Today I am speaking at ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). I would appreciate your prayers as this is my first speaking gig.
ACFW Arizona Chapter
Topic: What You Can Learn Through Book Reviewing
In many ways, book reviewing is a lot like critiquing a manuscript. On Saturday, June 30 from 1 – 3 p.m. Nikole Hahn will teach her method for reviewing books and show you how book reviewing will teach you to be a better writer, a better critique partner, and how reviewing can build a broader reader base for your blog and website. She will share the risks of book reviewing and what you should beware of and why you should post a bad review.
Kicking Eternity by Ann Lee Miller takes on a subject that is like talking conservative politics at a Green Peace convention: home schooling. And she tackles the subject in an endearing story of love and friendship.
Raine grew up home schooled by a father who believes a woman never has any authority. Once she marries, her husband then has authority over her choices. We meet Raine at the start of camp. She’s a Bible teacher with a murky past. Cal, a typical, surf-board-hit-over-the-head dude who loves to surf, drink, and live unfettered begins to flirt with Raine. Drew is just getting over a past love that dumped him after high school. Cal is an unbeliever hired to teach art by his brother, Jesse who hopes the Christian camp would have an effect on Cal. It’s Raine’s crush on Cal that sends this home schooled girl into spiritual turmoil.
Raine has a passion for Africa. Against her father’s wishes, she intends to fly to Africa and teach Bible. There’s more than passion behind her yearning for Africa. Family drama, sexual attraction, and the fear of falling in love with the right man before she can flee the States for her dream makes camp more than just a pause before the rest of her life. The story’s wonderful unpredictability and characters drew me deeper. I thought of the story even when I had to step away from it and still now, but not all of it was good.
I gave Kicking Eternity four stars. I would read it again, but I didn’t care for the father’s attitude or how the story seemed to back up that attitude with Drew affirming her father’s archaic beliefs even towards the end. That’s very damaging for someone who comes from an abuse situation. Raine is twenty-one and is an adult. Her motivation for going to Africa should be brought into question as you get deeper into the story, but the father’s attitude is never addressed properly. Raine’s mom appears not to hold any authority either when Raine argues about her dream of going to Africa. Yes, her father is concerned for her safety, but that attitude where she has no choice unless a male figure makes it hits a raw nerve. Since not enough story has been given to Raine’s father to dissect if this attitude is abuse, I am not ready to penalize the entire novel for something I disagree with.
Ann bravely shows the good and bad of home schooling in this interesting story. The love story cannot be predicted at first. Both Cal and Drew are falling in love with Raine, but it’s unclear how deep that love goes until you’ve gone most of the way through the novel. It’s a wonderful read and very diverse. Some of the elements in the story are unusual in a Christian novel, but not offensive; it’s real life, real temptations, and real forgiveness.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they
that love it, shall eat the fruit thereof. – Proverbs: 18:21
I have lived much of my adult life by these words of wisdom from Proverbs. I learned we bless with our mouth and we curse with our mouth. Jesus said we will give account for every idle word we speak. I had been taught the importance of speaking God’s Word into situations.
August 28, 2008 at 9:35pm, my cell phone sounded the special ring for my husband. Although I was with clients, I answered immediately, because we had only spoken a couple minutes prior. My husband and I were both realtors, at that time, with a large firm in Portland, Oregon.
My meeting with my clients that night was extremely important due to the fact they were not only selling their house, but also purchasing a home. We were in the process of writing two addendums in hopes of holding both sales together.
My husband, a master at proper wording, had just helped us in the legalese of real estate verbiage, thus my immediately answering of his call.
What I heard on the other end, was garbled speech. I knew immediately or thought I knew that he had suffered another stroke. The stroke hit as he waited for me to answer. Even though he was difficult to understand, he convinced me he had not. What I did not know, was he was afraid he would lose his driver’s license, as he did five years earlier following his first stroke. Yes, five years before he suffered a stroke. He says it saved his life. I won’t take time to tell you of God’s hand in getting him medical help within minutes of that stroke. While in the hospital emergency room that Sunday morning, they found he had a 5.4 centimeter abdominal aorta aneurism. You would think he would take the medical advice and get the needed surgery, but he refused for three years until the aneurism had grown to almost eight centimeters. That is another story of God’s protection of a stubborn man.
He convinced me nothing had happened that day, August 28, 2008. I wasn’t really convinced. I wrapped up business within five minutes and rushed to my car to call him back. The moment he answered his phone I knew he had indeed had a stroke. Again, he vehemently resisted my calling 911. I drove fifteen miles over the speed limit on the 205 freeway to Oregon City, where we lived at that time, speaking God’s word over my husband. He shall live and not die. He shall declare the glory of God in all His works. God’s hand of protection is upon him, the blood of Jesus is his protection. By the stripes of Jesus he is healed. For the fifteen minutes it took too arrive home, I spoke God’s word of life and healing.
I rushed in the house to find him sitting Indian style on the floor, unable to get up. Of course now he had no say to my calling 911. The paramedics arrived within moments. We had the good fortune to live within ten minutes of the best stroke hospital in the area. My husband had medical care within forty minutes of suffering this far more dangerous stroke.
God’s hand of healing and protection was evident. I could already see the recovery process taking place. I won’t take this time to go into details but I want to say this.
My husband was usually in bed at 9:30pm at night. Had he not been up when he suffered that stroke, he would have sustained much greater damage. Had I not needed his help with wording only moments before that, he would have had no reason to call me back to check on a couple words. The stroke was on the way, God saw to it that everything was in place for the best outcome. I tell you all this to give glory to God and His word. It is a living word, that when we speak it in faith and trust, not allowing contradictions to alter our faith-filled speech, His word bears fruit. My husband shows little signs of either stroke. He is a totally healthy, productive, hunting, fishing, and happy man. God can be trusted. I recommend you live in Psalm 91. Pray it over your families every day. God can be trusted.
Jo Walker is a member of American Christian Fiction Writer’s and a resident of Cody, Wyoming. “I am knee deep in re-writing my first novel. It is called “HOPE”. Hope is a fictional little town set in the Beartooth Mountains of NW Wyoming. It is a mystery, a possible murder,the potential development of a relationship. A story of putting the past in the past, new beginnings and a discovery God can be trusted. The book has God’s wisdom and truth sprinkled all through it. It is my belief it will be published in some form by years end.”