The defunct 2014 CBS summer replacement series Reckless truly was so well done that it was a real puzzle and travesty to cancel it after one brief season. The program was not well marketed and promoted, had its airing nights switched around a couple of times, but in every episode the viewer was treated to superb writing, magnificent photography, tailored soundtracks, perfect casting, great acting, and wonderful direction. Quality from start to finish with captivating characters. The question remains as to why the CBS executives set up such a well done series to fail. A total waste of excellent talent and production.
This is a smokin' hot scene with characters Jamie Sawyer (Defense Attorney) and Roy Rayder (Charleston, SC, City Attorney).
Father, if only we would all surrender to you and find the truth of who you are and who you designed us to be. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
The computer screen can stare down any writer. When the words are nowhere to be found, the fingers at the ready to no avail, yes, it's always a challenge. It's not like the mind is empty, but there's a rhythm that accompanies creating, and when it's good, it's very good, and when it's not, it's . . . terrifying, worrisome, difficult, anger-inducing, frustrating, and so on and so on.
Some authors can write out of sheer discipline and give instructions - which can come off as flippant - for the cure of what has been conveniently labeled "writer's block". I have my own interpretation of that term. Sometimes writers need a break. To step back from those words on a page. Some writers aren't afforded that "luxury" because they've been set up with deadlines they must meet without a lot of leeway.
When I was on a writing tear several years ago, I noticed after a considerable time spent creating, there would come a time when words were scarce, inspiration took a time-out, and I had to learn it was "break time". Sometimes it was for a few days, other times for a couple of weeks. The fervor returned, not always predictably, but I learned to trust the rest time. And for a believer, we know it's God's way of saying, "Take a break." I've never been able to force my writing, so all the disciplinary instructions are just words in the wind to me.
However, once I get away from story-writing for any length of time - and still it can be the Lord's timing - I can be undisciplined in my return. After a long, long break I need to reread. And when I get to the end of what's been written, a slight fear emerges testing me with the what ifs, i.e. What if you can't finish it? You really like these characters and this storyline, but what if you just can't find your way? What if . . .
I'm grateful for every novel I've written. Thankful for the process and everything about the coming together of those books. I've learned to trust the Lord for the continuation of the creation process. It is, after all, up to Him what He wants me to do. I need to follow His lead even when it doesn't feel like I can. That's when He does His best work.
Father, apart from you, I can do nothing. Help me to do it when you want me to. Help me with my lack of self-discipline. Thank you is never enough. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
A Dangerous Stage is the second novel in a two book series (Protection for Hire) by Camy Tang published by Zondervan in 2012. Go to her website for links to all of her novels and all kinds of information about Camy.
In this book we pick up with Tessa Lancaster after her stint in prison for a crime she didn't commit, even though she'd committed other crimes for her Yakuza Uncle Teruo Ota. Her many skills have landed her in the position of bodyguard, and once she's able to secure the effective safety of a client and her child from a rabid ex-boyfriend, not without sustaining some injuries, she now must protect a favored singer entered in the reality show "Grab the Mic". He and his daughter have come up against some threatening circumstances since his 13 year old too-smart-for-her-own-good computer geek daughter managed to discover some clandestine numbers while hacking into the show's producers' computers.
The role of bodyguard expands beyond what's expected when Tessa learns the serious threat to her clients because of what the daughter has amassed. And somehow it involves the attractive attorney who put Tessa away for the maximum amount of time, thwarting their budding romance. Although she regularly stays in touch with his mother, she can't quite arrive at forgiveness for his hurtful actions and instead wishes she could inflict that same pain on him.
This romantic suspense bounces around between geek-speak, adults attracted to each other who act like high-school kids, the Yakuza underground, hired assassins, rigged gambling on winners in the reality show, family squabbles and underlying love, cancer, marathons, heroics, faith, and forgiveness. It's a busy story with teenage whining, family drama and theatrics, martial arts fetes, and constantly checking for tails while driving and taking public transportation.
A little humor, some sadness, and quite a few sustained injuries, A Dangerous Stage by Camy Tang is a plainly written romantic suspense for a quick summer read escape.
Father, please continue to supply the stories you have just for Camy to tell. Help her to always hear your voice and do what you ask of her. Bless and encourage her along the way. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
This is an old review, but I just had to post it. Sometimes writers need a jumpstart to continue. I need affirmation even if it's years old. So I looked back to my favorite in-depth, wise beyond his years, reviewer Josh Olds. As an author, I long for readers who "get" me, what I'm saying - or trying to - what my purpose is in telling the particular story the way I did. Josh always has.
When I write my love stories, mostly they're about ordinary people who enter into the arena of love. My stories are about the process: the emotion, the pain, the temptations, the failures, the laughter, the spirituality or lack thereof. Those readers who enjoy all kinds of conflict and action to keep the pages turning aren't my typical audience.
So with a new love story waiting to be released as an e-book in June, I'm reflecting on the past and hoping the very near future will provide good endings to the three new novels in process. The cover is done, and the formatting is started. Soon . . .
Father, thank you for every word, every character, every moment dedicated to producing the story you've given me. As always, thank you is never enough. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Nobody can define for you what you like. It's up to you. We can tease or mock people for their particular tastes in reading, but if they're devoted to a particular kind of genre or favor a certain author, there'll be no changing it.
Speaking for myself, I love Vince Flynn. Discovering his work - and I was late to his writing because I didn't know anything about him - was like a fascinating and wonderful discovery. I have Rush Limbaugh to thank for introducing me to Vince when Rush was promoting Pursuit of Honor. Although I'm looking forward to the release of The Survivorwith Kyle Mills taking the helm, there will be no replacing Vince.
Whatever it is you like, there are books to provide the material you prefer. If you're a writer, you know what you want to read and therefore how you want to write. You work to produce the book that satisfies your taste and you try to make it not only worth your time but worth others' times as well. Not an easy task.
The thing is when you like it, there's no talking you out of it. And there shouldn't be.
Father, thank you for all the many ways you've given people to express stories. May those of us who acknowledge you as our inspiration do as you ask and be faithful to the call. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
The classic novel Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier is an example of particular style and daring told from the nameless heroine's POV in the late 1930s and early '40s. With a dark and foreboding presence throughout the novel, at first the reader assumes it's from the moody widower Maximilian de Winter but really it's from his dead wife's taunting, haunting spirit penetrating the estate of Manderley and all who knew her.
The young heroine recalls her meeting of the much older Maxim as the story begins with her reflection of her time as the employee of a brash and unattractive woman who travels to all the European hotspots to meet celebrities and those patrons of high society. The heroine is no more than a shadow to the boisterous woman who may or may not know what a bore she is with her pompous, self-indulgent picture of herself.
To the heroine's surprise, Mr. de Winter shows an interest in her during their stay in Monte Carlo, and they steal time together until her employer suddenly desires to join her daughter in New York. The heroine is crushed that she must leave this new romance and the man with whom she believes she's falling in love. When he proposes to her in a completely clinical manner, she accepts, stunning her employer who leaves with a warning that she mustn't think he truly loves her.
Her insecurities abound after a whirlwind marriage and honeymoon in Italy when they return to Manderley, his ancestral estate. The evidence and memory of Rebecca, his former wife who's been dead for almost a year, is current and follows the young bride's every actions and words. Her inferiority is accentuated daily, particularly by the head housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who she learns adored Rebecca and has no love or respect for the intrusion of the new Mrs. de Winter.
Maxim de Winter does little to encourage his bride, leaving her to her elaborate imagination concerning his former wife and their relationship. Her interpretations of his actions mirror those of a love-struck schoolgirl at times accentuating her innocence in life and matters of love as well as her divided and conflicted emotions. Mrs. Danvers intimidates her at every opportunity, and references to what Rebecca would've done or did plague the heroine. Seeing her handwriting with her sweeping R and grandiose style adds to her ill feelings and discomfort about herself and her doubts about Maxim's love.
Everything builds to incorporate the heroine's ongoing awkward position at Manderley and culminates when she takes Mrs. Danvers' ill-advised suggestion for a costume to wear at the great Manderley Ball which the local people clamored for and which Mr. de Winter grudgingly agrees to host if his agent (estate manager) will take care of the planning. The result is stunning.
When Maxim finally breaks down and reveals the truth to his young wife, it's fascinating to read. The transformation this truth produces does not go unnoticed by either of them. After much ado, fearful expectations and dread, a conclusion is reached. The strange and startling abrupt ending thrusts the story back full circle to the first chapter and a half which could have fit nicely into a prologue or prelude but worked seamlessly as chapters.
Daphne Du Maurier'sRebecca is an amazing tale of loneliness, jealousy, pretense, devotion, cunning, and malice. One might even call it an elongated coming of age story. With a detailed look at the fears and insights of a young bride facing the entrenched memories of a larger than life woman who preceded her, Rebecca shows the intertwining of darkness and light, truth and fantasy. Well worth the repeat read.
Father, you've always given to each one. Many never see it, but it's there. Always. Thank you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
Yesterday I spoke of the freedom in the prose of some of the classic novels. As in every generation, different authors will be celebrated as the best of the old writers. And, as expected, some will gush over Hemingway while others will rave about Fitzgerald or Faulkner. I only prefer one of the three, and I have read the other two - not all they've written but some.
Here's my opinion, for what it's worth - which isn't much. Devoted readers will not squawk about the length of a novel. They'll only complain if a long novel isn't interesting or written well according to their particular tastes. The length is irrelevant. Longer is often better to them. Casual readers prefer quick reads and their preferences as to style vary. They have little patience for dull storylines and think nothing of tossing a book or not finishing it. They've got a whole lot of other life to live so if they decide to read a novel, it better meet their standards whatever those are.
Somewhere in between those types of readers are the ones who would like to have the time to read a long novel but consider reading secondary to all their other demanding tasks. Then there are the strict genre-specific readers who have stacks of supermarket paperbacks piled next to their chairs, each one when finished passed along to a like-minded friend or relative. There are those who want their fiction reading to be light and entertaining, leaving very little residual memory. And there are those who read from the past, preferring older novels to contemporary versions.
It seems readers of the classics invest in those stories while some readers of contemporary fiction rush through them or squeeze them into those short pockets of time allotted for a book.
I'm a contemporary fiction reader and writer, but sometimes it's freeing to go back to a few of the classics and remember the depth they offered from their perspectives of humanity.
Father, let us be true when we write, honoring you somehow. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
There's something refreshing about going back to the not so distant classic novels. I'm rereading Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and last year I read F. Scott Fitzgerald'sTender Is the Night, both books I read a very long time ago and loved.
From a writing standpoint, there is such freedom in the prose. Point of view changes within paragraphs, rambling descriptions and internal thoughts. A lot of telling. I find it desirable. It seems by getting away from much of those freedoms and rewriting the rules, we've created some novelists who've lost the pizzazz of real style. Instead we have formulaic prose that tells a story, but if the story lags in any way, the writing isn't enough to carry the novel. It seems I'm a throwback.
Good writing is good writing whether or not it adheres to modern day rules or those of the past. Sometimes, in some genres, we could use a little less sticking to the rules which supposedly creates interesting writing and more freedom to shift styles without criticism.
Father, thank you for all the talent you've dispensed to your creation. Thank you for your Word. You are the Creator of words. Please help each one of us who labor to tell stories to tell them well, just the way you would have us do it. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Pirates of the Caribbean, The Curse of the Black Pearl. I cannot count the number of times I've watched this movie. So much fun. All the terrific lines and scenes. Even the deleted scenes were amazing. Great acting and chemistry. Perfect.
Lord, you know how I've prayed. I wait upon you for those who are lost. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
This Memorial Day seemed especially sad. We've lost so many in Special Forces under this president and in suspicious circumstances. Seventy-two percent of the military deaths in Afghanistan (72%) occurred under this president. Former SEALs lost in Benghazi under a shroud of lies. Extortion 17 killed 30 SEALs under flawed conditions aimed at destruction producing a terrible tragedy which implicated intentional efforts to sabotage the peculiar assignment. When Chris Kyle was murdered, this president didn't so much as call his family to offer condolences. Chris Kyle (aka American Sniper) is a hero whose skills saved so many of his brothers in battles. Yet this president brought a traitor in Bowe Bergdahl to the White House Rose Garden after trading five now-active terrorists for him.
We are still One Nation Under God whether or not this administration upholds it. We are desperate for God's mercy, His forgiveness, His grace, and His direction. We need our God back in His rightful place of leadership in our America. We need more hearts turned to Jesus instead of humanity. Humanity has perpetually failed and will continue to fall short. Without God anything done is a waste of time.
We remember those who gave their lives, who fought through fears and braved horrid conditions to protect our nation and preserve our freedoms, sacrificing for what they believed. Such a cost.
God, please, once more for the remnant, bless the USA. Don't let us fail because we certainly will without you. Let your justice prevail in the hard places and keep us striving to pursue truth. May we be worthy of your calling. Please, Lord, bless the USA. In the Name, Authority, and Blood of Jesus, Amen.
Father, thank you for sending those warriors who fought for noble purpose based on the principles you have given us.Thank you for those throughout the ages who've sacrificed their lives for freedom and the glory of godly ideals.Thank you for the USA and those who've given it all to protect it.Thank you for this country you set up to emulate righteous plans.Thank you for those who fought and died to preserve the nobility you infused into the document designed to honor you first.Thank you is never enough. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
The third book in the Porter Family Novels, A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade tells the story of two best friends separated at early ages who are reunited as adults involved in the same industry of Thoroughbred horse racing.
The third and youngest Porter brother, Jake, damaged, scarred, and haunted by his final tour in Iraq where he lost three of his men in an IED explosion, suffers from PTSD and survivor's guilt while training Thoroughbreds for Whispering Creek Horses. Well-respected in his profession, he knows he's barely holding it together most days. To add to his intense struggle his childhood friend has returned to town and asks if she can exercise horses for him. For an indecipherable reason she incites his rage in spite of her beauty, kindness, and determination. Does he resent her for leaving him when she had no control over moving away? They were inseparable friends, and he'd always protected her from her sometimes harebrained escapades and rescues. That part of him hasn't changed.
Lyndie James is back in her hometown of Holley, Texas, and her former best friend is now a former Marine sergeant and she thinks of him as "tall, dark, and brooding". She's learned his last tour caused him physical and severe emotional pain, and she's determined to help him however she can - if she can. She's a licensed jockey and has exercised horses at Santa Anita, one of the most prestigious tracks in the world. Jake wants no part of hiring her, but somehow he does.
(My only peeve - and it's only because I spent 30+ years in horse racing - is the incorrect use of racing terms. No one will know they're incorrect because the average reader has no inside racetrack knowledge. I do know that Becky did some research and tried to be reasonably accurate. It's a lot to learn, and I forgive her for the mistakes. Like I said, no one else will know she made them.)
Okay, we all know where this is going because it's a romance novel. And Becky knows romance. You have to have a passion for it to write real romance and to write it well. Becky gets it, she feels it deep and translates it to the page. Using humorous internal dialogue and some offbeat situations with her friend who lives in the same building, Becky is able to take some serious moments and infuse them with laughter, but make no mistake, there are some tear-jerking tender times involving Lyndie's younger sister Mollie and with Jake. The journey to the inevitable end is filled with raw pain, multi-faceted devotion, faith in who God is, intense struggle, longing, rebellion, and self-loathing. It's a study of a wounded soldier who sees himself as never healing, a young woman who needs to be a solid and dependable, loyal and loving friend - and more - to this man whose walls are steel-like impenetrable.
A Love Like Ours is typical in romance formula only. Becky Wade gives us well-developed and lovable - most of the time - characters with snappy dialogue and the absence of it which speaks volumes. Jake is a smoldering, serious, hotbed of hurt. Lyndie is fun, devoted, skilled, and lovely. It's a story of the inevitable plans of a loving God whose Son knows all the flaws and sins but gave His life for us anyway. It's about recognizing none of us are forgivable but God gave Jesus so He could do it anyway. It's about giving up on our own abilities to do anything and letting God's Spirit work in us to do what's best for us. It's a story about the least of us being given special gifts by a great God who sees what we can't fathom. It's about love, both big and small - and supernatural. It's about loyalty and divine protection which surpasses that of the human kind. It's about sacrifice, intentional and unintentional. And giving when there's nothing left to give.
A Love Like Ours is a quick and touching read that explores PTSD, loyalty and love, and the power of a relentless God and two friends who grow up to see the world in opposite ways. It's a story of healing and the miraculous touch of a close God. A Love Like Ours might be the best of the series so far - my favorite anyway.
Father, please continue to bless Becky's writing, to lead her to those places you want her to go, watch over her and keep her safe from all harm. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
The original film clip of the Michelangelo Antonioni movie Blow-Upstarring Vanessa Redgrave and David Hemmings pictured above. It was a fascinating film full of symbolism and "deeper" meanings. I loved it. It's coarse and vulgar at times but not repeatedly or for shock value. Taking place in London and actually featuring a concert with the Yardbirds in one scene, it spoke of times where individuals reached for more meaning in their lives but were stymied to find a sure reality. Searching for truth on their own terms produced nothing, but merging with a surreal landscape left them with relentless emptiness. Filmed in 1966.
Father, we were desperate for you then just as we are now. You are our only hope. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Many of you who visit here have few regrets. Some of you have had the pleasure and privilege of growing up with Jesus and have preserved and grown in your faith. You're to be commended for that. Not insulted or mocked or snickered at. Commended.
I spent 30 of my years in the world. I believed in God and prayer but didn't know Jesus personally. I briefly investigated Judaism, got into astrology for a season, acted badly for a while when I decided being "good" wasn't making me happy so perhaps being bad would. Honestly, it wasn't easy for me. I had to force myself to do things I knew were wrong, but without a Savior my moral meter was skewed.
Regrets accompany that attitude and many of the resulting actions. Lots of them. Once you surrender your life to Jesus, experience forgiveness for all that wasted time on activities that did nothing to build character and everything to cause pain to others and yourself, it's no easy task to get to the place where you can forgive yourself.
And although I regret my antics and behavior during a portion of my life, I am thankful that God has used those experiences in His perfect ways to minister to others who, upon learning of my Christianity, assume I have no idea of their struggles. The Lord has also allowed me to use my ungodly conduct as fodder for characters in my novels. Fiction done well takes a stark look at real life and leaves an impression. Whether or not I've accomplished that ideal in my novels is up to the individual reader's discretion.
Regret is humanity lived out. We begin in sin. We can choose redemption. We can be free of the condemnation of our sinful nature if we choose Jesus. For that choice, there is no regret.
Thank you, Lord. It's never enough. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Familiar characters Richard and Sheila have married and are looking forward to making a family and forgetting their pasts, but it's never quite that easy to discard those places where hurt and pain were the norm and the ability to absolve oneself of guilt is a trial all its own. Well aware their mistakes have been forgiven by God's grace, their enjoyment of one another and their future together looks golden.
Richard's business is flourishing, and Sheila has always exceled at her work. Their common objective is to raise a family. Sheila wants to be the loving parent she never had, her mother an ice queen, her dad distant. Her new in-laws are near perfect in the family department, and she's grateful for their loving acceptance.
When Richard's former employer in Manhattan calls asking him to return, not only is he shocked at their offer, he's afraid to even consider it. The fast, indulgent New York lifestyle had been his undoing and those personal memories from that season of his life bring only heartache.
Before I say anymore about this story of hope and heartbreak, forgiving and unforgiving, joy and pain, I would like to say Memory Box Secrets is Brenda S. Anderson's best work yet. Handling difficult issues with tenderness and insight, Brenda takes the reader on an emotional journey through the excruciating pain of adults and young people forced to make impossible decisions.
Memory Box Secretsexamines the "befores" of several lives and their consequences which lead to the "afters". Besides these circumstances, the different kinds of pain embodied in the past desperately need healing in the present. While I've never been particularly fond of Sheila, she displays some endearing qualities in this episode of her life. Having her early past revealed more clearly in a stunning scene with her mother, she is ill-prepared for what she learns. When trauma happens, she reverts to her closed-off self-preservation, pushing away the man who loves her while not allowing God to ease her pain.
The peripheral characters are well-designed and add substance to the story. The faith factor is always present but blends organically with the characters. There are hard moments in this story, the kind that elicit tears, but each moment is well-worth the emotional investment of this very well-written story of sinful pasts and healed futures, of abandonment and rekindled love, of personal sorrow and renewed hope. Brenda's unforeseen twists add depth to the complex situations in play.
Highly recommend Memory Box Secrets in this Coming Home Series by Brenda S. Anderson.
Father, please continue to bless Brenda with meaningful stories designed just for her to tell. Encourage her and give her what she needs to keep this part of her life thriving in you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.