Really… it’s not what you think – and it’s not what they say either…

 

Just so you know what you're in for...
Just so you know what you’re in for…

WHOO HOO! I have officially gotten in on the ground floor this time!

It feels so good to be here for once in my life.

And YES! I am taking sides.

I LOVE IT!!!! LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

Haters are gonna have their say, but those of us who love it will too.

First a bit of back-story — because I am an author and we all love back-story — haven’t you noticed . . .

I did not discover twilight until it was already slated to become a movie. I literally (yes I know it sounds like I am comparing myself to a certain heroine, but I’m not – I’m really that way) stumbled across a discussion on a social site and was immediately intrigued.

I have always been a bit different from everyone else I know . . . slightly odd, slightly off, slightly obsessed with weird and unexplainable things (remember, I write speculative fiction) – and so the idea of non-evil vampires was too exciting to pass up.

So . . . anyway, I found a copy at a nearby bookstore and started reading.

And . . .  I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.

I don’t care what anyone says. Yes, it may have been rushed a bit. Yes, it was Stephenie’s first novel. Yes, there may have been some errors or spots where the writing lacked, but you know what – I am not a natural editor and I do not remember ANYTHING pulling me out of the magnificent story world . . . well, not anything from the book anyway.

I began pretty late in the day and read right through the night. Even though I knew my kiddos would get me up super early, I did not close my eyes until I’d finished the very last page of the book.

Actually, it was probably about a half hour after I finished that last page, because I sat there grinning like an idiot for at least five minutes and then it took a long time to get my brain to shut up so I could go to sleep. I kept going over my favorite scenes and stifling the ridiculous schoolgirl giggles that kept escaping.

Obviously, I went out the next day and hunted down copies of new moon and eclipse, and it’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure I had to wait for breaking dawn – which I’m certain was a special kind of torture, but somehow I survived.

You see, these books had done something for me that no trashy romance novel I had ever read could – they had given me a REAL fantasy about what love truly should be.

And it was amazing!

Speaking as someone who has not had good fortune in the romance department, I was thrilled to read about a young woman who made good choices where love was concerned.

Far too many people look at Bella Swan and pick at her because when everyone around her is doing their crazy superhero thing, she stands there and lets them handle things, but those are people who did not read the scene at the end of the book . . . clearly. Most of them probably never made it through half the first book, much less the second and third and last book – where Bella becomes the ultimate superhero . . . the one they all look at with this crazy awe, the one who most certainly does NOT stand behind anyone else, the one who . . .  literally . . .  saves. the. day.

Stop glaring at me. That is not a spoiler. Not at this late date.

 

And now for the painful part.

 

The movie killed it, absolutely destroyed that beautiful bubble of perfection for me.

When every other female in the theater screamed as “Edward” came on screen, I groaned – yes, out loud. I am quite certain no one heard me because they were too busy screaming and hyperventilating, but I did.

I groaned because that guy was not my Edward. The Edward in my mind was actually flawless – not stupid and awkward and wearing a stinking “members only” jacket – which, in case you aren’t my age – meant you were the ultimate dork . . . or at least it did when I was in school. No. Way. to make that cool for me. E. V. E. R.

Yes, I watched the movies – because in some crazed, desperate way, I kept hoping it would somehow get better enough to fix that horrible, agonizing death.

And in a way, it did . . . a little.

Rob’s makeup and wardrobe got better with the second movie. His acting even improved . . . slightly.

The second movie was done incredibly well and I quite enjoyed it, but . . . it really didn’t matter. The bubble had been decimated and there was no getting it back. All I could really do was hold on to the improvements and try to enjoy the ride.

And I do enjoy watching the movies. I enjoy – immensely – that last scene of the last movie. I enjoy the music . . . well, most of it, and I enjoy seeing Bella be the amazingly awesome superhero that saves everyone – everyone!

But it has never been the same.

 

 

until now!

OH. MY. WORD!

Stephenie Meyer - Life and Death - twilight reimaginedI refuse. REFUSE! to spoil the new story for anyone.

But I can say that my faith in the series has been restored!

Sitting there, reading about Beau and Edythe, I felt the same delirious, giggly, romantic high that I experienced when reading the original twilight for the very first time.

Somehow, Stephenie has healed the devastation – that movie #one caused in me – with this wildly perceptive idea of hers!

And regardless of what anyone says – ONLY an INCREDIBLY gifted author could have pulled this off!

Only an AMAZINGLY talented author could have had me hearing a guy’s voice in my head as I read Beau’s words . . . knowing many of those words as well as I do from the dozens of times I read the books before I watched the first movie.

WOW!

WOW!

WOW!

Impressive that Stephenie was able to accurately describe how differently a young man would react to things – because, let’s face it; boys do not react to things the same way girls do – not often anyway.

Doubly impressive to see how different Stephenie succeeded in making the few reactions that were essentially the same ones we had seen from Bella . . . feel . . . as if they were actually tailored for Beau, when we remembered that was not the case, because Bella had reacted just the same way.

However, the most impressive part was when I became so involved in the story, that I completely forgot I was reading a story that bore a strong resemblance to another I read nearly ten years ago.

It felt fresh and brand new.

It was amazing and exhilarating and exciting!

And I just may be able to go back and read the original twilight again and really enjoy it.

Thank you, Stephenie.

By the way . . . just for the record . . .  I finished the book on Wednesday. Just thought you should know. 😉

 

Gear Signature - JCM

©JCMorrows 2015

Be careful little fingers what you type…

During her Bible Study picnic this morning, my daughter was singing the children’s song that inspired my post title.

 

I would just like to take this opportunity to remind reviewers everywhere how important it is to be careful what you put in your reviews.

Yes, we know you are excited about the book!

No, we know most of you would NEVER spoil a book for readers on purpose!

However… when writing up your review, it is always a good idea to have the book handy. A good rule of thumb is this: if it’s not in the back cover blurb, don’t reveal it in your review.

There are times when authors will also reveal bonus scenes – especially in a series or a long-awaited release – but again… that is up to the author, not the reviewer.

And if the author reveals bonus info, it’s fair game. You can even quote the author and link back to their post. They’ll love that because it’s like double exposure.

 

If you’ve read many of my reviews, you’ll know I once had a book spoiled for me.

If that reviewer had mentioned they had spoilers in their review, I NEVER would have read it… and it was all I could do to finish the book.I was glad I did because there was so much more to the story than what was revealed in the review but it was not the same.

… and the experience has had two unfortunate side effects:

1 – I don’t read reviews anymore until AFTER I’ve read the book. This means I don’t find new books to read often – unless it’s from a person I trust not to spoil it for me.

2 – I don’t often share others reviews – which is sad because there are some really great ones out there – but since it bothers me to even read reviews until after I’ve read the book, and I don’t usually NEED to read them by that time, I miss out on the good with the bad.

 

So be careful reviewers; what you type…

 

GOD BLESS!

© JCMorrows 2015

A natural reviewer…?

Yup… I once dated one of those guys.

At least he was nice enough to wait until we left the theater before he started picking the movie to pieces.

 

The irony…

Now, years later… I find myself doing the exact same thing.

Why? Because I finally got why he did it.

 

There are some really fantastic movies out there – and it is absolutely possible to watch them and turn off the critic in your head and just… enjoy.

But when the credits roll, you start thinking. And when you think, you realize there are things that happened during the movie that essentially make the presumption that you – as the watcher – are an idiot.

And so you analyze and you point out the obvious flaws and you pick it to pieces… all the whole hoping that people you watched it with, “get it” too.

 

And I could go on… and on… and on…

But I won’t. I’ll stop right there and say this – I believe this is one thing that makes me a natural book reviewer.

And you know exactly what I mean…

There is a very thick line of difference between those of us who are natural reviewers and those of us who just review books.

Those who are natural reviewers can spin a tale about the wonders that take place between the pages – without giving away important plot points or telling the read how the story ends!

We don’t just analyze the tale – we pour our heart and soul into the words we pen (or type in most cases) about the beloved books we read day after day – time and time again!

We don’t just tell you what we did or did not like about it – we regale you with descriptions of our own experience with the story, the characters, the setting, the wondrous ending.

We let you in to our own hearts and minds and souls so that you can see how the book touched us and why.

Some of us even write our reviews as a bit of a story in itself. We seek to entertain as much as the writer of the book we are imploring you to give a chance!

 

 

Letting it go…

An hour ago I was livid.

 

I’m not anymore.

image

I work very hard on my reviews. I chase down links, insert pictures, include blurbs and craft tweets to make sharing my posts that much easier for my readers.

Sadly, this is not the case for all bloggers. My mother and I both blog, both review books, and we both write. We have also… both had pieces of our blog posts stolen/imitated/paraphrased by other bloggers.

And I’m sure many of you who also follow my author blog – will remember the Fairy Tale Tabloid debacle from about 18 months ago. LINK.

So you can see why I was livid about an hour ago…

 

However… what other people do is between them and God. It’s not up to me to judge. It’s not up to me to even care.

I’m not going to stop posting or stop working so hard just because other people don’t want to.

but I am going to pray for them.

And I’m going to be very careful about who I let on my own street team when the day comes! You can be certain of that!

 

Good night and God bless!

© JCMorrows 2015

Because, amazingly enough, I can’t do it all…

I know. It was a shock to me too.

Oh well. I never said I was wonder woman.

 

Anyway… to that end, I am doing something a little bit crazy. I am merging my blogs. When all is said and done, I plan to have only five to keep track of – instead of 11. YEESH!

It will probably take a few weeks to accomplish and after that, I plan to keep the old ones active for a couple months before I shut them off but then I will just delete them.

I’m tired and I really need to slim down my tasks.

 

So – this is what I will be left with to keep track of.

Amish Fiction Author

Windy Gap Wishes

Inspirational Authors

 

J.C.s BookShelf

JC Morrows

 

Have a great day and God Bless!

© Rachel L. Miller (JC Morrows) 2013-2015

Yes, I have been annoyingly silent… But I have a good reason!

 

I spent my weekend driving… and sitting… and writing furiously, trying to get down every word my brilliant role-model said.

Yes I spent the weekend at a Writer’s conference!

WHOO!

 

Not only did I get the chance to listen to one of my absolute FAVORITE authors share tips and ideas about writing… I got to talk with her – in person!

And yes… it was almost too much for me. It took all of my composure not to go fan-girl and just squeal with delight.

Melanie Dickerson is the author of my absolute favorite fairy tale series of ALL TIME! And for the record, no matter how great the other 3 are – my current favorite is The Fairest Beauty Of course that may change when I read The Princess Spy in November or “The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest”  in 2015… which is releasing from Thomas Nelson not Zondervan.

And I’m excited to have discovered another exciting new author! I plan to read Jane Nickerson‘s work as soon as I can get my hands on it! They were sold out of her books in the bookstore… sad

I’m not going to say that I learned much from the other 2 speakers but well… I didn’t learn much. They spoke well and the topics were interesting but I have no interest in writing for magazines or newspapers.

 

For now, I am editing my MS with everything I learned in mind! Exciting!

 

And I haven’t stopped reviewing… give me a few days to catch up on everything and I’ll have a new review up for you.

Promise!

 

JC

Even when the answer is no…

Recently I was lamenting (complaining…) to my mother that I just didn’t know what was going on with this crazy situation. And, while I have to say I am still more than a little perplexed, I am glad to be able to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

What am I talking about…?

Well, you all know I review books. In fact, I review a LOT of books for several different companies, two different street teams and various authors seeking influencers. I love to read and people really seem to love my reviews so it seems like a no-brainer.

 

And now it seems like a major downer. A certain company I review for (they WILL remain nameless because it wouldn’t be nice or Christian to point fingers) has decided to deny me for multiple tours I’ve signed up for recently.

Now, if this was the norm for how my relationship has been with them to date… I wouldn’t wonder – I would be looking at the situation very differently but it’s not… at all. Up to now, I have only ever been denied for 1, yes that’s right – 1 tour. To be fair, I don’t sign up for every single tour that comes through my inbox. First I don’t sign up for a book if I don’t think I will enjoy it. Second, who has time to be a mom, home-school, write full-time and review three or four books every day.

Not me!

So I only sign up for tours I am interested in. I do this with every single company – that’s why you don’t see me reviewing a lot for some of them. Not that they don’t publish quality books… they do. But nobody likes every book or every genre.

At any rate, I’m rambling now.

 

So how did I handle this rejection? Well… my spiritual gift is Mercy so I cried. This is why I have had so much trouble with the query process. Every single rejection feels very personal and devastating… so I cried. And then I ranted a bit. And then I realized there must be a reason for this. The rejection isn’t personal. It’s God’s will – And I need to respect that.

So I have accepted it – well I’m working on it anyway… I’m a mercy! We don’t let go of things easily.
But I’m trying to remember that God’s answer is always the best one. So maybe it’s that He knows I’m going to have more than I can handle elsewhere coming up soon. Or maybe I need more time to write or more time with the family. Who knows… well He does.

As difficult as it is for me to take a “No.” as anything other than a personal rejection, I don’t know all of the circumstances so I’m going to have to find a way to let it go and go on.

…Yes! And I am very happy about it!

Yesterday I reviewed a book that I really didn’t enjoy. Actually I’ve read more than a few books lately that I have not really enjoyed.

WHY?

That is the question.

Five years ago, I read the Twilight series. Yes, I did. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I wish now that I could find a way to get some of the books I’ve read in the past out of my head but I chose to put them in there so I will just have to live with it all.

I used to be a huge fan of Nora Roberts and the covers of her books bother me so much now, I won’t even pick them up.

However, God has worked so much in my heart that I can’t even stand the thought of reading those books anymore. I am not the woman I was five years ago. I’m not even the woman I was two years ago. I am a whole new creation in GOD and… HE IS STILL WORKING ON ME!

He has put a love of ALL THINGS GOOD, WHOLESOME AND TRUE into my heart! He has filled it with compassion and forgiveness and LOVE! He has forgiven me and uplifted me and held me up through all of life’s storms!

And this is why I enjoy Amish fiction so much. Because it’s ALL ABOUT HIM!

THANK YOU MOM!

I shudder to think of what I would be reading right now if it were not for you.

YES, there are a few Amish fiction books that discuss harsh realities. YES, there are disturbing things like drugs or inappropriate relationships sometimes in Amish fiction books but in Amish fiction (OK OK… MOST Amish fiction), these things are not swept under the rug. They are not dismissed with excuses or explained away with nonsense about it not being someone’s fault or worse… blamed on someone else entirely. They are presented for exactly what they are – S I N!

This is what is missing from MOST “Christian” fiction. They spend two-thirds of the book talking about sex and drugs and blaming everybody else for their problems and then in the last two or three chapters, the person “gets religion” and it’s all OK.

I’m not trying to pass judgment. And if you’re going to pick a book like this over something like the twilight series or one of these new Amish horror novels or some crazy science fiction that talks about evolution like it’s real, then by all means – pick the “Christian” fiction. It’s better than what the world is handing out.

I’m simply saying – it’s not for me.

And I am so thankful to GOD for it! GOD and Mom. And I’m thankful to GOD for Mom! She is my light in a very dark and disturbing world. She is my rock in the quicksand of lies that so many people toss around freely. She is my life-raft in the turbulent seas of life. She is such a tremendous blessing to me and I don’t know what I would do without her!

And a big shout out to all of the GREAT writers of Amish fiction out there! You know who you are – the ones who are writing to uplift the world and not just to see those $$$!

GOD BLESS YOU and THANK GOD for you too!

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Irony and it’s anchor in God’s plan for my life.

Three things I have found lately that are equally ironic and incredible.

Dare to BELIEVEOne: I checked out a book from the library and was absolutely shocked when I got it home and started reading.

Now I know what you’re thinking… why didn’t I just read the back to see if I was interested.

Well, I’ll tell you.

Before that book, I never really needed to worry about something as gross as “vampires” with an “AMISH” fiction book.

Granted there have been Amish fiction novels I have not cared much for – but the back of those books did not give me even a hint that I would feel that way.

So I didn’t think to look. I saw the “Inspirational” sticker on the spine and I saw Amish characters on the cover so I drew the natural conclusions… And before you think I’m a dummy – the picture on the cover did not give me any real hints that there was anything about vampires inside. I figured the slightly sinister look was advertising a suspense story or a murder mystery.

I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG!

Suffice to say, I DID NOT read the book. Right back to the library it went.

Really! Did I miss something? Since when did “Amish” become synonymous with “vampire”!? Does no one stop to think before writing…much less marketing or publishing such a thing?

Yes I know it’s fiction.
Yes I know it’s not real.
What I don’t know is how anyone who genuinely loves or lives for God, could think such a thing is even a little bit appropriate!

Anyway, on to number…

Two: I was scrolling through my reviews on Amazon and I noticed that someone had clicked one of my reviews (Minding Molly) as not helpful. Well of course I was immediately curious. Amazon doesn’t tell you who didn’t like it or why but I did notice that there were several other reviews (that were along the same lines as mine) that were also marked that way. So I’m guessing someone went through and picked out several reviews that were not flowery and gushing and clicked that they were unhelpful.

Oh well, right…

Maybe if you’re someone who is completely unaffected by other people’s opinions…

I, however, am not. I work very hard on my reviews. And, in the small number of reviews I have given, in which I didn’t love the book, I still try to be positive. I point out what the writer did well, talk about any good points and then state that – while I didn’t care for the book,  someone else might.

And while I still don’t appreciate the action, I suppose I understand the irony.

I didn’t like the book. They clearly didn’t like my review.

and now for…

Three: I applied to review books for a certain publicity company awhile back (I’m not going to name them). We went back and forth with e-mails for a long time and then I finally broke through that glass ceiling – I got an invite to join. I was required to agree to their terms, which I happily did. I e-mailed my agreement and waited. …and waited. …and waited.

And… nothing.

I e-mailed a couple of times since, trying to see what happened and trying not to take the implied rejection personally. I mean, why would a person invite you to review for them and then never get back to you once you’ve accepted?

Weird – right?

Today I wandered over to their website and checked out all the books I’ve been missing all this time. And do you know what I found?

I really haven’t been missing anything. In fact, there are quite a few books that I personally object to – strongly.

Remember the library book I talked about – this one was so much worse! With the library book, I couldn’t tell just how nasty the book was from looking at the cover (although I’m starting to think that might have been better – to know, going in, what it’s all about) and at least it made some attempt to paint the evil as actual evil. The book I found on this site not only had a nasty cover, it was blatantly flying in the face of the evil…painting it very much in the “they can’t help it” light.

My first thought:

These are Christian books… REALLY!

I know the Christian genre has expanded quite a bit lately to include a selection of fantasy and sci-fi but there is still supposed to be a line… right? Somewhere there is supposed to be a line between what the world likes and what glorifies God – am I right? Or has all that just gone the way of the “old-fashioned” hymns in church?

Anyway, this leads right into the part of this post that talks about how God orchestrated all of these things to keep me on the path that he intends for me.

With the book – He is reminding me to be careful of what I bring into my life and my home.

With the comment – He is telling me that I must give my disappointments to Him. He will be my comforter and He will give me the strength I need to get past things like that.

And with the website – He is telling me that I need to be very careful about who I associate with and I need to be especially careful about who I “Promote”. By writing reviews for them and adding my expertise to their site – I am, in essence, saying that I approve of the material there.

Now I review for multiple companies and there are books on each one that I’m not terribly fond of but this one is a very different story. There are books on their list of titles that are so far beyond appropriate for Christian readers, it would be a horrendous idea for me to endorse them and it would most likely destroy my witness.

So I’m very much better off without them!

On that note, I’m also going to be looking a bit closer at the other companies I review for. And, as much as I’ll hate to miss out on good books, I certainly don’t want to promote the nasty ones.

THANK YOU GOD!

Thank you for protecting me from myself, and others around me who care nothing for my eternal soul. Thank you for loving me enough to put up with my mistakes and waiting oh so patiently for me to come to my senses. And Thank you for forgiving all the terrible things I do – that I shouldn’t.

Now a question for you…

Is there anything in your life that falls into one of the categories above? Or another…

Could God be trying to get your attention with something seemingly small?

Are you listening?

“Be what you wish others to become.”
– Amish Proverb

GOD BLESS!

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I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.