he embarks on a twenty-year spree of debauchery and violent crime. His life is altered when, having fainted on the street from a fever, he is rescued by a Christian Jewish couple. Through them, he meets Church fathers Peter and Paul, Aquila and Priscilla, and other prominent figures in the early “Way” movement. Witnessing the Lord’s Supper, however, he suspects they are cannibals. Additionally convinced they practice sorcery and constitute a potential threat to Roman security, he becomes a government informer, infiltrating their ranks with the intent of gleaning enough evidence to have them arrested, tried, and executed. Little by little, however, the believers’ message of love and salvation works a change in the dissolute thug’s heart. But can he commit? Can he truly believe that Christ died for a despicable sinner like himself? And if so, can he ever dare disclose to his new brethren that it was he who crucified their Jesus? For years he wrestles with these questions. At the novel’s climax, he is offered the money he desperately needs to treat the life-threatening disease he has contracted if he reveals the group’s new secret meeting place, in the process condemning the only friends he has ever known to certain death. Marcus is at a cross roads and must decide once and for all whether he believes. One choice saves his life, the other, his immortal soul.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Author Jeanne Blanchet has done an amazing job in “Man at the Cross Road,” her story of the man who crucified Jesus. This is a book written in modern terminology, but instills facts that document this event. The author has done extensive research in trying to present the information on a subject that is highly sensitive and controversial. She provides excellent information on the differences in worship services, the Holy Eucharist, and beliefs.

The story begins in Rome 30 CE where readers meet the family of Sextus Cascas, who are awaiting the return of their son Marcus after serving in the Roman Army. Each family member reflects on their memories of Marcus and the feelings/fears they have about his return.

The mother, Gnaea sees only the good in her prodigal son but at the same time remembers his defiant ways as a child. The father, Sextus, tried to be the best father he could, exposing Marcus to learning the family trade, providing trips to the theater and “guy” events. Sister Livia remembers the abusive bully who only cared about getting what he wanted, when he wanted it.

Marcus returns with what we call today PTSD – he is non-communicative, hostile, and violent. His time in the Roman Army has only increased his belief that he is better than anyone else is and all others are stupid and incompetent. After advancing in the ranks of the army, he was chosen for the “death squadron.” The squadron’s goal was to crucify anyone who went against Roman law and security, and those deemed unworthy. Crucifying an individual included being stripped of all clothing, flogged, and then nailed to a cross in a public arena.

The turning event for Marcus was the flogging and crucifixion of the so-called “King of Jews.” Never had any crucifixion impacted him like this one. Not only did this Jew not call out or beg for mercy, he appeared calm and spoke to the crowd and the convicts hanging next to him. Marcus couldn’t get the eyes of Jesus out of his mind and that image followed him for years. It was due to this image and memory that Marcus lost touch with reality and was sent home.

Once returning home, Marcus leads a life of stealing, lying, and taking advantage of any woman he wanted. One such woman was Hadassah who was not killed but sent home. He later encounters her and her family after being found in a ditch due to illness.

The topic of Jesus’ crucifixion is addressed and why it happened or was thought to happen. This was delivered very well with historical facts. The author left it up to the readers to decide if they could forgive a man who did this.

Blanchet provides definitions of terminology, footnotes, maps, and further information on historical facts in the back of the book. One point made was that “No one knows for sure the hour Jesus died,” due to differences in how time was calculated within different groups. She relates that most authorities believe Jesus hung on the cross from 9:00 a.m. until his death at 3:00 p.m.

“Man at the Cross Road” by Jeanne Blanchet is an excellent read that will certainly challenge readers on their beliefs of what really happened.

– reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views

Other Reviews

Dr. Jeanne Blanchet has written a gripping novel about one man’s journey through crucifixion, debauchery and finally, salvation. In the character of Marcus Casea, the chief executioner of Jesus, we find so much about our own struggles with life, faith and the grace so freely offered by Jesus. This book will help believers and non-believers alike — there is so much shared humanity in the book that it cannot help to both captivate and inspire readers to examine their own lives and their relationship with God. A must read!

– reviewed on Amazon by Amazon Customer

Dr J. Blanchet, an accomplished author, spent years of research before writing this intense yet believable story. She cleverly weaves into the story all the teachings of Jesus the Christ in an attempt to influence the dangerous life of the Centurion who crucified Jesus. We highly recommend this book even for those who do not know the Biblical story!

– reviewed on Amazon by Amazon Customer


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor


In Your Corner: 2018 Awards Time!

Fellow authors, if you’ve spent much time browsing the various self-publishing resources available thanks to this magical thing we call the Internet, you’ll already be more than aware that awards are a big deal for self-publishing authors for a lot of reasons. In fact, a quick search of our own archives here at SPA reveals dozens of articles and hundreds of mentions over the years (our first post on the subject was in 2009, a quick blurb discussing the Reader Views annual awards). We’ve even spent some time discussing why awards are important for self-publishing authors in a way they aren’t for traditionally published authors; I particularly like Kelly’s retrospective on the those very same Reader Views annual awards from 2016.

My favorite thing about indie and self-publishing awards is that there are simply so many of them now, when once they didn’t exist at all. The diversification of awards has been a slow process, but now there are lots to choose from (I recommend choosing them all; they’re all excellent). Below I’m including a list of some of my favorites, as well as the submission dates for 2018 to ensure that your book gets in on time. Before you submit, you’ll need to double-check your copyright dates, as each of these awards has unique dating requirements, and you certainly don’t want to pay a submission fee only to discover your book was published outside of the acceptable date range!

There are more awards competitions you can enter, of course. Just make sure to budget ahead for them, as most (if not all) of these awards are only made possible by the entry fees they charge. Publisher’s Weekly has a list of additional award competitions to consider (with some overlap), and while I haven’t had a chance to verify each on Curiosity Never Killed the Writer‘s list, I like that it includes a cookbook-specific award as well as several newer awards which might prove fertile ground for new authors. The work that the Watchdog Desk of The Alliance of Independent Authors does is also impressive, and their curated list of awards may prove helpful, when taken with a grain of salt.

And lastly, if you’d love to submit your book for awards but are worried about meeting all of the necessary requirements or are worried about meeting those various deadlines, you might consider exploring options like the various awards submission packages available from indie and self-publishing companies. There are a number of them out there, and they really do take the hard work out of the process, allowing you to focus on what you love best: writing! Keep these kinds of services on the table, as the financial investment often repays itself in the time, energy, and logistics they save you. But in the meantime, take a look around that fabulous Internet … there are simply too many awards to list here, today, and we’d love to hear from you what awards you endorse or warn against!

Oh, and keep an eye on that deadline for ForeWord Reviews–it’s coming up this next Monday!

awards cup

You are not alone. ♣︎


ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

2013 Book Award Season

It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about the holidays. I’m talking about book award season, one of the most exciting times of year for self-published authors.

Over the next couple months, some of the most popular book award programs will be accepting submissions for books self-published in 2013. Here is an overview of some of the upcoming awards.

Reader Views: December 1, 2013

Works published by major book publishers are not eligible. Books must have 2013 copyright date. Authors are encouraged to submit their entries as soon as possible but postmarked no later than December 1, 2013. To learn more, visit http://readerviews.com/literaryawards/.

Ben Franklin Book Award: December 31, 2013

The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, which include fifty-five categories recognizing excellence in book editorial and design, are regarded as one of the highest national honors for independent publishers.Any books submitted with copyright dates other than 2013 must be accompanied with proof of initial distribution  in the year 2013. The deadline is December 31, 2013. To learn more, visit http://ibpabenjaminfranklinawards.com/.

ForeWord Book Award: January 15, 2014

Any independently published titles in any format—including eBooks—published in 2013 are eligible. New editions of previously issued books are eligible with newly issued ISBNs. Submissions must be postmarked no later than January 15, 2014. To learn more, visit https://www.forewordreviews.com/services/book-awards/botya/.

I’d love to know, which contests are you submitting your book to this book award season?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards for Self-Published Authors

Contests are a great way for self-publishing authors to improve their credibility and get their books recognized. A contest worth checking out is the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards. It is one of the highest national honors for independent publishers.

The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards include fifty-five categories recognizing excellence in book editorial and design. The Awards are administered by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), with help from over 160 book publishing professionals including librarians, bookstore owners, reviewers, designers, publicity managers, and editors. The Benjamin Franklin Awards are unique in that the entrants receive direct feedback on their titles. The actual judging forms are returned to all participating publishers.

The first deadline is September 30, 2013, for titles published January 1 – August 31, 2013. The next deadline is December 31, 2013, for titles published September 1 – December 31, 2013. However, all titles carrying a 2013 copyright date will be accepted in the December 2013 Call for Entry.

To learn more about the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, visit http://ibpabenjaminfranklinawards.com/.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.