Author Archive

MY BROTHER’S KEEPER: The Dragon’s Back #2

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Robert Dennis Wilson’s My Brother’s Keeper, The Dragon’s Back Book 2, picks up where Book 1, The Poison of Thorns left off. Through the frame-story of Pop Pop telling Justin and his friend Jenny the adventure of the brothers Kaleb and Jason in their high adventure in Dragonsback. The second book in a series usually presupposes the reader has all of the back story, Robert Dennis Wilson aids the reader with a detailed set of appendices as he did with book 1.

The brothers have teamed up with opposing teams, Dragonmen and Swimmers. Against the detailed backdrop of a rich culture, the drama plays out. The story progresses with two brothers seeking a similar end but through wholly different means.

Well-written, this story uses tension with richly developed characters to exemplify a lesson on forgiveness, the Christian themes are undeniable. Thus this book is recommended for anyone who enjoys Christian Fantasy high adventure, they will not be disappointed.

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The Poison of Thorns

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

The Poison of Thorns, The Dragon’s Back #1, is Christian-themed Fantasy high adventure, which uses the framed-story, or story-within-a-story technique, specifically a grandfather (Pop Pop) metaphorically explaining self-esteem to his grandson.

Robert Dennis Wilson has created a fantasy world, which is dominated by heraldry and tradition, where two brothers go on a quest to save the world from heresy. The author has cleverly folded in an elaborate back-story and a dominating culture of established protocol, which is easy for the reader to keep straight thanks to sufficient appendices of a Glossary, a List of Characters, a list of Guild Vestures & Markings, a Dictionary of Swordsign.

Without including any plot spoilers here, this is a classic good (Swimmers) verses evil (Dragonmen) conflict. There are choices to be made by the brothers and consequences to follow.

This high adventure is not so different from the metaphoric writings of Tolkien or even Lewis. Readers who enjoy Christian-themed fantasy adventures will be enamored with The Poison of Thorns, which has laid the foundation for a continuing series of like entertainment. This is one you should read.

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Taking Flight

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Taking Flight is sweet southern romance written by a close friend of mine, Connie Cox. This was Connie’s first published novel and I bought it from her at a book signing at a writers conference in Shreveport, Louisiana. Now she writes full time for Halequin/Mills and Boon Medical Romance, but this story, the one with a strong female character was inspirational to me. The author shared her precious tactics, techniques and procedures with me as I began my fiction writing journey.

In TAKING FLIGHT, Lacey Seivers had escaped the typical trappings of a small town to become a successful lawyer in the big city. Years later, she comes back for a reunion and discovers single-parent Hank, a real man (pilot) who grew up from out of a boy Lacey once knew. Just as things look promising, Hank’s former lover, who is also the mother of his 10-year old son shows up. Sounds interesting, eh?

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Sing The Truth Of Feral Bananas (( Poetry Breathes ))

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

It is a treacherous path one takes, after deciding to review poetry. Oh, there’s always the easy way out, simply say, “I loved it,” or “It was beautiful,” or “I felt it in my soul.”

A seriously review of a particular poem or collection of poems requires a knowledge of what constitutes real poetry, enough heart to interpret the poetry (sometimes called `eyes to see’), and an understanding of the objective purpose for the review,

Poetry is a type of art, which may very well predate literacy, and over the thousands of years, more so in the past few hundred, we developed a list of elements, which can be used to examine the products of this art form. Those most commonly agreed upon elements are (1) prosody (rhythm, meter, and metrical patterns), (2) rhyme, (3) alliteration, (4) assonance, (5) form (lines and stanzas; visual presentation), and (6) diction. Each of these elements having many sub-parts and nuances, when combined into actual poetry produce something greater than their sum, analysts call it “synergy,” authors call it “a completed manuscript/work” often times poets, even those who are a poet and don’t know it, often don’t call it anything. Writing it was something they had to do, sharing it was optional, classifying it–most likely superfluous.

The `eyes to see’ or the heart to feel what is revealed in a poem is even further from being an exact science. When a poet pours out their feelings or sometimes a message, our physical eyes just see words, but somewhere deep inside us, obliviously standing next to our soul, is our heart, which connects our mind to our soul. Somehow a translation erupts from the spiritual realm and then our minds struggle to express it. When two hearts beat together, the synergy is beautiful, but alas sometimes non-shared events, which overlap in contrast, against the natural grain, produce a different vision, a vision which haunts instead of fulfills the expression intended by the poet.

And that’s where it is, right? The intention of the poet, determines the objective, but the reader interprets the poem, based on a synergy, which may in most cases be completely alien to the nature of the poet. In which case, the community of reviewers gather to rebuke the rogue reviewer who departs from the norm, or in the saddest of alternatives, the poet, who was only doing what their heart led them to do.

To understand poetry best, one must be a poet. As I can’t even find a word to rhyme with orange, I’m not one. I’m just an old bomber-pilot turned novelist, who uses an adapted form of military planning to plot his novels, filled with branches and sequels which together tell a complex story based on plot, characters, and tension. Emotion and feelings are portrayed in a novel, but in a poem, they provide the essential superstructure the words hang from.

So why even attempt to review? Well, a book of poetry has some overlapping characteristics of a novel. With novels and their cousin, nonfiction, the primary purposes of reviews is to generate sales. The more noted the reviewer, the people read the review, maybe so as to impress their friends with a regurgitation of the review’s highlights over cocktails, or whatever people do now-a-days, but for some reason people rush to buy books mentioned in those experts. I’m not sure if they happens for poetry collections. Maybe poetry is too personal, or maybe people are concerned some poetry will pull the scab off a long ago wound, once again opening a hurt they’d thought they were over. Notice I didn’t say “afraid,” as that’s probably the real concern, right, afraid of being afraid.

The book’s namesake is also the book’s anchor, Sing The Truth Of Feral Bananas. More than a score of poems, each with a world of its own, are corralled there for the reader. Each may touch you differently than they did me, as the burdens I carry may seem harsh to some, as they are different from yours, but I’ve discovered we are all fighting tough battles. If I would to share my interpretations here, let’s say of the soul-rattling prose called “Mother” many of you might disagree, I dare say even Ms Faslund might “correct” me with “Oh, no, that’s not what I was saying at all.” But to the reader, it doesn’t mater what the poet was saying, what matters is what their heart translated to their mind.

So there, now you have it, it becomes about me. Me, the reader, feeling the poem. Just like with you, when you read them, as read them you should.

Thank you Elysabeth Faslund for sharing these deep secrets of your heart with us, the readers. I loved it, it was beautiful, and I felt it in my soul.

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Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Obviously this book is good, because it sells at a volume coveted by most any author.

I read the book before I read the reviews. Bill O’Reilly is a polarizing figure, but I’ve based my review on my reading experience of KILLING LINCOLN and not how I feel about anything the author(s) has said outside of the book’s cover.

Though I have a graduate degree in history, there were details in this book that were new to me. The style of writing kept me engaged more like a good novel, as the historic personalities became people, people with strengths and flaws. The pursuit of Lee’s starving army and the needless battle to burn a nonburnable bridge was ironic yet typical of reactive, impromptu military actions through out the ages.

I’d never read the assault on Seward described in such vivid, bloody detail–very well done.

Booth, the primary antagonist, took on an all-too-real persona for me. His anger and desire to accomplish something to change the world seemed to mirror some modern-day figures, people who have basked in relative comfort, pretending to be something they aren’t, nevertheless receiving praise and fame from the masses for that pretending. The strategic mistake Booth made was actually believing his make-believe skills would function in a real world scenario. The misery which plagued him during his last days and hours, was not worth losing a great statesman, that is Lincoln, but in a sadistic way, it helped to see him reap a little of what he sowed.

Feeling some comfort in that, caused me to take an introspective assessment of why I felt so. Eventually, I came to the conclusion it was all part of the author(s) desired effect. Bravo, I stayed engaged to the very end.

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Fighting the Devil: A True Story of Consuming Passion, Deadly Poison, and Murder

Monday, April 30th, 2012

My general opinion on 5-star ratings revolve around the impact the book has on me. If I continue to think about a book after the cover is closed, it is a contender. If I use what I’ve read to examine my own life, then there’s no question about it.

Fighting The Devil tells the real story of Jeannie Walker’s struggle with a man, who really didn’t deserve her. The concept of “times were different then” doesn’t excuse the things he did. For some reason, she stuck with him longer than anyone would have expected her to. Surprisingly, his bad decision put him in the snares of people who wanted him dead. After the dirty dead was done, Jeannie Walker rises to the task of solving the murder.

This story is real, so unlike novels, it doesn’t really end. The reader is left with concern over a flawed system of justice. Additionally, the spiritual warfare described by Jeannie Walker may be too intense for some readers to grasp. Spiritual warfare exceeds our physical perceptions, nevertheless in telling the story, the author has to try to explain them in physical terms. We all live in the physical world. Even John’s description of what he “saw” in the Book of Revelation gives most readers pause in trying to grasp the events nearly 2000 years later.

My prayers go out to Jeannie Walker as she is still living this story.

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Make Me a Legend: For the Dream of a Better Tomorrow

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Chuck Balsamo’s “Make Me A Legend” is a tailor-made message for 21st century American-Christians, who have been domesticated by temporal comforts, fear of rejection and ridicule, and by being trained to submit and tolerate most everything the legendary Godly people of antiquity would have resisted unto their last breaths. Chuck Balsamo presents a near-formulaic process, using popular literature, movies, social movements and sport metaphors to help us, to urge us, to embolden us to ‘untame’ ourselves.

We really don’t have to take it.

It is a call to a spiritual-revolution, which obeys the leadership of the Holy Spirit while building a multi-tier relationship network of mentors, peers, and apprentices which could very well build a “last-hour” church of epic proportions. Imagine a Christian movement, where all Christians bond together to learn, support, and teach each other the way of the perfect love of God–answering to God in all things.

“Impossible!” some might say. Really? Like freeing a captive race, parting a sea, subduing giants, rising from the grave, walking on water, or reclaiming Adam’s birthright from satan? That kind of impossible is the stuff legends are made of. Exactly.

The secular world, accustomed to corralling Christian sheep, might see such a transformational movement as being a pack of uncontrollable monsters. You might think the powers and principalities would assemble their demons and strive to crush the uprising, which sounds a bit like The Revelation to John doesn’t it. Fret not, as if you remember how it ends, that is not a bad thing. Especially when contrasted with how our culture had degraded in recent history.

I wish I had been able to read Chuck’s book 40 years ago as I slogged through many of his lessons the hard way–but alas that was not possible–it was published in 2011.

Therefore, it might be that we, along with Chuck Balsamo, were all created for just such a time as this. Maybe we will become the legendary generation the saints line up to talk to when the roll is called up yonder. Or maybe we’ll just make things better.

Either way, I recommend “Make Me A Legend” to any Christian wondering what is wrong with their life, their community, and our country. Read it and join-in with the dream that together, we can make a better tomorrow.

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