I've spoken of the summer TV series Reckless starring Anna Wood and Cam Gigandet. These two actors could not be more perfectly cast. I consider it an amazing talent in and of itself to be able to put together the actors who will best "sell" the product - be it a commercial, a TV series, or a film.
The above photograph depicts the dance scene between the characters Jamie Sawyer and Roy Rayder at a social function for the mayoral candidates. Both attorneys on opposite sides of the courtroom, they battle constantly in public and privately with their desires for one another. The chemistry between them is as good as it gets in television. You recognize the lack of it when you see it forced on the screen, but it's truly impressive when it's done right. This scene captures the beauty of "the dance", the pull of the attraction, the burden of their career positions, and the reason the UST must remain. It's dazzling, sensual, and perfectly done.
I'm continually impressed with the stunning and exceptional camera work in this series. The camera takes the viewer up close and personal with the characters, and the actors comply by perfecting their expressions to accommodate and dictate to that peering lens. No one is spared from its examination, and each actor delivers his or her own important performance.
Add to all of this the attractive, scene-appropriate, alluring, and varied costuming prowess, and you have one very well done drama in Reckless.
Not to mention some absolutely fine writing. Very impressed with this drama.
Father, may those who don't know you find you. You are all I'm livin' for. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Sometimes I fluctuate between how "big" writing is and how actually "small" it can be. Constant discussions about the writing biz get to me because as important as it can be in an author's life, it really seems small when matched up against survival, terror, injustice, and this "cray-cray" world.
Anyone else feel like this?
Creative writing is an art. Art is important for multiple reasons. The primary reason I believe it's important and valuable is because God ordains that some should create elements of art to bless, enlighten, even instruct others in this world. To show beauty, to illustrate sorrow, to lead to hope. Writing and the other arts share a purpose, but as in all good and perfect things, the purpose is selected, orchestrated, and designed by the Lord of heaven and earth. Without His divine touch on all areas of the arts, they exist like fancy pastries - some, not all, wonderful to taste but of little nutritious value. Being entertained is empty without reason and purpose.
Monday, Monday . . .
Father, you are the reason I am able to even write my name. Thank you for your beauty and grace, your gifts and deployed talents. You are big. I am oh-so-small. May I be strong in you and in your mighty power. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
When you huff and puff into the ER, force out a whispered "shortness of breath" and "racing heart", sometimes it means you get to spend the night. And from someone who has never developed a fondness for doctors even though the majority have treated me well in the few times I've had to visit them, this is not the result you hope to achieve when you finally give in to what definitely begins to feel dire.
Yes, I spent Wednesday night in the hospital with some serious A-Fib issues which came on suddenly a few days before. Late Wednesday night the symptoms worsened instead of improving, and I had no choice. Couldn't catch my breath and my heart stomped furiously in my chest.
I'm home, thank the Lord, with three prescriptions for a season. And I'm really not a pill taker. However, I do not wish to experience any of those wretched symptoms again, so I will do my due dilligence for now.
Always appreciate your prayers. I'm fine now. Phew.
Spiritually, the devil tries to take us down at every opportunity. Sometimes it's in the health arena. We fight and we believe. We keep going and we know He's in charge. Whatever happens, God wins.
Thank you, Jesus, for providing healing of all kinds. Thank you for providing insights and revelations amdist the chaos and, yes, fear. Thank you, God, for always being there even in the darkness. We're desperate for you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Vince Flynn fans will always miss his writing, his books, and are tentatively looking forward to what Kyle Mills will do to continue the Mitch Rapp storyline, finishing The Survivor which Vince had started before his health deteriorated and ended his life.
In the mean time I would suggest Vince's fans read the similar storyteller Brad Thor. I've just begun his latest work, Act of War, and am sold on his writing and complex storyline. Nobody replaces Vince Flynn and Mitch Rapp, but we can certainly use another hero like Thor's Scot Harvath.
These dudes are the real thing when it comes to bona fide political, espionage thrillers. Their insider knowledge makes a reader sit up and take notice of the fragile fuse of the world's powder keg. Scary, informative, real, and amazing fiction - or is it, fiction I mean?
Thank you, Lord, for those who share insights to this sinful world condition. Please protect the brave and incorruptible men and women who risk their lives to protect this one nation under God. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
When the devil speaks, he lies. We've all heard his voice. We've all believed some of his lies. Cleverly mixed with a small element of truth, they're impressive with what they convey to us about our weaknesses, our lack of character, our status, our motivations, our abilities, our attitudes. And the list goes on . . . an endless stream of condemnation.
With no weapons to fight the enemy of our souls, we are truly helpless. Even with the sword of the Spirit, we flail it around once in a while, hit and missing our targets. Unsure if we even have a target. Forgetting we have built-in warrior skills that usually lie dormant.
My heart breaks for those left behind, damaged and in pain from the wounds of losing someone they loved. Knowing he struggled, questioning whether or not they did enough, wondering silently why he had to do such a selfish thing yet realizing he couldn't cope any longer because the devil had convinced him life was not worth his time and efforts anymore.
Depression has been diagnosed by every kind of mind and religious science and approach. Drugs designed to mix and match and remedy the horrible symptoms of abject fear, sorrow, despair, and hopelessness, have both succeeded and failed the brains of those who suffer with it. Most of us have tasted it now and then, but it doesn't dominate our lives. We're fortunate it's not an area we must tackle and defeat.
I loved Robin Williams. Such a funny, funny man. "They" say comedy is a result of understanding sorrow, the other face of sadness. "They" say the best suffer deeply. The incredible ability to make people laugh - and laugh hysterically in many cases - belonged to Robin Williams. Yet he also held down dramatic roles with equal aplomb. Those of us who appreciated the talent and the relief of the laughter he gave us question the hows and whys of such an ultimate act of self-destruction. We mourn that kind of torment in such a gifted individual.
I can only say I have friends who are believers suffering with depression, who pray on through their daily lives with many shed tears and a fierce desire to be healed from the ravaging of those hopeless thoughts. They fight the enemy and press on, but it isn't easy for them. Jesus keeps holding them together each day.
When the devil speaks, he lies. He can fool any of us. He can convince us easily because we know our failings and he preys upon them. So when the devil speaks to you, don't listen. Tell him you're a child of the King, if in fact you are, and remind him of his eternal status, after calling him a liar. Don't allow him to take anything from you. It isn't his to take.
Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
Father, let there be healing where there is pain, comfort where there is sorrow, eventual joy at the memory of this loved one. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Creston Mapes presents The Crittendon Files #3Sky Zone, published by David C. Cook, reviewed for the CFBA Tour.
Jack Crittendon was a good reporter and journalist. Too good. When he uncovered the deep corruption in the previous novel Poison Town, he learned it involved his boss, and the newspaper where he worked was forced to close down as a result. Jack's been out of work for over a year and his wife Pam is due to deliver their surprise third child in a month's time. His mother-in-law Margaret has been helping with their girls since Pam had to go to work full time while Jack works part time at an event center, but Margaret is heading into the uneven mental state of memory loss and possible dementia. Their savings have dwindled to nothing with no end in sight to their money problems.
When Jack and his friend, former Marine and survivalist, Brian Shakespeare are slated to work a huge event where a possible candidate for the presidency, Martin Sterling, is holding a rally and is bringing former heavy metal rocker Everett Lester, now a Christian, and his wife and son to the event, the staff is short-handed and overwhelmed. Especially when they learn of a possible terror threat suspected at their facility.
There are suites high up in the six story building where Sterling and his team and Everett and his family and personal assistants are sent to stay until police reinforcements can be put in place, but Martin Sterling is impatient and insistent that they get the rally started, unwilling to show fear of the threats.
A last minute decision to go with a friend, Pam and her mother head to the arena. One of the event staff mistakenly opens the doors and is nearly crushed by the crowd pouring through the doors before they can get them shut again. Pam, Margaret, and Pam's friend with her two children make it in and get seated.
The top of the facility is called the Sky Zone where two of their employees were sent for routine checks. Its significance is revealed within the story. No one's heard from them. Tension mounts. Jack learns his wife is at the event via her texts to him and panics because of the threats but can't immediately get to her because he and Shakespeare are assigned to Sterling and the Lester family.
The story begins with the setup for the event after establishing the pressures Jack is feeling over not having full time work, hoping to get on at The Gazette with his friend and fellow reporter Derrick pitching Jack's prowess to his boss at the paper. Switching back and forth between the present and a few days prior to the event before staying in the present, the story is slowed and becomes a bit herky-jerky.
What I liked about the novel is the basic storyline, the heroism of Shakespeare, and the incorporation of Everett Lester from Creston's first novel, my personal favorite Dark Star.
Margaret's transformation, both in her courage at the event and the realistic trials with the onset of dementia, is done very well. Shakespeare's determination and military insights plus his eventual revelation for his personal life highlight the story.
What I didn't particularly care for is how the storyline morphed into what felt like an agenda and mischaracterizaton of actual possibilities and became predictable and expected. In light of real life, for me, it ultimately felt politically correct.
From the start of this series I've been unable to warm up to Pam. Nothing's changed. She's so worried about finances, yet she goes to a salon to have her nails done.
While I appreciate Creston portraying real family struggles where we all know what a stresser money problems produce, Jack and Pam have a teeter-totter, manic relationship with each other and with the Lord which is annoying at best.
Shakespeare's phone suddenly has more minutes after being down to three and sending his last transmission. Derrick, after nearly passing out from bleeding profusely after being shot, suddenly is able to drive at high speed to get to a remote location and conduct an interview.
Those who've enjoyed The Crittendon Files will find Sky Zone intriguing with moments of extreme tension and a positive resolution.