Tunnels. Bound on both sides and on top. Through something. A chosen pathway. Unnatural lighting. Restricted.
If you want a biological definition of an actual term used to describe a real type of vision, you can look here.
I refer to the type of focus a writer might use when involved in the construction of a novel. It's an alternate destiny requiring getting to know people (characters) intimately, visiting them on their home turf (sometimes made up places, sometimes not), and conversing with them in all kinds of situations (via their internal thought processes or through talking with other people [also characters]).
To do it adequately it requires concentration, the kind you must use if you're going into a dark tunnel where you're not entirely sure how long it is or where it ultimately leads. The tunnel vision required to see at all reminds us of the unpredictable and insecure journey but keeps our eyes narrowed and on our goal.
I don't have the physical condition described in the above link. However, I've been singularly minded as far back as I can remember, and that's a pretty long ways. Tunnel vision tends to describe the kind of focus with which I view life. Sometimes a blessing and other times not so much, it is who I am whether or not I'm writing a novel. In fact, I tend to break the norm for myself when I write, taking unexpected random trips away from stories and losing my focus. When I regain it, the acquisition of that vision can resume at full throttle or sometimes break down in the tunnel which is always scary.
How would you describe your vision of life?
Father, thank you for focus. Help me to keep it where it's supposed to be. Always. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
We've all asked the simple question. Why did this have to happen? Why did he do this? Why does she have to be so stubborn? Why can't I stand them? Why can't some good things happen once in a while?
Many times we ask without expecting a concrete answer. Other times we ask wishing for one. And sometimes we don't like the answer we get or know.
The answer might come quickly, take a long time to discover, or maybe never arrive.
For believers, longing for an answer is just as compelling as for a non-believer. However, believers do understand one thing: answers can be complicated and finding them can be illusive. We know there is purpose in all things, but that purpose might elude us until our venture into eternity. Unbelievers search with equal determination but rely on substance they can touch, see, feel, and explain. Humanity must contain answers even if they can't be found.
"Why?" is a prominent question guiding writers of stories. Motivations, reasons for behaviors, and purpose for incidents must be approached, considered, and at least somewhat answered in fiction. The author is responsible for multiple conflicts surrounding a major inciting incident and tying them together with workable solutions or leaving the reader with a viable cliffhanger, all making for good novels. However, life isn't always so cut and dried.
Tragedy, sorrow, evil, intervene "normal" lives and leave people asking "Why?" What did I do to deserve this? How could this happen? And so on. The same question could be asked of joyful rewards, splendid occurrences, and remarkable pleasures. Answers often cannot be explained in simple terms. They're mysterious and perhaps not understandable.
It's a difficult question to answer in many cases. Sometimes the answer we get we don't like. And it won't do. What then? Sometimes the answer is "Don't ask".
We will, though. Continue to ask. We can't help ourselves.
Father, some things reach deep into our souls and we crave understanding. Trust doesn't come easy for some of us even though we know trusting you is the best answer to any of our questions. Please help us to go through the hard things without losing faith because you're the best possible way to traverse the journey of life. With you all things are possible. Thank you for that. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Presenting a good romance, the CFBA Tour offers Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin, published by Bethany House.
Kate Darby is a Los Angeles advertising/marketing designer who needs a leave of absence from the firm where she works to take care of her beloved grandmother Leona Darby who's recovering from a stroke. Leona is a widow living in the small town of Meadows and runs The Clarion, the local newspaper her husband started, but now must count on Kate to keep it operational while Leona heals.
Helping Leona with feature articles, author Nick Sheridan plans to offer more assistance until Leona is able to resume her duties. However, Nick doesn't realize the beautiful woman trapped in the BMW hanging by some shrubs on the mountain cliff will be his partner at the newspaper because she's Leona's granddaughter. Nick saves Kate's life and loses his heart as the two of them try not to get involved while keeping the paper going strong.
Okay, it's a romance. And romances follow formulas. Right? So really the only things romance authors have going for them are interesting, unique, quirky, or attractive characters and something to make their stories rise above the typical "boy meets girl, boy and girl suffer conflict, boy and girl resolve conflict, boy and girl attempt to live happily ever after". Christian fiction adds the spiritual dimension to the attractions, conflicts, and resolutions, and here is where a Christian romance novel either shines or fails to arouse what I refer to as "the genuine factor".
In many ways Until I Found You is the typical Christian fiction romance, but Victoria Bylin has managed to rise above the fray and give us a good story with a very good male co-protagonist in Nick, a confused and fearful female co-protagonist in Kate, who sparks all kinds of emotional reactions from compassion to disgust, with the unusual backdrop of the California condors as the parallel plot point.
Nick has many regrets from his life during the composition of his best known California adventure manual for "real men", but the book still sells well and people recognize his name, especially men who admired his quests and conquests. From those regrets he chose Jesus and his life changed dramatically in spite of the temptations occasionally still haunting him.
Kate struggles mightily with fear, unable to realize that no matter how much she thinks she has her life under control - or that it's even an option - she is usually out of control, confused, overwhelmed, and seeking safe solutions to all of her problems big and small in all the wrong places.
California Condor #53 plays a significant part in eventually leading her to a place where she must either choose the dominance of fear and perpetual chaos or the serenity of allowing personal chains she's carried since her childhood to be loosed.
Until I Found You presents readers with the dilemmas of accepting faith in God for what it is - the unseen, often unknown in the visual and practical sense. Kate epitomizes the young career woman striving for control of her life and losing at every endeavor to do so even when she feels secure. Nick shows the struggles of a man who indulged most of what the world offered, turning away from the familiar to the holy, and finding it harder than he imagined, especially with the addition of Kate into his life.
Although Kate drove me nuts, I loved the underlying significance of the condors and the persistence and efforts of Nick to walk his talk in the Lord. Leona is a trooper and models a woman of faith who's survived a cruel world and triumphed in Jesus. Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin is a good romance with a dual meaning title and a fantastic cover. And who doesn't love a writer who dedicates her book to another author, listing one of that author's attributes as a "Lover of adjectives"? That set the mood for me. Enjoyed this novel.
The Making of Isaac Hunt by Linda Leigh Hargrove, a joint imprint of Institute for Black Family Development and Moody Publishers (copyright 2007), is a fascinating story about a young black man with light skin and blue eyes who discovers a startling revelation from his granddaddy on his death bed.
Except that nothing is as it seems.
Except for some things which propel Isaac Hunt from Raleigh to the small town of Pettigrew in North Carolina, to look for Betty Douglas, the woman with whom he has a significant connection he's never known until her name was revealed to him by his granddaddy in the nursing home.
In his present state the young handsome figure of Isaac Hunt is the spoiled son of Judge Ricky Hunt and his wife Chloe. He's angry about the tone of his skin defying the darker color of his heritage. He's angry for multiple reasons he hasn't really figured out yet, but his mission to Pettigrew is the only solution he's got to come up with some resolution to what has suddenly become a confused mess of a life.
From the moment he arrives in the Pettigrew neighborhood where he hopes to find Betty Douglas, everything goes haywire. He wakes up in an old woman's home in significant pain from a beating applied by a mean white guy who was abusing a dog when Isaac intervened. There he meets Miss Lucretia, the kind owner of the home, her beautiful, spunky granddaughter nicknamed Catty, a little boy who won't talk named Patrick, and a white migrant farm preacher-man "Trip" who rooms there with all of them.
The story focuses on Isaac's determined search for Betty Douglas, her relationship to him revealed in the prologue. Through pain which includes the physical, emotional, and spiritual, Isaac perseveres until the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, is revealed to him concerning the lifetime of hidden information designed to keep him safe. In Pettigrew he learns he is anything but safe at times and exceedingly well-protected at others, but the information he needs to find himself is slow to come and not without trauma and heartache.
Being a "white" woman, I loved this novel because it taught me about the different perspectives of color from the black, or African-American, points of view. Sometimes sorrowful, sometimes baffling, and sometimes refreshing, the unique conflicts and the expected and unexpected prejudices were handled expertly by Linda who created a balanced and intelligent picture of both the highs and lows of the mysteries of and reactions to skin color.
Linda Leigh Hargrove's writing style meshed the sophisticated with the lowlife perspectives, creating an interesting story of people keeping secrets all along the way of Isaac's journey to discover who he truly is. He realizes more about his personal makeup than he bargained for, regardless of his heritage, and ultimately decides he needs to do the only thing that can truly help him.
The faith issues are handled with humor and directness but clearly illustrate the sometimes difficult path to arrive at solid and meaningful conclusions that satisfy the longing of the soul. The Making of Isaac Hunt is a good story about a young man who must come to understand how he truly feels about who he is and his amazing heritage.
Although a bit fantastical in the end to decipher the labyrinth and complexity of Isaac's extended family, the story entertains, satisfies, and informs. Good job, Linda.
Father, please continue to bless Linda in all of her writing endeavors. Keep giving her stories to tell and open doors for her work. Please watch over her and pour out your Spirit upon her and her family. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Dear God, thank you for heroes. Thank you for their sacrifices to keep this nation One Nation Under God. I pray their sacrifices would serve as a reminder of how much freedom and liberty cost. And, Jesus, you gave the greatest sacrifice of all for every person ever created. We can have true freedom in you. Thank you is never enough. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
One of the fascinating things about writing and reading fiction is noting the reactions of other writers to what they're reading as compared to those readers who don't write.
Make no mistake, writers have their favorite authors, and those favorites can be comprised of all different kinds of voices and styles or strict adherence to particular voices and styles.
Readers seem to me to be far more diverse in their preferences than most authors I know. Authors I know stick to a regimen of genres with a couple of exceptions. Take me. Once in a great while I will read something which is normally way off my radar. In fact, it usually means a writer friend has written a novel which is outside my usual preferences, but because of them I will make an exception to my rule. One rule which I have yet to break: I don't read fantasy. For anyone.
Authors tend to notice things in other authors' works which we fail to notice in our own. It's easy enough to do. Our story is interesting to us from start to finish, but with someone else's story the same areas of annoyance in their work appear in our own without attention. We can be guilty of the same things which irritate us because in our stories it's different. Except it isn't. We just like our story better and we prefer how we did it over how they did it.
The important factor for us as writers is to recognize that our techniques are not unique. We strive to separate ourselves from the staid and norm, but sometimes it's impossible to do. Our efforts must result in creating characters our hoped-for readers can enjoy, relate to, have empathy with, or hopefully can elicit some kind of attachment to them. Or else our story had better pack enough punch to overcome any weaknesses.
And of course there will be readers and writers who don't like our gut-wrenching efforts and will proclaim their opinions in reviews, on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads to our shame or embarrassment or disappointment or whatever it is we feel when we see one star on Amazon.
Nevertheless, we like what we like and don't what we don't. Writer or reader, we can often see the same things as somehow different.
Father, help us to see what we need to see when writing and reading. Help us to always improve and to strive to be the one you designed us to be. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Some readers want their stories short and simple. Others want them long and complex. Still others prefer a combination of these elements. Such as a novel of 100K words instead of 80K. Such as a novel with well-developed characters but without too much detail of their lives. Such as a novel with a fairly complex plot but with an overall simpler solution to the conflict(s).
Readers totally disagree with how this all computes between the covers of novels. Some like the Hemingway brand of sparse description and pure story. Others enjoy the endless rhetoric of William Faulkner. Some go for the darker writings of D. H. Lawrence and Gustave Flaubert. And others wallow in the melancholy of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the speed and imagination of Robert Liparulo, the depth and fear of Steven James, the sadness, humor, and beautiful prose of Sibella Giorello, the biblical concepts of Tosca Lee.
Me? I prefer long tomes with all kinds of characters, descriptions, scenes, emotional and spiritual depth, a realistic portrayal of the world, and the hope of glory. It can't be simple in its delivery, but the overall message is as simple as sin kills. Without a Savior there is no heaven.
There aren't a lot of them in Christian fiction, but there are some. What a pleasure when I find them.
Father, thank you for writers. There is so much to be found in stories told to bring life to pages. You are Life, Love, Truth, the Way. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
As most of you know, I read reviews after I read the book, if at all. I don't want anyone's opinion or treatment of a novel to influence me. I want each story to be a fresh experience. However, when I have strong feelings after reading a book, good or bad, I'll take a look at the Amazon reviews and occasionally elsewhere.
So far on Amazon, Bridge to Haven has garnered eight 2-star reviews out of well over 200. Most of the eight stated their reasons for disappointment with thoughtful criticisms. Easily understood why they didn't care for the story. One of them did remark that certain parts of the story didn't belong in a Christian novel. There's always someone in the crowd who finds real-life accounts of the harshness of this world offensive.
Bridge to Haven presents a story filled with difficult choices for every character. Wrong choices which bring sorrow and pain. Right choices which bring the same. Ultimately, there is triumph of faith and promise.
I sensed the readers (females) who didn't like this book (in spite of being Francine Rivers' fans) centered on parenthood. They were horrified and distressed at Pastor Zeke's critical decision with Abra. They also couldn't really accept Joshua and Abra as anything but siblings even though there was no blood relation. The two grew up and things changed.
Although I disagree with their opinions, I actually understand part of them.
I don't want to add spoilers in this post, and I tried very hard not to ruin the story for prospective readers with my review. Bridge to Havenpoured pain, sorrow, joy, love, forgiveness, and redemption on every page amidst excruciating choices and their consequences, good and bad.
I can't recommend it highly enough.
Father, guide Francine in all she does and writes to honor you. Continue to provide the inspiration she needs to do what you've asked of her. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
You know it's a good book when . . . you can't wait to get into it again but you stall because you don't want it to end. Published by Tyndale Fiction, Bridge To Haven by Francine Rivers is another huge success to add to her long list of exquisite stories. This one lands right up there with her legendary Redeeming Love for me and that is no easy perch. I loved them both.
Pastor Zeke takes a nudge from God during one of his dark early morning prayer walks in the brisk October air. To his amazement he discovers an abandoned baby under the bridge that leads in and out of the small town of Haven, California. The child is cold and frail, and he tucks her under his heavy coat and shirt against his bare chest for warmth and hustles to the hospital.
Pastor Zeke's wife Marianne is not well. A heart condition from rheumatic fever as a child has weakened her in adulthood after the birth of their son Joshua five years ago, but she will not allow anyone else to care for the baby girl they name Abra even though a couple with one daughter would love to adopt this one.
I could fill in the details for you of the painful trials undergone by Pastor Zeke and Marianne, Joshua and Abra, but it would rob you of the rich pictures painted by Francine leading up to Abra's departure from Haven as a rebellious 17 year old who's decided a 20 year old Corvette-driving LA bad boy must love her more than the people who've made sure she's always had what she needed, even the love she wouldn't recognize and accept.
After experiencing the ugly lesson of what love definitely is not, Abra morphs into whoever directs her actions, speech, and wardrobe. When the bad boy "releases" her to an obsessive well-known talent agent, Abra determines to rise to a new level of Hollywood success, a perfect opportunity to prove her worth. Her natural beauty and curves are amplified under her agent's strict direction, turning her into "Lena Scott" and making her a sought after actress.
Meanwhile the grown-up Joshua, who warned her about the boy who drove her out of Haven, struggles with God's instructions to let her go after trying to find her. He loves her in spite of her, and although he half-heartedly tries to leave the thoughts of her behind, there is no way he can forget her.
Over time, Abra loses herself and becomes someone else's creation. She tries to make it work, but her situation only becomes more unbearable. Drastic measures must be taken.
In many ways Bridge to Haven captures classic themes running through Redeeming Love. The prominent "uncondtional love", giving and receiving forgiveness, challenged faith, and clinging to the faintest hope when despair is overwhelming, all penetrate the pages of Bridge to Haven. The account of an abandoned baby's life, the pain of a young girl feeling like an unwanted appendage, an outsider, to those who offer her love leave her unable to recognize the cunning and deception of those who give her a chance to "escape" when really they're leading her to a new kind of prison. All the wayward misguided feelings combine to take her down. And make her remember and long for a bridge back to Haven.
Beginning in 1936 but primarily set in the 1950s, this epic tale of love, mercy, deceit, and sorrow offers characters to love and hate. Abra forfeits so much to find what she hopes to get only to discover a barren ugliness awaits her efforts. Joshua provides strength attained from pain and sorrow and an unshakable hope. His father Pastor Zeke is forced to rely on his faith because he can do nothing else to gain what he wants for all those he loves so deeply. There's a twist at the end which touches the soul, and there are hard places which elicit tears. Bridge to Haven is a masterpiece of characters and circumstances bringing to life so many facets of human nature and the chronic and desperate need in all of us for a Savior.
This is a grand story, considered a long novel by today's Christian fiction standards. I loved this book. Loved it.
Father, thank you for Francine's magnificent stories, her giftings, and her passionate love for you. Her ability to communicate your incredible redeeming love is truly a treasure. Thank you for her. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Need. Physical, emotional, spiritual. Pain, pain, and pain. At times need shows up in a vast array of pain.
We've all had our share, some much more than others. And we do experience all kinds. Some would be quick to denounce "spiritual" pain, but those of us who know Jesus do not dispute there can be enormous, overwhelming spiritual pain. At times.
I know in my own life most of my emotional and spiritual pain I have caused myself. Certainly not all of it but the majority. I've made innumerable wrong decisions before and after Christ and suffered the consequences. Yet I've been mercifully spared from many consequences due only to God's grace. Many times He's much too kind. Others, I will admit, it seems He's piling on. There's a purpose in all of it, though many fail to see it and refuse to look for it.
Need is ever-present if we're honest. Though small needs might outweigh larger needs in some lives, there will always be those whose list of needs is beyond our scope to imagine. Great and mammoth compared to ours.
I posted this picture today because I thought someone might "need" it. To look at the magnitude of brilliance our God possesses. How's He's capable of illustrating sunrises and sunsets morning after evening after morning. To remind us of day's ending after day's beginnings. And that life on earth is on the wane. But the big Life awaits. If we desire it, if we want it.
Because we all need it. Desperately.
Father, we are all desperate for you. Everyday, all the time. Thank you for always being here where we are. In our weakness you are made strong. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
When your mind rambles, does it journey to what could've been? What should've been? What wonder and blessings you've acquired along life's path? What foolishness or harm you've managed to allow? What regrets you possess? What accomplishments await you? The fears you've conquered? The faith you've gained? The love you've experienced? The sorrows you've shared? The losses accumulated? The laughter that came hard and fast and resulted in tears of joy?
Where does your mind go when it's set free? Or do you dare?
Father, guide me in my thoughts. Please. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
The television season finales more often than not use the cliffhanger device to end their episodes. What I really don't appreciate about this method is not just having to wait approximately five months to have the messy issue resolved, although that's irritating enough, it's the inevitable near-death experience of a major character who's not leaving the series. Everything points to them dying from the accident, kidnapping, being shot, poisoned, or knifed. Whatever ploy is used ends up looking like a harsh goodbye. Except the main character is scheduled for another year of the series. How they survive the trauma is unresolved with the other characters left shocked, sobbing, or shattered. For the next few months.
I wished Castle would've ended last week, but, no, it had to leave viewers with a tragic cliffhanger. Really didn't appreciate this one.
NCISLA watched as Sam and Callen sailed away, trapped of course, and Hetty looked as if she was bidding a final farewell, leaving Nell somewhat in charge. Although the role of Nell has increased significantly in the last year, to give her the latitude and power, regardless of her genius IQ, seems a bit forced and somewhat unlikely.
There will be more cliffhangers before the season is over. I'm finding they're rarely satisfactory.
The same is true of novels.
Father, help us who write pen the stories you have for us to tell. Help us to do them well. Be in them, be their inspiration, their success. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
In the world of writing there are multiple items that can make us weary. There are just as many in the world of reading. We've talked about predictability, formulaic prose, weak or cardboard characters, the overuse of clichés, and the annoying total adherence to the "rules of writing".
From the writing standpoint, after a point, it's the rereading of the manuscript for me. How many times do you suppose you reread your story before you let it sit for awhile? And then you reread it again how many times? I can't tell you how many times I've reread some of mine.
What do you find wearying in the worlds of writing and reading?
Father, refresh my soul and help me to get my projects completed. Please, God. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Prolific author Brandilyn Collins has opted to go the independent/self/custom publishing route at present, but you won't see any significant change in quality of writing or product in her choice. Sidetracked is vintage Brandilyn Collins' trademark Seatbelt Suspense, creative and twisted with minimal gore and plenty of "What's going on?!" moments.
"Delanie Miller" is on the verge of experiencing a happiness she's longed to know since she was a child, but just because she's worked so diligently to attain it doesn't mean it's accessible to her. After Delanie stays late at her church to tidy up after her good friend Clara's bridal shower, on her way home she discovers Clara is dead, lying by the side of the road in a neighborhood of their small town with her car still running. Delanie's horrific past rushes to the forefront of her mind. She spots a figure by a tall bush in a yard near the scene and calls 911.
In Sidetracked the reader is taken on a present-to-past journey, back and forth, to learn the reality of 34 year old Delanie Miller. In the present she's in love with a well-to-do boyfriend who plans to marry her, owns a home she shares with three people who need the lodging and have become good friends to her, and is a respected member of the small town community. In the past she's been the victim of a hideous conspiracy that severely altered her life and robbed her of youth and hope.
The murder of her friend Clara changes everything and threatens to expose what Delanie has hidden. Clara's murder presents the mirror image of law enforcement getting "sidetracked" by what appears to be obvious but is in actuality a lie.
Brandilyn Collins does a good job of switching from the adult Delanie to the teenage girl she used to be, using first person for the present and third person with a lot of internal dialogue for the past. The reader experiences the incredulous frustration and trauma of both experiences from youth to adulthood, finally witnessing the decision which will truly change her life.
The in-and-out faith experience of the protagonist as she suffers through genuine pain with no end in sight demonstrates the human condition when an individual is tested beyond what they think they can handle. Brandilyn gives us a character who is unable to see the big picture while experiencing the ugliness of the present which seems to go on and on without end. We wonder if we could survive it with our faith intact.
Sidetracked is classicBrandilyn Collins, a quick and interesting read with plenty of suspense, frustration, and at long last some justice. Recommended for all Brandilyn Collins' fans and new readers who like mysteries, brawny and/or cozy, and suspense with twists.
Father, please continue to bless and minister to Brandilyn. Give her new stories and your abundance. Please continue to take her deeper as is her heart's desire. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us so that you may be zealous for them. It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you.
This picutre provides a perfect visual for our earth bound by the dirty chains of sin.
It reminds me of the diminishing pockets of innocence and how difficult it is today to allow children to remain untouched and unscathed by the growing and brazen onslaught of sin. Parents who must send their kids to public school receive the brunt and scourge of the degradation of humanity as more and more we learn how the government's curriculum turns to indoctrination and propaganda for an evil world and its ideas of "good". What some schools inject into kindergarten classes would curl the tiny hairs on a bald head. False history and evil ways and those who are willing to "teach" such things as sex education to little ones own character flaws so deep it's mind boggling.
It's impossible to ignore the slide into depravity of this world.
For those of us who write contemporary fiction, we must decide how to address the circumstances of our current world. Let me state this fact first: I see nothing wrong with "sweet and light" novels whose approach to life in the 21st century focuses on "smaller" conflicts and situations between characters. By smaller I mean less dominated by serious issues where characters have experienced some ugly difficulties - and where these difficulties are given real portrayals (sans graphics) of ugly situations. This is not to say that "sweet and light" literature does not address serious and difficult issues. Not at all. It's how they address these various circumstances and experiences that separates them from the tougher depictions of the world's influence and effects.
It's important to add I can understand why some readers prefer the sweet and light novels to those which have been termed "gritty," "edgy", or "raw". Having to face the challenges in today's world can make the strongest among us wince and wish to escape. This makes it easier to see why some readers just want something "easier" to read, something which will get them away from the perversions and despicable behaviors seen throughout the world everyday - at least for a few hours.
Now here's the "but" in this post. Authors who choose to give a portrayal of the uglier aspects of today's life on planet earth cannot be faulted for this choice. Especially authors who are Christians. Not every individual is called to do the same thing. Boring doesn't cover how incongruent with God's creativity that premise would be.
Writers tell the stories on their hearts. Granted some professionals can create a storyline from a publisher's suggestion or specific genre need, but many writers don't have or desire that ability. And many writers simply don't do the sweet and light. They do the hard and tough, the ugly and depraved, but the caveat comes in the spirituality of portrayals, effects, conclusions, and decisions. Though these stories command a different reader, they're just as necessary in the marketplace as the lighter choices. Reality is often harsh and it demands storytellers to tell it like it often is. The types of readers who choose these novels want to know there are authors out there who understand what it can be like in a cruel world, but in that process they hope to find a measure of good, of hope, of a one true God to be there for them even in dire straits.
Heaven isn't here on earth. Our prayer for "as it is in heaven" is often to experience the closeness of Jesus, our little breaths of heaven in the midst of sorrows and depravity, our shared hopes for the lost, and a Savior who is real in even the darkest places. That is why some of us write it a little more raw than others.
Father, help us to endure the travesties of this current world. May your glory be proclaimed throughout this One Nation Under God. We're desperate for you, Lord. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.