Posts Tagged ‘#newweeknewface’





A Sleeping Sparrow


Not far from our house, I have a place I feed and watch the birds. Off to the side, near a tree, sits my photo fort. It’s really a hunting blind Jon bought me at Cabela’s, but the only shooting that gets done there is with my camera.

Once I’m settled inside, even before I get the windows unzipped and sit in my chair, the birds start to come in a flutter of wings, flashes of color, and a chorus of cheeps, peeps, and calls.




I watch them head in from deep in the woods and across the wildflower field and out of the pine trees nearby.




They’re getting used to me talking to them, praying out loud, singing, and even my breath vapor on the cold Minnesota air doesn’t scare them like it used to.

Not long ago, a friend asked me if I had a favorite bird. I couldn’t name one because they’re all my favorites.

But it’s the sparrows that get me singing.




When I was a teenager and had just placed my faith in Jesus, Mama told me that my great-grandmother’s favorite hymn was His Eye is on the Sparrow.

One day when I was home alone, I got one of the old hymnals out of the piano bench and played the melody with my right hand while singing along. I recognized the words right away because Grandma Joy and Mama sang the same song quietly while cleaning the house or playing that same piano.

I took those lyrics straight into my heart, and to me, it was our song, and even though they are in heaven, it still is.

Back when I was a teenager, I liked the words. Now, I love them. Especially on the days when doubts and discouragement yank at my spirit.

The other day, I was feeling low – there had been a terrible hurt and tears. And my heart was broken and lonely.

Then, this sparrow decided to snuggle in close to me. He listened to me talk to him for a moment, they snuggled down on the branch and went to sleep! When four juncos joined him and also went to sleep, I stayed very still not wanting to wake them up.

Where chaos had ruled, peace now reigned.




I watched them rest and pondered Matthew 10:29-31 (ESV)

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

And I smiled. When I needed a blessing, God gave me a few peace-filled moments with a sleeping sparrow. What a sweet gift.

Don’t get me wrong – the circumstances hadn’t changed, but in that shadowy place, I was helped by God and reminded I am valuable.

And so are you! God said so, and we can take Him at His Word!

Doesn’t that truth do something to your heart?

Here are the words to this old favorite – if you don’t know the tune, just read the words out loud and let them encourage you.






Joy started reading when she was four and learned to write soon after. Words on the page fascinated and delighted her. By the time she was five, she was writing stories and dreaming about writing books for other kids.

One day while vacuuming, an idea for a novel came to mind. She resisted diligently, but the characters in Rain Dance wouldn’t leave her alone. Finally, the only way to get past their nagging, she wrote the book.

Joy married the love of her life almost forty years ago. She and Jon love their dog kids, Sophie & Tucker – a brother and sister team who stole their hearts. There’s a story behind their names, but that’s a blog post.

Joy loves Jesus and came to faith in Him when she was fifteen years old. When she’s not working she’s riding her John Deere Gator taking pictures on the 15 or so acres of wildflowers on the land she and Jon live on. Joy relaxes by taking pictures of the beauty that surrounds her. If the Oak Ridge Boys, Chris Tomlin, Johnny Cash, Donny Osmond, Toby Mac, or Nicole C. Mullen sings, she listens to it. Dragonflies, flowers, raccoons, fog, frogs, bugs (outside), and the wind fascinate her.


 You can find Joy at:











#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Joy DeKok, A Sleeping Sparrow, His Eye is on the Sparrow

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This is For the Birds


I’m a phrase guy. I like to know how we as humans come up with certain phrases that permeate our conversations. Where did they originate? Why were they coined the way they were?


One such phrase is: “This is for the birds!” Ever heard it before? Ever used it? Ever added specifics to it, like “This whole day is for the birds!” or “Politicians are for the birds!” In each case, the phrase connotes a uselessness or worthlessness to whatever is “for the birds.” So, how did a reference to giving or leaving something to birds ever become a negative statement?


Although no one can pinpoint a specific reference, general belief links the phrase back to the days of horse and buggies. When that mode of transportation lined the streets on notable cities like London or New York, it was a common need for pedestrians to “look before you step.” The “calling cards” of the equine conveyance made crossing the street a lively affair, no doubt. As an added bonus to the hustle and bustle of city life, apparently, in the droppings, undigested food—namely oats—became the draw for many an English sparrow. It does make me wonder why nary a raven could have been found and interviewed (maybe even quoted).


This concept of “leaving behind worthless things for the birds” is not a recent or modern phrase, however. It actually finds its roots in scripture. In Isaiah 18:4-6 (NIV), the prophet wrote, “This is what the Lord says to me: ‘I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.’ For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives, and cut down and take away the spreading branches. They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey and to the wild animals; the birds will feed on them all summer, the wild animals all winter.” Notice how the fruit—which is normally harvested BEFORE the pruning takes place—will be left on the vine as the spreading branches and shoots are cut off, left for birds and wild animals to consume.


In Jeremiah 16:4 (NIV), the Lord says, “They will die of deadly diseases. They will not be mourned or buried but will be like dung lying on the ground. They will perish by sword and famine, and their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals.” In this reference—which is a reference to judgement—those accursed by God will be left “like dung” (Hmmm…where have we heard that before?) for the birds and wild animals to consume.


It seems this concept of leaving behind something worthless, unworthy of consumption or use by man or God, even accursed of God, to rot and be eaten by birds is a very old saying. Much older than the pre-industrial revolution. Yet, this concept of leaving things “for the birds” is also rooted in love, believe it or not.


Jesus said in Matthew 6:26-33 (NKJV), Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”


When you are a bird, you can’t sow. I’ve heard of turkey farmers, and chicken farmers, but I’ve never met a turkey or chicken that farmed. They only “get farmed.”


When you are a bird, you can’t reap or store anything, either. Oh, you can build a nest and “store” some eggs until they hatch, but that’s different. When it comes to food, you’re dependent on what falls to the ground from a tree or bush, what teems in a river, lake, or ocean, or what may slither or crawl on the earth. But at no time did you ever have a hand in producing those food sources. God did.


So, it begs the question. If God had not designed His creation like He did, what would have become of the English sparrow, the raven, and the mountain birds of prey since they can’t sow, reap, or store away in barns? I think you know the answer. The trees would be a lot quieter. The skies would be less populated. And the love of God would have been questioned infinitely more than it already is by a world stained by sin.


Yet, even though these creatures seem to be less in stature than Man (Are you not of more value than they?), God doesn’t abandon them. He cares about everything. Everyone. And even though Man was His crowning creation (cf. Gen. 1:26-27), it doesn’t mean every other thing He did create is “on its own” like the theists believe. He loves the lowest of the low, the highest of the high, and everything and everyone in between. That’s how it is when you so loved the world, that you gave your one and only son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life (cf. John 3:16).






  1. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister with a B.A. In Bible (Houghton College, Houghton, NY), an M.A. in Christian Studies (Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS), and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (National-Louis University, Wheeling, IL). His book, 30 Days Hath Revenge – A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, is now available! Book 2 of the Blake Meyer Series, Triple Time, will be available for pre-order in late February 2017. The Serpent’s Grasp, a standalone, is coming May 2017. Book 3 of the Blake Meyer Series, The Tide of Times, is coming August 2017.







Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson




#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, C. Kevin Thompson, This is for the Birds, 30 Days Hath Revenge

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Genesis 1:20 says this about God’s creation. I love how this passage describes where the birds fly. And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.”


God’s creation is remarkable, and birds are amazing. There are so many different kinds. I’ve lived in eleven different states in the USA, and each place has its own unique birds. I’m going to share just a few with you.


This is a photo that I took of a raven in the Petrified Forest National Park, located in northern Arizona. Ravens are one of the most common birds seen in the stark landscape of the Petrified Forest.




Here’s just a sample of the landscape in the Petrified Forest.





The picture below was taken after a tropical storm in Florida. The flooded area is part of a golf course, and the birds are great egrets.




Sometimes the best way to see different birds is at the zoo. Here are two parrots with magnificent coloring.




I think hummingbirds are my favorite bird, and I see them often where I live in the Arizona desert.




Sea gulls are a common scene on most beaches, and I saw them on my daily walks when we lived in Florida.




Have you ever encountered a wild turkey? I snapped this photo while we were visiting friends in Ohio.




Quail are a common site in this area of Arizona.




There are all kinds of fascinating birds in the world, many of which, I can’t identify, but they a fun to watch. I have a bird feeder in my yard, and surprisingly, the birds are very polite as they take their turn at the feeder.




And maybe, when it comes to birds, all you need is a stuffed pink flamingo, like my granddaughter when she was three.




What is your favorite kind of bird?




Merrillee Whren is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author who writes inspirational romance. She is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award for best inspirational romance manuscript presented by Romance Writers of America. She has also been the recipient of the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award and Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of forty plus years, and has two grown daughters. She has lived in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Chicago and Florida but now makes her home in the Arizona desert. When she’s not writing, she spends her free time playing tennis or walking while she does the plotting for her novels. Please visit her Web site at http://www.merrilleewhren.com or connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MerrilleeWhren.Author. You can also sign up for her newsletter here.







#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNG, Guest Post, Merrillee Whren, Front Porch Promises, A place to Call Home, A Love to Call Mine, A Family to Call Ours, A song to Call Ours

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Broken Wings


This is a year of new beginnings and divine reset.


“Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things; Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.” Isaiah 42:9


It hurts sometimes when our wings are broken by those we love. A friend sent me a picture of a church sign that read “ Don’t break a bird’s wings and then tell it to fly.”




The Lord declared to me that this is the season where He will place His loving balm on those who are broken. Even God’s own children have been wounded. Some were wounded by the church. It cuts deep when you are wounded by someone that you are supposed to be able to trust. You may have had someone hurt you. You may have lost a loved one. You may be numb from the life events that have come your way. God longs to heal your pain. God has taught me that He will gently lead me back to the painful events from my life in His timing to heal me, allow me to release forgiveness, and set me free! This season you will begin to feel new freedom in your situations. Where you were once numb, you will slowly start to feel again!


There is something interesting about those who have had broken wings. They feel deep compassion for others. They feel compassion that they might not have felt, had they not gone through their trial. God is going to use what you have been through so you can help others who have to walk in your shoes. You can turn the hard times into something beautiful as you help someone else.


I had a vision that I was fishing and the fish I caught were very slimy. The Lord told me, “the people you are about to share my love with are going to look messy but do not throw them back.” The Lord is doing a new thing. It will look different. We can’t have an old wineskin for what God is about to do. We have to be open to the new thing He is doing. I think sometimes we get comfortable with what we are familiar with, especially in the church. God is looking for people who will step out of their familiar comfort zone. He’s looking for “good samaritan” hearts, people who will stop and help someone in need and not pass them by. He’s looking for those who will do these things without the need for praise from others. He’s giving those who are willing a divine reset to learn to walk in the Spirit. One of the things that has truly helped me walk in the Spirit right now is to block negative media voices. I only read and listen to things that will uplift my spirit. With social media there are so many sources of information trying to bombard us. We can take what is available to us and use positive resources to encourage us. This has been a huge key to victory for me. I personally enjoy Charisma Magazine and Elijah List. I pray you have an amazing year!





lori-grannissLori Granniss is the author of Now is the Time to Walk in the Spirit and a freelance religious and math curriculum writer. She is also a small business owner of  Blitz Card Fundraising. She writes on the blog Inspire Hope Magazine. She lives in Shelby, North Carolina with her husband and two sons.




Instagram is @bargainshopperlady




#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNG, Guest Post, Lori Granniss, Broken Wings

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Welcome to my FIRST EVER New Week New Face Feature, with my friend, Amy McNew! Welcome Amy! (repost)

nwnf banner - amy


Breath and Life

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Thank you so much, Robin, for having me on your blog today! I’m excited to be here and have the chance to speak to new people, and hopefully meet some new friends.

For those who don’t know, I’m the fighter chick. The books I write are speculative in nature, bridging the gap between fantasy and reality. They are all about love and war spanning the realms. On my blog, I discuss war, both spiritual and physical. I talk about those demons we all face, and strive to offer hope in fighting them. I talk about causes that are important to me. I am honest. I am real. Sometimes brutally so. I lay my guts on the page, putting all of me into every post and revealing those parts of myself that can be difficult to uncover. In doing so, I hope that I encourage others to lay themselves open, get real, and above all, understand that they are not alone in their struggles.

Today, I offer you a part of myself. My hope is that you will see there is peace to be had, even in the darkest battles.

Yes, peace.

That’s my word for this week.

I know many of you will probably find that a bit odd, considering I’m the woman that’s always yelling fight! Fight! Fight! But even the fiercest warrior has to have a season of peace. Of rest. Of rejuvenation.

I realized yesterday that it is past time for my season of peace. I’ve been running myself ragged, and haven’t taken the time to reset, to restore my spirit. So today, I’m reminding myself of ways I find peace and rest, and get you to think about the things that breathe fresh air into your life.

There are so many people, places, and things that I find sanctuary in. That are my breath and life. I want to share some of them with you today, in no particular order.

Above is a picture of the White River in Northern Arkansas, not far from where I grew up. This place will always hold a piece of my heart. The smell of pine, the rivers and lake I grew up around, the quiet, being surrounded by nature. When I was younger, all I wanted was to get out of that backwater and see the big world. Now, I return as often as I can, which is not often enough.


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These are a few of the crazy people in my life. While often they drive me absolutely batty, each one has at one time or another spoken love into my heart and breathed life back into me when I was fading. For all our ups and downs, we are family and I love these people.


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Music. Music is what motivates me. It’s what powers me. I have been a musician and music lover all my life. I find solace in melody, comfort in rhythm. My life has a soundtrack and I wouldn’t want it any other way.


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Martial arts have been a part of my life for 20 years. Though I no longer compete due to health issues, I can still spar lightly, let loose on the bag, work through my forms, and train as hard as always. Even if it’s just me running through a form (think Tai Chi) all by my lonesome, I get a rush. I am centered. I am focused. For that moment, I am powerful.


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I would be remiss if I failed to mention my greatest Source of peace. I’ve been involved with church pretty much my whole life. But only in the past several years have I come to have a true, honest, no holds barred relationship with my God, and not just hold to a religion. In opening myself up like that, having faith, I have found peace that is beyond description.

I’ve been in some utterly dark and wretched places, spiritually and physically. Places and situations I thought there was no way out of. Many times I’ve felt that there was nothing but chaos around me, and I had no light to see by, nothing to hold on to. Then I really met my Savior. Once I surrendered, turning everything over to Him without holding back, even in my darkest times I’ve felt Him. He holds me. He comforts me. He whispers to me, letting me know I’m never alone. I’m never without light, even if I have to squint to see it. He infuses me with peace exactly when I need it most.

If you have yet to find that for yourself, I challenge you to reach out to Him. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Now that I’ve laid a little bit more of my guts on the page, how about you? What gives you peace? How do you find rest? Is there a place or person you run to when you need your spirit replenished, when you need to get away from it all, or you just need to be reminded who you are and rediscover your dreams? Share with us! Maybe someone reading this needs some ideas for getting a little fresh air in their lungs. Remember, we’re in this fight together.

On my own blog, I always have a song that follows my post. The melody I’m sharing with you today is an instrumental I find relaxing and soothing. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Thank you again for letting me share with you today.

Fight on friends, victory is ours.



Meet Amy Brock McNew. Author. Blogger. Fighter.

Former nurse and martial artist.

Amy doesn’t just write speculative fiction, she lives and breathes it. She enthusiastically explores the strange, the supernatural, and the wonderfully weird. She pours her guts onto the pages she writes, honestly and brutally revealing herself in the process. Nothing is off limits. Her favorite question is “what if?” and she believes fiction can be truer than our sheltered and controlled realities.

This wife and mom is a lover of music, chocolate, the beach, and cherry vanilla Coke. Her home is a zoo, filled with teenagers–both hers and those she seems to collect–two dogs, a cat, and various fish and amphibians. Strangely enough, her kids are the ones who have to tell her to turn the music down.

It is her firm belief that everyone should have a theme song.


You can find Amy at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/AmyBrockMcNewauthor

Twitter: twitter.com/amybrockmcnew

Website: www.AmyBrockMcNew.com





#amymcnew, #newweeknewface, #NWNF, #authorbloggerfighter, #specfiction, #peace



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reposted from 22 February 2016


Why Writers Write

…or why this writer writes, anyway. 😉


I applied for a job after my last child graduated from high school. Since we homeschooled I hadn’t worked outside the home in quite a while, so putting together a resumé was something of an ordeal. How could I explain the twists and turns of my life?


As I wrote I began to see a sure direction in the seemingly random path of my life. In college I studied architecture but married after graduation instead of completing my masters and certification. I could design homes without the certification, and that’s where my heart was. Through many relocations and child-raising years, I drew custom house plans from a home office—a situation that gave my life balance. When our homeschool co-op needed a drafting teacher, I volunteered. They approached me about a high school writing course, and I accepted that position as well. I’d always loved writing and had written a state history course, Discover Texas, for my own children.


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That experience was more or less like writing ten separate-but-related research papers, turning out one per month for each chronological era. I’d learned a lot of shortcuts between the first chapter and the last, so I knew I could teach high school students to write a research paper efficiently and make it interesting. While researching Discover Texas I’d also discovered many inspiring human interest stories. After my first child graduated, I tried my hand at historical fiction. The result was More Precious Than Gold, the first novel in an inspirational series. I was hooked…but life was busy. Discover Texas had become a cottage industry in its own right. Children graduated high school, then college…then marriage proposals and wedding plans and more moves. I got to put my architectural talents to work remodeling the house we left and the one we moved into, juggling time to help aging parents with moves of their own. Frustrated, I made time during one quiet month to enjoy combining my love of architecture and writing in a project just for fun—Home Sweet Hole: A Folio of Feasible Fantasy Floor Plans. I told myself I was just “keeping one foot in the water,” but the little book came out about the same time as the Lord of the Rings movies and surprised me by becoming a very good seller. Encouraged, I waded cautiously back into writing—this time returning to non-fiction to produce a series based on my most popular homeschool convention presentations. How to Teach the Way Your Child Learns and How to Make Learning Meaningful, Memorable, and Fun are published, and the final two books in the Homeschool How-To series will release by summer.


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In the end I didn’t get the job I applied for, but I commented to a family member that I was glad I wrote the resumé. It helped me see how everything I did fit together—even if it sometimes didn’t seem to while I was doing it.


She responded, “Oh. Well, I’m glad. You never really decided what you wanted to do when you grew up.”


Gotta admit—that stung. I wanted to snap back a protest. “Oh yes, I did! I wanted to do it all…and I did!”


Instead I bit my tongue, but as usual I’m putting down in writing all the things I wanted to say but couldn’t.


You’re welcome. 😉


Writers write down the things they can’t say out loud. Most of us are introverts. It isn’t easy to speak publicly until we’ve had time to organize our thoughts. Writing gives us that time. Besides, the largest group I’ve ever spoken to at a convention was about 200 people. My books have been read by thousands of people—not enough to be called best sellers, but still a larger audience than I could have reached any other way.


Writers have something to say. Because I spend a lot of time quietly observing and “living inside my head,” I have many perspectives to share. Writing is a comfortable way to do that. It’s not “pushy” or confrontational. No one is obligated to buy or read what I write, so it’s almost as if readers are inviting me to share with them personally.


Writers write to help others. I like doing that! I wrote Discover Texas because I didn’t want my children to be bored with history, and there was no hands-on history course available at the time. Other homeschool parents liked it and asked if I’d publish it for their children. I’m writing the Homeschool How-To series to explain how and why hands-on learning works. I wrote More Precious Than Gold to show how God take difficult circumstances and turn them into a blessing, and I wrote Home Sweet Hole because…well, sometimes we just need a “happy place” to dream a little, even if it’s imaginary.


Often, writers want to help without hurting your feelings. We can say things through our characters that we wouldn’t and couldn’t tell you to your face. Instead we tell you a story like the one Nathan the prophet told King David. For example in the beginning of More Precious Than Gold the heroine, Eliza, is having a pity party—and she has every reason. Both her mother and her fiancé died in a war that she had no part in. She heads west to New Mexico Territory to escape her grief and runs headlong into the man who caused it. At this point she has to decide whether her faith in God is just lip service or if she really trusts Him in both good times and bad.


Writers get a rush out of creating. Lest you think that writers are motivated solely by noble causes, I must admit that telling stories is just plain fun! There’s something about creating characters who will come to life in readers’ imaginations that gives me the same satisfaction as creating plans for a home that will envelope a family. Besides, I rather enjoy telling people what to do…but only in the kindest possible way. 😉


So that’s my story. All of our lives are a story, really, just as history is a story—the story of God working out His plans and reconciling the world to Himself, one life at a time.


Whatever direction your life and work take you, if God called you to it, He can use it even if the path is not always direct.


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Growing up in Texas, I dictated my first stories to my mom before I was old enough to write them down myself. She humored me, for which I am grateful, and I’ve been telling stories in one form or another ever since.

I write about the things I know. The things I love. God, family, history, and how those things fit together.


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You can find Lynn at:







New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Lynn Dean, Discover Texas, More Precious than Gold, Home Sweet HoleSave

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Hey Author, What’s Your Favorite Book?

What’s your favorite book? As an author, I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve been asked that. And worse? When I’m asked which of my own books is my favorite. My usual reply … that’s like asking which one of my children do I prefer. Okay, yes, I admit I have a favorite son and a favorite daughter, but don’t ask me to choose between my two children.

Yet, if my wife is in earshot, she’ll quickly answer. Her favorite of my books is Indebted, the story of a young girl who gets pregnant out of wedlock in the late 1960’s. The story begins as she wakes up to find her child missing, along with all of his paraphernalia, and continues with a journey full of suspenseful twists and turns. Why is it her favorite? Perhaps because it speaks to a mother’s heart more than my other thrillers.


How do you decide which books are your favorites? Notice I didn’t ask which one is your favorite. That’s a much harder task and most people, like me, will beg off on that question. I can’t be limited to just one. But, again, how do you decide?


Is it the subject of the book? For most of my thrillers, I tackle social injustices, issues that stir me up whether I write about them or not. Human trafficking. Medical kidnapping by the state. Government corruption and control. I want to not only entertain my readers, but get them thinking as well. And yet, do I consider the subject when I read books by others? In honesty, not so much. Yet, that might be because the subjects in so many books are vague or pure fiction, as opposed to my real-life, “taken from the headlines” topics.


Perhaps you can identify with and like the characters. My wife quickly identified with Alice in Indebted. Again, it’s that maternal thing. As I guy, I can easily identify with some of the kick-butt protagonists in the thrillers I enjoy. It’s a form of living vicariously. I love seeing the bad guys defeated, even though I recognize that in real life the hero would likely end up in jail for the actions he, or she, takes. Of course, there’s more to a character than his actions. Real characters, like real people, are multi-faceted and layered. They have emotions, challenges, faults, and so on. They interact with others and how they do can be part of their attraction. As I reader, I can’t identify with a one or two-dimensional character. If they don’t seem real, I lose my compassion for and interest in them. But, getting back to the original question, characters alone don’t define my favorite books.


Maybe it’s plot. Well, this gets closer to the mark for me. I like an intriguing plot, full of twists and turns, ready to put the heroine in jeopardy … a plot that make me want to keep reading. Actually, the kinds of books I like often have more than one plot line weaving through the story. Perhaps there’s one main plot and two or more subplots. Sometimes two story lines share equal billing.


What is it about a story that keeps you up past your bedtime? Well, it’s not someone moving from point A to B. It’s all about tension, and tension comes in many forms. One leading literary agent who studied “break-out” novels – those books that made the author a recognized name – says that such novels have tension on every page. Maybe it’s something as tense as a gunfight or fisticuffs between two parties. More commonly it’s tension in a relationship, or a character fighting his proverbial inner demon, or one character’s rebellious tendencies and refusal to do something another character wants. Sometimes it’s sexual tension, which is, to me, always more interesting than the physical act, on whatever level that is portrayed.


However, a plot isn’t much without characters and vice versa. So, while I like a good plot, I need great characters driving that plot.


What about other characteristics of a book? Does description make or break a book? For me it can, if it breaks the flow of the story. I don’t want to stop for flowery paragraphs of luxuriant, erudite, yet wordy prose just as the action is taking off. Still, I want some description of the location, the character, and more. Enough to help me “see” the scene in my mind. What about pacing? I don’t want a story that speeds up, slows down, speeds up, slows down… I might get motion sickness. A steady pace that accelerates toward the grand finale is good. Or fast-paced throughout. Sentence structure? I recently gave up on a book. Filled with choppy sentences. They dominated the writing. I couldn’t continue. A good book will have variety and when read aloud, the sentences will flow from your mouth.


So, I think you can tell from what I’ve written above that, for me, a good book is a well-rounded book. It has story lines that make you want to keep reading to see what happens next to its great characters. The craft of the writing is well done, so that it doesn’t hinder the storytelling. It’s a book I don’t want to put down until I get to the end, yet, I don’t want to see it end.


Yes, I have a lot of “favorite” books, but I don’t think I could ever whittle that list down to one grand champion. In fact, other than some classics that I had to read twice for different classes in school, I don’t think I’ve ever read a work of fiction twice. It’s not that I don’t think they’re unworthy of reading twice. My reason is that there are so many other books I’d like to read. And regarding those books I really enjoyed, those authors keep coming up with something new and I want to keep up. Which gets me to another question. Who’s your favorite author?


 slide 2


Braxton DeGarmo spent over 30 years in Emergency and Family Medicine, both in and out of the military, before retiring to focus on writing in 2014. Many of the incidents in his books are based on real occurrences, people, and experiences in his own life, such as learning to escape a water crash in a helicopter. And the technologies described in his books are all current…

and possible.


Fortunately, he did not pull the events of the main plots from his personal life, although they are issues that affect us all. Human trafficking, medical kidnapping, the insanity of Washington, DC, and other injustices have become the premises used for his stories.

He writes from a Judeo-Christian worldview, but he writes his stories to reach and entertain people of all backgrounds. Now, he just needs to find a way to fit his experience with the incredible shrinking woman of Ft. Campbell,KY into a story. Hmmm…


slide 3



“A Zealot’s Destiny” – coming soon

“Wrongfully Removed” – a medical thriller (MedAir Series #4)

“The Silenced Shooter” – a political thriller (MedAir Series #3)

“Rescued and Remembered” – a thriller (MedAir Series #2)

“Looks that Deceive” – a medical thriller (MedAir Series #1)

“Indebted” – a story of hope and redemption

“The Militant Genome” – a medical thriller



You can find Braxton at:


Website: www.braxtondegarmo.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Braxton.DeGarmo.Author



#braxtondegarmo, #newweeknewface, #NWNF, #azealotsdestiny, #wrongfullyremoved, #thesilencedshooter, #rescuedandremembed, #looksthatdeceive, #indebted, #themilitantgenome



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