Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pulling weeds from flowers and words from a novel

After enjoying a talk on research at our local writers' group and various guest posts on research, I decided it was time to do... some research. So the bed in our spare room (Mum's bed during her Christmas visits here) is covered with Bibles, commentaries, atlases, picture books, history books and more. And I've written the first eight stories of my next Five Minute Bible Stories book! It's going well, I think. I'm learning lots of "stuff." And I'm preparing a Bible study to go with it since my friends at our church's Coffee Break group have very kindly decided to keep me to task by letting me lead studies after Easter on what I've learned. Accountability is wonderful! Thank you friends. For anyone wanting to read the Bible studies, I promise to post them, one a week, on my Bible Study blog--#1 coming tomorrow!

Meanwhile, I'm pulling weeds from the yard and words from my Infinite Sum. The novel really should be ready to submit to a publisher again soon, and hopefully the printer will be ready to print the submission. If not, there are always stores or friends that I can turn to for help.

And I'm reading. And drinking coffee. In fact, after crouching over weeds in the yard for three hours, I'm in desperate need of coffee. So pull up a chair, grab a cup, and let's talk books:

I'll start with the Merchant's Daughter, by Melanie Dickerson, since I've just been writing about Bible studies and the second part of the book contains plenty of quotes and conversations for the characters to study. A Christian, historical re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast, it creates an interesting version of England in the 1350s, where rich people read Bibles, poor people serve, and the new lord of the manor is cruelly disfigured and beastly in manner. The merchant's daughter has fallen on hard times, becomes a servant, and finds herself serving as Bible reader for her master. Meanwhile both characters learn that bad things can have good consequences if we just trust God. Enjoy this one with a dark intense 5-star cup of coffee for some violence and sexual threat.

Another Christian romantic novel is Spin the Plate by Donna Anastasi. I'm taking part in the author's blog tour and will post full-length reviews of this one on Friday. For now, suffice it to say it's a very different story, hard-hitting, unflinching it its portrayal of a woman wounded by childhood abuse, and beautiful in the telling of her gradual redemption. Enjoy a 4-star elegant complex coffee with this elegantly constructed novel. (But oh, how I wish authors didn't use chess to prove intelligence without first playing the game--still, it's only an offhand comment in one passing conversation.)

Another dark novel filled with beauty and redemption is Kent Haruf's The Tie That Binds. Told in the convincing voice of one of its characters, this novel feels makes you feel like you're sitting at the kitchen table and finding a new friend. The story's well-told, slowly, with genuine self-deprecating humor, great descriptions of scenery and place, and a warm concern for people, their hurts and their healings. Enjoy this elegant tale with a fine 4-star cup of coffee.

Just between Friends, by Donna Small, is a modern day tale of best friends in tangled relationships. Does being a friend mean you have to offer support even when it hurts? What about when it hurts someone else that you care for? Emma agonizes over her decisions but eventually all will turn out well. It's a slow read though so best have several cups of 2-star easy-drinking coffee to hand.

Finally, for a nice change of pace, there's a delightful children's story, Delilah Dustickle by A. J. York. A nice lesson hides under amusing thoughts of magical dusting and the tickling of suits of armour. All would be well if the maid hadn't got a crush on the master. But all turns out well in the end anyway, with just the right amount of wisdom and pleasing relationships. Enjoy with a 2-star lively easy-drinking coffee.

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