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 Article Of The Day
 The Saint Next Door
 
The Saint Next Door
By: Dan Jason
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: November 2021
ISBN: 978-1639880959
Reviewed by: Dianne Woodman
Review Date: January 20, 2022
The Saint Next Door by Dan Jason is geared toward followers of Jesus Christ who are interested in Sainthood. The book is split into twenty chapters. At the end of each chapter, the author offers challenges for readers to undertake that will allow them to grow deeper in their relationship with God. The book provides a great deal of Jason's insight into the steps required for individuals to achieve Sainthood. The author also reiterates throughout the book how life on Earth is preparation for spending eternity with God in Heaven, the benefits of always being tuned into God, and the responsibility to others as an ambassador of Christ.
The author talks about a number of influential and well-known saints. He points out how saints are ordinary people who face challenges in their journeys of serving the Lord. The saints spoken of in the book include Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the reason she has been given a unique position among the saints. The book focuses on the accessibility of Sainthood, and how all individuals who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ are called to be saints. The author explains why the journey toward Sainthood is not easy and does not happen overnight, but how it is an achievable mission for anyone willing to soldier on in tough times.
In the book, Jason emphasizes issues that he deems vital for those individuals navigating the road to Sainthood. He talks about the significance of communicating with God on a regular basis, reaching out to individuals in need regardless of their status in life, supporting and encouraging fellow believers, and showing unconditional love to others. The author also calls attention to his belief that anyone who wants to cultivate a deeper relationship with God needs to allow Jesus Christ to take the helm in their lives and lean on him for weathering the storms that crop up in life.
Every topic covered in The Saint Next Door is supported by the author's personal experiences and anecdotes of individuals who rely on God. Excerpts and verses from the Bible beautifully tie into the text. Each chapter begins with an inspirational quote. The book includes a foreword and introduction written by Bishop Scharfenberger. At the end is a closing prayer, a list of references, and a personal narrative written by the author.
The Saint Next Door is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to learn about how to live a saintly life on Earth and gain a saint's reward in Heaven.
Quill says: A thoughtful and inspirational book about the process individuals must go through to become a saint.
For more information on The Saint Next Door, please visit the website: www.ef3life.com
Author Feathered Quill Book Reviews  Added On Sat Jan 22nd,2022
Rating (0)  Category Religion and Spirituality
 
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 Latest Articles
 The You I See
 
The You I See
By: Danny Freeman
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
ISBN: 978-1639883110
Reviewed by: Lynette Latzko
Review Date: May 11, 2022
When Alex first walked into the church kitchen and started working at the sandwich assembly line, little did he know that Brandon, the extremely cute and chatty boy standing across from him, was equally dazzled and smitten by him as well. Thus begins a story of two adolescent boys who, despite their obvious differences in personality (one is smaller, quieter and more studious, the other bigger and often brash) and their radically dissimilar upbringing (one grew up in an open, loving family, the other in a religious and rigid environment), quickly become inseparable, great friends.
While spending every moment together as they possibly can between their own family and school commitments, Alex starts having more serious, romantic feelings for Brandon, but is afraid to say anything. Fortunately for them both, however, Brandon musters up his own courage, and makes the first move. With the assistance of Alex’s supportive parents, their relationship and romance continues to slowly grow and blossom throughout the story as they face and overcome several obstacles that threaten to derail their relationship including bullying, and issues with Brandon’s abusive father.
Author Danny Freeman writes an honest, yet sensitive, character-driven, and uplifting story of two gay teenagers growing up, and beginning to identify and express their own sexual identities. While most of this book is engaging, some of the text is a bit wordy or awkward at times, and could be edited for brevity. In particular, the dialogue is often lengthy and filled with the bickerings between the two main characters which may cause readers to become distracted or disinterested. Of course teenagers, particularly boys, wrestle and often bicker with each other, but having a bit less of this would bring more attention to the critically important issues in the story, thus making it a more enjoyable read. While The You I See may not be the "typical" teenage heterosexual romantic story that has been portrayed hundreds of times over the centuries in literature, it is a positive and uplifting story that definitely needs to be told. The story is lighthearted, and encouraging, and readers will easily find themselves rooting for the success of Brandon and Alex’s relationship. This book is also great at pointing out how far our society has come as far as acceptance and equality of people who are LGBTQ+ since the late 1980s and early '90s. But there is of course more work that needs to be done in our society, and another reason why Brandon and Alex's love story needs to be available for everyone to read. The reality is, as author Wally Lamb once said, "Love comes in far more shapes and sizes than what the family-values crowd condones…" Perhaps if the world was exposed to more stories such as this one, it would become more familiar, and there would be less rejection and hatred.
Quill says: Author Danny Freeman presents a timely and engaging novel about young love with its ups and downs through the lives of two gay male teens in his debut novel The You I See.
For more information on The You I See, please visit the author's website at: dfreemanbooks.com/
Author Feathered Quill Book Reviews  Added On Thu May 12th,2022
Rating (0)  Category Teens
 Amygdala Blue
 
Amygdala Blue
By: Paul Lomax
Published by: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: April 25, 2022
ISBN: 978-1639883318
Reviewed by: Lily Andrews
Review Date: May 5, 2022
Mystery, emotion, and drama fire up author Paul Lomax's finely-wrought collection of short stories and poems consequently demanding spontaneous attention.
Amygdala Blue is an eclectic anthology of short stories and poems that challenge readers to reflect on their own lives and choices. Here, Lomax explores a myriad of themes that include, love, loss, courage, choices and their consequences, fortitude, and hope. The author has carefully intertwined the stories with poems that challenge readers to think deeper into the subject matter of each entry. The collections vary in length and tone depending on the plot and themes raised.
Across the poetic entries, Lomax at times uses satire and witticisms to create a dramatic effect. Further, the perfect enjambment present creates a sharp tonal shift between the lines resulting in a great reading experience and constant reflection. Taken together, the short stories and poems illuminate contemporary conflicts and perspectives.
Most poems are free verse, while a few others are lyrical, often focusing on the persona's trail of thought. In others, the persona contemplates on a variety of issues found in everyday life. At times, the poems evoke a somber tone summoning a realization of the surrounding environment. One entry, "Lost to Follow Up," carries a sense of perseverance and resolve as one man is forced to confront his weaknesses which have had dire consequences in his life.
Similarly, the short story entries are enrapturing and engaging as the author invites us to the first beguiling tale about the protagonist's mother and her struggles, and having a close friend, the Holy Spirit, who helped him through his mother's death. Elsewhere, Lomax has successfully used ebonics in "Durn my Hide," to make the story vivid and relatable. Some of the entries focus on the struggles that the Black race faces including striving for equal rights and acceptance in the country.
Other collections prove to be quiet, situational forays such as "Symphony of Clouds" along with another entry, "The Unborn Salt," as they address conflict and broken relationships. In another, "Testimony," a meditative soliloquy dominates the entire story as the protagonist ponders the relationship between life and religion.
The text mainly focus on three issues: religion, racism, and relationships. Although primarily focusing on the Black community, readers of all walks of life will find pieces of themselves herein due to the expansive range of topics that the text addresses. Joy, sadness, pensiveness, and uncertainty take up the two genres in equal measure and with remarkable clarity enhancing introspective reading.
The lustrous portrayals aptly evoke vivid experiences, delivering the triumphs and loss of the human spirit in relatable terms. With vibrant imagery and dynamic prose, these two genres will collectively come to life in a reader's mind. With an expansive use of stylistic devices along with Lomax's ability to cross genres harmoniously, Amygdala Blue will be a welcome addition to any bookshelf. Primarily written for adult audiences, this anthology is likely to capture any reader's heart and soul.
Quill says: Amygdala Blue is an arresting compilation of short stories and poems that encourages readers to think beyond the literal gratification and examine the deeper meaning of this collection.
For more information on Amygdala Blue, please visit the publisher's website at: atmospherepress.com/
Author Feathered Quill Book Reviews  Added On Sat May 07th,2022
Rating (0)  Category Poetry
 Interview with Author Helena P. Schrader
 
Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Amy Lignor is talking with Helena P. Schrader, author of Moral Fibre: A Bomber Pilot’s Story.
FQ: Helena, yet again, you’ve written a stunner! Your resume is, suffice to say, a colorful one. Can you tell readers what exactly intrigued you so much about history that you ended up going for your PhD in the subject at the University of Hamburg? Were you set on this path as a youngster?
SCHRADER: I had the great good fortune to be born the daughter of a man who served as an exchange professor in Japan, Brazil and England. As a result, I was taken to historical sites as a child. I specifically remember my father taking me through the Colosseum in Rome when I was four and telling me: "This is where they fed the Christians to the lions." Instantly, I started looking around with wide eyes, wondering where the lions had been keep and the Christians had been. I asked myself how the latter might have hidden or escaped. Later, whenever we visited a castle, cathedral or ruin etc, I wondered what had happened there and how people had lived, what they had thought and felt. In short, an early exposure to historical places triggered my imagination and with it my desire to learn more about history.
FQ: Tell us about your work in the U.S. diplomatic corps and, perhaps, how that service in Europe and Africa helped with your novels?
SCHRADER: Working and living abroad as a diplomat is more intense than simply visiting as a tourist. For a start, as a diplomat, you live in a place for years rather than visiting for a week or two. Furthermore, you have access to the people in a different way than as a tourist. In my job, I had access to senior government officials who could explain policy and give me an overview of developments, but I also talked to refugees, to patients and doctors in hospitals, to union organizers, to factory owners and entrepreneurs, to religious leaders, and more. That can of exposure to different people with very different perspectives reveals the complexity of a country and enables you to develop a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of the society as a whole. I think that I took those skills, developed while trying to understand different countries and cultures, to my work as a historian and novelist. Ultimately, the lifestyle, values, balance of power between classes and sexes etc change over time, which means that past eras are as different from modern society as a foreign country. By approaching the past as an "alien" society, I was better able to perceive and depict the differences -- but also the similarities.
FQ: If someone were to ask you (if there was some very real Harry Potter-like magic out there), who you would like to sit down with from history and speak with, who would be the person you’d select? And what would you most like to know?
SCHRADER: Actually, I'm quite terrified of the thought of meeting historical personalities. If they were outstanding enough to be remembered positively by us, they are inherently intimidating. I consider myself too insignificant to be able to just relax and chat with them -- even if by that same magic we could find a common language in which to communicate.
People who I might want to humbly listen to as they gave a talk or some such thing include AVM Park and Leonard Cheshire -- and obviously Balian d'Ibelin and Leonidas of Sparta -- but I wouldn't be at all comfortable trying to talk to them,
And then there's that terrible risk, at least with the more ancient figures for whom we have less data (e.g. Leonidas or Ibelin) that they wouldn't be at all as I imagined them to be and I might discover I'd "got it all wrong," that I'd misinterpreted them entirely, and I didn't like them as they really were. That would be terribly disappointing!
FQ: You’ve lived in so many locations – from Brazil to Kentucky and points in between. Is there a specific location you enjoy more than the others? If so, what is the one thing that draws you to that place?
SCHRADER: My husband and I retired to an island off the Peloponnese in Greece. We chose it because it is beautiful, peaceful, warm, and historical (it was mentioned in the Iliad). It is sparsely populated with lots of old stone houses, olive orchards, fishing villages and thousands of wild flowers, but only a low-level of tourism. The people are friendly and caring, and polite to one another, which includes wearing masks out of respect and without resentment much less outrage. People don't go around carrying guns, either. OH, and being Greek, they still value democracy and would not vote for a party that condones violence to prevent the peaceful transfer of power -- no matter how high inflation or how disappointing it is that COVID19 continues to be an issue.
FQ: Your nonfiction titles are just as intriguing as your fiction. Can you speak to up-and-coming writers out there about the pros and cons of each? Is there one you prefer to write, or is it the subject/person that makes you head down the path to the next book?
SCHRADER: The great advantage to writing non-fiction is that you don't need an agent to approach a publisher. This makes it comparatively quick and easy to find a reputable publisher, provided you have an interesting topic likely to appeal to a sufficiently large market. I also find researching and writing non-fiction easy and straight-forward. It comes from the head rather than the heart and is more businesslike. I can choose a topic based on gaps in existing literature and then do systematic research and turn out a book on a schedule.
Writing fiction is much more emotional. I can't write something because it "would make a good story" or because some story conforms to current trends. I can only write what is inside me, that is, I can only write about something that inspires me, moves me and fascinates me.
If I find a character or a story so compelling that I have to write about it, then I do. Because my novels come more from my heart than my head, I am passionate about sharing them with others, which means I want to see them published sooner rather than later, or not at all. Which means, I must self-publish because my experience with agents has been unremittingly terrible, I won't work with them. Period. (E.g. eighteen agents told me there was no market for my book on women pilots. Yet three out of six publishers wanted to buy it. That says to me that all 18 agents didn't have a clue about the market -- yet they are the "gatekeepers" to commercial publishers for novels and then take a cut of all your earnings if you succeed. I don't see the "value added.")
The draw-back with self-publishing is you don't have the marketing budget and sales force and exposure that commercial publishers have so your chances are one in 100 of having sales comparable to a commercially published book. Then again your chances of seeing your book published are about 100,000 times greater of getting published at all! I'd rather sell fewer copies than not sell any. But every author needs to make that decision for themself.
FQ: Can you tell us if there is more “Kit” to come in our future? Or, if not, what you are currently working on that will, hopefully, hold us until it actually arrives on the market?
SCHRADER: My next project is a trilogy on the Berlin Airlift that will bring together several characters from both Moral Fibre and Where Eagles Never Flew in a series that examines this fascinating and amazing bloodless victory over brutal Soviet aggression. Kit and Georgina will indeed return -- along with Robin and Emily Priestman, David Goldman and Kiwi.
FQ: Considering the tremendous number of subjects you write about, do you ever experience, or worry that you may one day experience writer’s block? And again, to help writers out there, is there anything specific you do to overcome this?
SCHRADER: I've never had to deal with writer's block. My perpetual problem is finding enough time to write. Ideas generally build-up while I'm occupied with other tasks -- before I retired, my full-time job constantly got in the way of writing! Even now, I find myself writing scenes instead of sleeping or while walking the dogs and I'm frustrated that I can't sit down and write them immediately. I am disciplined about getting my chores and shopping and other obligations done. So when I sit down to write, there is usually a huge backlog of things I want to write down -- and I rarely manage to write it all before my next obligation (making dinner, or whatever) gets in the way. I suppose, if I ever did find myself at a loss, I'd just wait an hour or two and trust that the ideas would come to me a little later.
FQ: Last, but definitely not least, how do you feel about the current “history” we are making with the Putin situation, as well as COVID? With your diplomatic background, do you have any ideas for future novels eventually coming from these subjects?
SCHRADER: Not directly. We have no historical perspective on what happens in our own life-time, and I would not be comfortable writing about current events because they are "unfinished." We don't now how they end.
That said, the parallels between COVID and the Black Death in the 13th century make a work that includes that historical pandemic particularly attractive, and I've long wanted to write a biographical novel about Edward the Black Prince, who lived through the Black Death.
Likewise, the parallels between Putin and Stalin are chilling and it is in part the similarities in attitude and behaviour between Russia then and now that makes the Berlin Airlift Trilogy so timely. As I do my research for it, I keep finding more and more patterns of behavior that echo what I read in the media about Russian behavior in Ukraine - -the use of misinformation, the manipulation of elections, the bald-faced lies and threats, widespread theft, rape, deportations. Only the actual shelling and "hot war" elements are missing. Yet the story of the airlift is uplifting because it was a victory without a shooting war. It's almost a pity that it will take at least a year before the first book in the series will be ready for release. The series is tentatively titled "Bridge to Berlin" and the first book in the series will probably be called Cold Peace. It will cover the growing crisis leading to the blockade of Berlin in 1947 - 1948. The second book will look at the challenges and costs of the airlift under the title Cold War, and the third book will look at the resolution of the conflict and is currently titled Dangerous Truce. It's a more complex story than Moral Fibre was and may be less popular with readers, but I think it needs to be written. As I said earlier, I write what is in me, not what the market demands.
FQ: Thank you again for your time, and another great book!
SCHRADER: Thank you for your thoughtful questions and a wonderful review!
Author Feathered Quill Book Reviews  Added On Thu May 05th,2022
Rating (0)  Category Interviews
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