afterlife · Apologetics · book review · Five Star Review

Answering the Toughest Questions About Heaven and Hell

Answering tough questions about heaven and hell
Image courtesy of Bethany House

Answering the Toughest Questions About Heaven and Hell by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz

Published by Bethany House(2017)

ISBN:978-0-7-7642-1871-2(Print)

Grab your copy on Amazon!

*Book received for free from Bethany House Publishers*

Here’s a sobering fact: “More than 7,000 people die each day in the U.S. Nearly 11,000 are born each day.”(Answering the Toughest Questions, pg.28, 2017).

Bickel and Jantz began this book in the most logical way by asking: Is there an afterlife in general? The tone of the book is conversational, intellectual and made for very easy reading.

However, where the book excels in being  highly organized, the answers given may satisfy those who are deep in the religion and who never waver from the Word of God whilst “new school” believers like myself, believe in Christ but are not quite sure if everything the bible paints is 100% accurate or made clear.

The good part is that the authors actually save the biblical teachings for later. They offer information on the afterlife based off of sound research and used ingenious quotes from Peter Kreeft, Freeman Dyson, Alan Segal, and more.

The real question remains though: Were they able to give us what we want?

Well, the authors were humble enough throughout the book to mention that they do not have clear answers on everything. In fact, going with God, reading the bible and combing through research dealing with the afterlife is anyone’s best bet.

Another cool feature of this book are the reflection questions at the end of each chapter. The questions are tough too! Not something to take lightly. This is your afterlife we’re talking about here.

Below are a few teaser bits of what I learned from this book:

  • Before followers of Jesus were called Christians, they were called people of the way because Jesus said it first that he was/is the way to heaven.
  • C.S. Lewis said “we have an innate desire for immortality so immortality(in some form) must exist.
  • Death may not sting, but it still hurts(I love how they put that!)
  • Life after death can be explained through biology, consciousness, teleology, and physics- to some degree.
  • Our brains and minds are separate. Therefore, when the body dies our minds or spirits will live on.

I enjoyed this book completely. It sort of rekindled my faith. I love reading theology and Christian living books for this reason.

Do you have any thoughts or experiences you’d like to share here? If you have reviewed the book also, let me know!

-The Write Web 🙂

4.5 Star Review · book review · Romance

Date Me by Logan Chance(My Honest Review on a Hot Novella)

Date Me novella
Image courtesy of The Brothers Chance Publishing

Date Me( a Sex Me Novella) by Logan Chance

Published by The Brothers Chance 2016

Downloaded free via InstaFreebie

Grab Date Me on Amazon today!

According to author Logan Chance’s Amazon bio, he “tells it like it is and is a man of his own.” He has also been nominated for Best Debut Goodreads Author of 2016. With credentials like that, I was not surprised that this book would be pretty darn hot.

Erik Murphy is a bad boy pilot and he just learned his ex is getting married soon. He needs a date to go to her wedding. Someone to show off and make his ex mad- but who would go with him on such short notice?

With the help of his meddling, sailor mouth sisters, his profile is posted on a dating app and he is surprised when he gets more than a few lady callers.

One in particular, Belinda, seems to enjoy everything he enjoys. He begins messaging her back and forth and even looks forward to their light banter.

Then one day he meets Belinda’s friend Kayla.

Things get a bit ore difficult.

Erik’s growing attraction for Belinda is relegated to conversation only but her hot friend commands his fantasies with her body. They have a serious chemistry going on. He wants her- bad.

What is a man to do? Go for good conversation and a good time(He and Belinda likes the Miami Heat) or go with your instincts according to the laws of attraction?

Here is a full warning: there is a plot twist but even for a novella (which I finished in one night), it was soooo good. Right to the last drop.

Also, I think reading romance novels from a male perspective can be a new thing for me. Reading from male’s perspective, kind of confirmed that guys really do like when a woman takes control but they can also be sweet and thoughtful to the woman they love.

4.5 Star Review · book review · mystery novels

Guilty by Laura Elliot(My Honest Review)

 

guilty
Image courtesy of Bookouture

Guilty by Laura Elliot

Published by Bookouture June 22, 2017

ISBN:978-1786811424

*Book received for free from Netgalley*

______________________

Thirteen year old Constance Lawson goes missing one night and the prime suspect is her very own uncle, Karl Lawson.

The only reason he is a suspect is because young reporter, Amanda Bowe, has a way with words; she makes some startling connections, supposedly linking Karl to his niece’s disappearance.

Six years later, Karl’s life has been destroyed: His brother alienates him, his wife and child abandoned him, and Amanda Bowe is doing excellent.

What will it take for Amanda to understand the pain she put Karl through?

What I can say about this book, is that it keeps you guessing. That is a major point for me and was basically the bonus which gives this book its 4.5/5 hearts.

The reason this book gets four and half hearts, is not because it’s a bad book. To be honest, this story was pretty brilliant.

I just have not read a psych thriller in so long, I was lost at some points or didn’t care..? I cared about what happened in Karl’s life though.

The reporter is one character I did not like nor feel any connection with.

Also, at some point, I thought the story would end, but then the book twists into Amanda’s story. I honestly did not care about her and her life. I truly didn’t. But her story is the bonus of the book in some ways.

What ways you may ask? When it comes to a person being guilty, so many play their role in it too.

I am seriously considering reading more of Laura Elliot’s books.

book review · Communicating with God · Five Star Review · heaven · Holy

Prayers for an Anxious Heart( a review)

Prayers for An Anxious Heart

Compiled by Barbour Publishing Staff(July 1, 2017)

ISBN: 978-1-68322-171-5

*Book received for free from Netgalley

_________________

These prayer collections(there’s many of them!)published by Barbour, are really hard not to love.

If you are a Christian Woman then this neat little devotional is definitely for you.

Now, if you are not Christian or just need a pick me up to remind you of what’s really important- then the soothing words of this book is for you too.

“Just when I think I might have it all together, something happens to remind me that I am not in control.”(Prayers for an Anxious Heart, 2015)

The everyday stressful moments that seem to stunt our spiritual growth is real but having this powerful book with prayers in it is a great way to begin or end your day.

I think the beautiful factor of these books is that it offers biblical guidance without the need to bash you over the head with rules and structures on how to pray.

For instance, many of the “prayers” offered in the book are inspired by life and Scripture. Well, Scripture is life, but you get the drift.

You can take the prayers and tailor it to your life. Not repeat it word for word. But if you must repeat the prayers exactly, that is your choice too. Hey, it could strengthen your prayer life!

In sum, there is nothing bad to say about a neat book for women who face real troubles.

Five purple hearts!

P.S. I will try to post more reviews of the Spiritual/Christian nature on Sundays or once a month! Please subscribe if you’d like more reviews  and writing tips!

4 Star reviews · African American · book review · Romance

More Than a Client by Ambrielle Kirk( a review)

more than a client
Cover Image courtesy of Obsidian Gem Publishing

More Than a Client(Seductive Romance Shorts) by Ambrielle Kirk

Published by Obsidian Gem Publishing(2014)

65 pages

Received FREE from InstaFreebie

Martin Johansson wants to keep his customers satisfied. When he goes out of his way to make amends with one of his customers, Tiffany Winters, he gets more than he bargained for. He did not expect the woman, whose voice he’s listened to and flirted with over the phone to be a Nubian beauty.

Tiffany Winters wishes the shipping company would pick up her orders on time and when she complains, the owner of Elite Courier comes to her door and she is unprepared for the owner to be as handsome or as kind.

When they meet in person, it definitely ignites the pages in this short story.

If you want to read a story that you can devour in thirty minutes or less, then this one is for you. The quality of writing and pacing is good and the characters were okay too.

Martin stepped forward. “You heard her. I might look like Vanilla Ice to you, but if you test my patience, you will see what I look like when I knock your lights out.” (More Than a Client, pg. 50)

I liked Martin and Tiffany together and they work perfectly for this little story, but I think I wanted something essentially unique this time. In this story you have Tiffany, her bothersome ex and then her newfound beginning in love all over again.

Same recycled story from most romances but again, it is a short story and I really do like the intense heat and the characters in this one.

For more reviews like this one, subscribe to my blog!

If you have a book you’d like me to read or that you’d like to “buddy read” together, please contact me and we’ll make it work 🙂

-The Write Web

book review · Creative Writing · Five Star Review · writing

The Art and Craft of the Short Story( a book review)

art and craft of short stories
Book cover courtesy of Open Road Distribution(October 2016)

The Art and Craft of the Short Story by Rick DeMarinis

Originally published by Story Press(2008)

ISBN: 978-15040-3685-6

If you’ve ever wanted to take that Master’s course in creative short fiction writing, I recommend none higher than DeMarinis’ The Art and Craft of the Short Story. This is no short book with quick, easy clichés to get you writing better. On the contrary, you will learn the anatomy of the short story and how to tell the difference between a good one and bad one.

What makes this book so good?

  • It is straight to the point with explanations of the tools of creative writing.
  • Lots of exercises.
  • Examples of amazing short stories written and published.

As someone who loves reading poetry and short stories, I had to pick this one up. I needed a book from an expert who will not only tell, but show me what good writing looks like.

DeMarinis breaks down beginnings, endings, plots, imagery, theme and more.

You realize he is speaking to you as a gentle instructor, showing you what you already realize as a reader: that a story has to grab your attention from the get go.

Here is just a few of the sage advice you’ll find:

  • “If there is a thematic point in a story to be made, it would have to emerge organically-not forced”(pg.59) meaning as you are writing, you may not want to focus on theme, just tell the story. Readers will have their own thoughts on what the theme truly is.
  • The contemporary short story is mostly character driven.
  • Shifting points of view may bring the story into sharper focus.
  • Closing a short story is similar to closing a poem(really loved this topic!)
  • The weird yet glamorous world of meta-fiction writing.

I think the biggest take away from this book is the breakdown of stories. As DeMarinis puts it:

“In fiction, every sentence is innovation.”(pg. 135) Stories are made up of Narrative(voice that tells the story), narrative summary(moves story forward), and scenes(place characters on stage).

Seeing it condensed like that after reading his book, really nailed it.

So if you are interested in writing short stories and getting them recognized and/or published, you will be doing yourself a favor by picking it up either on loan from Freading.com or clicking its title above to purchase from Amazon.

I wish I could spill all the information from beginning to end on this book, but writing is your journey and yours alone.

Would you pick up this book to improve your own writing or to learn about short fiction?

What are some books you have read on short story writing? Share here!

Sincerely,

-The Write Web

Creative Writing · writing · Writing gigs

The Power of Shorts

shorts
Photo Image by Josh Willink and blog design by Ericajean using Canva

I’m not talking about the tiny things people will be wearing on their legs this summer.

I’m talking about the incredible short fiction that is actually selling well on the Kindle and Smashwords.

Don’t believe me? Check this out:

“I know of one writer who sells collections of short pieces of erotica. She tells me she makes $15,000 a month, and expects to make more, as she releases more collections… So short stories are goldmines, these days.”[ http://www.fabfreelancewriting.com/blog/2013/06/25/writing-kindle-ficion-make-money-with-short-stories/]

Let’s Talk Short Pieces and Long Money

Just from those pieces of information, I know two things: One, short fiction is back.

Two: Writing in the popular categories(a.k.a. romance) will earn you more money as a writer.

Do I know this from personal experience?

Yes and…no.

I’ve written a story less than 150 pages for Smashwords and Barnes and Noble and it amassed about $23.00  at 0.99 per book.

Why the low sales?

Actually I received thousands of downloads when it was free. When I experimented and set it to 0.99 for a short while, it earned $23 buckaroos. Not much.

But I did not lose hope.

I began sifting through articles to find real writers who are earning an income and they are totally making a living out of this short fiction thing.

But, I don’t think it is as easy as it may seem.

Picking the Piece That Fits You

What if you don’t like writing romance? What if you are into mystery and thrillers or nonfiction?

Well, the stats are in the favor of these top four categories:

Lucky for me, I enjoy all four of these categories and regularly read the books within them. But I’ll be honest. Romance is my #1 fav hands down.

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading D.K. Cassidy’s Room #42 and last year enjoyed Trish Marie Dawson’s The Station Series.

These books are fantastic and are not chunky page-wise.

In fact, Trish Marie Dawson’s The Station Series’ books, are less than 200 pages each and still I craved them enough to spend  3.99 on each book. Her first book is free.

Hopefully, knowing this is making it easier to consider writing short fiction. If not, here is more to persuade you…

I just bought D.K. Cassidy’s Sleepless book because her short read, Room 42 had me hooked to her writing.

The Key to Serving Up Your Stories

I notice a trend in pricing models too. For example, series seem to do extremely well online- especially if the first book is free.

If you want people to gobble down your books, serve them up a free appetizer and you will see your audience grow(of course this all depends on factors such as cover design, selecting the right categories for your book and great writing skills).

As a bookworm and writer I see the benefits from both ends. For one, as a reader I need to know where your stories are going and your tone in the books before I make any kind of extra purchase within the series.

C’mon even movies have trailers.

Secondly, as a writer, posting up free reads is a genius plan to get people hyped about the following books.

I heard of Kindle Singles and Kindle Worlds as well for writers to place their short stories. I am unfamiliar with these tools so please help me out if you know anything, comment below!

Want to strengthen you short story skills? Try out these powerful resources below:

The Art and Craft of the Short Story by Rick D.eMarinis

Jerz’s Literary Blog

The Seven Key Elements of Fiction

How to Write Short Stories That Sell

How to Make Real Money Selling Short Fiction