Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Red Sneaker in a Dark World (A WORLD Column entry for More to Life Magazine)




I was privileged and humbled when I was asked to write an article for More To Life Magazine's World Column. I mean, Dr. Ben Carson had written the one for November. Ever heard of him?

So, without further delay, click on the link below and read my article entitled, A Red Sneaker in a Dark World, which appeared on December 1, 2014.






Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rickshaw Rides Changing Lives - A GFA Spotlight


In 2008, a simple rickshaw was ordered from Gospel for Asia’s Christmas Gift Catalog with the hope of providing one individual or family with much-needed income and demonstrating God’s love. But in the six years since, thousands have heard the Good News through that gift. It all began with a lonely woodcutter who chose to use what he was given for God.


Now, click on the link below to see how God is using a simple bicycle with a mission...for a mission...by a mission.


 
 
 

Friday, October 24, 2014

"How Many Four-Letter Words Do You Need? (Seriously Write Blog for October 2014)




This blog entry is my first as a Regular Contributor for the Seriously Write blog for writers. I am humbled and consider it a privilege to be a part!


Click HERE



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Clara's Story - GFA Spotlight





There are a myriad of ways one can make a difference for eternity. Check out Clara's story to see how she "stitched" some things together to impact the lives of people around the world.

 
 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Welcome Fellow Hartline Literary Agency Author, Dawn Crandall!



Fellow Author and Hartline Literary Agency writer, Dawn Crandall, has published her debut novel, The Hesitant Heiress! Stop by the links below and get to know her!

 




The book itself:  http://www.amazon.com/Hesitant-Heiress-Everstone-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00M4LQ81I/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409517483&sr=1-1&keywords=the+hesitant+heiress


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/DawnCrandallWritesFirst

Blog: http://www.dawncrandall.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @dawnwritesfirst

Want to send her an email? dawncrandallwritesfirst@gmail.com

Welcome Fellow Hartline Literary Agency Author, Raquel Byrnes!



Fellow Author and Hartline Literary Agency writer has a new book out, Secrets at Crescent Point! Stop by the links below and check out the new edition to her Noble Island Mysteries series!



The book itself: http://www.amazon.com/Raquel-Byrnes/e/B0052AH51A/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1409518075&sr=1-2-ent

Website: http://www.raquelbyrnesbooks.com/

Blog: http://nitewriter6.blogspot.com/2014/05/secrets-out.html

Book Giveaways: http://www.raquelbyrnesbooks.com/giveawaysetc.htm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/rbyrnes?fref=nf

Twitter: @raquelbyrnes

Friday, August 1, 2014

Taking Reading for Granted No Longer - GFA Blog



As an educator and an author, I don't take reading for granted anymore. However, before I entered these professions, I did. It was something you just "did." Pick up the newspaper, a book, an application for a job, and you just simply read it. Slow or fast, well or not so much, you read it.

Yet, for many people around the world, probably millions, reading is something foreign. They think, "Reading is like lying to Jupiter. There may be people out there with huge intellects working on that, but I'm never going to go. It's too hard." So, they just flounder in a world of words and the printed page.

Then you have people who fall into this camp because of cultural mores. Like peasants in the Middle Ages, being led astray by manipulative people who can read and can tell them what everything supposedly says and means, these people are at the mercy of the educated.

Enter Dayita.

Dayita worked hard to keep her family afloat, but her efforts would come to nothing if her husband continued to waste the hard-earned money. Still, as one of the more than 30 percent of Asian women who are illiterate, Dayita found her options limited.

In Dayita’s village, few girls received an education, and she was no exception. Her husband Kaamil was a laborer, and the couple struggled to make ends meet. To ease the family’s financial situation, Dayita began sewing clothing. Kaamil deposited her earnings in the bank, but to Dayita’s horror, she discovered that he was withdrawing her earnings to buy alcohol.

Dayita didn’t know what to do. She found someone to help her open her own bank account, but managing it presented difficulties: She couldn’t read or write to fill out the forms for deposits and withdrawals. Instead, Dayita had to rely on others for help.

Fortunately, two women soon offered just the help she needed.

Ashna and Neha, believers from the local Women’s Fellowship, had started a literacy class in Dayita’s area. Determined to keep her money safe, Dayita began attending the sessions—and to her surprise, Kaamil supported her.

Ashna regularly teaches two-hour classes on reading and writing from a Bible-based curriculum. Within two months, Dayita could read and write enough to fill out her bank forms. She now deposits and withdraws money on her own. She can also read the names of buses and bus stations.
Thanks to the work of Ashna and Neha, Dayita is also learning about Jesus and is starting to believe in Him.

For more information on Gospel for Asia's work in this area of education, click here.

For information on GFA's movie, Veil of Tears, click on the picture below.


http://veiloftearsmovie.com/

 
 


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Victor - The Reloaded Edition" (A Review)

[Preface about my reviews: I do not write reviews that give away the story, telling you the premise of the book and possibly becoming a “spoiler alert.” I figure that if you want to know more about books these days, you can click on the various “Look Inside” features booksellers offer and read enough of it to get a feel for the writing. You can also go to the author’s website and see if they have a “Sneak Peek” section of the work. You can even read other reviews that reveal more. I also rate my books on two different scales. My Star-Rating Scale is posted below. The other is the rating system used in the movie industry (G, PG, PG-13, etc.). I feel this rating too is a much needed element in reviews today and helps the reader know “who” should be reading what when it comes to children and young adults.]

Victor: The Reloaded Edition is a rewrite of the original book by the same title (Victor). I believe the book would fall into the speculative fiction category because of the topics (cloning), and the time in which the story takes place (sometime after the year 2021, reference on page 35). However, there are elements of it being a "thriller" as well throughout the book. It starts out more informative, with the author taking us into the minds of the main players and describing Sunlight City (Think Las Vegas meets Detroit). It's an island in the South Pacific (a thousand miles west of Los Angeles, reference on page 262), with people called "Granters" running the good side of the island--of which Hiragawa is one--and gang members living in the DMZ. The action does pick up, and the book gains momentum to the end. It also has elements of spiritual warfare, too, especially with the Josef Hiragawa character.

The book reminded me some of Kirk Outerbridge's "Eternity Falls" with elements of "This Present Darkness" by Frank Peretti, but definitely veered into the Spec Fiction realm with the storyline: A woman named Mona Macheski is on the run. She's being hunted by Victor, Sunlight City's most feared assassin, and the hired gun of Hiragawa for her knowledge on cloning. However, Victor starts having issues. Headaches at first, then memory lapses, hindering his ability to track down Mona. So, Hiragawa sends a second assassin, Omega, after her. She's a target for what she knows...and what she possesses. If she gets away, Hiragawa's plans for eternal life and political domination will be destroyed. Enter David Johansen, one of Sunlight City's cops. A gang-member turned Christian turned cop, David gets sucked into the drama because of his relationships and helps protect Mona as best he can.

Overall, there were several twists and turns that kept the story moving, and it has a good ending. On my scale (see below), I rate this 4-stars. I think you’ll like it, regardless of genre. I also rate it PG-13 for violence and subject matter.

I received a copy of the book for the purpose of an honest review.

My Scale:
5 stars – It doesn’t matter what genre you read, this book is a must read! It’s all about “story.” You won’t regret it.
4 stars – This may not be your genre, per se, but I feel confident you’ll enjoy it, nevertheless.
3 stars – This book will be a good read if this genre is one you really like. If it is not “your genre,” then your final thoughts may vary, but I don’t disparage it in any way.
2 stars – This book had potential, but fell short, in my humble opinion. Genre or no, it was all about the writing and the story, or the lack thereof.
1 star – If you buy it, read it, and spend any of your time on it, do not blame me. You were forewarned.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

"The Rook" by Steven James (A Review)

[Preface about my reviews: I do not write reviews that give away the story, telling you the premise of the book and possibly becoming a “spoiler alert.” I figure that if you want to know more about books these days, you can click on the various “Look Inside” features booksellers offer and read enough of it to get a feel for the writing. You can also go to the author’s website and see if they have a “Sneak Peek” section of the work. You can even read other reviews that reveal more. I also rate my books on two different scales. My Star-Rating Scale is posted below. The other is the rating system used in the movie industry (G, PG, PG-13, etc.). I feel this rating too is a much needed element in reviews today and helps the reader know “who” should be reading what when it comes to children and young adults.]

The Rook is actually the third book in the Patrick Bowers series (Opening Moves being Book 1 & The Pawn being Book 2), although it was written second. Opening Moves, like Star Wars 1, 2 & 3 came after most of the Patrick Bowers series was written. Only the last book in the series, Checkmate, is yet to be released (although I hear it will be soon as of the time of this review).

I read The Pawn, then went back and read Opening Moves because I wanted the back story of the main protagonist before I went any further. The first two books in my opinion were great. Very “Criminal Minds”-like in many ways. James’ “tradition” is to have two story lines run concurrent (three if you add the daughter into the mix) that weave themselves together at times. It’s an interesting concept to have two “bad guys” who sometimes work together, sometimes one works for the other, sometimes both. And sometimes, it’s hard to tell which bad guy is the real villain, which adds to the suspense.

However, I felt The Rook, as one reviewer put it, tried to force too much into one book. I flew through the first two books. This one, I labored with it. It really didn’t pick up speed for me until around page 130. I thought, “Okay, here we go now,” expecting the story to take on a “pawnish” form. Instead, the story raced ahead, then slowed down to a snail’s pace, then sped up again, then slowed, but not in a roller coaster-type fashion. It was more like drag racing from stop light to stop light at rush hour.

I do intend to read the next installment, The Knight, and understand it to be more on par with the first two books. I sure hope so. James is a great writer, but this one was not up to his lofty standards.

On my scale (see below), I rate this 3.5-stars. I think you’ll like it, regardless of genre, but don’t judge a series by its Book 2 (eh, Book 3). Read the first two first, then you’ll understand what I’m talking about. I also rate it PG-13 for violence and subject matter.

My Scale:
5 stars – It doesn’t matter what genre you read, this book is a must read! It’s all about “story.” You won’t regret it.
4 stars – This may not be your genre, per se, but I feel confident you’ll enjoy it, nevertheless.
3 stars – This book will be a good read if this genre is one you really like. If it is not “your genre,” then your final thoughts may vary, but I don’t disparage it in any way.
2 stars – This book had potential, but fell short, in my humble opinion. Genre or no, it was all about the writing and the story, or the lack thereof.
1 star – If you buy it, read it, and spend any of your time on it, do not blame me. You were forewarned.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

VBS is Coming! Gospel for Asia-style



Action songs, Bible lessons, puppet shows – each are a part of Vacation Bible School, and each have been prayed over and designed to display the love of Jesus. On this side of the world, your church might be gearing up for its summer programs, and in South Asia, VBS programs are already in full swing!



What better time could there be to share about VBS in Asia than when it is actually happening?
 
As your church gears up for VBS, can you add a missionary component? Below are some ideas you can use to help share with our children here in the States what is going on in Asia concerning the Kingdom of God.

What you can do:

 
Who knows? The next Hudson Taylor or Elizabeth Elliot may be sitting in a pew or a chair this summer in your church, ready to change the world.
 
Gospel for Asia is the organization founded by K.P. Yohannan. I first heard him speak at a chapel service as a sophomore in college (Houghton College, 1988). Read more about the ministry in his book, No Longer a Slumdog. You can also visit their website @ www.gfa.org.
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A New Endeavor

As I was researching my latest novel, (tentatively titled) Triple Time, I ran across a book our pastor was reading that God really used to help shape some things for me.

First, it showed me how blessed we are here in America. We will one day have to give an accounting before the Almighty for the things we complain about that aren't earth-shattering, life-changing, or eternity-influencing. We truly have little about which to grip

Second, I needed to do something. As I wrote page after page of my novel (I'm now into Book 3 of the Blake Meyer series), and delved into the world of human trafficking, God truly challenged me.

So, I did.

It seems small. On the scale of eternity, my little pittance doesn't seem like it will tip the scales at all in favor of the lost and forgotten.

Yet, I also know that when I take off my human lenses and put on the bifocals of God, then I start to see as He sees.

That's why I aligned myself with Gospel for Asia. That's K. P. Yohannan's organization, which endeavors to bring the gospel to those at the bottom of a system (the caste system) I do not understand.

If you are unfamiliar with this organization, would you take a moment and check out their website @ Gospel for Asia?

I'll be blogging for them periodically in a effort to get the word out about the Dalits and their plight, many of which are used in illegal activities or are sold into slavery. If you wish to read about them, check out K. P. Yohannan's book, No Longer a Slumdog. You can purchase it off Amazon for get a free copy HERE.

Thank you for stopping by.
Kevin

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Review of "Reichold Street" by R. L. Herron

[Preface about my reviews: I do not write reviews that give away the story, telling you the premise of the book and possibly becoming a “spoiler alert.” I figure that if you want to know more about books these days, you can click on the various “Look Inside” features booksellers offer and read enough of it to get a feel for the writing. You can also go to the author’s website and see if they have a “Sneak Peek” section of the work. You can even read other reviews that reveal more. I also rate my books on two different scales. My Star-Rating Scale is posted below. The other is the rating system used in the movie industry (G, PG, PG-13, etc.). I feel this rating too is a much needed element in reviews today and helps the reader know “who” should be reading what when it comes to children and young adults.]

Reichold Street is written in a themed, anthology style. What does that mean? Like most anthologies which are compilations of separate stories centered on a common theme, the author states in the foreword that he used this anthology style and wrote several short stories revolving around a theme. Together, these stories form a “coming-of-age” novel about a man named Paul. His friends call him Paulie.

Told in first person from Paul’s perspective, it starts in August of 1962 in the mythical town of Brickdale, on Reichold Street, of course. From the beginning, another character emerges alongside Paul. His name is Albert Parker. The story is as much about Albert as it is about Paul. Their interactions—from high school when Albert’s family moves to Brickdale to their involvement in the Vietnam War—are chronicled in this short-story format, following the lives of these two young men.

The stories delve into several issues: dysfunctional families who deal with domestic abuse and alcoholism; strained friendships; unsympathetic educational professionals; the ravages of war including death; and suicide.

The author tells us in the Afterword that all the accounts and locations are fictitious, except for the account of the attack on Cu Chi Base during the Vietnam War on March 10, 1969. As you read the stories, you get a sense that the author is pulling from real-life experiences either from his own life or people he knew over the years. The circumstances described are sometimes too detailed to not believe they are, at least, rooted in someone’s real life.

This book is not a “feel good” read in the “puppies running in meadows filled with flowers” sense, but if you are into this genre and like gritty, character-driven stories, with some rough language from time to time, then it might be up your alley. You might even see it as a “feel good” story because the main characters do develop strong ties.

It’s not the kind of book I’d pick up and read off the shelf, but that’s because this genre is not one I read very often.

On my scale (see below), I rate this 3-stars because I’m not into this genre very much. However, if you are, you might like it. I also rate it PG-13 for violence and language.

My Scale:
5 stars – It doesn't matter what genre you read, this book is a must read! It’s all about “story.” You won’t regret it.
4 stars – This may not be your genre, per se, but I feel confident you’ll enjoy it, nevertheless.
3 stars – This book will be a good read if this genre is one you really like. If it is not “your genre,” then your final thoughts may vary, but I don’t disparage it in any way.
2 stars – This book had potential, but fell short, in my humble opinion. Genre or no, it was all about the writing and the story, or the lack thereof.

1 star – If you buy it, read it, and spend any of your time on it, do not blame me. You were forewarned.

Followers