Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Writing Wednesday

"In order to pronounce a book bad it is not enough to discover that it elicits no good response from ourselves, for that might be our fault." ~An Experiment in Criticism by C.S. Lewis

The other day, I ran across this quote and that, in turn, led me to buying the book. I’ve read the first few chapters, and it has me sitting back on my heels, saying “Uh, huh.” Life has changed from when this book was written, but, although the media for storytelling has evolved, much of what Lewis says still rings true. In the first chapters, he attempts to differentiate between those with “good taste” and those with “bad taste.” It is not as easy as saying, “If you agree with me, you have good taste.”

While I was reading these first chapters, two people came to mind. I realized, even though I had never even thought of them in these terms before (I only knew I enjoyed conversing with them), that they have good taste even though their tastes do not coincide with mine. This is what I have garnered from Lewis (and perhaps I am reading him incorrectly)—good taste comes from approaching a work of art (he talks of music and art, not just of books) with no expectations, with no preconceived notions. It’s amazing how many people simply say something like “I hate country music.” Really? You’ve listened to all country music, and none of it has any appeal for you? My two friends, however, are different. They do not shut out entire genres of art. Instead, they are open to new ideas and approach life with a willingness to learn.

Recently, I did some interviews during which I was asked about my favorites. I’ve always said I have few, if any favorites, of anything. I don’t read in only a few genres. I don’t listen to only one type of music. I don’t enjoy just certain types of cuisine. I approach life willing to give almost any and everything a fair shake. Lewis says we must surrender our preconceived notions to fully appreciate art. And I agree.

There’s a group of people on Facebook that have reverse snobbery. Anything the masses like, they instantly take a dislike to…The Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter, Divergent, etc. It seems as if the more popular the book, the less they like it. These people also dislike whole genres… “I would never read romance. I hate thrillers.”

Yeah…I’ve never really understood that. I’ve also never understood how just one small part of a book can make someone hate the whole book.

What is my point? I am asking readers to broaden their horizons—do not let preconceptions and prejudices keep you from reading, and liking, certain books. (Exceptions would be those that clearly are evil. Let’s read and study our Bible enough to recognize evil.)

Fairness is something I’ve championed all my life. I’m broadening my horizon enough now to apply that to books! Won’t you join me?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Release—Thorns of Betrayal


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His destiny brought them together, but will her past rip them apart?

Ever since her father’s mysterious death, Rose Bauer has suffered with migraines. Visions and voices reach out to her from the intense pain. Is her father’s spirit trying to contact her? Or is she going crazy?

Now is not a good time to be crazy.

Zeke Clayton claims destiny led him to her door. But how strong can destiny bind two souls when one is as tainted as hers? Is his love for her and faith in God strong enough to survive all her secrets?

Will justice ever be served against the one who has betrayed them all?


She had to get away from him, away from his lies. She pulled onto the county road. Her tires fishtailed on the wet asphalt and her head banged against the driver’s window. She slammed her transmission into second gear and then third. She could barely see through the downpour. How could she let herself get caught in a spring storm? She knew how bad they could get. Lightning flashed and momentarily blinded her. She blinked and blinked. The residual ball of light obscured her vision. Her VW splashed through a low-water crossing.

She down shifted as her car traveled through the water but returned the gear to third and pressed the gas. He’s lying! That’s what Russell did. He lied! Nobody knew that better than her. Wipers flapped vehemently across her windshield. Her mother did not kill those people. They killed her. Her body shook as she sobbed. Tears poured down her face. She scrubbed a knuckle across her nose. Around the curve a granite outcrop became part of the view. Her little bug dipped and climbed with the contour of the road. She needed to talk to Keisha.

The wipers squealed against drying glass. The downpour had stopped. She reached into her purse for her cell phone. Her car slammed into another low-water crossing and hydroplaned to her left. She jerked her eyes up. Terror shot through her chest. Oh God! Her cell phone crashed to the floorboard and broke apart. She gripped her steering wheel with blanching knuckles, but it didn’t help. The current pushed her little Beetle off the concrete road into the water. It tipped to the left and then righted itself. The Volkswagen bobbled but favored the left side. She leaned toward the center and frantically looked around. Men and women ran from vehicles along the side of the normally dry gulch.

Hysteria barely in check, she pounded the windshield and screamed, “Help me!”

The people were throwing ropes across the river down from her car. Thank God, they’ll catch the car. Her eyes met theirs. They were yelling something at her.

“What?” She rolled down her window.

“Don’t move,” the crew hollered. “Don’t move!”

Three men spilled from a black Hummer. Many voices yelled for her to be still.

A warm sensation cascaded over her like a sheer drape. Her fear flushed out like a drain and peace filled her heart. She would be saved. She sat back in her seat and sighed.

Her VW jerked, and her head slammed against the steering wheel. The ropes had caught. The current roared against the hull, filling her ears, drowning out the people’s voices. A warm trail of fluid ran down her neck. She touched her chin. Blood! Fear crept back and tightened in her throat. Like a terrifying roller coaster, she tipped in her seat. Her car was rolling over! She screamed as it continued to tumble.

Water punched her in the face and shoved past her as it poured into her car, quickly filling it. Panic clawed at her mind as the water engulfed her. Her door opened. She jerked her head toward it. A man! She could get out. She grabbed at his shoulders, his arms, whatever she could get hold of to pull herself out. But she couldn’t get out! She was stuck. He pushed back from her.

Oh No! Don’t leave me!

Her lungs burned. Raw pain tore at her throat. Choking convulsions. Pain…fading…darkness.


Lynn Donovan spends her days chasing after her muses, trying to get them to settle down and behave long enough to dictate their words and actions. Thank goodness her muses love Christ or she’d be in big trouble. The results have produced The Clockwork Dragon, a collection of nine short stories in which she wrote half (4.5 stories), The Wishing Well Curse, and Thorns of Betrayal. All published by Alt Wit Press. Astraea Press will release two more muse-inspired novels, Rocking Horse Shadows and Christmas Grace, Signing Seeds later this year. A speculative fiction called The Abraham Project is hovering out there for approval from a publisher. Lynn enjoys reading and writing Christian fiction, paranormal, and speculative fiction. But you never know what her muses will come up with for a story, so you could see a novel under any given genre. All we can tell you is keep your eyes open, cause these muses are not sitting still for long! Oops, there they go again…


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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why Harry Potter Fans are Outraged (and should be)

Harry and HermioneJ.K. Rowling did an interview (Rowling Regrets Ron/Hermione Relationship) in which she said that Harry and Hermione should have married, not Hermione and Ron. I said on Facebook that Hermione and Ron will have to endure a lot of marriage counseling to stay married. Her original vision, Rowling said, was for Hermione and Ron to fall in love and marry. Sometimes, in the writing of a book, writers must discard their original vision. The characters grow in ways the writer does not anticipate. Rowling now believes she should have followed the characters, allowing the romance to blossom between Harry and Hermione. I agree with her, but I think she’s wrong to voice it.

You see, when a good writer creates a world, the reader enters into that world. The characters come alive. Readers may daydream about the characters, carry on imaginary conversations, and visualize the world to such a degree that it seems almost real. And readers do not want writers messing with their “reality.” Some readers do not even want to know writers exist. They would rather believe the world the writer worked so hard to create came into being fully formed.

Once our work enters into the world, it is no longer ours intellectually, for lack of a better word. Instead, it becomes a collaboration between the writer and the reader. The reader’s imagination takes the story places that the writer has never even dreamed. The story takes on a life of its own—one that depends as much on the reader’s imagination as the writer’s.

So, Rowling basically broke into the reader’s mind, without permission, and rearranged the furniture. And that is why Harry Potter Fans Are Outraged.

We, as writers, need to learn from Rowling’s mistake. Are you listening, George Lucas?