Friday, March 13, 2015

Guest Post: Being Forgotten (Shannon Wiersbitzky)

What does it feel like to be forgotten? Forgotten by someone you love. Forgotten forever with no hope of those memories every coming back.

That is what I set out to tackle in What Flowers Remember.

Another author once said that great stories happen at the intersection of joy and sorrow. I think that intersection was where I found myself in writing this novel.

My grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when I was in my early twenties. The disease progressed slowly at first. There were lost words and clothes put on wrong. Then there were neighbors who found him sitting in his car, unsure of how to get home when he was only a few blocks away. And then he started losing people. Bit by bit, his life was being erased.

Not everyone has a close relationship with their grandparents. I was one of the very lucky ones that did. From the age of seven to seventeen, their house was my summer camp. I arrived at the end of the school year and returned home just before the next grade started. My grandparents were second parents and great friends.

I would wait for my grandfather to come home from work, his black metal lunch pail in hand. We tended the garden and I measured myself against the pumpkins that grew to half my size. I sat with my grandparents on the front porch, stringing beans, talking to neighbors, and watching lightning bugs perform in the yard.

One day, years later, as I visited him with my newborn son, I realized that he didn’t know who I was. My face was unrecognizable, but my voice sounded familiar to him. It reminded him of a young girl he used to know. That’s what he told me. The words made me cry. They still do.  

I never set out to write a book about Alzheimer’s. But I needed to write about a girl. A girl who loves someone and is loved back. A girl who is forgotten. Because I’m not the only one it has happened to. I’m not the only one who had to cope with that particular kind of pain. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. One in three. That number is astounding to me.

With What Flowers Remember, I tried to find a way to make sense of something that is completely incomprehensible. A way to share the truth of all my emotions, both the sadness and the joy, in the context of a fictional town, with fictional characters, people who are busy creating new and wonderful memories of their own while someone they love is losing his.

If you know a child (or an adult) that is coping with being forgotten, share this book with them, and let them know they are not alone. 
           

Reviews & Honors:

Lamplighter Award nominee, 6th-8th, 2015-2016
Top Shelf honoree 2014, VOYA Magazine

“Fans of wholesome, uplifting stories similar to Canfield’s Chicken Soup for the Soul collections, will best enjoy this gentle reminder of the goodness of life and people.”
—Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

“There are echoes of Patricia MacLachlan in the book's period flavor (the story seems to be set thirty years or so in the past), the tenderness, and the deft writing that keeps a heart-tugging plot lovely as well as brimming with sentiment."
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Recommended

“The ebb and flow of life is shown, grief is addressed, and the power of what one person can do is celebrated. Teachers may wish to consider this book for reading lists in middle school."
—Children's Literature

“[Delia’s] frustration, fear and sense of loss will be readily recognizable to others who have experienced dementia in a loved one, and her story may provide some guidance on how to move down that rocky path toward acceptance and letting go.”   
—Kirkus Reviews

*Note: A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book are donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.

 Visit Shannon:


Shannon Wiersbitzky is a middle-grade author, a hopeless optimist, and a believer that everyone has The Summer of Hammers and Angels, was nominated for the William Allen White award. Born in North Dakota, Shannon has called West Virginia, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Michigan “home” at some point in her life. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two sons, and her always entertaining mutt Benson.




Thursday, March 5, 2015

TBR Pile: If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution

Synopsis:


If you were there when they signed the Constitution you would see

--Why the Constitution is called a miracle.
--The first big argument.
--What was missing from the Constitution.



This books takes you behind the locked doors of Philadelphia's State House during the history-making summer of 1787. You will meet the key delegates and find out what is going on.


Details:

Paperback, 80 pages
Published June 1st 1992 by Scholastic Paperbacks

Why I Want to Read This:

This book helps make this time period in history more clear to students. Politics and creating laws, policies, etc. is something that few people today (even adults) understand completely clearly. The idea of having this book available to show some of the thinking that went into the Constitution can help students become informed leaders of the next generation. The people behind the Constitution were far from perfect in their personal lives, but the idealism of the document they were able to create in spite of that is a beacon of hope that we can, really one day be a body of people with different beliefs that are allowed to peacefully coexist.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

TBR Pile: If You Lived With the Sioux Indians by Ann McGovern

Synopsis:

If you lived with the Sioux Indians
--Would you hunt for food?
--What kind of home would you live in?
--What would be the bravest thing you could do?

This book tells you what it was like to live as a Sioux Indian in North and South Dakota during the years 1800 to 1850.




Details:

Paperback, 80 pages
Published September 1st 1992 by Scholastic Paperbacks

Why I Want to Read This:

The story of Native Americans and their fight to hold onto their own land and traditions is definitely one that saddens my heart, even as I am glad of my own culture and its accomplishments. I believe this book could be a jumping off point for some serious discussion about what it means to seek peace and harmony. My own concept of this time period is largely constructed from the plot lines of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and Young Riders. Younger students may benefit from some of that as well (I have not watched either as an adult and am thus unsure exactly what angle those shows take). A more recent novel that has shaped my opinion is One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus, which I believes shows a bit more depth and complexity toward such a sensitive topic.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review: Between These Walls by John Herrick

Synopsis:

Hunter is a Christian. Hunter is the man next door.

Hunter Carlisle is gay.

At 26 years old, Hunter Carlisle has a successful sales career, a devoted girlfriend, and rock-solid faith. He also guards a secret torment: an attraction to other men. When a career plunge causes muscle tension, Hunter seeks relief through Gabe Hellman, a handsome massage therapist. What begins as friendship takes a sudden turn and forces the two friends to reconsider the boundaries of attraction. Along the road to self-discovery, Hunter’s secret is exposed to the community. Now Hunter must face the demons of his past and confront his long-held fears about reputation, sexual identity, and matters of soul.

A story of faith, fire and restoration, Between These Walls braves the crossroads of love and religion to question who we are and who we will become.

Publisher's full disclosure to readers: This novel of faith occurs within a true-to-life context of redemption, and contains adult language and content. 


Details:

Published February 2015 by Segue Blue

Available: Amazon | The Book Depository (affiliate links)

My Review:


John Herrick, himself a Christian, bravely addresses taboo subject matter in this heartfelt, authentic novel. His main character, Hunter, is an extremely committed Christian with a vital relationship with God who also has always struggled with same-sex attraction, keeping it a secret under the surface, always afraid of being found out.

Having girlfriend after girlfriend, Hunter cannot find that sense of emotional closeness and genuine attract with any of them. He truly feels something for each girl, but those relationships don't exactly reach his heart. He's surprised to find that his new massage therapist is easy to talk to as well as attractive to him on many levels. Gabe is also a committed Christian who shares Hunter's struggles.

As the two of them try to decide what their relationship should look like (or if it should even exist) in light of their faith, they wrestle with their past, with family issues, and, of course, what having a "public" relationship might mean. For both men, the idea of violating their faith and a reluctance to displease God are major issues.

This is a much needed book because there are many Christians who deal with the complexity that comes from being attracted to the same sex and who want to stay true to their faith. I have not seen another LGBQT book that deals with this subject matter in a way that gets straight to the heart of this matter.

I also like the way the book addresses the issue of homosexuality in a biblical manner. It does not condone the practice, but it also does not judge those who deal with this struggle. God's grace is the central focus on how the characters deal with this issue. Hunter's pastor gives him wise counsel and assures him that God knew that the struggle would be there and wants to bring beauty from it. In addressing a very close-minded pastor up front, Hunter stresses that it's the kindness of God that leads men to repentance (Romans 2:4), poking holes in the man's reactionary, hate-filled mentality.

I believe this is an issue that churches need to address in a more vital fashion. Yes, the issue is complicated, but it's unfair, cruel, and unbiblical for pastors and teachers within churches to continue acting like those who struggle with same-sex attraction are hideous creatures from another planet and to make scathing, callous jokes. None of that is necessary to exposit what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. That attitude is not the kind of love that Jesus demonstrated when he came to earth. 

I have always hoped to have some sort of easy answer on this issue, but I don't. I just can't imagine Jesus dying on the cross for everyone "except" any group. Those who argue that people within the LGBQT community can't be saved before renouncing their lifestyle is not supported under the idea that "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13).

Source: Thanks for the author for providing a copy of this title in exchange for a fair review.

Monday, March 2, 2015

TBR Pile: If You Lived in Colonial Times by Ann McGovern; illustrated by Brinton Turkle and June Otani

Synopsis:


If you lived in colonial times
--What kind of clothes would you wear?
--Would you go to school?
--What would happen if you didn't behave?

This book tells you what it was like to live in the New England colonies during the years 1565 to 1776.




Details:

Paperback, 80 pages
Published May 1st 1992 by Scholastic Paperbacks

Why I Want to Read This:

I was fascinated by colonial times as a child and wanted to wear the full dresses and bonnets and be all proper like those brave individuals were. My how things have changed. Anyway, I can't separate my concept of this time in history from that of war and struggle. The Patriot is a movie that we watch at my house on almost every patriotic holiday available. I think of the Declaration of Independence, of Paul Revere and his courage and much more. There are so many poems, primary sources, and other works of fiction that can help teachers and parents communicate these truths to their children. The interested reader will find that this time period is a hard one to look away from.

Friday, February 27, 2015

TBR Pile: If You Were At the First Thanksgiving by Anne Kamma; illustrated by Brent Dodson

Synopsis:

Nearly half of the fifty-two Pilgrims at the First Thanksgiving were children age sixteen and younger. What was it like being part of the historic harvest festival that inspired our modern holiday? How did the children contribute to the feast? What did they wear? Did they have turkey and pumpkin pie? Written from a child's perspective, IF YOU WERE AT THE FIRST THANKSGIVING answers these questions and others about the festival, life in the new settlement of Plymouth, and more. 

Details:

Paperback, 64 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Scholastic Paperbacks


Why I Want to Read This:

Although I sometimes find the Thanksgiving holidays to be a completely weird time in terms of how each family celebrates, I love the way that it stands as a moment in time when two extremely different cultures peacefully interacted despite their obvious religious and political differences. In my opinion, that is the essence of the American dream. We're all different, with different backgrounds, different levels of agreement, yet we all get to live in the same country and attempt to make the dreams of the founding fathers a reality. Given the unrest and misunderstanding of the time period, their coming together was nothing short of miraculous and a good symbol to be followed today.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (UShistory.org)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

TBR Pile: If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War by Kay Moore; illustrated by Anni Matsick

Synopsis:


If you lived at the time of the Civil War
--Would you have seen a battle?
--Did you continue to go to school?
--Was it hard to get food?

This book tells you what it was like to live at the time of the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. 


Details:

Paperback, 64 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by Scholastic Paperbacks
Why I want to Read This:

The Civil War was a fascinating time period to learn about from my perspective as a middle schooler. Beautiful dresses, the threat of war and losing loved ones, fighting for freedom for the oppressed. My friends and I read a ton of books and watched as many movies as we could that dealt with this time period. Rifles for Watie, The Red Badge of Courage, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, 12 Years a Slaveanything by Michael Sharra, and so many more that I can't even list them all. I was also really shaped by a Christian fiction series on this topic by Gilbert Morris entitled The Appomatox Saga.

As an educator, pairing an easier to read book like this with readings from primary sources and more complicated novels from the time period is one way that students can begin to examine the story history tells.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

TBR Pile: If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine; illustrated by Larry Johnson

Synopsis:

If you traveled on the Underground Railroad

--Where was the safest place to go?
--Would you wear a disguise?
--What would you do when you were free?



This book tells you what it was like to be a slave trying to escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

Details:

Paperback, 64 pages
Published February 1st 1993 by Scholastic Paperbacks

Why I Want to Read This:

Like all the other books in this series, this title helps introduce a sensitive topic to students or curious readers in a way that helps them empathize with those who endured this tragic time period. I remember staying home from school one day in middle school to read The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton, a book that had a profound impact on my growing sense of what the history of our nation means.

Novels like that one and, of course, Uncle Tom's Cabin drove home to me the struggle that many endured. Pairing this more simple text with a more difficult one would be a great way to introduce the topic and generate positive, problem-solving discussion between students of varying backgrounds.

The underground railroad itself holds an element of mystery that automatically generates student interest in the topic, no matter which side of the railroad their family may have been involved in during this time period.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

TBR Pile: If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon by Ellen Levine; illustrated by Elroy Freem

Synopsis:


If you traveled west in a covered wagon

--Would you ride in the wagon for the whole trip?
--How would you cross rivers when there were no bridges?
--Without road signs, how would you know where you were?



This book tells you what it was like to be a pioneer and travel west to Oregon in the 1840s.


Details:

Paperback, 80 pages
Published August 1st 1992 by Scholastic Paperbacks

Why I Want to Read This:

Like the other books in this series, this book helps students envision what traveling west may have been like. Students could generate journal entries, short stories, list positives/negatives of living in a wagon traveling West, as well as many other creative options.

The book could be used in history classes for younger elementary students all the way through middle school or high school. Since the illustrations are paired with easy to understand text, readers of all ages and ability levels will be able to connect with the idea on some level to experiences in their own lives.

Since this time in history was filled with many unsure experiences with all involved, with many different people and economic groups interacting, this book could be expanded for use with many different disciplines far beyond merely social studies/history.

It can supplement many different types of discussions depending on teacher/student needs.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

TBR Pile: Waking the Dead by John Eldredge

Synopsis:

There is a glory to life that most people-including believers-never see. In this insightful new book, John Eldredge presents the heart as central to life. Not only is the heart essential; the heart God has ransomed is also good. Building on these foundational truths, Eldredge shows readers why real Christianity is a process of restoration, where the broken parts of our hearts are mended and the captive parts are set free.

"Waking the Dead" leads listeners to understand how to live from the heart, care for their heart like the treasures of the kingdom, and give from fullness instead of emptiness. This message also shows how living from the heart can energize people to love God and others in a way they've never experienced, revealing to them life's purpose: fighting for the hearts of others. 



Details:

Published July 22nd 2003 by Thomas Nelson

Why I Want to Read This:

Throughout my college experience, Eldredge's Sacred Romance was another book that helped me understand what a relationship with God looks like in real life. Some legalistic voices in the Christian community often obscure these facts from view, making it hard for those seeking to live as God commands to see how God's commands aren't just annoying rules and laws but - a good thing. His Wild at Heart was extremely helpful in understanding God's purpose for masculinity just as Captivating (written with his wife Stasi) helped countless women understand how valued they were by God. I am interested to see how this book envisions a heart truly alive for God.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

TBR Pile: If You Grew Up With George Washington by Ruth Belov Gross; illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

Synopsis:

This book tells you what it was like to live in Virginia during the colonial times of the 1730's and 1740's.

Details:

Paperback, 64 pages

Published January 1st 1993 by Scholastic Paperbacks

Why I Want to Read This:

I love the way each book in this series presents historical facts in an accessible way. A teacher could easily assign portions of the books in this series to be read and use post it notes or an AVID style of learning with various columns representing topics that students need to master.

It is wonderful to think that this book can help students imagine what our first president's young life may have been like. This goes a long way in helping readers understand the idealistic truths our nation was built on so that they can be informed citizens as they grow and mature.

Friday, February 20, 2015

TBR Pile: If You Grew Up With Abraham Lincoln by Ann McGovern; illustrated by George Ulrich

Synopsis:

If you grew up with Abraham Lincoln

--Would you have to work hard?

--What kinds of games would you play?
--What would your school be like?



This book tells you what it was like to grow up on the frontiers of Kentucky and Indiana, in the prairie town of New Salem, Illinois, and in the city of Springfield, Illinois, during the early 1800s. 




Details:

Published February 1st 1992 by Scholastic Paperbacks

Why I Want to Read This:

I love books that present historical facts simply and clearly.  This book, while containing somewhat heavy text, also contains pictures to provide instructional support. The way the subject matter is presented also creates high interest for a student that may be curious about what growing up in a log cabin was really like.

This time period in Abraham Lincoln's life no doubt had a critical impact on him, something that students need to to understand clearly. Their own roots and beginnings are the foundation for who they will choose to be in the future. I like the idea of students being inspired by Lincoln's humble beginnings and choosing to do good things with their own unique stories.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

TBR Pile: Praying the Scriptures for Your Children by Jodie Berndt

Synopsis:

Jodie Berndt shows you how to make the Bible a book of prayers that can powerfully influence your children s lives. You ll discover how to pray specifically and expectantly for their faith, character, safety, relationships, and future. You ll gain new, biblical perspectives on God s purposes for your children. And through the encouragement of the Scriptures and true-life stories, you ll find out what a huge difference your prayers really make in the lives of those you love most. Discover How to Pray God s Will for Your Children s Lives There s no place like God s Word to turn to when you want to pray confidently and effectively for your kids. Prayers permeated with the Word of God bring about changes in our children and keep us in touch with God s priorities. This is a wonderful resource that you will want to refer to over and over. Fern Nichols, founder and president of Moms in Touch International If I could choose only one book to help me pray for my children, this is it! Not only has Jodie given us a rich treasure of true stories, practical prayers, and relevant Scriptures for our children, but a surprise awaits! In reading this I found my own confidence if God growing. RUN and get this book for moms and grandmoms. Susan Alexander Yates, author of How to Like the Ones You Love I know of no one who can speak more authoritatively than Jodie Berndt on praying for your children. Every parent who wants their children to grow into godly men and women should read this book.

Details:

Published March 8th 2001 by Zondervan

Why I Want to Read This:

Knowing how to pray for anyone is difficult, let alone your children. God's will is not the easiest to discern, especially in troubling times, so for me, having a guide that I can open and instantly find some sort of inspiration is critical. In our day and age, the person who can sit and pray for a long time is a lucky person, indeed. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

TBR Pile: The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

Synopsis:

A Furious Love Is Hot on Your Trail! 

Many believers feel stunted in their Christian growth. We beat ourselves up over our failures and, in the process, pull away from God because we subconsciously believe He tallies our defects and hangs His head in disappointment. In this newly repackaged edition--now with full appendix, study questions, and the author's own epilogue, ""Ragamuffin" Ten Years Later," Brennan Manning reminds us that nothing could be further from the truth. The Father beckons us to Himself with a "furious love" that burns brightly and constantly. Only when we truly embrace God's grace can we bask in the joy of a gospel that enfolds the most needy of His flock--the "ragamuffins." 

Are you bedraggled, beat-up, burnt-out? 

Most of us believe in God's grace--in theory. But somehow we can't seem to apply it in our daily lives. We continue to see Him as a small-minded bookkeeper, tallying our failures and successes on a score sheet. 

Yet God gives us His grace, willingly, no matter what we've done. We come to Him as ragamuffins--dirty, bedraggled, and beat-up. And when we sit at His feet, He smiles upon us, the chosen objects of His "furious love." 

Brennan Manning 's now-classic meditation on grace and what it takes to access it--simple honesty--has changed thousands of lives. Now with a Ragamuffin's thirty-day spiritual journey guide, it will change yours, too. 

Starburst: 

Includes New 30-Day 

Spiritual Journey Guide 

**** 
" Brennan Manning does a masterful job of blowing the dust off of shop-worn theology and allowing God's grace to do what only God's grace can do--amaze." 
Max Lucado 

Bestselling author of "The Gift for AllPeople" 
"I found deep comfort in realizing that Jesus loves even me, a ragamuffin, just as I am." 
Michael Card 

Musician, recording artist, and author of "A Violent Grace" 
"This is a zestful and accurate portrayal that tells us unmistakably that the gospel is good, dazzlingly good." 
Eugene Peterson 
Author of "The Message" 
Story Behind the Book 

The world assigns value to people using measurable standards. Someone is a successful student if she receives As. Someone is a strong athlete if he runs five miles a day. The Lord, however, knows nothing of standards. "The Ragamuffin Gospel" was inspired by Brennan Manning after he discovered firsthand what it means to live by grace instead of performance. His words bring new life and sweet refreshment to Christians who are tired of never measuring up.

Details:

Published June 8th 2000 by Multnomah

Why I Want to Read This:

During college, dealing with our faith in a rubber-meets-the-road fashion, my friends and I passed this little tome around non-stop. I think I (somehow) still have my original copy despite having loaned it out to others extensively. (Some of my friends are still missing their original copies, I think.) Anyway, this book stood up and filled in some of the gaps in our understanding between what grace and truth look like mixed together. This world is ugly, but God's grace is beautiful, and nothing is going to change that! I would love to read this book again sometime soon simply to rediscover some of the insights that hit me like a ton of bricks.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

TBR Pile: Down the Darkest Road by Tami Hoag; read by Kirsten Potter

Synopsis:


Once upon a time I had the perfect family. I had the perfect husband. I had the perfect children. I had the perfect life in the perfect home. And then, as in all fairy tales, evil came into our lives and destroyed us. 


Four years after the unsolved disappearance of her sixteen-year-old daughter, Lauren Lawton is the only one still chasing the ghosts of her perfect Santa Barbara life. The world has given her daughter up for dead. Her husband ended his own life in the aftermath. Even Lauren's younger daughter is desperate to find what's left of the childhood she hasn't been allowed to have.



Lauren knows exactly who took her oldest child, but there is not a shred of evidence against the man. Even as he stalks her family, Lauren is powerless to stop him. The Santa Barbara police are handcuffed by the very laws they are sworn to uphold. Looking for a fresh start in a town with no memories, Lauren and her younger daughter, Leah, move to idyllic Oak Knoll. But when Lauren's suspect turns up in the same city, it feels to all the world that history is about to repeat itself. Leah Lawton will soon turn sixteen, and Oak Knoll has a cunning predator on the hunt.



Sheriff's detective Tony Mendez and his team begin to close in on the suspected killer, desperate to keep the young women of their picturesque town safe. But as the investigators sift through the murky circumstances of an increasingly disturbing case, a stunning question changes everything they thought they knew. In Down the Darkest Road, #1 New York Timesbestseller Tami Hoag proves again why she is one of the world's most beloved storytellers.


Details:

Published December 27th 2011 by Dutton Adult

Why I Want to Read This:

With my schedule being somewhat disrupted, the idea of being able to sit down and listen to a book instead of reading a paper one is very enticing. I have not read any of the previous books in this series, but I found this book in the young adult section of my library and was instantly drawn in to the topic and subject matter. I used to listen to audio books going to and from work, so I feel like this is a middle of the road option for me since I am looking to get back into listening to some more audiobooks.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

TBR Pile: Kingdom's Dawn by Chuck Black

Synopsis:

A Riveting Medieval Parallel to the Bible Good and evil clash. Leinad and Cedric are determined to not only survive, but claim hope and victory! 

In Kingdom's Dawn , Leinad and Tess, along with all the king's people, must escape slavery by the powerful Lord Fairos. Kingdom's Hope finds them free and arriving in the Chessington Valley. 

But when they forget the king, will Kergon and the Kessons capture them for good? After many years, Kingdom's Edge finds Cedric living a hopeless life until a stranger appears with powerful words of a new kingdom and a grand army. 

Finally, Kingdom's Reign marches you through the danger of earth's last days as the evil dark knight threatens to defeat the prince once and for all. 

Swords, knights, and battles define these captivating tales that parallel biblical events from Genesis to Revelation!

Details:

Published May 1st 2006 by Multnomah Books

Why I Want to Read This:

This series was unknown to me until recently but comes very highly recommended by some friends. As a person who is often put off by high fantasy, this series seems accessible to me because of its target age group. I am interested to see this author's vision in this series.




Friday, February 13, 2015

Spotlight: Division Clock by Ivan Samokish

Today on the blog, we have Ivan Samokish talking some of his inspiration that went into the making of his novel.

The Division Clock is a modern surreal fantasy novel that aims to explore the depths of the subconscious mind during times of great upheaval. The novel is purely a fictional fantasy yet it attempts to grasp the full scope of a person's struggle to find their own identity, make sense of the world and battle against any form of depression or oppression. 

Below is a quick summary of what the novel is about (although it only touches the surface): "A young man battling with severe depression, loss of memory and gradual onset of madness races to find a stolen magical clock and reset time to save humanity from an evil power. Trapped in his own crazed visions, the line between reality and dreams is gradually blurred, leaving him struggling to overcome an adverse battle for identity, perception and restoration of sanity.

The novel is complete and ready for publication.
It is for sale online on Amazon in eBook and paperback format where you can also preview the first few chapters to gauge whether you want to keep reading.

Here are some quick facts about my work:
  • Division Clock is about 64,000 words in length
  • Took about two years of planning and over a year to write
  • Was written during times of upheaval in my own personal life
  • Is inspired by the works of classical greats such as Bulgakov, Dostoevsky, Dickens and Shakespeare (among a few)
  • There are 11 characters in the novel (not counting a number of mystical creatures)
Story Summary:

A young man battling with severe depression, loss of memory and gradual onset of madness races to find a stolen magical clock and reset time to save humanity from an evil power. Trapped in his own crazed visions, the line between reality and dreams is gradually blurred, leaving him struggling to overcome an adverse battle for identity, perception and restoration of sanity."

Details: 

Published November 26th 2014

If you like my work any support is welcome! Thank you!

Feel free to visit my Facebook page here.



Thursday, February 12, 2015

TBR Pile: Streams in the Desert by Lettie B. Cowman; edited by James Reiman

Synopsis:

In a barren wilderness, L. B. Cowman long ago discovered a fountain that sustained her, and she shared it with the world, Streams in the Desert (r) -- her collection of prayerful meditations, Christian writings, and God's written promises--has become one of the most dearly loved, best-selling devotionals of all time since its first publication in 1925. Filled with insight into the richness of God's provision and the purpose of His plan, this enduring classic has encouraged and inspired generations of Christians. I heard the flow of hidden springs; before me palms rose green and fair; The birds were singing; all the air was filled and stirred with angels' wings. Now James Reimann, editor of the highly acclaimed updated edition of My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, again brings us the wisdom of the past in the language of today, by introducing this updated edition of Streams in the Desert. With fresh, contemporary wording and precise NIV text, the timeless message of the original flows unhindered through these pages, lending guidance and hope to a new generation of believers. We never know where God has hidden His streams. We see a large stone and have no idea that it covers the source of a spring. We see a rocky areas and never imagine that it is hiding a fountain. God leads me into hard and difficult places, and it is there I realize I am where eternal streams abide. Day by day, Streams in the Desert will lead you from life's dry desolate places to the waters of the River of Life -- and beyond, to their very Source.

Details:

Published February 9th 1997 by Zondervan Publishing Company

Why I Want to Read This Book:

I love devotional books, both new and old. This classic has been around for a long time, providing comfort and encouragement to countless weary souls. I received my first copy of it from my grandmother, and I picked up another copy along the way as well. This one never gets old for me. Each day, when I have the time, it provides a lot of comfort and restoration for those weary places.

TBR Pile: Snake Oil by Rev. Becca Stevens

Synopsis:


"In the world of snake oils, you have to see the world a little differently. Where others see poverty, you see riches; where others see weeds, you see flowers; where others see sickness, you see openness." 


Becca Stevens calls herself a "snake oil seller": She takes natural oils, mixes them with a good story, sells them in an open market and believes they help to heal the world. Becca is the founder of Thistle Farms, one of the most successful examples in the US of a social enterprise whose mission is the work force. She is also the founder of its residential program, Magdalene. The women of Magdalene/Thistle Farms have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction, and the natural body care products they manufacture-balms, soaps, and lotions-aid in their own healing as well as that of the people who buy them. The book weaves together the beginnings of the enterprise with individual stories from Becca's own journey as well as 20 women in the community. 


In Snake Oil, Becca tells how the women she began helping fifteen years ago have been the biggest source of her own healing from sexual abuse and her father's death as a child. Wise and reflective, Snake Oil offers an empowering narrative as well as a selection of recipes for healing remedies that readers can make themselves.

Details:

Published March 12th 2013 by Jericho Books

Available: Amazon | The Book Depository (affiliate links)

Why I Want to Read This:


Becca Stevens writes about enacting truth and justice in a beautiful, poetic, cozy way. Sometimes it's hard to hear truth, especially if it's not exactly in your favor at the moment, so the fact that she very adeptly and coherently describes her own goals makes her writing some of the most powerful that I have ever read. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Spotlight: Bacon Lovers Blog Tour

Bacon lovers unite!

It’s time to prove to your friends, once and for all, that everything really is better with bacon! Crispy, salty, smoky, sweet. Let the flavors of bacon overwhelm your taste buds with recipes like:



  • Applesauce Bacon Dippers
  • Barbarian Bacon Skewers
  • Bacon-Wrapped JalapeƱo Peppers
  • Root Beer and Bacon Cupcakes



Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for your bacon-obsessed friend or you’re a bacon aficionado yourself, you’ll love the mouthwatering recipes in The Bacon Lover’s Cookbook. With bacon-flavored breakfasts, dinners, desserts, and everything in between, this ultimate guide will take your bacon sensibilities to a whole new level.

Author Bio:

Christina Dymock graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications. She currently resides in Central Utah with her husband and four children who are often her inspiration for new recipes and ideas. Among other things, she enjoys cycling, skiing, wakeboarding, sewing, reading, and baking. You can contact Christina through her blog at: http://christinadymock.wordpress.com.


Copies of this title can be purchased here: 



Check out the tour: