Friday, June 27, 2014

And....the best book I read this month is...

I'm participating in a bloghop through The Armchair Squid (I love these guys!). I'm sharing a review I posted on Goodreads of the best book I've read this month. I'm really excited about this book for many reasons. First of all, a friend and colleague wrote it; second of all, it's a genre I would normally never read; and finally, it was an advanced read. It can be preordered, but it's due to be released July 22nd.

I used to read some fantasy as a kid, but as a jaded adult, I've gotten away from books that suggest supernatural powers. And yes, I teach high school, but I rarely read YA fiction. I prefer to read adult, broody, domestic dramas with lots of fighting and turmoil. was refreshing to discover that Bethany Masone Harar's YA novel, Voices of the Sea, transcends all of my notions about fantasy and YA fiction. It is a superb novel for young or mature adults. Fast paced, beautifully written, and pleasantly surprising.

Here is my official review:


This creative tale of modern sirens and their struggle for survival against the Sons of Orpheus (a sort of mythological mafia)is a riveting read!

Harar's adept storytelling breathes new life into the classic myth of sirens and their origins. Using equisite description and well-placed mythological markers, the novel is packed with the sensual and the magical, rocking and lulling like the siren's voice and the sea itself.

Full of plot twists and well-paced action, this story of a young woman faced with future responsibilities and leadership roles within her clan is not simply a YA book—adults will also enjoy the sophistication and darker elements of the story. Action, adventure, love, and family are all a part of this exciting and beautifully written novel.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On Writing

Stephanie Faris tagged me in a bloghop. (Thanks, Stephanie!) To participate, answer four questions about your writing and tag three more writers.

I love these bloghops!


What am I working on/writing?

Currently I'm working on a new inspirational-thriller novel. The subject matter is based on a true crime story from a 48 Hours television program. The original report was about a man who led dual lives, juggling a wife, two girlfriends, and a murder investigation. As so often happens with those involved in criminal activities, his indiscretions came to light (including the fact that he murdered his parents for the money). I was intrigued by this story and the way he used the women in his life, leading me to equate him with a modern day vampire. Developing this idea a bit further, I considered how I could meld the idea of a figurative vampire and this true crime headline. I'm still trying to meld it all together, and I'm only five chapters in, but the story will be told via three female narrators all explaining how this man intersected, impacted, and/or ruined their lives.

How does my work/writing differ from others in its genre?

Because I write inspirational (Christian) fiction, I often struggle with what I really want to write and what the Christian fiction world will accept. My work tends to be edgier, tackling subject matter that may be considered too dark or heavy for many mainstream inspirational readers. Nevertheless, I try to infuse all of my stories with a strong redemptive message to show the power of Christ and contrast Him with the darkness of life's circumstances.

Why do I write what I do?

I used to write vampire fiction. Over time, I began to feel that I wasn't edifying anyone with these stories, and I sensed God was calling me to write for Him. This would be my ministry. That was in 2006. The result of answering that call was my novel All that is Right and Holy, which won second place in the 2009 Christian Choice Awards. After that I didn't want to write anything else.

How does my writing process work?

My novel ideas usually spawn from something abstract like a girl and a guy start talking in the lobby of a hospital or a man and his wife having marital problems or a girl disappears from her college dorm room/sex trafficking story. Usually my stories are big idea-based, and then I start to develop a setting, character, and main conflict. I usually make loose notes, and then I write the first chapter. After that, I just see where it goes.

And now it's my turn to tag!

Bethany Masone Harar

Elizabeth Maddrey Perry

Elizabeth Maddrey - Author

Erin Unger

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Slighty Older Terms of Endearment

This week I’m participating in a group bloghop through the Armchair Squid! The topic this time is about a movie we loved when we were younger and how we feel about it now. I have chosen Terms of Endearment.


When I was a kid, I loved ultra-dramatic movies. I had dreams of being an actress, so any movies that made me sob with wild abandon was a good movie in my book. Terms of Endearment  (originally a Larry McMurtry novel) was a comedy-drama made in 1983 and the winner of 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It starred Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger as a mother and daughter with an ultra-close relationship, and Jack Nicholson as the slightly sleazy astronaut.

The thing about watching a movie as a kid (I think I was eleven when the movie came out) is that you don’t have a lot of life experience to inform your emotional responses. I remembered that Emma (Winger’s character) died in the movie, and I remember that I cried, but when I re-watched the movie about a year ago, it wasn’t just sad, but an all-out traumatic experience. I actually felt a little sick at the end.  At 42, I now have some life experience with people dying from cancer, and it actually made the movie difficult to watch.

On another level, I didn’t remember the humorous parts in the movie, and I found the dysfunctional dating relationship between Shirley MacLaine’s and Jack Nicholson’s character hilarious. He is such a player and she’s so prim and proper—the contrast is perfectly amusing. Thank heavens for comic relief!



What was your favorite movie as a kid? Have you seen it recently?