Create Space 2016 ISBN 9781533275516
It’s Thanksgiving. You know what to do: eat, get stuffed like the Turkey, zone out. If you want to get the adrenaline pumping and the juices flowing again, yours not the birds’, our own Rebecca Forster has the tryptophan antidote: Severed Relations, Book 1 of her Finn O’Brien Thriller Series.
Every day is great, until it’s not. And one often boasts of their nice neighbors and safe neighborhood…until something happens.
The Barnetts, a well-to-do family on upscale Fremont Place are living the dream: great house, successful husband, stay-at-home mom, two lovely daughters, and a live-in nanny. One happy family of five.
Enter Detective Finn O’Brien to investigate the triple murder that turns their dream into a nightmare. As one of the characters in the story says, “this falls on the far of side of hell.”
Ostracized by his fellow officers for violating the blue code when he killed one of their own: a bad cop, Finn is forced to track down the killer, or killers, on his own. And he can’t count on back-up if things get rough.
Detective Cori Anderson, with ‘feelings’ of her own toward Finn, agrees to partner with him on the case. Together, they attempt to unravel the hideous mystery. Nothing stolen. No apparent enemies. Unlikely targets. It wasn’t the butler, they don’t even have one.
In Severed Relations, Rebecca Forster leads us on a page-turning, suspense-filled, unnerving journey into the heart of darkness that reflects real life. Feelings can sometimes blind and mislead you, and events and people are not always what they seem.
See you next time on December 22nd.
Tyndale, June 2016 ISBN 9781496402219
When an airplane crashes in the field near her house, Leora rushes out to help, hoping for survivors. Together with a few of the local men, they pull a lone pilot out of the wreckage and carry him into Leora’s house. When he comes to, Moses, the pilot, reveals that an EMP–an electromagnetic pulse–knocked his plane out of the sky. An EMP, he explains, is a special warhead that wipes out technology, taking out the power grid and everything that relies on a computer, such as supermarkets. Moses, an Englischer outsider, must persuade the peaceful community of Montana Mennonites to prepare to defend themselves from the looting and crime that a food shortage will surely bring.
Astounded by the scenario that Moses depicts, the elders stand frozen in unbelief and inactivity. They never carry weapons and would never harm anyone. If they have food, they must share it. But teenage Leora, the sole care-taker of her grandmother, younger brother, and mentally-challenged sister, quickly realizes that she must protect her family. But how far is she willing to go to accomplish that? And where, in a time of crisis, does falling in love fit in?
In The Alliance, a community’s standards and collective beliefs are put to the test, and hardship, hunger, and danger, unveil each person’s strengths and flaws. The story asks the reader to consider the consequences of our dependence on technology and to examine what the need for survival might bring out in each of us. Petersheim asks, “How does one keep faith and kindness alive while trying to preserve one’s own life?”
The Alliance suggests that we can only face our greatest fears and achieve peace when we surrender our lives to God. To discover whether or not Leora succeeds, the story continues in Petersheim’s next novel, The Divide.
My review was originally published in the Christian Library Journal; used with permission.
See you next time on November 22nd.
Some things, I find, are too precious to be shared. Like a priceless jewel, they are best kept secreted away; handled and admired in private.
A vivid memory surfaces. September: first week of school. The teacher’s voice, like chalk streaking across a blackboard, screeching the assignment, Write an essay titled, My Summer Vacation.
I picture myself staple-gunned to the board. My whole self, exposed.
Ignoring the homework was not an option. Okay, it was, but the consequence was an ‘F.’ Not a good way to start the school year. So I used my imagination and wrote about a make-believe trip. In other words…I lied. Shhhh!
My summer vacation included friendships, family outings, shared moments and experiences; some too happy, or too sad to put into words. But it was mostly about all of the places I went within myself that made me grow and go back to school just a little bit older and wiser.
I cannot express how I felt sitting out on the fire-escape staring up at the night sky and dreaming of worlds beyond the stars, in spite of the car horns and fire engines whizzing by. Sometimes my elder brother would join me and point out various constellations; he knew all of their names. Or he’d tell me tales from Greek mythology, like The Wings of Icarus. I knew there was a lesson in that one; follow your parent’s advice.
And why would I want to tell anyone what it was like to go to the Hayden Planetarium with my brother, or share a secret and a hero sandwich with a new friend, or quietly walk shoulder to shoulder with my best friend while eating a Mister Softy ice-cream cone?
Reveal my treasures in an essay?
To a stranger?
For a grade?
I don’t think so!
Which brings me back to the topic of writing, or not. That is the question; though the fact that I ask it seems to provide the answer, “Not.”
I am most content when writing just for myself, or for a small circle of intimate friends. The coffee, sweets, and conversations we share last a life-time and deepen our relationships.
That is the reader and the audience I cherish most.
See you next time on October 22nd.
If you’ve ever thought of history as boring, you don’t know what you’re missing!
The Reluctant Groom and Other Historical Stories by Faith L. Justice s a collection of four intriguing tales that will move you to tears, renew your faith in true love, inspire bravery in you, and make you think twice about parting with an old antique.
The Reluctant Groom, the first story, portrays a sad, lonely and confirmed bachelor brought back to life by the power of love.
The Bitter Winter reminds us of the heart-breaking events that force peoples to migrate; the sacrifices they make for their families, and the risks they take to ensure their future.
In the third story, The Jar, Justice draws attention to the varied and important roles that women have played since the dawn of time, yet are often relegated to a footnote in history.
The final story in the collection, The Angel of the Marshes, highlights the contributions that children have made, frequently shouldering responsibilities like adults and demonstrating creativity and bravery.
The Reluctant Groom and Other Historical Stories will transform you into a historical fiction reader, and a Faith L. Justice fan.
Take the plunge and find your own self in the past!
See you next time on September 22nd.
Stir the pot; in this case the plot, and you’ll see how alike writing and cooking can be.
Whether you’re writing a novella, (fast food), a novel, (a five-course dinner), or a short story, (preparing a snack), the success of your preparation depends upon mastering the tools of the trade.
Need to perfect a paragraph? Slice and dice to shorten sentences and speed the action.
Introduce suspense? Use a rolling boil.
Brown and simmer to smooth and lengthen a passage and to bring your reader’s heart rate back in rhythm.
Determine your pacing by flash-freezing, nuking in a microwave, or constantly stirring with a long wooden spoon.
Remember that your protagonist has to suffer, so turn up the heat and roast them or slow cook them.
Dealing with your villain offers the most options. Fry them, stew them in their own juice, lay them out with a rolling-pin, grill them or mash them. Alternately, you can prolong their just desserts in an all-day crock pot.
Bake or fricassee, it’s your choice. Just make sure you serve up a delectable morsel each time that will keep your guests coming back for more.
So next time you sit down to write, think about what your readers like and ask, “Can I take your order?”
See you next time on August 22nd.
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