The CFBA presents Gina Holmes' new release Driftwood Tides, published by Tyndale Fiction (free for review).
I love Gina Holmes' voice. It's that down-home, occasionally snarky, often lovely prose, and excellent heartfelt characterization that epitomize her novels. She writes honest and uses the need for forgiveness as a predominant theme in her work. Driftwood Tides is no exception.
Elizabeth "Libby" Slater learns of her origins in a most unexpected way and it rocks her world in Casings, North Carolina, like nothing she's ever experienced. Confronting her mother, who she addresses by her first name of Caroline, Libby's shock wave continues.
Caroline is in the process of planning Libby's wedding to her fiancé Rob, completely and intentionally oblivious to Libby's and Rob's desires for a simple, small wedding, when she confirms Libby's shocking news. The momentarily paralyzing truth accentuates the differences she's always shared with her mother and sends her on a journey to Nags Head to explore the possibility of who she truly is.
Arriving at a beat-down "cabin" on the beach, she views the prone gifted driftwood sculptor Holton Creary through the window and realizes upon entering the unlocked door that the man seems to be in dire straights from drunkenness. Attempting to help him amidst a legion of empty gin bottles, she realizes the woman she's looking for isn't there and yearns to know why.
This begins the story of each interlaced character in the novel Driftwood Tides. All needy of separate things, but also in need of figuring out who they are and what they want to do with their lives which have suddenly become incorporated, each one's approach to satisfying their needs is sometimes in polar opposition to the other's.
Rob is the clingy fiancé, Caroline the controlling mother, Holton, the alcoholic and gifted sculptor, Tess, Holton's lovestruck assistant, Adele, the absent but prominent wife to Holton and object of Libby's search and affection, Libby, the lost and confused daughter seeking a real family who can love her and include her in their lives, and the peripheral feisty Elsie who appears conveniently to fill in the blanks.
The focus of this story varies according to the emphasized point of view (POV). Each one's weakness and need surface and determine the reactions of the other characters. Selfishness and unforgiveness, of either others or oneself, dominate each character's pursuits as gradually hearts soften after crisis situations erupt in their lives.
Although Libby's search and goals seem to be the primary focus of this story, there's a bit of a herky-jerky feel in the telling of this tale because of all the character's POVs. Although the characters are well-defined, they're only moderately likable. To me, occasionally the story seemed to veer off track but regained enough control to conclude with a clever and satisfactory ending.
Faith elements ride the ever present waves in the distance and alcoholism is accurately penned.
Like I said, I love Gina Holmes' work and the cover of Driftwood Tides is lovely, but this one isn't my favorite of hers.
"An FBI agent’s obsession with his late father’s secret sets him on a collision course with a past he has carefully avoided, shadowy enemies he never suspected, and a most unlikely friendship with an autistic man who sees reality in ways no one else can. Will Jackson Barrett’s determination to unlock secrets his father took to the grave save or ultimately destroy one he only knows as — The Source?"
My friend Tim George debuted his first novel The Sourcethis month (August) on Kindle, a bargain at $2.99. It's a complex tale of secrets, codes, murder, an autistic savant with a direct connection to God, and that amazing camaraderie which results from unidentified extreme danger and having only a handful of friends and colleagues to trust.
As with much of e-reader products, Tim's book shows formatting difficulties. Sometimes the editing corrections refuse to come through in the final version, leaving the work straddled with errors resulting in a frustrated indie author.*
The Source is a unique story about two sons, FBI Special Agent Jackson Barrett, Jr., and "Manny", the autistic savant. Jackson seeks to unwrap the secret message left by his Special Agent father, and Manny proves to be the only one who can unlock the code. Mysterious and unidentified forces want Manny because of his capabilities, but Jackson knows Manny is the key to deciphering what his father left him. Jackson thinks it's all about dangerous things in this world. Manny knows it's all about a much more important place where things don't "smell bad". Following the journey of the trustworthy and devoted players in this mystery to find "the source" proves enlightening to each one and dangerous for all of them.
In the end Jackson knows that Manny knows. And that's what Jackson had to learn.
Good characterization, dialogue, voice, and portrayal of this particular autistic character. The Source by T. E. George is a worthwhile read, a tale of confusing interpretations, desperate actions, noble sacrifices, and major conflicts.
(*Tim has been able to correct the errors in formatting since my Kindle book was ordered.)
Father, you know Tim and all of his needs. I pray your blessings to pour down upon him. I pray you would continue to fill his mind with stories you have just for him to tell. I pray your divine protection upon him. Bless him in every way. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
I crave insight. I experience hindsight. I want revelation. I receive understanding. None of it all the time.
Christians know they are not privy to all of God's mysteries, the whys and wherefores of life and its happenings. We must endure sorrow, pain, suffering, sickness, depression, and fear. We celebrate joy, laughter, growth, fun, talents, and gifts.
Prayer occupies a significant part of our lives. Petitioning, plying, proposing myriad hopes, ideas, and dreams to our Lord all keep us busy at His feet. We need. He supplies. He answers. He gives. Sometimes we don't appreciate or like His answers. Sometimes we come close to hating them if the truth be known. We fail to see "the big picture". Through the desperate need, we can't understand why He wishes us to persevere through an unbearable situation or circumstance. Sometimes we endure. Other times we set out upon our own solution. This course usually worsens our problem(s).
If we had the insight to remedy the problem, we could act successfully. But true insight comes from God, and many times we aren't prepared or willing to listen to Him. We need something and we need it now. Or so we think.
Believers and unbelievers alike fail to realize "every good and perfect gift" comes from the Father. Sometimes He allows us to know His mind on a thing, sometimes He lets us in on an answer to a future dilemma. Sometimes He provides an answer we don't want to obey. And sometimes He lets us in on what will take place if only we will be patient and wait for it. Many of us fail at both patience and waiting, become disgruntled, or forget we even asked since the given and hoped for answer comes along much later. When hindsight appears.
Hindsight shows us we shouldn't doubt. Hindsight demonstrates our insights from the Lord proved to be correct. Hindsight reminds us God is on the throne of all life.
We are not.
Father, thank you for your insights, your revelation knowledge, your hindsight for understanding so much of what we cannot see. Thank you for everything, Lord. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
There is something ultimately satisfying in slamming a receiver down or punching the "End" call option on a cell phone. It accentuates the ire, the passion, the dissatisfaction with whoever or whatever upsets us during that telephone call. Now it's not an emotion we should hold onto, but it definitely generates a bit of an adrenaline moment. Whether or not it's few or many things which might drive us to this point, ending a call forcefully demonstrates a curt reaction to what has or hasn't taken place during that call.
As writers, we try to avoid cliché moments with our "accent marks" of expressions. However, sometimes those moments aren't atypical and work well with the expected response. If we can find a new way to describe it to make it all the better? Terrific, but it must be effective or the cliché will have worked just as well. Life is full of clichés. People get them. We just can't fill a story up with them.
So what are your most striking accent marks in stories?
Father, we're allowed to express our anger provided we don't sin in the process. Sometimes anger is the exact correct response, but we must guard against rage. We can call evil what it is and be mad about it as long as we don't commit the same evil in the process. Thank you for your ever present wisdom. May we be aware of it always. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
At some point in my life - I'm not sure when - I learned to put away victories and keep marching on. What has always been tougher to put away are those numerous defeats. They tend to stall my forward progress and suggest I give up. Those "suggestions" seem to initiate the biggest response.
Giving up is not my nature. Thinking about it: definitely is.
There should be a designated place for "defeats". Someplace to put them away. Professional athletes and other competitors must learn to quickly analyze the reasons for defeat and just as quickly put them away.
We've all heard "Learn from your mistakes" one too many times, but what do you do when you didn't make a "mistake"? When writing a novel, there are many kinds of mistakes to be made. Not fleshing out sympathetic characters, leaving plot holes, breaking the writing rules ineffectively, and so on. But sometimes you tell a story and some people don't like it. They tell the world why in curt criticisms, perhaps adding brutal sarcasms, and overall trash what took a piece of your life to put on the page.
It's possible we can make multiple mistakes when writing novels, but it's just as possible that readers will love the story as it is or hate it for personal reasons unrelated to those "mistakes". If an unintended reader from a non-target audience picks up your book and is floored by your brashness, your unholy diatribe, look for equally unholy comments. If you write of faith and an unbeliever resents it, look out. They tend to annihilate faith authors with every accusation manufactured by their resentful hearts.
Hearing "Don't take it personally" is a joke to me. How can we not? We wrote the story. It's definitelypersonal.
I cherish good reviews or comments on my work. Be it a blog post or a novel, I love to hear that people enjoyed it, identified with it, or "got" it. It's affirming and reinforces the passion to continue. But, just as with the bad reviews or comments, I must put them away. I can always open the place where they both exist and mull them over, smile or cry, but in order to move on, I've got to put them away. I can only suggest you do the same.
Father, you desire humility and will actively help us to remain humble. Writing is definitely a humbling experience, but I love it and thank you for it. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
I know sadness. Heartbreak. Sorrow. Hurt. I've felt it inside my skin. There is so little that can be said to alleviate that kind of pain and loss. I always appreciated those who tried as long as they didn't use clichés or hand out well-worn scriptures which, instead of actually giving comfort, come off as platitudes.
Serious loss cannot be understood by those who've never experienced it. You can't simulate that kind of ache. Really: some people never recover. It's like too much of them has died with the one they lost.
People on the outside of grief seem to want to hurry it along. Not because they're insensitive - although some are - but because it's too much for them to see their loved one hurting so badly. They want it to pass quickly. So things will be back to "normal". It's unfair, but they fail to realize it.
Christians receive built-in hope in Jesus, but He suffered more than anyone and He was no stranger to pain or tears. He knew the condition of hearts intimately, the failings of the human race. He wanted them to be forgiven so He gave His life for just that opportunity. I imagine He continues to weep in heaven over the horrors here on earth borne out of sinful hearts corrupted by the flesh and the enemy of the human soul. He knows the way of sadness and suffering, but He still offers hope to all - if they choose to turn to Him and lay out their sufferings to Him, seek His forgiveness, His comfort, His peace, His truth.
Honestly, I don't know how I made it through those first 30 years of my life without Him. Somehow He guarded my life and protected me in spite of me. There was a lot of self-induced pain, frustrating, terrible mistakes, bad conduct. Not at all how I was raised. Still, Jesus gave me the opportunity to enlist His salvation for my life. I knew when I finally found Him, I had met and found Truth. Nothing was or is better than Jesus.
Pain doesn't end with Jesus. In fact, sometimes it accelerates. We know He's there, and that's the difference-maker. The game-changer. The ultimate survival kit. Even with Him, we often fail to make it through our trials triumphantly. We are inherently weak. He makes us strong.
Just want to say, I'm truly sorry for the pain some of you are experiencing. There are no words sometimes to give real comfort. But there's only One who can manage such a huge endeavor. Jesus loves you. This I know . . .
Father, you are close to the brokenhearted and comfort those who are crushed in spirit. I pray your comfort and blessing over those who hurt deep. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.