Tag Archive | fiction

The Metaphor of Steel in Sofi’s Bridge (Blog Hop)

The main theme of Sofi’s Bridge is how people deal with grief and trauma. Can grief make us stronger, or cause us to collapse? Each major character brings their own struggle with grief to create this plot.

Neil: This Irish physician is wanted by the British police for the murder of a man who had previously caused the death of Neil’s father. Neil, still buckling under the guilt of losing control of his emotions on the night his father died, explains how many men deal with grief in this excerpt:

Neil wrapped an arm around Sofi’s shoulders. “From my observation, females tend to worry over their grief, keeping it to themselves. Not like men who battle against their trauma with exploits. Not always the right kind of exploits, mind you. Trying to force things. Make things right. Seeking revenge.” His brows pulled together, and his eyes grew bleak.

Sofi: When Sofi’s father drowns, she takes on the role of savior in her family. By suppressing her own grief, the toxins of Sofi’s sadness are building, and may cause her to collapse. Or perhaps, Sofi will learn in good time to express her grief, and with the Lord’s strength be there for her family in their time of need, and also in time to save the bridge she designed.

Sofi’s Sister: Trina personifies the well-documented syndrome of Post Traumatic Stress. After observing her father’s drowning, Trina becomes almost catatonic, and their Seattle physician wants to treat her at an asylum for the mentally unstable. Seeing this, Neil, who is pretending to be their gardener, cannot ignore his Hippocratic oath. Plus, his overwhelming personality trait to give aid, even while placing himself in danger, is the catalyst that propels Sofi and Neil to flee to the
Cascade Mountains with her sister Trina.

Sofi’s mother Roselle: Another favorite secondary character of mine, reacts to the grief of losing her husband by becoming addicted to physician-prescribed Laudanum.

The metaphor of steel: Throughout these character’s lives, in the center of the story, stands the bridge that Sofi designed, but which her father’s business partner has taken control of. But is the steel being used to build her bridge strong enough? Has the metal been fired long enough in the foundry to refine it so that it is strong enough to convey people to safety?

The steel in Sofi’s bridge is the metaphor for grief and trauma, asking the questions: Does God use our canyons of pain to refine us, make us strong enough for the labor of our heart that He places in our lives?

About Christine:

Irish-born Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction and non-fiction. Readers describe her writing as gritty yet tender, realistic yet larger than life, with historical detail that collides into the heart of psychological and relationship drama.<br />

Christine’s fictional novels have garnered the ACFW Genesis Award, The Grace Award, Canada’s The Word Guild Award, and was a finalist twice for Readers’ Favorite as well as 2nd place in RWA’s Faith Hope and Love contest.

This author’s non-fiction memoir Finding Sarah Finding Me is the true-life story that started this award-winning career in Christian fiction and non-fiction. This book is a must for anyone whose life has been touched by adoption. Christine is currently writing a new fictional series set on the majestic coast of Ireland and loaded with her use of setting as a character that will sweep the reader away. Subscribe to her newsletter on her website www.christinelindsay.org

About the Book:

Seattle Debutante Sofi Andersson will do everything in her power to protect her sister who is suffering from shock over their father’s death. Charles, the family busy-body, threatens to lock Trina in a sanatorium—a whitewashed term for an insane asylum—so Sofi will rescue her little sister, even if it means running away to the Cascade Mountains with only the new gardener Neil Macpherson to protect them.

But in a cabin high in the Cascades, Sofi begins to recognize that the handsome immigrant from Ireland harbors secrets of his own. Can she trust this man whose gentle manner brings such peace to her traumatized sister and such tumult to her own emotions? And can Nei, the gardener
continue to hide from Sofi that he is really Dr. Neil Galloway, a man wanted for murder by the British police? Only an act of faith and love will bridge the distance that separates lies from truth and safety.

Buy at Amazon

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Spatzle Speaks: Alone (Book Review)

aloneAn exciting futuristic novel just released from Edie Melson. Alone is her debut novel although she has written non-fiction.

Bethany is a slave and is fortunate to be alive as Seekers are considered lowly for their belief in God. Her family was murdered and her planet is dying. She is about to be at the end of her rope when the planet is invaded. They claim to be there to save Seekers, but can she believe it’s true? Does she trust these people who teach her about faith and give her every comfort? When an old friend tries to help her escape she becomes even more confused.

What few understand, is that she alone has the key to save the planet’s ecosystem. Josiah saved her life at the start of the invasion and when push comes to shove she sacrifices herself to save the invaders she’s come to care for. But can they save her before it’s too late?

Edie writes with passion and her characters and the world she creates jumps off the page for the reader to embrace. This was an excellent novel and my mom really enjoyed reading it. Because of that and how cool this story is I give it five bones, because I’m a dog. That’s what I do.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

 

5 bones for blog

Writer Wednesday with Julie Cosgrove

2nd_prof_portrait_crop_267x405I’d like to welcome author and speaker, Julie Cosgrove to Writer Wednesday.
When did you decided that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ? 
I fell into it, I guess. It brewed in the back of my brain ever since I excelled in creative writing in high school,  but God’s timing played a big part. I began writing devotionals and Bible studies, as well as freelance writing for websites. But slowly, the desire to be a novelist bubbled up and became an itch that needed scratching… a lot.
What’s your pet peeve? 
Rude, self-orientated people. But then, they would never know that because they are too self absorbed.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer? 
The time I didn’t have enough books for a vendor booth at a conference because I’d almost sold out the week before at another one, and didn’t have enough time to order any more. Now I always maintain 5 of each in inventory.
What has been your most difficult challenge as an author? 
The initial editing process, but in a good way. It stretches my brain and teaches me to be a better writer.
How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews? 
I am getting thicker skinned about it. SO far, none of my works have rated below a 3 star. I know someday the 1 star will happen, it is almost a right of passage. But ever since I let God be my P.R. manager, since I write for Him, it has been easier. I write to the best of my ability, and He decides whose lives it should touch.
What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career? 
Being contracted multiple times with a traditional, ACFW recognized publisher. I am excited to see where God leads beyond that because He’s already given me my heart’s desire.
What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors? 
1. Write! Get it out of your head. You can always go back and edit later.
2. Seek out a supportive critique group which has published authors in it. It can be on line or one that meets in person.
3. Take their advice seriously and pray about it. It may hurt at first to see your writing critiqued, but we only grow through our mistakes, not our successes and every writer has room for improvement.
As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?
That I brought people closer to seeing God work in their everyday lives.
What is your current work in process?
Well…I have several.  A novel which will launch in October called Free to Forgive, which is the story of a preteen’s rescue and redemption from trafficking, two novellas which are based on 1 Corinthians 13 called Navy Blues and Greener Grasses which will be out late 2015- early 2016, and a cozy mystery series.
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The Crash of the Loose Train of Thought

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have come off some busy crazy weeks just dealing with my primary job of being a mom.

It’s kind of sad that when your kids are babies we try so hard to get them to talk. To say “momma,” and “dadda” and then later to “use their words” instead of throwing a temper tantrum to get what they want.

My kids are older now. I’m tired of hearing their words.

It’s exhausting! They want to be fed all the time. This is especially true for my nine year old daughter who I suspect is hitting a growth spurt. I think she eats nonstop from the moment she gets home from school to bedtime. “Mom. I’m hungry,” are words I hear too often.

“So? You’re hungry? Didn’t I just feed you?”

“Yes, but I’m hungry again.”

Of course it is never for leftovers in the fridge. It’s always something that requires me to get up and prepare it for her.

I swear if tragedy comes upon this family, my kids will starve to death rather than get their own food, or refill their water bottles.

What kind of kids am I raising?

So why am I telling you all this?

Because life is full of what a friend of mine once called “the dailies.” The daily stresses we all have to deal with. Throw in demanding children, head lice (yeah, really), science fair projects, regenerating laundry pile and financial worries and the dailies begin to feel too much.

My pastor talked on Sunday about how we have an adversary as we seek to persevere in our faith. Ironically, as he finished his message that was when the adversary whacked me upside the head. Depression is a vicious weapon when aimed at a weary soul. The message?

“Would anyone even miss you if you weren’t here?”

Sounds a bit like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” doesn’t it? Ouch. My heart cracked as my brain sped into overdrive reciting all the things I do to use the gifts God has given me to honor and glorify him. As if my value is tied up in that?

Why would the enemy think he can use that line of attack? Because fellow believers have used it too, only with subtle changes in wording. The enemy doesn’t have to work too hard sometimes to defeat me.

So my day was spent spinning my wheels. I journaled a prayer, tried to watch a movie and couldn’t write. I repeatedly fed my kids. I gave up all attempts at productivity and sat down to read a novel. I started it the day before and struggled to set it aside. I read the last 300 pages of it. Done. Finished. LOVED it.

I wish my heart had a reset button. My computer has a reset to a previous version of a backup. If it gets corrupted, I can reset it and maybe lose some data but overcome perhaps another more damaging issue.

I prayed. I journaled. It wasn’t until I lost myself in the adventure, courage and perseverance of faith of someone else (yeah, fictional people, but still) that my heart recalibrated.

I’m still tired, but not as beaten down as I was earlier. The power of great fiction can be used by God in so many ways we often never realize. What an honor it is to be part of the business of putting stories like that into the hands, and hearts, of readers. Maybe it’s a selfish thing though, because I get the blessing of those words before the general public does.

I guess my train of thought is back on the tracks now. Whew!

 

 

I’m Probably on the FBI and TSA Watch-Lists and other Silliness

Watch lists? FBI? TSA? Well, if I wasn’t before, I probably will be now!

Funny, isn’t it? Authors search all kinds of odd things. I had one story I worked on last year where I had to search on how to defuse a bomb. No intention of ever having to do it either and at this point in time I could not tell you which wires to snip in order to not be blown up. And no, my bomb didn’t have an on/off switch like in Sherlock (The Empty Hearse episode).

Last week I had a delicious breakfast with a friend. Three hours of talking about life, writing, funerals, autopsies, tissue donation and donating bodies for science to save money on burial. You know, the practical stuff of life. Oh, and how I need to ask some questions of a funeral director I know. Won’t that be fun?

I even submitted that bomb book to the FBI for fact checking purposes. See. I’m sure I’m on a watch list with them. The gal who emailed me really liked my story too and that was a really rough draft.

I’m cracking myself up because, well, it’s all true! Now you know why this is the silygoos blog.

Writers can be irreverant but they also are artists at heart who care deeply about the characters we create out of our imaginations. We feel the depth of their pain. So why they may not be real, their words and emotions are very much real in our minds.

That includes the passions of our villans as well.

But then, you want a good story to evoke emotion. Now personally, I avoid Nicholas Sparks because I don’t like crying at the end of every novel. To be honest, I only read three, but that was enough for me to know that he was not a happily-ever-after storyteller.

So if the FBI or TSA show up at my door, please point them to my blog so they know I would never blow anyone up, shoot them, plant a bomb or any of the other horrific deaths I’ve perpetrated on my imaginary villians. Not to mention the torture I’ve perpetrated on my main characters. I don’t even own a handgun or rifle, although if I did, I’ve been told I would be a crack shot. Better than a crack pot. Or would that be cracked pot?

Writers. We’re a despicable lot. Shocking at times, but also fun and hyper-sensitive about imaginary people.

A book is a wonderful friend and escape from the trials of this world. I hope you find many to read and enjoy. Stay tuned because I keep trying to share with you the new and upcoming great authors here, as well as some who have multi-published and become faves of mine.

My Stubborn Heart (Book Review)

This review was initially posted on Sept. 11, 2012 but I have reposted it here because it was one of the top five books in the Romance category of the INSPY awards of which I was a judge.

On a whim I had clicked to download a free ebook on amazon as I so often do – and yesterday My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade just happened to be the book I decided to open and read.  It seems that lately every book I pick up by Bethany House, whether historical or contemporary romance – have been beautifully written and have touched my heart. This book is no exception.

Kate is on a break from her job as a social worker and on a three month stint to help her Grandmother restore an old family estate.  She has reached the advanced age of 31 with no husband and is constantly reminded of her lack by those around her – as well as the loneliness she feels deep inside. Yet she has determined and prayed that she would never settle for any man – but only the one God would have for her.

Matt has had a career as a hockey player, fame and beautiful wife. After his lovely bride died of cancer he walked away from everything he knew, even shutting out family and friends, to live a hermit’s life and live with his grief and subsequent anger at God for not answering his prayers. Accepting the job to work at renovating an old home, he shows up to work to find that there is an annoying woman who keeps coming by to talk. He doesn’t want to talk, he wants to be left alone.

Over time though Matt has a change of heart as Kate worms her way in with her light banter and teasing. She is not afraid to challenge him as she is determined to help him escape his self made prison. Definitely attracted to this “hottie” she feels that he is above her reach and tells herself they could only be friends. The heart doesn’t always listen to logic.

I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but I loved the challenge of this book as it looked spiritually at two key issues: 1) Can you trust a sovereign God with your prayers and that He, knowing what’s best will answer them in His perfect timing?  2) How far are you willing to go to obey Him?

This book is not preachy at all – but it deals with the honest gut-wrenching decisions we all at times have to face at the foot of the cross and as we deal with the painful realities of life. Becky Wade does a beautiful job weaving that all together in a compelling story.

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop – following Lisa Lickel

I’m following in the blogsteps of the fabulous Lisa Lickel, http://livingourfaithoutloud.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop-following.html   who posted about Meow Mayhem last week.

Today, I’d like to share a bit about my latest work in progress:

What is the working title of your book?

Lord Harrow’s Heart

 Where did the idea come from for the book?
This book is the fourth in my Rose Hill Series. The first is “The Virtuous Viscount” followed by “Lord Phillip’s Folly” and “Lord Michael’s Mischief.” I was trying to keep with the double sounding consonants in the title while trying to convey a bit of what the book is about. Theo (Lord Harrow) is really looking for love, hence the heart.

What genre does your book fall under?

Historical/Regency Romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Can you picture him in a cravat?

Can you picture him in a cravat?

I try to look for pictures on-line of people (actors/models etc) that are kind of the image I have of my character. This one was hard because Theodore was kind of the anti-hero. He’s more of a cuddly teddy-bear type. Not the haughty London aristocrat, but a gentle man, strong but soft. He’s not as athletic as the other protagonists from my previous novels. Marcus (Virtuous Viscount) was very controlled and fit. Phillip was a bit anal-retentive but trim. Michael was scrappy, kind of like a street fighter, lean and muscular but on the shorter end of things. Theo is gentle which seems so much more passive in his personality. I finally hit on Emilio Estevez. Not sure if he could handle the British accent though.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Lord Theodore Harrow wants to find love, without the drama, but in Valeria he gets more than he bargained for: adventure.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My series is as of yet unpublished. My first novel is at a publishing house to be considered and my prayer is that a publishing house who believes in the Regency genre would contract for the whole series.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I wrote the initial draft (85,000 words) in thirty days during November’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  I’ll be doing some light edits and handing it off to my beta readers while ignoring if for a month or more before tearing it apart and polishing it. I can write a full-length novel without NaNo – but it’s fun to do it this way. I have written the previous three in this series that way. I have also written two contemporary romances without NaNo. (check out www.nanowrimo.org for more information on that kind of writing adventure).

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I wish I could say that I write as well as Georgette Heyer, Julia Klassen or Lawanna Blackwell – but to be honest, my Regencies are filled with a bit more mystery and adventure than most would be. They tend to have a faster pace. This is no Jane Austen. My men struggle more with temptation too. Theo really likes kissing. I keep things clean but there is a bit of “heat” there.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I started writing four years ago and the series kind of spun out of that first book. I started writing because of a dream and a story I had in my head for 15 years. I kept writing because I found I loved it! So I guess you could say it’s all God’s fault.

I had decided all five of my male characters from Marcus Remington’s story (The Virtuous Viscount) needed their own tales. After all, these men need wives! They just have a bit more of a challenge finding their “happily ever after.” This year it was Theodore’s turn for love. Next year Captain Jared Allendale will have his opportunity but it will likely occur mostly in France, Spain and Portugal before they end up at Rose Hill.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There’s some evil afoot. My band of men seem to keep running into a dark, sinister character known as The Black Diamond. He surfaces in the Virtuous Viscount, is in the background of Lord Phillip’s Folly, becomes far more involved in Sir Michael’s Mischief and is quite personally involved in Lord Harrow’s Heart. He’s a threat to the crown as well as to these men – and the women they love. So there’s a thread of mystery and suspense that weaves through the books. It’s not all about stolen kisses!

Look for the animals too. Some play more significant roles than others. My favorite though had to be the ferret that was in Michael’s story. There’s a sweet kitten in Theo’s tale that gives an assist at an important time.

Check out my fellow writer and friend Shellie Neumeier today at:  http://shellieneumeier.com/2012/12/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop/

On December 19th – go visit my friend and fellow Regency Romance author Susan at: www.graciouswoman.wordpress.com.