Book Review: UnStuck by Chris Dupre

My Thoughts

‘UnStuck’ by Chris Dupre

Category: Christian Non-Fiction

I give this book 5/5 stars.

It’s been a habit of mine to read a Christian Non-fiction book whenever I’m fasting or waiting on God for an answer. Usually though, the books I’m supposed to read find me instead of the other way around. ‘UnStuck’ by Chris Dupre was no different. It was just the book that I need to read during this season of my life. I found the stories and biblical applications so encouraging and inspiring. To me this book was like having a series of conversations with an old friend. I want to mention that some may find the story of the woman not wanting to sing worship on stage during large services odd. It is unfortunate that this is one of the first things we read because it is a bit of a strange story. But please, keep reading. The rest of this book is a treasure. Here are two of my favorite quotes (I actually cheered aloud when I read them):

“Our influence is not in the abundance of our words, but in the abundance of His character within us.”

“There’s a big difference between reacting and responding.”

This is a wonderful book for anyone that is pondering, “Why am I going through this, God?” I know we’ve all been there. Allow Chris Dupre to tell you why it isn’t a bad thing to be stuck, and how God will propel you forward spiritually if you so allow Him.

I was given this book as part of a CelebrateLit Blog Tour. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

About the Book

Title: Unstuck

Author: Chris Dupre

Genre: Self-help, personal growth

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Do you feel like you missed the boat? Are you burnt out? Have your feet been dragging the sidewalk? Do you catch yourself dreaming of what could have been? Of if-only-I-had, or if-only-I-hadn’t? This book is for anyone sitting in the audience who should be on stage, anyone reading blogs who should also be writing them, anyone supporting ministries who should be leading them. It’s for the Christians who know there is a better life, but who are just stuck in the one they’re living.

Saved in the Jesus Movement of the seventies, Chris DuPré connected with countless Christians across the world. Yet too many of those Christians, Chris discovered, have years later lost the fire and stepped back from living out their faith. Why? Because they got stuck—stuck in rejection by others, stuck in fear of the unknown, stuck in loving a comfortable life, stuck in scores of similar ruts. What can set them free from their internal prisons? And what could Christians accomplish if we all just got unstuck?

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Originally from Upstate New York, Chris moved to Kansas City to work alongside Mike Bickle in establishing the International House of Prayer. Chris recently served as Associate Pastor at Grace Center Church in Franklin TN, and is now an associate pastor of Life Center in Harrisburg, PA. A pastor, teacher, worship leader, traveling speaker, and spiritual father to many, Chris may be best known for his song “Dance With Me.” He has produced eight albums and published three books, including The Wild Heart of God (Whitaker House, 2016) and The Lost Art of Pure Worship with James Goll. Parents of three daughters and grandparents of four grandchildren, Chris and his wife, Laura, reside in Harrisburg, PA.

Guest Post from Chris Dupre

I grew up in a small town about 30 miles east of Rochester, NY. Winters there could be brutal. One year, I received beautiful new pair of boots which I loved, particularly for the joy with which they enabled me to engage in the marvelous sport of puddle jumping. One day when the ice and snow had begun to melt, I eyed a nice puddle and jumped in the middle sending a freezing splash in all directions. But wait, something was wrong — this was no ordinary puddle! This one was made to capture people, and I was captured! Frantic, I pulled one foot out, but no matter how much I tried, the other foot would not budge. My boot was stuck. I was stuck! I pulled and pulled until finally my foot came free in a soggy sock. My beautiful boot had been left behind, buried beneath the slush. My little mind was faced with a choice. Did I care enough about to do something? It only took a second to act. I loved those boots. I found a stick and began to fish. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally pulled out my boot. That’s the first time I ever went fishing and was glad to catch a boot instead of a fish.

My desire with this book is to address some of those “stuck” moments we all face. I want to provide keys that will hopefully open a door or two that have held you back on the incredible journey of life. I say a door or two, or even three, because it’s almost always more than one thing that gets us stuck. Ah, but God—He is the change factor in all of this and in Him we can break free.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 28

Mary Hake, December 28

A Reader’s Brain, December 29

Carpe Diem, December 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 30

A Baker’s Perspective, December 31

New Horizon Reviews, January 1

proud to be an autism mom, January 2

Books, Books, and More Books., January 3

Kristin’s Book Reviews, January 4

A Greater Yes, January 5

Texas Book-aholic, January 6

Blossoms and Blessings, January 7

Janices book reviews, January 8

Bigreadersite, January 9

Pursuing Stacie, January 10

Giveaway

In honor of the tour, Whitaker House is giving away

Grand Prize: Unstuck: Hope for Christians in a Dead-End Job, Dead-End Faith, or Some Similar Soul-Shriveling Rut by Chris DuPré; The Wild Love of God: A Journey That Heals Life’s Deepest Wounds by Chris DuPré;” Covenant” Pillar Candle scented with ancient biblical fragrances from Abba Jerusalem, and a Whitaker House Grown-Up Coloring Book

First Place Prize: Unstuck: Hope for Christians in a Dead-End Job, Dead-End Faith, or Some Similar Soul-Shriveling Rut by Chris DuPré; The Wild Love of God: A Journey That Heals Life’s Deepest Wounds by Chris DuPré;” “Man of God” Ceramic Mug, CTAInc.com; and a Whitaker House Grown-Up Coloring Book

Second Place Prize: Unstuck: Hope for Christians in a Dead-End Job, Dead-End Faith, or Some Similar Soul-Shriveling Rut by Chris DuPré; and The Wild Love of God: A Journey That Heals Life’s Deepest Wounds by Chris DuPré”.

Click the link to enter! https://promosimple.com/ps/c457

How Reading a Horrible Book Encouraged Me To Write

Indie authors will often do something called a review exchange. It means you both exchange your manuscripts and review them for each other. A lot of times this turns into a great experience that ends with a new writer friend. Other times though, it can be disastrous. The latest exchange I joined has been more of the latter, but that’s ok. Why though? I’ve gotten a two star review on a book that otherwise has great reviews. Also, I’ve had to read through a horrible book. I don’t mean that the content was poor, but that the writing was less than mediocre. I kept making myself read further, and everything in me that loves reading and writing revolted. No, stop reading this. You’re wasting part of your favorite reading month of the year on this book. Read something—anything else—because life is too short.

Photo by Markus Clemens on Unsplash

The Worst Part

You know what offended me the most? Is that the book could have been good. It was about an interesting topic. The story had some problems, but they also could have been fixed with just a bit more effort. The whole thing was what my reading and writing friends call ‘lazy writing’… it’s the sort of thing that happens when the writer doesn’t put any effort into their writing. Using the same word three times in one sentence because you couldn’t be bothered to use a thesaurus? Lazy. Jumping from present to past tense as if there isn’t a difference because using the correct tense sucks brain power? Lazy. Using a cliche every other paragraph? Lazy! Writing is an art. It takes a lot of effort and constant education to increase one’s skill. It isn’t easy. If you want to do something easy, don’t write. As my favorite writing quote says

“Easy reading is terribly hard writing.” -Richard Brinsley Sheridan

No thanks, I’m ok being rubbish at my job.

But don’t be discouraged. I am also a stubborn believer that anyone that wants to can learn to be a writer. Because of that, I emailed the author and asked if she would like me walk her through why I would give her book one star if I did review it. Her response: “I would appreciate if you didn’t review it.” No, “Sure, I would love to hear your constructive criticism!” It makes me sad.

A few years ago I would have made a list of examples of why her writing was so difficult to get through (including the use of cliches, many grammatical errors, and lack of creativity when choosing words)… but now I ask first because usually I received a reply like, “Thanks for your email, but my readers don’t seem to mind the things you pointed out, so I’m just going to keep writing like I write now.” Why would you be ok being bad at something you supposedly love? I don’t get it. Sure, it takes time to learn how to be a better writer, but isn’t the time investment worth it? Because money. These authors don’t care if their books are good or not because their books still sell, and contribute to the idea that self-published books can’t be held to the same standards of other books… forget literature.

Photo by Jonas Svidras on Unsplash

Over the summer a writerly friend read two of my books. The first one I ever wrote, and the most recent (book number five). She said, “You can definitely see a difference in the quality of writing between the two.” THAT! That is what I want. Thank you, friend. That was the best compliment to me you could have paid.

After reading that horrible book I’m encouraged. Now I know what I don’t want to do, and I realize more than ever how much I care about the written word. I want to get better and write amazing books. Maybe I won’t be able to convince anyone they should read my books anytime soon. But either I’m going to do it right, or I won’t do it at all. Let me close with this quote:

“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.” -Samuel Johnson

Happy reading,

Kristin

Book Review: Into a Silent World by Carmina Edwards

My Thoughts

I give this book 5/5 stars.

Into a Silent World‘ is quite the wild ride as far as stories go. I couldn’t put it down! The first half of the book had a slow pace as the author spent a lot of time helping the reader understand what the intriguing world of an aspiring nun was like for Amy, our fearless protagonist. But at exactly half way in, crazy and interesting things start to happen. If I gave you a preview of all the schemes Amy gets into, you probably wouldn’t believe me, so I suggest you read it for yourself. Amy is a lovable, timeless character you will never forget!

An additional note for readers of my blog– I found this book really helpful as research for better understanding what religious instruction in an institution like the one where Amy lived might be like. This comes into play in my NaNoWriMo book as the protagonist attends a school in religious instruction before he can be sworn in as a time traveler.

I was provided a copy of this book by Celebrate Lit in case I wanted to write a review. All opinions are my own.

Purchase your copy here.

About the Book

Title: Into a Silent World

Author: Carmina Edwards

Genre: Biography, Memoir

Release Date: August 15, 2016

Following Amy’s adventures in A Door Cracked Open, she heads into a world which will test her faith and perseverance to the limit. Instead of settling into a simple, safe and unchanging life like she imagined, Amy is strongly drawn to a vocation with even higher requirements, prompting her to plan some seemingly impossible missions in order to reach her goal.

About the Author

I am a mother of two wonderful grown up children and currently living in the UK, after living in Sweden for three years where I wrote my first book, “A Door Cracked Open.” I was blessed to be able to spend six months in USA before returning to the UK, my home country, to work with my editor in California on the edits of this book and visit friends.

I am an avid reader and linguist, having also spent some years living in France and have been fortunate enough to have taught Swedish and French over twenty-five years and translate for businesses and manuscripts in both languages. Being unemployed the past few years, has led to me becoming homeless. However, I never give up hope. As I try to portray in my books, God has always had His hand on me. Once again, He has stepped in right at the last minute. I now have a new job in Sweden and will be moving back there. Because I feel passionately about helping the homeless, a large percentage of my royalties will go directly to them.

Guest Post from Carmina Edwards

“Into a Silent World” follows on from Amy’s story in “A Door Cracked Open.”

With a new beginning ahead of her, a long standing dream about to be realized, she was unprepared for the events which were about to unfold over the next two years.

Why would God send her to this place of “absolute conviction” and allow her to remain there for that long, if He never meant for her to be there? Amy struggles to understand and seeks His will, but determined that it was His plan, she persevered in order for her dream to be fulfilled.

Blog Stops

Just Jo’Anne, November 7

Mary Hake, November 8

Kristin’s Book Reviews, November 9

Janices book review, November 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 11

History, Mystery & Faith, November 12

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 13 (Interview)

The Power of Words, November 14 (Interview)

margaret kazmierczak, November 15

Splashes of Joy, November 16

A Reader’s Brain, November 17

Multifarious, November 18

Artistic Nobody, November 19 (Karin Perry guest post)

Texas Book-aholic, November 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carmina is giving away

Grand Prize:

Paperback copies of A Door Cracked Open & Into a Silent World

1st – 3rd place:

Ebook copy of A Door Cracked Open!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c3c4

Book Review: My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna’s Choice by Angie Dicken

Welcome to another installment of ‘Kristin’s Book Reviews’ where I tell you exactly what I think about some of the most exciting new releases. Today’s book is about a woman in difficult circumstances, surrounded by hateful people, who tries to make the best choices, but often fails.

My Thoughts On ‘My Heart Belongs In Castle Gate…

I give this book 3/4 stars.

Category: Historical Fiction – Christian

Though I was naturally endeared to this book because of the interesting history revolving around Greek immigrants to America (I am an American immigrant to Greece), there were definitely highs and lows both as I read through this jaunt into America’s past.

This dual POV story gives you the side of each protagonist as you learn about their prior mistakes and cheer them on to victory.

As someone who speaks (I use the term loosely here) Greek, I have to say that for the most part the Greek was spot on. Kudos to Ms. Dicken who was influenced by her family history to create this story.

The thing that I really had a hard time with about this book is something I see in a lot of books lately. The constant repetition of the protagonists inner thoughts reaffirming their feelings, which the reader is already very familiar with after the beginning of the book, becomes annoying. In this case, multiply that by two because both protagonists do it through the entire book. I understand that when God speaks to us, we aren’t always so eager to listen, but in this case the author never had her characters deal with the fact that they were ignoring their feelings and circumstances because of their own pride. I think that’s a shame. I also think the idea of women being reluctant to marry, or men (in Alex’s case) is an overused theme in Christian literature.

Though this wasn’t my absolute favorite, the story was consistent and I was curious to know what would happen in the end. I think many people will enjoy it.

I was provided a copy of this book by Celebrate Lit in case I wanted to write a review. All opinions are my own.

Be sure to keep reading for more about the author as well as information on her awesome giveaway.

Purchase your copy here.

About the Book

Name of book: My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah

Author: Angie Dicken

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: November 1, 2017

Schoolteacher Leanna McKee plans on leaving the coal mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, and never looking back. Good riddance to coal dust, rugged men, and the fatal mine that took her husband’s life.

Until the widow meets a widower who awakens her heart…and she finds herself inexplicably falling for miner Alex Pappas which stirs up a whole heap of trouble.

Alex’s Greek parents have arranged a more traditional match for him. When the schoolteacher’s association with the Greek family begins to anger the American miners, they threaten Alex and his family. Leanna has received an offer to teach elsewhere and feels she has no choice but to leave Castle Gate. . .though she will be leaving her heart behind.

About The Author

Angie Dicken is a third generation Greek American, the granddaughter of strong men and women who endured hardship to grow American roots. My Heart Belongs In Castle Gate, Utah is set near the birthplace of her grandfather, a Greek coal miner’s son, and published 100 years after his birth. Angie is a contributor to The Writer’s Alley blog and an ACFW member since 2010. She lives with her husband and four children in the Midwest where she enjoys exploring eclectic new restaurants and chatting with friends over coffee. You can connect with Angie at www.angiedicken.com.

 

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, October 31

Faithfully Bookish, October 31

Caffeinated Reads, October 31

Captive Dreams Window, November 1

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 1

A Greater Yes, November 2

Janices book reviews, November 2

Daysong Reflections, November 2

Red Headed Book Lady, November 3

Books, Books, and More Books., November 3

Just the Write Escape, November 3

Carpe Diem, November 4

Christian Bookaholic, November 4

Radiant Light, November 5

History, Mystery & Faith, November 5

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, November 6

Texas Book-aholic, November 6

Babs Book Bistro, November 7

Kristin’s Book Reviews, November 7

Singing Librarian Books, November 8

Connie’s History Classroom, November 8

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 9

J.E. Grace Christian Author Blog, November 9

Neverending Stories, November 9

Have A Wonderful Day, November 10

Pause for Tales, November 10

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 11

Mary Hake, November 11

Splashes of Joy, November 11

Bigreadersite, November 12

Blossoms and Blessings, November 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 12

Vicky Sluiter, November 13

Bibliophile Reviews, November 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Angie is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of her book The Outlaw’s Second Chance!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c1ff

A Note To The Weary NaNo Participant

I remember before I went through the organized insanity that was my first National Novel Writing Month (now you know why we abbreviate) I thought I wouldn’t finish all 50,000 words. In retrospect I realize how stupid that was because I’m very goal oriented, and I would have rather died than not finished. I have a very supportive husband that made sure when I needed to write, “Just 2,000 more words today…” that my children didn’t starve or my undone laundry pile reach Matterhorn like heights.

Don’t Quit Before You Start

If you’re expecting a pep talk along the lines of, “I have three kids, a full time job, and I still did it. What’s your excuse?” you are obviously new to my blog. Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here. Also, I’m not mean like that. What I will say is that you shouldn’t be afraid to start because you think you won’t finish. So, so many people ‘lose’ NaNoWriMo every year. But you know what? They have more words than when they started. That’s the whole point, to add more words to the words you already have. Maybe you have zero. Even one sentence should be considered a victory.

Go-on Girl. Do Your Thing. (Or Boy)

I mean, we all know that the first few pages are the hardest to write. “But I have to fit the very soul of my work into the first few lines or the reader will get bored and return my book!” I’m not opposed to a stunning opening line, ok? But give we readers some credit. Tell me a story from your heart. Find a good editor so that I don’t get lost in a swamp of mistakes (post-NaNo), avoid having the protagonist say the same three things over and again as inner dialogue (a current peeve of mine), and I promise I will make it all the way through your book.

You can do this!

Whether this is the first time you’ve ever written something or you are a weathered, tenured author challenging yourself to do something for the first time, welcome. Insanity will ensue. Yes. But the crazy people are all in this with you. Let’s make more words, worlds, and characters that will get stuck in someone else’s brain forever. Shall we?

Whether you are a planner, pantser, plantser, or don’t know what any of those are, what plan do you have to help you beat discouragement into a bloody stump this November? Comment below. If you don’t have a plan, may I invite you to participate in my #nanopropel2017 challenge? Check it out. It’s easy and helpful. I promise.

Without further ado… let the battle for your right to write begin!

Almost naively optimistic,

Kristin

#nanopropel2017 – A Personal Mission to Inspire

I’m annoying.

Anyone that has participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short) knows that moments of discouragement will come. It’s like an evil troll magically appears on your shoulder whispering, “Wow… that’s what you wrote… ok. It’s your literary career’s funeral. Excuse me while I go barf up a rainbow on your kitchen floor.” You never know when that annoying troll is going to show. For some it’s during the first week. For others, it emerges the last day chanting, “Lo-ser, lo-ser!” Some NaNos the little annoyance surfaces every single day. But this year I have a plan.

I’m not personally that inspirational as a writer. My books haven’t been selling very well and I’m still only three years into my career. So… I’m turning to the big guns, the experts in our field for inspiration this NaNoWriMo. I have selected inspirational NaNo-spirited quotes from “The Little Black Book of Writers’ Wisdom,” from the big guns. Joseph Conrad (I have such a crush on his style), Ralph Waldo Emerson, E. B. White… etc. So check out the hashtag on Instagram for this NaNo-themed Insta-challenge. In addition to all your wonderful posts, I’ll keep the quotes coming daily.

My history with Insta-challenges is sketchy. I’ve never finished one. So this challenge isn’t your typical “Post this thing every day” type of challenge. You can post these items in whatever order you want, and there are only 10 challenges for the whole month! See… I’m setting both of us up for victory. I hope you join the #nanopropel2107 challenge. If it doesn’t propel you to victory, at least it will propel your Instagram account to a new level of awesomeness.

I hope I didn’t spend all my saved up NaNo juices on writing this post. Oh well, that’s what the inspiration quotes are for, right?

Yours lovingly,

Kristin the Troll Slayer

Worldbuilding and Anticipation – NaNoWriMo 2017

We are T-Minus 12 days from the start of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2017 and this year my NaNo prep has been super intense. Why? I am a making a multiverse!

That’s right, my very own space themed wonderland complete with different beings, cultures, religion-run time travel, and unrequited love (I consider myself an expert on the latter). At first the task seemed daunting. “I’ll just work on it a little each day,” was my mantra as I attempted not to feel overwhelmed about being responsible for creating different solar systems, universes, and complex characters who needed both physiology and personality. I can confidently say I am finished with the backbone of the story. The 3D characters are mapped out. I still need to create a stunning cast of 2D characters to make my 3D beings shine even brighter… (or not shine… even darker? This parenthetical statement turned confusing) but I will not fret a thing. A steady viewing diet of Star Trek, Star Wars, The Orville (an amazing Sci-Fi in its own right… you MUST watch it) and a year of reading old and new Sci-Fi/Fantasy has me anticipating all the aliens I can create.

Worldbuilding What Exactly?

So… what exactly is the Space Fantasy baby I’m birthing into the world this November? It’s called ‘The Introvert Time Traveler’ and follows the life of Ezeit Traginus, an amphibious humanoid from the planet Krigrag in the Septum Majoris system who is chosen to be this century’s Traveler by the panfamous Tigd. (Did you notice the made up word? Yeah, that’s going to happen a lot in this book)

The problem is, Ez, as his friends (wait, does he have any?) call him is super introverted and also insecure. When his selfish ambition causes two unsteady worlds to go to war, again, he must discover a way to fix what he has done… without manipulating the rules of the Aanving, the Tigd book of laws and ordinances, or his ship’s companion Vitality, Jotie.

I’m so excited about this project. I can’t wait… as in, I want to write it now! But I still need to figure out a few things (like what is the fan convention called where Ez attends to meet fellow fans of his beloved graphic novel series turned Exo-net video sensation).

My kids are not cooperating with me writing this post… sigh. Sorry if it makes little sense. I don’t write well with screaming/yelling/insanely loud talking in the background (contrary to popular belief).

What projects are you looking forward to this fall?

Happy reading (writing, sewing, whatever),

Kristin

Book Review: Reintegration by Ashley Bogner

Welcome to another installment of ‘Kristin’s Book Reviews’ where I tell you exactly what I think about some of the most exciting new releases. Today’s book is special in the fact that it’s author Ashley Bogner’s first novel! Ashely has been a faithful reviewer of my books (even though we don’t always agree 100% on things) and I’m so excited to finally be able to return the favor. I was also able to interview Ashley about her writing process, which I know all my readers that write will enjoy. Without further ado, here is the interview. Make sure to keep reading to find out how much I enjoyed and ‘Reintegration’ along with a brief synopsis.

Interview with Author Ashely Bogner

What is the most difficult thing (or things) you struggle with as a writer?

World-building and scenery description, definitely. I’m so jealous of authors who craft richly-detailed, epic fantasy or sci-fi settings that make me feel like I’m actually in the story.

Are you part of a writing group? Why or why not?

I used to be part of a writer’s group that met once a month and I loved it. Unfortunately, my family moved and I haven’t been able to find a Christian writer’s group near me. It’s very disappointing, as I love meeting other writers and learning from their experiences.

When do your ideas usually come to you? When you’re writing? When you’re walking around? Reading a good book?

On car trips, actually! There’s something about watching the scenery go by while listening to music that just tends to inspire story ideas.

Although, I am also plagued quite frequently by the ideas that come when I’m trying to fall asleep and am too tired to write them down. 🙂

What kind of writer are you, a planner, a pantser, or a plantser (combination of the two)?

Definitely a planner. I never start a book without doing a gazillion outlines and synopses (I always want to write this synopsises—it’s very fun to say!). I don’t like getting half-way through a manuscript then realizing I either have no idea where I’m going or I have a major plot loophole. It’s also helpful for when I have to abandon a project for a while. I can just reread my outline and pick up right where I left off!

How many drafts do you write, and which of those is the most difficult for you?

This question made me laugh, because for me, there is actually no telling how many drafts I’ll have. Reintegration had one draft followed by some small edits. I’m currently on the fourth draft of the sequel. Once I finish the Reintegration trilogy, I’ll start my tenth draft of an old fantasy manuscript of mine. The number of drafts I’ll have is such a mystery.

Honestly, rough drafts are the most difficult. As I mentioned earlier, I do a lot of planning so I don’t run into a lot of writer’s block. Rough drafts are hard for me because I’m a perfectionist and I want everything to be just right the first time. Oftentimes, I’m not even half-way through the rough draft and I’m already dying to go back and edit. I really have to push myself to finish before I start rewriting.

Are there any character traits you have that you try to instill in your characters? Are there traits you wish you had that you give to your characters? What are they?

You’ll actually find a lot of “me” in my characters, especially my female protagonists. I want my characters to feel authentic, so oftentimes the fears and dreams and values and flaws and doubts they have are based off my own. I try to make them unique characters, but also have them be characters I relate to.

My characters have a lot more courage than I do. They’re more willing to take action when they need to. I’m that person who has to think through all the options before making a decision, and I sometimes miss opportunities because of it. That’s why I love speculative stories so much—the characters inspire me to be braver, even if I’m not involved in a world-saving adventure. 🙂

What genre is your new project?

Reintegration is a YA dystopian novel told from a Christian worldview. It’s also the first of a trilogy!

What was your world building process like for this project?

Dystopian is an interesting genre because it’s so theme-driven. World-building has always been a struggle of mine, but with Reintegration it came a lot easier than with previous stories. With dystopian fiction, I found that the “key” to world-building (at least for me) is building the setting around the theme. My characters live in a world where tolerance and relativism have been taken too far. I looked at each element of the setting from this perspective. What government type would reflect this idea best? What would the education system be like? How would people interact with each other? Then I filled in the details with things like clothing, food, vocabulary, etc.

My Thoughts On ‘Reintegration

I give this book 4/5 stars.

Categories: Speculative Fiction, Young Adult, Religious Fiction, Dystopian

This book is touching and thought provoking with plenty of twists and turns. There is some violence toward the end, which is why I don’t recommend this book for readers under the age of 13, but besides that I found it to be totally clean and appropriate. If you like futuristic dystopian style novels, ‘Reintegration’ will definitely keep you entertained and turning the pages. I couldn’t put it down and ended up reading it in one sitting. The only complaint I have is that sometimes there were paragraphs of Katherine’s inner thoughts that seemed to go on too long. Those scenes would have been more powerful without as much repetition and length. I think that is one of the main reasons why I haven’t seen very many five star reviews for this book… the too-long inner dialogue bogs down the flow of the otherwise smooth yet punchy story line. However, I remember what it was like to write my first novel, and I think given time Bogner will learn to avoid this mistake.

The themes in this book center on what happens when the true meaning of tolerance is forgotten and twisted into moral relativism, the importance of family, and establishing boundaries within the context of righteousness. Does God exist? And if yes, what would Katherine be willing to risk to get that information into the hands of her peers? Matthew was definitely my favorite character!

I can’t wait to read the next book in this series whenever it comes out, and I would definitely recommend it to my friends. I wish there was more Religious Fiction in the world like ‘Reintegration’.

You can purchase it here on Amazon, here on Barnes & Noble, and here on CreateSpace.

Reintegration Synopsis

TAG LINE:  A perfect citizen. A captured rebel. One decision could destroy them both…

SUMMARY: As a Regulator, seventeen-year-old Katherine Holliday’s duty is to protect the people of the Federation from a group of violent rebels who have exiled themselves to the mysterious wilderness. When one of these rebels is captured within the Federation, the government leaders propose an alternative to execution, a procedure they call Reintegration. The procedure involves erasing the rebel’s memory and attempting to make him a member of society. The rebel, a young man named Matthew, is not the violent criminal Katherine expects, and she can’t help but befriend him. A few weeks after Matthew’s Reintegration, Katherine realizes the procedure failed and she is now presented with a choice no one else can help her make. Can she warn her superiors that Reintegration failed, which could mean death for Matthew? Or will she defy everything she knows to help him escape—and risk her own execution?

AUTHOR BIO: When Ashley Bogner was in third grade, she decided she would be a published author when she grew up. Ashley is a homeschool graduate and has lived in seven different states. She completed a year of Bible college and in the fall will begin pursuing a degree in Communication Studies. After college, her plan is to work in the Christian publishing industry. When not writing, she can be found baking, posting book reviews on her blog, and watching her favorite movies over and over to the point of memorization.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Blog: http://www.ashleybogner.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashleybognerwriter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@AshleyBWriter

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16953932.Ashley_Bogner

As always, happy reading!

Kristin N. Spencer

Kerfuffle the Tour

Today marks the beginning of the official Kerfuffle Blog Tour through the lovely and amazing Celebrate Lit Group. Here is a rundown of the the awesome bloggers that have read and will be reviewing Kerfuffle, the 3rd book in the Desires & Decisions Series. I’m mostly excited to read their reviews, but there is also the twinge of nerves that this cartoon perfectly illustrates:

But since I can’t stall forever… here is the list.

Kerfuffle the Tour

August 15: Bukwurmzzz

August 16: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

August 17: Ashley’s Bookshelf

August 18: Blogging With Carol

August 19: Just the Write Escape

August 20: Carpe Diem

August 21: A Reader’s Brain

August 22: Remembrancy

August 23: Margaret Kazmierczak

August 24: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

August 25: Baker Kella

August 26:  Avid Reader Book Reviews

August 27: The Power of Words (Spotlight)

August 28: JosephineAnneWrites

I would love for you to participate by visiting each blog each day and reading what these wonderful readers (some of which are also writers) have to say. And hey, you can also enter a competition to receive the Desires & Decisions Series in their full paperback glory for free along with a free tee from my Threadless Artist Shop. Cool, right?

As always, happy reading!

-Kristin

The Book We Thought We’d Never Finish

Today is launch day! It seems like I’ve had a lot of those lately, but this one is different for several reasons. Holy Sex Reboot: My Sexual Identity in Christ was like an illusive beast, hard to catch and even more difficult to keep pinned down. Besides the fact that it was our first co-authored book together as spouses (one of many we hope), and my first co-authored book ever, it was on a topic that exhausted our brains and in many ways broke our hearts. There is so much confusion and misinformation when it comes to ones sexual identity, and that is just as true in the Church of Jesus Christ. Every time we sat down to work on this book, we shredded more and more away. For me, that is always a painful process. Then there were the arguments… What should we add? Who was going to write that part? Did that addition make the difference that we wanted it to make? Add physical injuries and illness into an already complicated mix and you get… a really cool book?

The Book We Though We’d Never Finish

I am excited to say that this is one of the best books I’ve written, and that puts Travis way ahead of me since it’s his first book ever. But don’t take my word for it, here’s what readers are saying:

“As a single person I have often been frustrated with the Christian community’s lack of guidance on this subject. There is often a sex is taboo until you say ‘I do’ mentality. This book changes the discussion by pointing out how, even in my singleness, God has a plan for my sexuality.

The Spencer’s have done a wonderful job portraying the truth about God’s plan for sexuality in all walks of life. Their openness about their own journeys in purity are honest and insightful. I am so thankful to have a book on sex that I can recommend to all my friends; whether single or married. This book has been a blessing to my life and it will be a blessing to yours.” -Tabitha Burns, Hip Single Lady (24 years old), Serving in Full Time Ministry

“Travis and Kristin tackle a subject that many Christians shy away from, but they do so with much finesse and with valuable Biblical and personal insights. Holy Sex Reboot helps in understanding the divine principles of sexuality and in averting some of our misconceptions.” -Árpád Horváth Kávai, Pastor, Husband, & Father

This review is my favorite. It comes from a friend who volunteered to read it, even though she’s not the target audience:

“As a reader, I can give a chance to all kinds of books. If I like the subject matter, I read them. If I don’t, I ditch them. This particular book was something I would never imagine reading. Mostly for two reasons. First, it is written by Christians, and it’s addressed to Christians. Second, I didn’t know Christians would actually bring themselves to discuss the S-word in such detail. The Spencers have amazed me with their openness, honesty, courage and deep knowledge of the scriptures. They both seem to know what they’re doing, and they base all their advice on passages from the Bible. I believe Christians will be relieved to know that questions that have been torturing them regarding sex, can actually find answers in Holy Sex Reboot.

Now, the reason I think non-Christians will want to read it as well is very simple. Either single or married, people from all walks of life have been struggling with sexual frustration for years. Reading this book will not “convert” them to Christianity, but it will definitely help them regard sex as something more than a matter of the flesh. Especially married couples can revisit their behavior towards sex and proceed to have a healthier and more intimate sex life. The authors have been counseling couples, so it is certain that they know a thing or two on some of the factors why husbands and wives don’t always see eye to eye about certain things. I bet the topic of sex must come up very often during their sessions.

I was genuinely moved by the two authors’ confessions about their own mistakes and shortcomings and, for that, I salute them. It isn’t easy to expose yourself in such a way to help others. I think these two did a very good job.”

I hope you will find that this book bridges the gap for you between what ideas the Church accepts about sex and what the Bible actually says. If you have any questions we would love to hear from you.

Get your copy of Holy Sex Reboot: My Sexual Identity in Christ now for 33% off the normal price, a launch day special!

Happy Reading,

Kristin N. Spencer on behalf of me and T. E. Spencer