Verb tense is a detail that should be considered before starting your story, as it determines the level of intimacy between the reader and the characters in your book. When verb tense is inconsistent, it jars the reader out of the story. Here are the two most common verb tenses used in fiction:
Present tense: This includes verbs such as "I want," "she goes," and "we meet." When combined with first-person POV, a greater intimacy is created. This is commonly used in young adult and contemporary adult novels. Some readers feel that using the present tense is a bit too much, but it can be very effective if done correctly.
Past tense: These words are formatted to show that the action took place in the past, such as "I went," "he knew," and "we danced." The story could still take place in the present. Only the verbs are different. By using past tense, there is a bit more space between the characters and the readers, and many readers find this preferable. It is the default choice for many authors.
I love devotionals, so I was excited to have the
chance to review this one. The topic immediately caught my eye: 365 devotions
that meet you in your everyday mess.
This book would be a wonderful addition to daily Bible
study for women of all ages who looking for a moment to breathe. (In fact, the
devotions provide you with that moment to just take a breath and listen to what
God has to say.) The devotions are written by numerous women. The format is:
title, Bible verse, message, and prayer/reflection question. Many of the women
are familiar names in the Christian industry, such as Renee Swope, Emily P.
Freeman, Kristen Strong, Ann Swindell, and Lisa-Jo Baker. The personal stories
will likely be relatable for many women.
One thing that makes this book a bit different from other
devotionals is that it does not specify a calendar day for each devotion. Therefore,
the reader can easily start at any time of the year instead of feeling the need
to wait until January 1st. It also contains a ribbon bookmark. Each message is
short, no more than a page, so it only takes a few minutes to read and get
encouraged. It is a small book, so it would be easy to travel with, as well. The
one thing that did surprise me was that all of the devotions did not
necessarily center around what I believed to be the topic of the book, taking a
moment to breathe. However, I still found them useful and relevant, for the
At the end of the book is a list of the contributing
authors/bios/devotions written, as well as a Scripture index.
A few of my favorite quotes include:
up grace — for yourself and others — by treasuring the truth and beauty that’s
found in God’s Word.”
you ever wish for a billboard sign to point you in the right direction? Open
His Word and seek Him there. Because He promises you’ll find Him when you seek Him
with all of your heart.”
you look over your life and see a closed door that eventually led to something
more beautiful than you imagined? Tell Him how grateful you are for the way He
moves in ways, often unseen, on your behalf.”
unforeseen delay you may encounter today or this week, see it as a gift, a
chance to listen, to lean in and hear Him calling you to Himself.”
Disclaimer: I received a
complimentary copy as part of the B&H/Lifeway blogger program. I was not
required to leave a positive review.
Jennifer Dornbush has graciously offered to give away a paperback copy of this new release. You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends November 17, 2017. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and pass on your information.)
God Bless the
Broken Road is a heartwarming story about a grieving army widow who finds her
way back to her daughter, her faith, and a new love. Amber Hill never imagined
she would find herself a war widow and single mom. She feels robbed and is
angry at God, and she doesn’t know how to help her nine-year-old daughter Bree
through her grief. Where, Amber wonders, are the Sunday dinners, the picnics,
the bike rides, the time together they should be enjoying as a family? Instead,
Amber is left with a folded flag and an empty heart.
Cody Jackson has a
death wish. Or at least that is what his manager thinks, as Cody pushes his
race car and his luck in every race. Is he hiding something, or just daring God
and other racers to end the path of destruction he finds himself on as he
rounds the last turn? When Cody encourages Bree to join in a Derby car race for
local youth, she finds a way to channel her grief into something good—and she
likes that her mom and Cody are starting to become friends—or maybe something more.
Cody invites Amber
and Bree to see him race, but as they watch Cody narrowly escape a devastating
crash, she realizes she can’t lose another person in her life. It’s better to
be alone than feel that type of grief again. But when Amber hits rock-bottom,
she cries out to God and asks for help. With her faith, her life, her family,
and her heart hanging in the balance, Amber is forced to decide between the
broken road she knows so well and trusting that God will provide a new
path. Based on the Rascal Flatts song, God Bless the Broken Road is a
moving, heart-stirring story about the power of faith to change a life.
The movie version
is coming 2018.
What inspired this novel?
God Bless the
Broken Road (GBBR) actually began as a feature film script three years ago. My
friend and director, Harold Cronk, who is best known for the God’s Not Dead
movies, called me one fine summer evening. He pitched me the seed of the idea
and asked what I thought. I said I thought it sounded like a solid story. And
then he asked if I wanted to write it with him. Of course, I said yes.
We finished the
first draft of the script on Christmas Eve, 2014. Over the course of the next
year we refined it while the producers rallied the funds. In the spring of 2016
Harold shot God Bless the Broken Road.
A few months
earlier, as we finished the script version, I talked with the producers about
penning a novel version. They thought it would be a great idea. So my agent,
Julie Gwinn, put a pitch together, and while we were filming, I quickly wrote the
first three chapters. Within two weeks Julie had procured a couple
contracts. We happily chose Simon & Schuster. I spent last summer scribing
the novel, and here it is a year later. The film version is also “in the
can” as we say and will be releasing in 2018.
What do you hope your readers take away from this novel?
When we were
writing the script, the top two takeaways we kept in mind were first, that God
is always with us, even if we don’t feel like He is or aren’t seeking Him actively.
He is always there, and He is always providing us with amazing blessings, even
when/if we don’t acknowledge them. One of the keys to healing and hope on our
broken roads is to turn our gaze to Him so that we can start to recognize Him
along the path. When we turn to Him and humble ourselves, He can start to guide
us and shape our brokenness into blessing.
takeaway that was important to us as we wrote this story is community. My
signature hash tag is #ConnectContributeBelong. I’m huge on the importance of
building actual, physical community (not just having virtual community). We
don’t have to travel our broken roads alone. God has given us friends and
family to lean on for support and encouragement. This can make a huge difference
when we are going through trying times. I think so many people suffer from
depression and suicide because they think they are alone. Mother Theresa said
the greatest poverty we have today is the feeling of loneliness because we have
forgotten that we belong to each other.
So many people feel
like this. They feel alone. They feel that no one understands or cares what they
are going through. What a travesty. It’s so simple to be there for someone. You
don’t have to be a professional counselor or therapist to help someone heal
from a wounding. Sometimes the very best thing is to just to take a moment from
your day to pause, listen, and lend a hug or word of encouragement.
On the flip side,
if you are traveling a broken road it can be difficult to let people in to your pain.
We see this in GBBR in the character of Amber, who lost her husband in
Afghanistan. It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable and ask for help. But
here’s the secret … people love you and want to help you and be there for you.
Amber eventually hits bottom in order to find this out and finally surrenders.
It’s at that moment when her life starts to really find hope and
Needing to be loved
and cared for is not a sign of weakness. It’s the way we humans need to relate
to one another to build real and lasting communities. By the way,
building community this deep requires that you get off social media, look up
from your phone, and have actual human contact! Just sayin’….
I grew up watching Kim Fields play “Tootie” on The Facts of Life, and I have followed
her career ever since. So I was very excited to see that she had a book coming
out, and I jumped at the chance to read it.
This book provides insight into her life, both the
personal one and the one people know from television. The reader is able to
follow Kim’s journey from Harlem to Hollywood and see the challenges she faced
growing up in front of the world.
The book is divided into three sections: My Mother’s
Voice, My Voice, and That Still Small Voice. Fields provides details on
marriages, miscarriages, and motherhood in an open and honest way. While I
thought I knew a lot about her, there were many new tidbits to learn on this
actor, director, producer, poet, wife, mother, friend, woman of faith, and so
I found this book to be a quick read, and I enjoyed
every moment of it. Despite being a celebrity, Fields demonstrates that she is
just an average woman who struggles with insecurity, acceptance, etc., just
like everyone else. Some of her poetry is included, and I really enjoyed
reading it. I love the fact that there are sixteen pages of photos, as they
personalize the story even more. It is apparent that God is at work in her life
in numerous ways, and I am glad she detailed it in this book. I look forward to
seeing what He has in store for her next.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of
this book from the publisher as part of the FirstWords Blogger Program, but I
wasn’t required to leave a positive review
If you're looking for some yummy recipes to try out this holiday season, this is one to check out.
It's a beautifully designed book, full of colored pictures for many of the recipes. It's divided into various sections:
1. Bites that Welcome
2. Pickled, Tossed, and Chilled
3. Meats, Mains, and Sturdy Soups
4. Comforts and Casseroles
5. Serve Alongsides
6. Sweet Tea, Sauces, and Such
7. For The Love of Sweets
There's also a section on gratitude, as well as a recipe index.
Some recipes seem a bit "fancier" than others, but most could easily be used by your average household. There is a list at the beginning of what should be included in a well-equipped kitchen and a well-stocked pantry. Each chapter begins with an inspiring review. This will make a wonderful addition to my cookbook collection.
There are a number of recipes I'll be adding to my menus in the near future, such as: Mexican Layered Cornbread Dip, Potluck Broccoli Salad, Fajita Guacamole Burgers, Creamy Pesto Tortellini Soup, Euna Mae's Macaroni and Cheese, and Loverly Lemon Bars. (There are so many more on my list to try!)
I received a complimentary copy as part of the FirstWords Blogger Program (from the publisher), but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.
Oh my word. Y’all,
it’s finally Fall! Fall is my favorite! If I had to list all the things I love
about Fall in order of what I love best, it’d be nearly impossible. Football,
crisp mornings, jeans and boots, apple everything, pumpkin everything, adding more
blankets to the beds, and the anticipation of the holiday season! I mean, how’s
a girl to choose?!
One other favorite
of mine during this season is sturdy soups - a bowl full of earthy, warm
goodness that gets at my soul. What’s the difference between regular soup and
sturdy soup you might ask? Sturdy soups have girth. They are spoonfuls of
hearty bites. And they fill bellies way up. You know, they’re sturdy. They can
stand alone served with only a few fixins on top. Have I got a sturdy soup for
This recipe is an
adaptation of one found in my church cookbook. Y'all know that if you can ever
get your hands on a church cookbook, then it's a keeper. Church cookbook
recipes are those tried-and-true, time-tested, crowd-pleasing dishes. I know,
because I'm a pastor's wife, and I've been feeding people for more than 20
years. So you learn what's good, what people come back for, and what people
request recipes for. And this White Chicken Chili meets the criteria for sure!
It is so creamy and loaded with flavor, and the texture is divine with hearty
bites of tender chicken and white beans. Sturdy.
This recipe is the first soup that my family asks for when the weather
officially turns cooler and there’s football on TV. Here’s to fall! And here’s
to full bellies and full hearts! - Amy Nelson Hannon, author of Love Welcome Serve: Recipes that Gather and
WHITE CHICKEN CHILI WITH CILANTRO AND LIME
Tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ - 2
cups yellow onion, chopped
cloves garlic, chopped
teaspoons dried oregano
teaspoons ground cumin
teaspoon powdered ginger
cups chicken stock
dry white wine like Chardonnay (optional)
leaf, broken in half
cooked, shredded chicken
white beans of your choice, drained
jalapeno peppers, minced
fresh grated Monterey Jack cheese
teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped (plus more for topping)
juice of 3 limes
olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven (around 5-6qts). Add the
onion and sauté over medium heat until they're tender and just starting to get
color. Add the garlic oregano, cumin,
and ginger, cooking for one more minute. Stir continuously so the garlic
doesn't burn! Add stock, wine (if using)
and bay leaf. Cook uncovered for 5
minutes over medium heat until somewhat reduced. Add chicken, beans, and jalapenos. Simmer
uncovered for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Over low heat add a little cheese at a time,
stirring until melted. Add pepper, and
taste for salt; add if needed. Stir in
fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve! Garnish with fresh
chopped tomatoes, green onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, or sliced avocado.
This is a new devotional geared toward young women,
though I believe it could be enjoyed by women of all ages. The topics are
relevant for teens, and they cover things such as: bullying, social media,
dating, self-worth, patience, etc.
The book itself is beautiful, starting with the cover.
Each day (which goes by number, not calendar date, so it can be started any day
of the year) includes a Bible, verse, a passage, and a few lines for jounaling.
I was a bit surprised that there was no ribbon bookmark, however.
The book is designed to offer daily encouragement, and
the overall reminder is that “You are loved.” The 365 readings are short enough
to fit into a busy schedule. Scripture verses are based on the NIV Bible. The
cover is sturdy, and the book is a convenient (small) size, so it would be easy
to travel with, as well. It would make a nice supplement to a daily