Monday, August 30, 2010

Demon: A Memoir

Did the title of this post get your attention?

'Cause it sure got mine!

So, what on earth would make me pick up a book entitled Demon: A Memoir?

I have serious issues with all things horror. In particular, horror that in anyway involves the satanic realm.

But this book was the She Reads bookclub recommendation for August. She Reads is a group I discovered on Facebook a few weeks ago and it's a part of Proverbs 31 Ministries. I don't claim to know much about Proverbs 31 ministries, but the little I do know leads me to believe that they wouldn't recommend a book that was inappropriate.

However, I still wasn't sold. I looked up the reviews. And they were impressive. People talked about how they couldn't put it down. How they were moved by the book.

Moved? Really?

I debated for a few days and then took the plunge and ordered it (no, the library didn't have it). It took several days to arrive, during which time I wondered if I'd lost my mind and wasted $10. Well, actually $28 because I needed to spend over $25 to get the free shipping so I ordered a few more books. (Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this!)

Anyway, I didn't start reading it right away. I looked at it for a little while. Took it out of the box. Wondered, again, if it was worth reading or if I was getting ready to squander my precious reading time on something I wouldn't enjoy or benefit from in any way.

As it turns out, all I wasted was a lot of mental energy worrying over nothing.

I read Demon: A Memoir in less than 24 hours. I would have finished in less than 12, but life did its thing. And I had to sleep a little.

After, oh, three pages or so, I couldn't put it down.

Why? Well, I don't want to give it all away. But Demon: A Memoir is actually a love story.

No. Not that kind of love story.

The very best love story of all time. The one we live in everyday.

I finished it last week and I'm still thinking about it. Thinking about re-reading it actually.

Tosca Lee's writing was beautiful. I loved her descriptions of the fall of Lucifer, of creation, of the virgin birth and of the way God is involved in the details of our lives today. I even loved the way the book ended - and it wasn't what I was expecting.

When I turned the final page, I felt compelled to pray for the main character, even though I know he isn't real. Um . . . well . . . maybe that doesn't happen to you. And it's not often that it happens to me, but it did this time.

I also felt a renewed sense of awe and wonder that the Almighty God not only tolerates humanity, but He loves us, with a never-ending love. Loves us so much He sent His son to die for us. Loves us. Even though we so often throw that love back in His beautiful face.

That's not the way I usually feel when I finish a book.

Which is the very reason I wanted to share Demon: A Memoir with you.

Because I know many of us are always on the lookout for a writer we've never had the pleasure of experiencing before, I've decided to post an occasional "review" of a book that I've read. If you enjoyed this and would like to see more, please let me know in the comments.

Side note: My "reviews" will not be critiques. We've already covered how I feel about criticism and as such, I do not feel in anyway inclined to go around critiquing writers who have actually managed to get their books published! If I write a post about a book, it will be because the story captured me and I want to share it with you.

Friday, August 27, 2010

What a Difference a Year Can Make

image courtesy of

I don't know the exact date.

I didn't mark it on my calendar.

I probably should have.

It was a pretty big deal.

Oh. Who am I kidding? It was huge. To me anyway.

A year ago this week, I sat down at my computer and emailed my sister the first chapter of my book. I asked her to read it and tell me if she'd like to read more.

Then I spent the next day trying not to vomit. (I'm not kidding).

I was terrified. I'd spent the past six months writing a book. And no one except my number one fan, my husband Brian, knew anything about it.

But Jennifer liked it. She wanted to know if I'd written any more. It took another couple of emails and another couple of chapters before I admitted that I'd actually written the whole thing.

She loved it. And insisted I send it to my parents.

Now, I'm 36 years old. Not 12. But my parent's opinion means a lot to me. To this day, disappointing them is one of my greatest fears.

So I sent them an email. I wish I still had it. I don't remember what I said. Something along the lines of "Uh, so, I wrote a book. Hope you like it."

They loved it.

Apparently, while the whole "writing thing" came as quite a shock to me, it didn't surprise them in the slightest. I'm not sure if this is because they are my parents and as such, are naturally biased to believe I can do anything, or if they had seen some tendencies that I had been too busy living my life to notice.

Either way, they jumped on board and my fan club reached a grand total of four.

It was around this time that it occurred to me that maybe it would be a good idea to read up on writing. I was in for a rude awakening. Because I learned I had a good story, but an unpublishable one. Mistakes galore. All sorts of issues that branded me for the neophyte I was.

Of course, a lot can happen in a year.

I'm still green. Still unpublished. Still finding and fixing mistakes galore.

But I've learned so much this year. I've learned that writing first drafts is fun. Fixing them . . . eh . . . not so much fun as mind-numbing hard work mixed in with occasional moments of delight. I've learned that even though I tend to think of myself as a fiction writer, I actually enjoy writing devotions. I've learned that the road to publication is long and without guarantees so the best plan is to learn the craft, write the best you can and leave the timing up to God.

But most importantly, I've learned that I am a writer.

And no one is more surprised by that than me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

The View from the Backseat

image courtesy of
We recently spent quite a bit of time on the road and my husband, being a wise and loving mate, knew that the best place for me was in the far back seat of the van.

Horizontal. Asleep.

He claimed this was all in my best interest, but I suspect it was because he couldn’t bear the thought of the long drive ahead with me in the passenger seat, gasping and clutching the door, slamming on that imaginary brake pedal in the floorboard and providing him with a running commentary on the distance to the nearest 18-wheeler.

So I climbed into the backseat, propped up on three pillows, and watched the world go by at 60 70 80? miles per hour. I looked for shapes in the clouds. I took note of the way the blue of the sky and the green of the trees make for a very pleasing palate and congratulated myself on choosing it for our nursery eight years ago (yes, our first child is a girl but in case you haven’t figure this out yet, I don’t care for pink). I observed that the trucks speeding by in the opposite lanes passed us so quickly it was almost impossible to read the writing on the side. I tried not to ponder that for long. And after a little while, I fell asleep.

Amazingly enough, we arrived at our destination without any difficulty.

No accidents. No speeding tickets. No drama.

And it made me wonder.

Does God ever wish I would just shut up and climb in the backseat?

How much of my time and energy is spent slamming on my own spiritual brake pedal, clutching and grasping at the things I hold so dear, begging Him to slow down, asking Him if He’s paying attention, questioning His reasoning?

Would my journey be more pleasant if I let Him take me wherever He wants, whenever He wants, however fast or slow He wants, and let Him do it without whining about His methods?

Would our relationship be sweeter if I sat with Him, chatting with Him, enjoying His presence, learning more about Him, trusting Him to get me where He wants me to go, instead of nagging and whining and second-guessing?

I don’t think He wants me to disengage completely, crawl off into the backseat and just say “whatever, Lord” in a fit of pique.

I do think it is easy to say we trust.

But so much harder to get out of the driver’s seat and sit in the passenger seat without fear.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Book Review

My friend, Edie Melson
Edie Melson is a gifted author, co-founder of The Christian Writer's Den, and a faculty member of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Her resume is impressive but the reason I love her is because she is one of the first people who made me feel like a "real" writer.

Now, for those of you who read this blog regularly, or just want a laugh, scroll back to the post Brownie Bliss  - that episode was entirely Edie's fault! While Edie is responsible for me eating quite a few brownies, there's no question that my writing is better because of her wisdom and her willingness to tell me when something needs to be changed, improved or deleted. She is a constant source of encouragement to me and her blog, The Write Conversation, is a must read for writers and people who love them.

So, imagine my delight when she agreed to let me post a book review each month on her blog. OK - I did sort of back her into a corner about it. I'm pretty sure when she asked our writers group she was hoping for someone more experienced to take her up on it, but hey, she did ask. And I did offer. And well, here you go . . .

My book review of Jerry B. Jenkins Writing for the Soul. Leave me a comment over at The Write Conversation and let me know what you think. Um . . . unless you think it's terrible. You can leave the negative comments over here at Out of the Boat!