Thursday, October 17, 2019

Here is today's review column from Meridian Magazine. https://latterdaysaintmag.com/latter-day-saint-fiction-seeking-justice/

Just a quick catch up for those who have asked. My cataract surgery went well and I'm still waiting for the results from the breast biopsy two days ago. I'm also still waiting for a yay or nay on the book length manuscript I submitted two months ago and I'm half way through the novella I agreed to write for a western romance compilation.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

My reviews of two great stories by a couple of my favorite authors were posted this morning on Meridian Magazine.

https://latterdaysaintmag.com/a-peek-at-two-spy-novels/

By the way I recently submitted another mystery/suspense novel to my publisher. I'm also busy working on a novella for a compilation with three other writers.

Thursday, September 5, 2019


I reviewed some fun mysteries involving food for today's Meridian column.
https://latterdaysaintmag.com/latter-day-saint-fiction-sweet-tooth-stories/

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Four Suspense Novels Not to Miss

I reviewed a collection of Mystery/Suspense novels for Meridian today.

https://latterdaysaintmag.com/entangled-a-collection-of-novellas-by-four-great-mystery-writers/

Thursday, July 25, 2019

A Great New Pioneer Story

https://latterdaysaintmag.com/lds-fiction-pioneering-along-the-muddy-river/

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Thursday, January 24, 2019

My most recent Meridian column. Take a look at four contemporary Westerns.

https://ldsmag.com/lds-fiction-a-different-kind-of-series/

Saturday, March 18, 2017

UPDATED VERSION OF AN OLD FAVORITE


Eight years ago I posted a review of Jerry Borrowman's One Last Chance on Meridian Magazine. He has updated the book and republished it as Just One Last Chance.




    JUST ONE LAST CHANCE by Jerry Borrowman






Jerry Borrowman takes a departure from his much loved war era stories to write a different kind of story set in the depression era beginning in 1932. Just One Last Chance is set in Boise, Idaho, at a time when the city was young, few streets were paved, not everyone owned an automobile, unemployment was high, and there were few resources other than churches to offer assistance to the sick or poor. He tells the story of a teenage boy who struggles to grow up without family guidance until he discovers a new kind of family and gains insight into the character traits essential to becoming the kind of man he dreams of becoming.



Artie Call has a knack for getting in trouble. He is a kid who has seen more than his fair share of hurt and loss in his young life. His mother died when he was too young to even remember her clearly. His father turned to the bottle until he was killed in an automobile accident. Then Artie lived with his grandparents, but his grandmother passed away and his grandfather is now suffering from dementia. So Artie takes care of him. Being too young to work, the boy steals enough food to keep them both alive. A prank he and a friend pull on a cranky old man backfires and the boys wind up in court.



Artie's grandfather is sent to a mental institution and Artie winds up living in the home of the man he detests most. Life is hard and his guardian constantly finds excuses to punish him. Two rough boys who helped him steal food earlier show up and insist he assist them in stealing gold coins from a wealthy widow. The robbery goes wrong and the woman is seriously injured. When the other boys flee, Artie refuses to leave the woman. He stays to offer aid and call for help which lands him back in the same judge's court. From here Artie's life takes a different twist.



There are a number of characters in this novel that will touch the hearts of readers, not just Artie, but his two closest friends, as well as Mary and Ray who play strong roles in shaping the kind of man Artie will become. The negative characters are portrayed well also. Even the "bit" characters who play minor roles are distinct individuals and are realistic.



Vintage cars are an important element of the story. Details of the classic Dusseldorf, Cadillac, and Studebaker enhance the background and add authenticity to the time. It was interesting to learn that the Dusseldorf, which was the top luxury car in the thirties cost between $22,000.00 and $29,000.00 which in our time would be over three million dollars. At that time it also cost thirty-five cents for a five course dinner on a cross country train.



In addition to an enjoyable story, Just One Last Chance was a fascinating look at an earlier time. History buffs will love it. My only criticism is that point of view switches are slightly confusing. Nonetheless, I thoroughly recommend this book for book clubs or just to savor alone.



Jerry Borrowman is the author of numerous historical novels and is best known for Three Against Hitler for which he was awarded the National Freedom Foundation At Valley Forge Award. He and his wife live in Utah.



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JUST ONE LAST CHANCE by Jerry Borrowman, Published by Black Canyon Press, 254 pages. Soft cover $975. Also available for eReaders.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Reviews

I review LDS fiction on a regular basis for Meridian Magazine. I haven't been blogging much lately, but I will start posting  links to my reviews.  Here's a link to my latest review column on Meridian Magazine:
http://ldsmag.com/lds-fiction-history-suspense-and-a-touch-of-romance/

Thursday, May 19, 2016

OBSERVATION AND CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

A few days ago I was shopping in a nearby super store that has junior size shopping carts for children to use They're perfect for those little helpers who accompany mommy or daddy shopping, but who are a little too big to be satisfied sitting in the regular carts' toddler seats. (My five-year-old granddaughter loves having her own cart to push.) I stopped behind a little girl who was helping her mom choose produce. The mother was being patient, allowing the child to select which veggies she preferred and explaining how to choose the best ones. When she realized they were blocking the aisle the mother immediately apologized and the little girl echoed the apology as they both moved out of the way. I assured them I didn't mind, finished my shopping, and took my groceries to my car. As I transferred grocery bags from my cart to my car, I observed a woman doing the same thing across from me. A small child was crying loudly inside her vehicle. The woman screamed at him to "shut-up" a couple of times, then she said, "Get out of the car. You can find your own way home. I don't want you anymore anyway." I watched to see if she really did abandon the child in a large, busy parking lot. Thankfully she didn't, but I couldn't help contrasting the two parents' I'd observed. I suspect one will grow up strong and confident with a good sense of self worth. The other will struggle with self-esteem, may bully others, and likely will never quite feel wanted.

I don't know either woman and there's nothing like a woman who has already raised her children to know what a young mother should or shouldn't do, you know those things we wish we'd known when we were raising our own children, but learned too late. The first parent-child pair left me feeling good and pleased that the little girl was learning skills that will help her all of her life. The kind, gentle relationship between the two left me with positive feelings. The other mother may have had a bad day, but even a bad day does not justify threats of abandonment. I know as well as anyone how difficult a four or five year old can be, but even a difficult child who is misbehaving should be threatened with abandonment and told he isn't wanted.

My point in relating this experience? It's two-fold. First, to other writers. This is how to make stories real. Observe and store  up incidents large and small you encounter. This is how you create realistic characters. To readers and random people everywhere, this is where writers get started with character development. Most writers could easily turn one or both of these mothers into a character in one of his/her books. Small incidents tell a great deal about a person and if you don't want to wind up the villain in someone's story try speaking and behaving like a hero or heroine. You'll be happier and so will your children.

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As a side note, I've been spending as much time as possible working in my garden to make up for the neglect it received while I spent so much time in hospitals and recuperating the past few years. If you can stand more of my garden pictures, here goes: