Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Soldiers Reunion
By Cheryl Wyatt
Reviewed by Sue Watson

A Soldier’s Reunion is the fourth book in the “Wings of Refuge” series set in Refuge, Illinois.

A bridge collapse reunites Dr. Mandy Manchester and Army pararescue jumper, Nolan Briggs.

Ten years earlier, they’d parted as high school sweethearts and had no contact since. Misunderstanding and pain stands between them, threatening a renewed relationship.

Cheryl Wyatt’s former career as a registered nurse gives authenticity to the medical aspects of the story. Familiar characters from the previous three books add to the enjoyment of the book.

From a writer’s prospective, I found Ms Wyatt’s book full of examples of good writing techniques that I could use to improve my own writing. My copy has pink sticky notes protruding from almost every page. I was especially impressed with her use of metaphors that reflected the medical field and the local setting.

In spite of my stopping to mark examples I liked, I enjoyed the book. I’ve heard the suggestion before of marking a good book to learn about writing, but this is the first time I have done it. I think I chose well. I’m hoping there will be a book five. Perhaps I will be able to resist the temptation to fill it with sticky notes.

Hurry out and purchase the book before it leaves the shelves, or go to her website Then settle down in a comfortable spot and enjoy the read with or without sticky notes.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Take Cover by Lou Gatlin

Allow me to give credit to a friend I lost to death a few months ago. Recently, I looked through books I hadn't read for several years. Surprising how gems pop out in unexpected places like on my mantel with an assortment of pretty-covered books with a duck head bookend on each side.
My friend, Mrs. R. R. (Lou) Gatlin excelled at poetry. With every holiday, special occasion or sometimes tributes to people in her life, Lou furnished our church or her writing group with a poem to commemorate. She won many awards even at one time being honored in Washington D.C. by the president.
Lou was a home-grown Wichita Falls, Texas lady. The church she attended for years was Southside Assembly of God which, when rebuilt after the 1979 Wichita Falls tornado became Evangel Temple. In 1981, she published a book of her poems entitled aptly, since it was two years after the big storm, "Take Cover," with a picture of a small tornado on the front.
I moved to Wichita Falls in 1981. At that time, the storm held a top place in thought and conversation. At the first hint of a tornado warning, no one ventured from their home. The storm had leveled many neighborhoods in the southwest part of the city. Several people were killed. Lou wrote a tribute to a lady in her church which was killed. One poem simply told the story of "The Big Tornado of Wichita Falls."
"Take Cover"is divided into four sections. The first highlighted the history of Ms. Gatlin's church and memories of that time such as dedication day and Easter,1979.
The second section showed her patroitism. We loved hearing her newest poem every fourth of July. She called the third section Fragments of Life including her Rose of Gold for her fiftieth wedding anniversary. Lastly, she wrote poems about her childhood and family like The Lost Toy and Grandma's Room.
I pull out this old book and reread the pages one by one. I waltz down memory lane with my friend. I recall the things she treasured in life. The writer in me dwells on how our written word can touch people even after we no longer can. At my own mother's funeral, a preacher read a poem I had written to her on Mother's Day. Our written words live on.
May I write with new resolve to make every word count, to ask God what He'd have me say, and perhaps to work harder at the craft to make my stories more entertaining and emotionally charged for my reader's enjoyment, for years to come, like my friend, Lou Gatlin.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith © 2002 Anchor Books

Don’t you love it when a book finds you? I mean, a good book, a surprisingly captivating novel that falls into your hands by the sheer forces of Providence. Such happened to me recently, and I’d like to tell you dear readers about this first in what I learned is a series of novels.

I belong to an internet free cycle network by which I became the recipient of a mishmash of miscellaneous goods—not the least of these a copy of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. I stashed the book on my shelf but came upon it later while digging through my bookcases for light reading like one might rummage through the cupboards and fridge looking for a snack.

I didn’t read the summary on the back nor the author’s bio. I just, leaned back, opened up, and started reading. I thoroughly enjoyed the short journey guided by Alexander McCall Smith.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is set in South Africa in what I presume to be the modern day. The main character is the very clever and likable Precious Ramotswe who uses her inheritance from her father to open up a private detective agency in the town of Gaborone. She has no other credentials, other than life experience and good, logical sense.

The author describes Precious’s more amusing cases, like searching for a missing husband, exposing a con artist, and learning the identity of a daughter’s mysterious boyfriend. He also describes the colorful people in Precious’s life and some of the aspects of her life outside the agency. The undercurrent of the book is her most dangerous case; the disappearance of an eleven year old boy, thought to have been abducted by medicine men.

Between the lines, Smith weaves cultural facts about a very gentile and gracious society who lead simple lives surrounded by natural dangers and tribal skirmishes. One particular scene made my skin crawl, when Precious drives over a cobra that leaps up into the under carriage of her van.

Smith’s vivid characterization and story telling skills compensate for poorly timed back story exposition and indiscriminate POV switches. How did Smith get away with such faux pas, when as aspiring writers are so emphatically warned to avoid them?

As blessing would have it, I found the latest edition in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, In the Company of Cheerful Ladies, in the sales rack at Hastings! Bonus! For a fun, easy, but educational read, I highly recommend The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Water With Lemon by Zonya Foco, RD and Stephen Moss

I am on a health kick and have been since April. The last seven weeks has proved somewhat successful for me. I've lost a total of 12 pounds and 11 inches. I'm excited about the journey ahead of me and can't wait to see what I'll look like when I reach maintence.

The book I'm blogging about today is from an author, which my trainer is ga-ga over. My trainer hooked me up with this author's recipe book of simple, delicious meals that even my kids like. But it was when I was visiting this author's site I saw she co-wrote a fiction novel about weight loss.

This immediately caught my attention since one-I'm a writer of fiction and two-my critique partner has written a manuscript very similiar in idea and tone to this book.

The book is entitled, "Water With Lemon," by Zonya Foco, RD and Stephen Moss. Ms. Foco is an author, TV Host, and a national speaker. She teaches families about good nutrition and, "The Power of One Good Habit."

Here's the blurb:

60 extra pounds. An unhappy marriage. Food for comfort. Karen’s life is falling apart. Then she meets an unlikely neighbor who reveals how a series of simple choices have the power to shape the life we have — into the life we want. Karen’s story of weight loss and personal transformation will touch your heart and open your eyes! It will reveal how eight powerful, core habits, when mastered one at a time, create an invisible force that will literally — change your life.

This weight-loss novel delivers Zonya’s “Power of One Good Habit” approach to health and weight control woven into a compelling story with characters we can all relate to. Read Water with Lemon and you’ll walk away with the knowledge and inspiration to conquer your own weight struggles in a way no previous book has ever delivered.

If you'd like more information about Zonya and her products here is the link:

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