Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Famous Writing Quote of the Day


“I never notice the words ‘he said’ and ‘she said’ until they are missing. Then I have to wonder who said what.”   
Vince Mooney

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Obsessive Fairy Tale


Cinderella wore magic chocolate shoes to the ball. Before the ball was over, however, she had eaten them. So the handsome prince never could find her in the days following the ball. The happy ending: Cinderella thought the chocolate was worth it.

Famous Writing Quote of the Day


“Writing is not about not giving up; it’s about keeping the vision alive. Where there is vision, there is no thought of giving up.”
Vince Mooney

Monday, February 25, 2013

Famous Quote of the Day

“To write like a professional: meet all your deadlines with acceptable work and write even when the spirit is not willing.”  Vince Mooney

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mary Connealy Like You’ve Never Read Her Before…


“The Bossy Bridegroom” Does for Spousal Abuse what Francine Rivers’, “The Atonement Child” Does for Abortion: It Seriously Deals With a Subject Most Writers Avoid…And it does it with Excellence…

Publisher: Barbour Books (December 10, 2008)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services (Kindle April, 2012)

I classify,  “The BossyBridegroom”, as literature because it has a is universal and timeless message. It is also addresses the human condition and is structured to be read on several different levels. There’s the narrative/ostensive level; the Christian/religious level; and the psychological/philosophical level.


“The Bossy Bridegroom” is not a genre romance and it does not have a traditional romantic HEA – happily ever after ending. In fact, the ending that I fully expected to happen and which I would not have liked to have seen on a work this serious) – did not in fact happen. I was surprised. The reader cannot rely on genre expectations to predict the ending of this book.


The Mark Twain Problem

I once compared Mary Connealy’s writing to Mark Twain in that there are many similarities in their art. Here is a part of that review:


“Mary Connealy reminds me a lot of Mark Twain. Like Twain, Connealy is a prolific writer, she writes with an insightful sense of humor, she often uses children to demonstrate the foibles of adults, her books can be read by adults and children alike, her stories show a keen understanding of what it is like to be a child, plus the time periods and locations are very similar. To top it off, both Twain and Connealy like to write the occasional mystery.”


Now, in addition to these similarities, Mary Connealy has done something else like Mark Twain. She has written a very serious book. Mark Twain was highly intellectual and he wrote about everything. Whenever Twain would come out with a serious book his Tom Sawyer, Puddenhead Wilson, and Connecticut Yankee, fans would be furious with him! “Don’t spend your time writing these serious books. Write the humorous satire books that we love so much.”


Not For Everybody


The Bossy Bridegroom” is a serious book. The reader who only wants to read a lighthearted, happily ever, romance, may not enjoy reading this book – unless they also enjoy a deeply serious novel.


Who Should Read “The Bossy Bridegroom”


People who enjoy serious literature that requires them to think. People who can read a book on several different levels and enjoy the experience. I believe that reading this review will provide enough information for the reader to decide if “The Bossy Bridegroom” is for them.


On the ‘Narrative/Ostensive’ Level


The “Bossy Bridegroom” is a story about a woman who was verbally abused to the point the marriage fell apart and her inability to cope alone caused her to put her baby daughter up for adoption. She moves to a new location to rebuild her life. She finds Christ, becomes a Christian, develops many friends as she devotes her life to serving others in various chaitable pursuits. Since she will volunteer to help anyone who asks, an outside would be justified in thinking that others are taking advantage of her fragile nature. 


 A few years later her husband also comes to Christ and becomes a Christian. He wants to make amends. He wants to be the father and husband he belives a good Christian should become. He also seeks foreginess for his past transgressions.


The conflict is this: should such a woman give an abuser like her husband (they never devoiced) a second chance.


Some readers will say NO, never! Such men never change. The wife would be a fool to take him back and subject herself to more abuse. Some readers will also find the wife distasteful for putting up with the abuse for so long in the first place. These readers will not be able to read this book with an open mind and should definetly not read the book.


The narrative is about the attempt at reconciliation, forgiveness, and redemption. As such, it is not a genre romance with the typical HEA.


Important Disclosure: No woman is physically battered in this book. No woman is overtly verbally abused in the telling of this story. The wife was verbally abused in few years before the story opens.


On the Christian/Religious Level


“The Bossy Bridegroom” is not an easy, goodie-two-shoe, Christian romance where the two parties find Christ, offer forgiveness, and are magically redeemed into a new life of happiness.


This is not easy or superficial Christianity. Most of the Christians in the story warn the wife not to have anything to do with the husband. Men like that don’t change even if they do find Christ.


On the deepest level this book asks “Do you take Christian teachings seriously? Do you act as a Christian even when it is risky and can be painful? Specifically do you really take your wedding vows seriously? Is it until ‘death do you part’ or is it only ‘until divorce do we part’? Even deeper: should you trust God?”


The husband and wife in this book are honestly trying to apply their Christian beliefs. They are trying to ‘walk the walk’ and risk the pain and disillusionment a failure could produce. These are brave people. They should not be stereotyped as weak, evil, or pathetic.


Essential to the success of the story at the Christian/religious level is the advice and counseling of the pastor. The pastor does not give cliché Christian advice. He knows the reconciliation is probably not going to work. He gives the wife an inflatable baseball bat to smack the husband at any point he becomes verbally abusive. He also gives her his cell phone to call him at any time, day or night, so he can come and drive the husband away.


The wife is not hesitant in using the bat on her husband. In fact, he can be wacked for just thinking about saying something abusive. 


“The Bossy Bridegroom” is a powerful example of Christian principles being employed when the stakes are at the highest levels. This is a very meaningful Christian fiction. It would be hard to think of a better, more thought provoking book, for a Christian group discussion.


On the Psychological/Philosophical level


On this level, it makes no difference that “The Bossy Bridegroom” is about spousal abuse, verbal or otherwise. It could just as well be dealing with alcoholism, gambling, drug abuse, or serial adultery.


At this level the questions are different. “Do people really change or do they just modify their outward behavior?” “What is really going on in these abusive situations? What do both parties get out of it – if they are staying together?” “Does Christian conversion change a person in reality or is it like turning a sixty minute timer to the sixty minute mark? If you don’t want the arrow to revert back to zero, do you have to keep turning the indicator back to sixty?” Is the story logically sound or has it been compromised to meet the needs of the plot?”


Philosophers can be very hard on a book that has a contrived plot.


All the questions I’ve asked about are dealt with in the book. The book does not doge difficult issues. Do people change with Christian conversion? These people did but there is a constant pull to revert back to type. In this case both the husband and wife had abusive fathers. Abuse was the norm in their families. This makes permanent change in their relationship very difficult.


Why do people stay in a relationship like this? Pop psychology might suggest that the wife is just a pathetic ‘dish-rag’ who is too wimpy to stand up for herself. “The Bossy Bridegroom” is not pop psychology. What you see in the book is the dynamics of a real relationship. The abusive situation is like scratching an itch. At first it brings relief and is pleasurable. However, the scratching soon become painful, an open wound can result allowing an infection to poision the system.


The wife likes the pleasure and has to fight the temptation to fall victim to its temptation. The husband likes the power he enjoys but also wants and prays his wife with fight back…will help him. This is not just because of his Christian beliefs. Psychologically the husband has grown to love and respect his wife more when she is independent. He now sees her as more beautiful than when she once worm more makeup to please him. The husband sees the wife as someone of great value – if only she would use her ‘bat’ quicker and more often. The husband is trying to change but it is like the force of gravity keeps pulling him back to type. He needs the help of his wife just as she needs his help to keep the relationship on track. It’s not easy. It takes constant effort. And it takes more than prayers.


Does the story have logical integrity? Absolutely. I didn’t think it would. I thought the pull of a romantic ending by a romance writer would overcome the outcome dictated by the course of events. It didn’t. It had the ending it needed to have.


“The Bossy Bridegroom” – Life on a Knife edge – A Total Thriller!


This is one of the most thrilling, or more accurately, nerve wracking, books I’ve read in a long time. The deeper the reader gets into the book and develops an understanding of the characters, the more intense the reading experience becomes. At every point in the narrative the entire enterprise could fail. The situation is so tightly balanced that any unwanted nudge from any direction will lead to destruction. Any misstep by the husband, wife, outside person, or even unrelated event can tip this delicate balance and the struggling relationship will die. This disaster can happen on any page in any paragraph. It’s like walking around with a time bomb and hoping at all times that you can make it to safety before the things blows.


The more you like this book, the more reading it is going to set you on edge.


Serious Book Deserves a Serious Reader


I think by now you know whether you want to read “The Bossy Bridegroom” or not. I loved the book. I give it my highest recommendation. But I must say: it does not have the most apropos title, cover art, or publisher. To be fair, if I were the publisher, I would not want to let a book this good go to another house. I’d like to see a title like “Surviving the Battle”, and artwork that suggests a more mainstream novel dealing with stress.


5-Star, Highest Recommendation
Serious Christian Fiction!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Famous Writing Quote of the Day


“We should baptize writers as we do Christians. Then the only question would be: are you a good one or a bad one? But not are you one.”

Vince Mooney

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Famous Writing Quote of the Dad


“The more a movie stays true to the book, the more you will need to have read the book to enjoy the movie.”
Vince Mooney

Monday, February 18, 2013

Good News…Bad News & Page Turners

The good news: Sally wrote a real ‘page- turner’.


The bad news: Readers are turning the pages to get past the boring stuff.
Vince Mooney


Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Golden Rule of Teaching Software


“Begin the explanation of each new feature with the words: ‘In order to do this (explain what ‘this’ is) here’s what you do (explain how  it's done.)’”
Vince Mooney

Famous Writing Quote of the Day


“If Scrivener doesn’t do it, a writer has no business doing it.”

Vince Mooney

The Writer’s Social Media Golden Rule


“Never write more words on Social Media, in any given day, than you’ve seriously added to your WIP on that same day.”

Vince Mooney

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A 5-Star Book You’ll Love Reading to a Child – “Cody the Coyote”


Sandy Wardman’s, “Cody the Coyote”, is the Ideal Story to Read to a Young Child! 5-Star Fun!
8 ½” x 11” -- Full color
Illustrated by Jeff West
Vesuvius Press, 2012
I loved reading this book for the story, the illustrations and the ease of reading it out loud. “Cody theCoyote” has the five features I look for most when buying a book which is designed to be read to young children.  
The Five Essential Things I Look For When Buying a Book to be Read to Young Children:
1) It has to be written well enough to hold my interest. "Cody the Coyote" is that well written. I wanted to know how the story was going to end just as much as any child.
2) I want the illustrations to have facial expressions that give the characters personality. "Cody the Coyote" has these and they are as well drawn as any I’ve ever seen. You can almost 'read' the backstories into the characters from their expressions alone. Marvelous.
3) the text has to be easily understandable by the child. This is very hard to do. I’ve read many children’s books where adult concepts slipped in. This book is ideal for children in both concepts and expression. The type is centered on the page which makes you want to read it as if it were poetry. The words just flow with ease when reading it out loud.
4) if characters are mentioned in the copy, then I want those same characters to be illustrated in the picture – if pictures are central to the value of the book. In this book every illustration was perfect. It's fun to ask the child to find the characters mentioned in the story within the current illustration.
5) I like the story to teach a moral lesson. It does not have to be a religious message. "Cody the Coyote" is like a Native American folktale of the coyote variety of which there are many. However in this book, the coyote is not the evil trickster as he is usually portrayed in folklore. This book has an interesting twist. Adults will enjoy the writing along with the children.

A book that’s fun to read.
All and all, “Cody theCoyote” is a 5-Star book from the point of view of the adult reader and also from the point of view of the young child listener. The illustrations are very much like Disney creations. Many are of full page size. So you can read the text and ask the child to point out the different animals as mentioned in the story that you have just read. This makes reading the story more fun for both parties.
I don’t know if you can get this book in stories. Frankly, I wanted it to study the illustrations and was amazed by how well the text was written. (I could tell from the cover art that the illustrations were excellent and I wanted to see more of them.)
There are now two other books in the series so if you like "Cody the Coyote", there are two more waiting to be enjoyed!
Sandy Wardman’s, “Cody the Coyote”, is the Ideal Story to Read to a Young Child!
5-Star Fun!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Romantic Quote of the Day

“The truly romantic happens when you do something, often very little, that you would not do, or even think of doing, were you not genuinely in love with another. It is this reassurance that one is still loved that makes a romantic experience feel so comforting.”
Vince Mooney


Monday, February 11, 2013

A Heavenly Sign of Approval!


When I went to Seekerville first thing this morning, I was greeted by a brilliant cross of sunlight on the right side of the screen. What makes this unusual is that it has never happened before and it only lasted a few minutes before the earth moves and it was gone -- perhaps until next year. The in person cross was much brighter and impressive than this picture in which the top of the cross is hard to see. I know this is not a big deal but sometimes a small miracle is all a philosopher is going to get. 

BTW: I zipped over to Debby Giusti’s website to see if the cross would follow and, sure enough, the cross landed right on the “Writer’s Prayer” and stayed a minute or two and then it was gone.  

And so it goes.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Thoughts on Aging


“At a certain age everyone you meet looks like someone else you know or knew.”
Vince Mooney

Thursday, February 7, 2013

“The Marshal Meets His Match” Delights with Surprise and Inspiration! -- 5 Stars!


Clari Dees Knocks it out of the
Park with this Debut Romance – 5 Stars!
The Fiesty Heroine is a Story in Herself!

Clari Dees
Love Inspired Historical
On sale date: Jan 1, 2013
“The Marshal Meets His Match” delighted me, surprised me and entertained me! It’s one of those inspired novels that makes you wonder, “Will the author ever write a book this good again?”

Let me tell you why I enjoyed this book so much. When I was teaching I would sometimes tell the writers in the class to make their copy delight the reader. Some students would always look at me like I was a baseball manager who just told a pinch hitter to hit a home run.
The difference, however, is important. The baseball player was going to try and hit a homerun whether he was told to or not. The writer most often is not going to try and delight the reader. Instead the writer is going to try and do the other one hundred and one things required to get the book published. As long as the reader keeps turning the pages, usually by the use of conflict, the editor is happy. So when you find a writer who delights the reader, as Clari Dees does, you have made a wonderful discovery.

It wasn't only the conflict that made me want to turn the pages of “The Marshal Meets His Match”.  I was turning pages to discover what the feisty, unpredictable and loveable heroine was going to do next.

Meri McIsaac, the heroine, is a genuine three-deminsional character. She  is not just a character you know a lot about. She's a character who, like a real human being, has the ability to surprise the reader at any moment. This unpredictability was one reason why I was turning pages as fast as I could. I wanted to see what Meri was going to do next.

Meri is not an easy person. She’s twenty-nine and single with no prospects of marriage. She’s not much interested in men either and she has scared most of the eligible men off long ago. No one really knows what to make of Meri.

From the book:

“Jonah’s hearty laugh thundered out. ‘She’s a handful, but I’ll take a strong, opinionated female over a silly, pampered flibbertigibbet any day of the week.’”


“A good sergeant never reveals his secrets, Captain. Besides, I have a hunch you’ll figure out how to handle her. Half the fun of courting my Sally was figuring out how to deal with her strong temperament.”


“Miss McIsaac had, by now, probably already arrived back in town, but his hands itched to give her a good shaking— the little scamp.”


“Meri imagined the look on the marshal’s face when he realized she was gone, and grinned.”

The writing is excellent. The author makes skillful use of physical proxies -- using body language to reveal a character’s inner states. This lets the reader ‘feel’ the story as it happens rather than just be told what is happening.
Yet what I like best is the author’s fresh style. It’s as if she went over each sentence and asked herself, ‘is this the ordinary way to write this or can I write it in a fresh or perhaps a witty way?”  If it was ordinary, she freshened it up. This freshness of expression was a major factor in my delight when reading  “The Marshal Meets HisMatch”. 

Talk about fresh! You won't encounter the word, "fibbertigibbet" in many books. By the way,  this word is appropriate for the time period. (And yes, I did research it.)
The examples from the book below show both excellent use of physical proxies and the author's original voice:
“Meri caught herself glancing up nervously every time the door rattled, but the longed-for sight of a particular star-toting individual did not appear.”
“The minutes dragged by as he gazed unseeingly at the tidy ranch yard, fingers drumming on the arm of the rocker.” 
“You gonna sit staring into space all day, or do you want to ride in with me?” Jonah laughed at his blink of surprise when he looked up to see the sergeant already mounted.” 
Heavenly Father, please heal Faither so we can return home and life can get back to normal... without that bossy marshal.

The silent prayer evaporated before she finished, and the peace she’d tasted earlier was nowhere to be found. All the joy she normally experienced when riding her lovely palomino failed to materialize, and even the satisfaction at having outsmarted a certain lawman tasted stale.
Now about the hero:
"The loss of his parents had shown him he couldn’t control circumstances around him, only his response, but still, he’d tried to protect himself with a wall around his heart. Then Miss McIsaac had sailed a rangy black horse over his carefully fortified barriers as if they were no more substantial than a cobweb fence.”
If you look at the cover art on "The Marshal Meets His Match", it looks  placid and serene. Forget that! The story is exciting and full of surprises with one of the most memorable heroines you’ll meet all year!
“The Marshal Meets His Match” – One of the Year's Best Books from a Rising Star in the Romance World!
Highest Recommendation!



Wednesday, February 6, 2013

“Turning pages by writing conflict is good but delighting the reader is better and it sells more books.”
Vince Mooney


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Famous Writing Quote of the Day


“To sell what you write, write what sells.”
Vince Mooney

Sunday, February 3, 2013

“Topaz Treasure” is One of the Best Novella’s I’ve Ever Read! 5 Stars!


“Topaz Treasure” -- It’s Fresh, Interesting & Addictive!
 I loved, loved, loved it!
Topaz Treasure by Valerie Comer
Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (May 1, 2012)
This single novella is worth the price of the entire book which I intend to read because the theme is so interesting. However, I did not want to wait another minute to review “TopazTreasure”, so I here it is.
First I want to point out that all the novellas in “Rainbow’s End” are genuine ‘little novels’ with at least ten chapters. (They are not just long short stories.) This means that with each story you get a full helping of  'HEA enjoyment'. (HEA is the 'Happily Ever After' ending experience that many romance fans so highly prize.)  Each story is also environment-friendly. Each has many short chapters which speed the story forward with interesting events. The reading experience is excellent.
“Topaz Treasure”
This first story in the collection reads like the ‘perfect’ novella. The writing is masterful. The author shows the passage of time better and more smoothly than I’ve seen it done before. When the story unfolds it happens to you. You actually feel it.
Valerie Comer makes exquisite use of physical proxies which involves using body movements to reveal inner states – that is, what a character is feeling. The reader is not told, for example, that a character is worried but is instead made to actually feel that worry along with the character. This is ‘showing and not telling’ at its best. Indeed, this is the kind of writing  normally found only in very experienced authors who are at the high of their creative powers. “TopazTreasure” is a rare gem for a debut work.
Examples of feeling along with the characters:
“She pressed her finger against the few remaining crumbs then licked them off. With the last deep-brown fleck gone, she said good-bye to Kirk Kennedy. Like the confection, he’d been a tantalizing pleasure while he lasted. Her gaze drifted to the dessert case. She could get another piece of cake, but her relationships wouldn’t be mended by indulging in more calories.”

“The waitress reached for Lyssa’s plate, which was all but licked clean.”
“He nodded, and his whole body relaxed. ‘It’s true we’re not all called to be the mouth. I forget that sometimes’.”
There was nothing between them. No reason remained to push him away. She leaned back against him, reveling in his nearness.”

In addition to 'feeling' this story, there is a marvelous ‘stand up and cheer’ ending! While the ending follows naturally from the story action, it would not have worked without a well developed foundation. That foundation is evident in each chapter.
However, the writing is so masterfully crafted that right up to the end I would have thought this surprise ending would not have been possible. Yet right at the end all the past hints and foreshadowing come together to make the conclusion seem inevitable. I just love seeing the almost impossible made to look easy. I also greatly enjoy being surprised.
“Topaz Treasure” sets a high standard I didn’t know was possible to reach. I feel blessed to have read it. “Topaz Treasure” is an inspirational romance that can also serve as an inspiration to writers.
Additional insights:  The hero of "Topaz Treasure" is a humanities professor. As a former college professor, I felt a strong affinity towards him. As a brand new professor he taught some very strong anti-religious views which he is now not proud of doing.
The heroine is a substitute teacher who works in her church as a volunteer. The hero is spending the summer helping his brother open a communications store. The heroine is promoting a geocaching event to raise money for her church. She wants the professor to run an ad in the flyer to promote the church event.
As you might expect the conflicts in the story run deep and feel very real. This was not an easy path for the author to take but it was the path that lead to a truly remarkable story.  I now look forward to reading the other three novellas in "Rainbow's End."

“Topaz Treasure” –  5 Stars! Earns Highest Recommendation!