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To Never Know

To Never Know

To Never Know depicts the story of Steven Lewis, and how he is affected by his life choices, his stalled inertia, and forces far beyond his control.

To Never Know, by Thomas Duffy, is a millennialist coming of age drama centered on the late adolescence and early adulthood of the main character, Steven Lewis.  The story starts in 1994 in Queens, New York. Steven is in his Senior year of High School. Steven has a crush on a girl in his class, Kelly Brennan. She seems to be interested in him, finding excuses to interact by asking for his notes and a stick of gum. But he never works up the courage to ask her to Prom.

The story skips past graduation and things have changed for Steven. His life continues a downward progression: his grades are not as good at college as they were in High School, he drops out, takes some time off. He tried calling Kelly again, but he could not bring himself to talk to her.

A family friend encourages him to send Kelly a letter, so he does, on September 10, 2001. Keeping in mind that Kelly lives in New York, you can make some good guesses about where the story goes after that, but this story packs a lot more into it, as Steven’s life events continue to unfold.

This story is an exploration of millennialist worries and fears in a post-9/11 life: adulthood with its ever-increasing responsibilities, how to live a good life, intimacy, isolation, establishing one’s self-identity, and the existential fear of death. The story is deeply emotional, with conflicting emotions. The quality of writing is strong enough to convey nuanced emotions and details. There were a few copy editing issues, but none bad enough to detract from the powerful meaning of the story.

The title, To Never Know, gives some insight into the central themes within the story. There is a strain of philosophical agnosticism (not in the religious sense) that there are unknown unknowns in our lives and that tomorrow is never guaranteed. There is also the theme that there are “bells that cannot be un-rung.”  Steven cannot go and have the relationship he wanted. We will never know what life would have been like if one thing would have been changed in the distant past, and we cannot know what tomorrow will bring.

This book is good, but really heavy at times. It is intended for adult audiences, and probably best understood by older millennials. There are depictions of sex, death, terrorism, and coarse language. The content of the story takes an odd twist at one point, and the end is unexpected.

Pages: 208 | ASIN: B01K7RYJB6

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Truth and the Serpent

Truth and The Serpent by [Rutledge, J.]

The Truth and The Serpent written by J. Rutledge is a fantastic work of fiction that explores an alternate creation story than what we’ve been told. Instead of focusing on the man and the woman in the Garden of Eden, this book focuses on the Serpent. The creature known as temptation and sin.

The book shows the Serpent’s side of the story as a present day man. I found this to be a very interesting concept for the book, as this was a story that I’ve known since childhood and had blindly accepted that the serpent was bad.

I really enjoyed the wit of the serpent. And the detail with which his character is developed is superb. If I had to think about what the serpent was like in the Bible, the description in this book would’ve nailed it. The journey that the serpent goes on is a thrilling adventure as well.

I really liked the language of the book although Sometimes The Capitals On Words Like Time took a bit of getting used to. Apart from that, the way the book was easy to read and the prose flowed naturally.

I knew going into this book that it would be heavy on the religion, but I didn’t expect it to be as heavy handed in it’s delivery. It was clear from the start that the author had done his research. Everything was thoroughly examined and fit it’s backstory nicely. I just felt that there was an overabundance of biblical references at times. 

This book is very well written. The first line had me melting into the sunset the author painted with his words. That’s why, despite the heavy biblical tones, I was able to finish it. The strength of his writing and the imagery surrounding his words and concepts got me through it.

I really related to all of the characters and what they went through. It was clear that this was done on purpose so I could get the lessons that I was being taught, which wasn’t something that I expected from a work of fiction, but it’s what happened anyway. My curiosity was piqued often and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I had to go back and re-read pages as I was going through and consuming the information so quickly. That’s how you know you’re onto a winner.

Pages: 499 | ASIN: B01N7SVJO6

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Tempting Faith Book Trailer

“Where shadows of past sins are revealed in the Light”

Abandonment. Dark Amish secrets. And an unforgettable romance between the daughter of an American minister and a famous British music producer tormented by tragedy.

When magazine editor Faith Edwards must take an assignment away from her tightly controlled life to travel to London—or else—she is not prepared for the series of unfortunate events that follow, or her intense attraction to David Ashton, a man who condemns all in life that she holds dear.

Set against the haunting backdrop of Cotswold, an English medieval monastery nestled high against the raging sea cliffs, and spanning an ocean’s width of unrequited love, Faith and David are forced to battle their greatest fears—unwittingly setting themselves on a course to bind their fragmented hearts together.

But will the dark chains of bitterness, not so easily broken, threaten the light of their future?

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The Cross Tells Me

Adelphi may be a small town, but it houses a treasure that cannot be measured. When Bill McFar comes to town in search of a payload, he finds what he wants beneath the Adelphi hillside: a source of petroleum. But McFar’s oil lies beneath something important to the people of Adelphi. On that grassy hillside rests a big wooden cross that represents the hope of the people, and inspires them as they go about their daily lives. No one in Adelphi wants the cross to move to facilitate McFar’s greed. But he’s powerful. And adamant. Will McFar get his way and uproot this beacon, offending the traditions and faith of the townspeople? Or will the story of the cross cause things to turn out another way altogether…?

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The Hazards of Adolescence

Robert Joe Stout Author Interview

Robert Joe Stout Author Interview

Miss Sally is a portrait of a young girl growing up in Texas in the 1930’s. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Primarily because I was living in Texas when I wrote it and my three daughters, though not yet in their teens, faced the hazards of adolescence, the coming of age which always is difficult and which Sally Halm, the protagonist of his novel, confronted in exaggerated form. I spent my boyhood in a small predominantly Protestant rural community and felt it important to portray what rural life was like for a contemporary audience.

The 1930’s are one of my favorite eras because of how much was going on across the country. Why did you choose this as the time period for your story?

My parents were severely affected by the “Great Depression”: they lost everything and had to start life anew in very changed circumstances. Texas was one of the states most affected by migration and the social changes that the Great Depression triggered. Mere survival became the primary preoccupation of millions of people. These are basic ingredients for the making of a novel.

Sally is a simple minded girl, she is not beautiful, and her family treats her this way. How did you set about capturing the thoughts and emotions of a young girl in the 1930’s?

I had a clear impression of Sally, who she was and what she was like, before I began and in the process of writing became Sally, at least to the extent of feeling what she felt, seeing the world as she experienced it, incorporating my own background of growing up in a socially restricted rural community where failed crops and tent revivals were a reality.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?

I’ve just completed a novella about how an incapacitating illness affects a marriage. It’s being considered by several editors. Also in the hands of editors is a recently compiled book of published short stories about Mexico. This fall I’m issuing as an ebook a nonfiction account of government repression of a teachers’ movement in Oaxaca, Mexico, which includes firsthand reporting. It’s to be called Kill the Teachers! And I’m beginning work on a freewheeling journalistic appraisal of the confused political and economic shenanigans involving the United States and Mexico.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Miss Sally: and the Sinners That God IgnoresThis is the story of a young girl’s painful initiation into womanhood: the discovery of sex without hope of love, and grief without the release of tears. The setting is rural Texas in the 1930s, a rough and tumble environment in which the thirteen-year-old Sally Halm questions but tries to appease her authoritarian mother’s religiosity, appeasement that leads to misguided attempts to seek a salvation that her environment ruptures
Sally’s father has distanced himself not only from his wife but Sally and her two older brothers and two older sisters. The mother’s ally is the son who hopes to become an evangelical minister; the rebel is Sally’s oldest sister, who Sally and the middle sister Hill’ry discover in a lovemaking tryst with a neighbor boy. Hill’ry is the family’s child protégé who is given privileges that Sally is denied and who Sally both envies and admires, attributes which tumble her into misadventures than Hill’ry sidesteps.

As Sally struggles to reconcile the concepts of “sin” and “salvation” that seem to dominate her life she ricochets between hope and rejection. Inspired by the testimony of a woman evangelist who recounted rising from degradation to achieve happiness and prosperity thanks to accepting Jesus as her personal savior Sally tries to emulate her but realizes “everything I do I do backwards, I can’t even sin without people laughing at me.”
Sent to live with relatives in another part of central Texas, Sally becomes infatuated with an older cousin whom she helps to milk and to breed a mare. Though supportive he’s a man who seems to hate himself, a hard drinker who has no use for religion and prefers the company of prostitutes than that of “churchy people.” Again Sally does things backwards and alienates him as she’s alienated others. Her decision to run away from family, from the she’s leading and has led, thrusts her into even greater entanglements, entanglements that make her realize how difficult it is to have one’s immortal soul saved, even when that’s all that one has left.

A reviewer cautioned, “You’ll love Miss Sally, but she’ll break your heart.”

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Infidelity

There is no greater test of love than that which Chadwick and JaLana faced 11 years into their marriage. JaLana thought her marriage and life would be like any other couple attempting to live a life of faith in God. While they had met their fair share of troubles and setbacks in life, they were always united together. All of that was suddenly wiped away the morning JaLana saw her husband exiting the garage with another woman that had been living with them. The next day, Chadwick came forth about the affair he had been having for the past six months with the sister of a friend they both had allowed in their home. Stunned and shocked, JaLana had a choice to make. Her husband had made it clear that he didn’t want to be in a relationship with her anymore. He wanted a divorce.

Twelve years later, the couple remains together. How did they do it? Why didn’t JaLana give up and give her husband the divorce he wanted? Learn how the love of Christ was able to touch both JaLana and her husband Chadwick Walsh. Discover how God’s truth came into the marriage, moving them both to humility enough to feel the burning love He had, and will always have for each and every one of His children.

Chadwick and his wife have now teamed together to retell the story of one of the most vulnerable moments they have shared as a couple. They explain the steps they took to regain their marriage completely without any remaining residue. They have laid everything bare to bring the world their personal experience of adultery and how God led them through the fire to a marriage completely healed.

In a completely new take on a book about adultery, you will read from both perspectives of husband and wife, how adultery had broken them both. They discuss the common pitfalls man and wife can face on the road to recovery and offer practical guidance for grieving couples who might know the same pain they have faced.

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My Search For The One True God

Searching for life’s meaning and purpose? Tired of looking for God and never finding Him? There is a God who wants to change your life!

Are you searching for meaning and purpose in your life?

Are you tired of searching for God and never finding him?

Are you involved in a faith that tells you what you have to do in order to be a follower of God, but leaves you in a place where this God has never come into your life in a personal way?

This book is about helping you find and receive the one true God into your life so that you can experience his presence (e.g. love, joy, peace), and have assurance of eternal life.

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It Arose in Dreams

Ruth Finnegan Author Interview

Ruth Finnegan Author Interview

Black Inked Pearl follows Kate, a young Irish girl, as she searches for her lost lover. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

It began in a dream when I was in New Zealand visiting  my daughter and granddaughter who live there. This was, essentially, the first page (and chapter) of the novel when Kate,  panicked and feeling she was too young for love runs away desperately as her best childhood friend (I never learn his name) tries for the first time, a teenager to kiss her. That scene, that act,  is the foundation for the story as she years later discovers that she as frantically and desperately  loves him as she had frantically fled from him years before

I say ‘dream’ as that is the nearest word I can get, vision perhaps they would have called in in the middle Ages. But that word’s a bit misleading.  In two ways.

First, it wasn’t exactly a dream in the sense of being, asleep more an experience in that liminal in-between state of being neither awake nor asleep but somehow fully both – the whole novel came in that somehow enchanted enspelled state ( I suppose you might call it ‘inspiration’). I planned nothing, but it was still a chapter a night, written down effortlessly (I don’t even remember doing it! or, by now, what the words were. it surprises me every time – so many times – I reread the book now).

Second, ‘dream’ suggests something visual, But it was more a kind of very intense node of emotion, something very personal to me (in a metaphorical sort of way the whole book is kind of autobiographical – what serious novel is not? – and the second chapter about a small girl experiencing the magical world of Donegal – is directly so.

Then the novel – and Kate –  just grew. I came to know the hero well, but wish  that my ‘dreams’ had given me his name

Black Inked Pearl is told in a dreamlike, almost stream of consciousness, style of writing. Why did you want to tell the story in this style and what were the challenges?

Well, it arose in dreams and the writing essential came from, and took place in, my unconscious – at least that is the only way I can understand and it. So the style is scarcely surprising, it was little under my deliberate control and almost not at all revised later.

I didn’t know in what style I was writing – the process was almost unconscious – but when it was finished I saw (or rather heard when I read it aloud ih my inner ear as I always do with my writing)that   it had the rhythms and sonorities of African and Irish story-telling (my mother was a wondrous story-binder) and that some literary giants (Joyce, Fulkner, Hopkins … many others) had written in similar styles. Poetry is mixed with prose – well in a way, as with its oral resonances (a subject on which I have written in academic contexts, in Oral Poetry for example), it is all poetry, some fully, some ore in a kind of blank verse: all unexpected by me!

Also, the content. Part of what I learned as the story revealed  itself to me was that the division between dream and reality is an elusive and perhaps non–existent one.

Problems – well some of my readers have problems with it! Some object because they cannot abide what they see as ‘incorrect’ grammar orthography words, not what they learned in the first form at school  – I appreciate that they have tried but think they miss the point (how do they cope with Shakespeare?).

Others including my deeply wise best friend, get a bit lost in the plot from time to time, too full of Celtic mists said one.  It’s too late now to amend that (and maybe it is just a necessary feature of the novel – mystic, mysterious – anyway) but I have tried to make things clearer, while not abandoning what has now has now become my signature style,  in the related ‘Pearl of the Seas’ and, on the way, The helix pearl’ (the latter the same story but this time as told by the garrulouos ever-sprarklng laughing sea (a very different perspective but equally born in dreams). I wonder what is coming next ..

Oh yes, the unusual spellings were loved by the Garn Press, the lovely publishers,  but at the same time gave the copy-editor real problems. Microsoft, can yoy believe it (the cheeky thing)  kept automatically ‘correcting’ the ‘wrong’ spellings. In the end they got me to send a special list to add to their ‘glossary’ of all my new spellings and word and abbreviations etc. I thought that would be quick and easy – about fifty cases? Whew, no! They tell me, incredibly, that it was nearly two thousand! Don’t believe it! Ut they ear that’s true. Anyway, hey did a great job whatever.

Kate is an enthralling and curious character. What were the driving ideals behind her characters development throughout the story?

 As I say it wasn’t conscious since it  all came in dreams. So in a way no ‘driving ideas’.

Still I have noticed some abiding themes , detected, later, in the text, as if looking at someone else’s writing (well in way it’s NOT exactly mine, not t=in the normal way anyway  – not of the deliberate, conscious careful academically trained me). /tow especially, the ones `I swoudl like to think readers will take form the novel (and from the movie if it gets made a I hope it one day will)

First as I said earlier is the understanding , that we may pretend or think we do, but that actually we do not really know the difference between reality and dreams. Given the way we have been brought up as children of the scientific revolution, this is an exceedingly difficult idea, is it not – but so important to try to accept, specially now as we become more aware of the lives, and, in a way, precious value of those with dementia. Perhaps it is only through literature and metaphor that we can eventually begin to grasp this.

Second is the thought, revealed near the end, that it is and was indeed right as Kate did, to search for others and try to help them carry their burdens. But that in the end it isourselves we are responsible for, it is our own souls for which we have to answer before (whatever metaphor we prefer here) the last judgement throne. As Kate in the final chapters had to do.

Also, after I had finished the book, I was inspired by the little butterfly that, unknown to me, the publishers had put, with the pearl and the jagged black, on the beautiful cover. ‘Butterfly’ in Greek –elsewhere too I think – is the same word and concept  as for the soul, breath, spiritus, life:  psyche (as in ‘psychology’, ‘psychiatry’). So the soul – figured as Kate, as every man – flies through the black ink print of the story and at the end settles down on the back cover, life fulfilled story told, with her wings folded.

Kate’s discovery of herself at the end was also, I now see, a kind of discovery of myself as person, as soul.

What are some of your inspirations as a writer that helped shape Black Inked Pearl

Again, ‘dreams’, my unconscious I suppose. But, as one perceptive reviewer put it, only someone with my background and personality would have had those dreams. So – my life, my loves, my experiences of the resonances and styles and images of great literature, above all Shakespeare, Rumi, Homer and the Bible.

Author Links: Facebook | GoodReads | Twitter | LinkedIn | GarnPress | OpenU

An epic romance about the naive Irish girl Kate and her mysterious lover, whom she rejects in panic and then spends her life seeking. After the opening rejection, Kate recalls her Irish upbringing, her convent education, and her coolly-controlled professional success, before her tsunami-like realisation beside an African river of the emotions she had concealed from herself and that she passionately and consumingly loved the man she had rejected.

Searching for him she visits the kingdom of beasts, a London restaurant, an old people’s home, back to the misty Donegal Sea, the heavenly archives, Eden, and hell, where at agonising cost she saves her dying love. They walk together toward heaven, but at the gates he walks past leaving her behind in the dust. The gates close behind him. He in turn searches for her and at last finds her in the dust, but to his fury (and renewed hurt) he is not ecstatically recognised and thanked. And the gates are still shut.

On a secret back way to heaven guided by a little beetle, Kate repeatedly saves her still scornful love, but at the very last, despite Kate’s fatal inability with numbers and through an ultimate sacrifice, he saves her from the precipice and they reach heaven. Kate finally realises that although her quest for her love was not in vain, in the end she had to find herself – the unexpected pearl.

The novel, born in dreams, is interlaced with the ambiguity between this world and another, and increasingly becomes more poetic, riddling and dreamlike as the story unfolds. The epilogue alludes to the key themes of the novel – the eternity of love and the ambiguity between dream and reality.

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The Contemporary Christian Colouring Book

Mindfulness and mediation are creeping into more parts of society. Things that were once meant for children are evolving for adults to enjoy as well. One of these is colouring books. No longer is this pastime reserved strictly for young children. There is a soothing sense that one can derive from colouring an image. It does not require much artistic talent either. Along with this shift to the adult mindset comes The Contemporary Christian Colouring Book by Rev. Ernesto Lozada-Uzuriada. Coupling the peaceful activity with biblical themes and images this book is a perfect gift for the devout. Each image evokes the idea of a stained-glass window one might see inside a church depicting various scenes from the bible. There is some melding of these scenes with modern technology which just serves to remind us that Christ is still present today.

The book begins with a lovely forward from Ruth Finnegan, operator of Living Tree Publishers that has produced this colouring book. In it, she seeks to remind us why we are drawn to art and why we colour. It is the marriage of that simple meditation with something tangible. A brief biography is also given of the artist who designed the pictures, Lozada-Uzuriada himself. The images are carefully crafted to convey the message of a particular scene or passage from the bible in a format that is easily understood. Titles are given to each piece to help the user remember which part of the bible and which story the scene belongs to. The line work is heavy and dark; much like stained glass itself. This is useful for those who colour because it easily defines which sections are contained.

Given that the images impress upon this writer scenes in stained glass windows, it serves to mention that the content of this colouring book is better suited for adults. The expressions of various people within the scenes could be taken as angry, frightening or scary. Young children need to have faith in the beauty and gentleness of the Bible and exposing them to this colouring book without proper context might serve to scare them, rather than inspire them. That aside, this book is a wonderful compilation of some of the more memorable pieces of scripture that one might want to colour and perhaps display in their home. Christ is a central figure in most of the pieces of this book.

With the world’s attention focusing more on mindfulness and meditation for the adults in the world, colouring has become a de-stressor for many. The Contemporary Christian Colouring Book by Rev. Ernesto Lozada-Usuriada is a must-have piece for those of the Christian faith who would like to colour while they meditate. Being able to add a personal touch to such moving and important points of Christian faith allows those who use this book to come closer to the inner workings of their faith. It is nice to see how something as traditional and sacred as someone’s faith can mix and meld with the current needs.

Pages: 46 | ISBN: 1326968165

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