Sunday Bookends: finding new authors (to me), my Marc Martel obsession, and The Mandalorian

I read Christian fiction, and write it (in a way), and I like a lot of it, but I will be the first to admit that some of it is cheesy, predictable and cringe-worthy. Maybe mine is too, but I digress. Sometimes I don’t mind the cheesy stuff but sometimes all the sweet, drippy tales grate on my nerves because they lack realism. Lately, though, I’m finding authors in the Christian fiction genre who don’t sugar coat. They write nitty-gritty, raw stuff but still get a Christian message across.

Chris Fabry, who my mom introduced me to, is one of those writers. I couldn’t get into the one book my mom suggested by him but when I opened Borders of the Heart I was hooked. The writing is fantastic and the action fastpaced, as if Fabry slammed his foot on the narrative accelerator and never let up. I like books that open up in the action or hook you in the first line and this one did that and then it did it again throughout. I have not finished the book yet, but I have a feeling I will by the end of this week. The plot of the book revolves around a man escaping heartache and finding a woman on the Mexican, Arizona border who is fleeing the Mexican drug cartel. This book is not for the faint of the heart as there are many difficult topics and scenes, including some more violent than I would have liked, though none were extremely graphic. The violence was necessary for the topic, unfortunately. (Although, by the fourth death I was like – I get the point. The bad guy is bad.

I love Fabry’s writing style. He creates poetry in his prose.

Some of my favorite lines include:

  • J.D. looked at Maria, her hair swirling in the hot wind. Like a vision of something that fell from heaven or crawled up from hell — he couldn’t tell which.
  • Thoughts and memories flowed together in a stream through his sleep-deprived mind, trickling over rocks and cutting some new channel. Water flows where it will and thoughts will do the same. He knew the trick was to simply surrender to the torrent. That’s when he could figure things out. If he followed his instincts, the words would come out in a song — not some paint-by-number approach to life, but something real and true and resonant.
  • And then she was gone. He reached for her but empty footprints filled the places where she should have walked. It was that moment he dreaded most, though he knew if she did not leave, he could not be surprised by her coming.
  •  If God had created a world without the possibility of choosing evil, there would have been no possibility of choosing love. 

I am about halfway through the book, so if you have read it, shhh…don’t tell me how it ends. I’ll let you know next week if the ending is living up to the beginning and middle.

My family now realizes I am obsessed with Marc Martel and I think they want to stage an intervention, but I’m on to them and won’t allow it. I’ve downloaded his independent EPs on Apple Music and can’t figure out why he doesn’t have a recording deal. I also may, or may not, have played his version of Unchained Melody several times, making my poor children listen as well.

Of course, I’m going to share it here (again) for you all to enjoy as well.

I didn’t watch any movies this week, instead watching old comedies like The Dick VanDyke Show to try to distract myself from the drama that is American Politics.  I needed something pure and light instead of something full of nastiness and vindictiveness.  We did finish up The Mandolorian’s first season, which we have enjoyed. I’m not the Star Wars fan that the rest of my family is, but I did enjoy this series, especially the addition of Baby Yoda, who I’m sure you’ve heard about, even if you don’t watch the show.

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My husband says the show is better than The Last Jedi.

In another attempt to distance myself from politics this week I had to unfollow several new blogs I had started following because they ranted in some very nasty ways about situations unfolding in our country. I escape to the blog world to get away from politics and I left social media to shut that garbage out. I’m not about to deal with it here as well.

This meme my son made and sent to me pretty much says it all about opinions and the internet these days:

I also didn’t write as much on the blog this past week, for some reason, but did manage a few posts, including:

Flash Fiction: Protest

Creatively Thinking: The Struggle of Claiming the Title Writer

The Day I Thought My Neighbor was Dead in his Backyard 

Fiction Friday: A New Beginning, Chapter 15

Apparently, my family did not enjoy the cold we all had two weeks ago and left us with lingering coughs.  This week they have been lining up and opening their mouths like little birds, waiting for their doses of elderberry syrup. My husband, who has never been sold on the natural remedies before this winter, has been the first in line. He discovered working 40 minutes from home and being sick is definitely not fun.

The weird weather we’ve been having has not really helped with people in our area getting sick. One week it was warm and muddy, this past week it was super cold and somewhat muddy. On Friday it was back to warm again and I’m hoping all this up and down doesn’t leave my oldest with sinus issues like it normally does.

When the weather warmed up slightly, I forced the kids outside to get some fresh air and stave off cabin fever. We currently have two small snowmen in our freezers that my daughter carried in and begged me to save.

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So, how was your week? Read any good books? Watch anything good? Let me know in the comments!

 

Written by Lisa R. Howeler

As a writer, photographer and former journalist, Lisa R. Howeler writes a little bit about everything on her blog Boondock Ramblings. She self-published her first novel, A Story to Tell, in September 2019 on Amazon. She's a wife and a mother and enjoys a good John Wayne movie and a cozy Jan Karon book. She's also a freelance writer and photographer who is a contributor to various stock agencies, including Lightstock and Alamy. Her photography work focuses on documentary and photojournalism.

20 comments

    1. No on the Borders or the Heart for your mom. Much too rough for her. A lot of deaths and I have to be honest … I almost thought it was overkill (no pun intended). I’ll let you know on the other one when I get more into it. War Room is a very good one without violence.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Lisa, your children are so adorable. I love, love, love those black and white photos. That snowman is too cute and snow angels too. I have never made snow angels. I have pulled cacti out pf my leg though, that was fun…I’m kidding of course. I am not reading anything at the moment and I watched a movie today about killer worms. I know, gross, but it was on regular television and even with a ton of commercials it was better then political brainwashing on everything else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ugh about the politics! Yes! Last night I said to my husband “they are all liars. The whole lot of them. Dems and Republicans. Kick them all out!” Drives me nuts. “This person lied!” Ummm… you lied too. You’re all liars and thieves and backstabbing jerks. It’s so bad I just woke myself up with a weird dream about politics. I’m not watching any of it today!

      And I hope you are kidding about the cacti! Ouch!

      Like

  2. I agree with your opinion on most Christian fiction. I usually can’t handle it. Get real, people! But that author of yours sounds very interesting. And I do like your story about Blanche, the times I get around to reading it.

    I watched The Mandalorian too, with my husband, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Baby Yoda just makes it all worth while. 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some Christian fiction can be really ridiculous, but some is worthwhile and realistic and I enjoy it. Once I find a good author I usually stick with them. I did finish the book and it got a little cliche in some areas but kept me glued to my seat to read it.

      Baby Yoda does make it all worthwhile. He’s so cute!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t read anything by Chris Fabry. I’ll have to check that book out. I’m trying to drag myself through Fancy Strut by Lee Smith, but it’s so boring. Maybe it’s just my mood, I don’t know. 😉

    Like

  4. I love the snowmen in your freezer. How fun! When my goddaughter was little we walked to the park in my neighborhood after a snow (they are rare here in central NC) and found a snowman someone had made. She then ate its head! It is one of my favorite winter memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ugh I hear you on the politics thing. I try not to post my political opinions online – because you are right, people just argue and get ugly and honestly no one is going to change anyone else’s mind on some sort of Facebook fight or twitter argument or whatever. I come here to forget about all that as well.

    Our weather has been the same – I am so ready for spring this year. We have been taking elderberry all winter, per your suggestion! Although I do gummies since my son would never take a syrup. Hopefully it has the same effectiveness.

    And your photos are wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you about the photos! And I hope the elderberry helps. I don’t know If the gummies are as effective or not, but I hope so. I didn’t know if my youngest would take the syrup but she loves it because it tastes so good!

      I just need a safe haven from the politics so I’m going to try to keep my blog politics free too! Just silly stuff, some faith, photos and my weird ramblings 😉😂

      Like

  6. I think my favorite this week was about your neighbor! I giggled at it because it was me when my eldest son was about two. The neighbor behind us was elderly and lived alone. I’d seen him trimming his lemon tree. Awhile later I saw the ladder but not him. Peeked over the fence and he was on the ground. I screamed in panic and woke him up! 🤪😂 Thanks for sharing! Ah, the memories!

    Like

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