Oneness (My Review of Wm. Paul Young’s Cross Roads)


Anthony Spencer is in serious trouble. Head trauma lands him in ICU where he finds that his troubles are much worse than constant headaches. He is fighting for his life, or rather, resting for it. He begins a spiritual, unexplainable journey that leads him to a place he doesn’t recognize. Beautiful and full of potential, but badly needing renovations. He is pleasantly surprised to find out where he really is and who is really with him. While he is in this place and with these people, Anthony is given something extremely powerful: a choice to save someone’s life. Who will he choose? Will he choose himself?

Wm. Paul Young transcends what people generally believe about scriptural matters. You can see that he is not closed minded as a writer. Even from his controversial novel The Shack where God was portrayed as a heavy-set Black woman, Jesus, a lumberjack and the Holy Spirit, a magnificent being of light and colors. He does the same thing here in Cross Roads with a little different treatment when it came to God. Young captures you with the first paragraph’s description of winter being a bully. I love when non-personal things are personalized and I often add this to my writing.

The novel seems to be a bit didactic at times and it takes away from the flow. It seems that a lot of time is spent explaining things (or half-explaining them) during dialogue. This could be done differently either through prose or the flow of the story.

You can tell that Anthony is deeply troubled and initially we are only given a glimpse of why. He is distrusting and even states that he would rather trust dead people. His paranoia probably stems from his internal struggles and past relationships that make him feel like someone is against him. Is someone against him? Is someone following him? Or is it just fear that stems from his isolation? At times, he reminded me of Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I could see Anthony Spenser in his secret office, walled away, revising his last will and testament, glorying over his shiny coins. He stood alone. No community. But this is so far from the Father and His intent. Community, as Wm. Paul Young eloquently displays, is important to the Father. He tells us in His Word that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are One. Community provides a support system in which the whole is strengthened by the cumulative work of all the different parts of that one community.

Cross Roads is my second Wm. Paul Young novel and though I didn’t enjoy it half as much as I did the shack, I still like it enough to give subsequent Young novels a try.

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RUN!!! (Review of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl)


I just finished Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl.” It’s like a page from a missing/murdered wife headline. The Laci Peterson story revisited. Several reviewers commented on the craziness of the novel, the sickness of its characters. How they were made for each other—twisted. Some gave one star reviews because of the sick and twisted nature of the novel. Others gave it glowing praise. Love it or hate it, the book had (at the time of this blog) a whopping 24,466 reviews. WOW! I wanted to know what all the hype was about.

The story starts out with a Nick Dunn admiring his wife’s brain. I mean the coils of it. Like he might just open her skull and take a look inside. Sounds sick right? Well, his wife, Amy, is missing. But as the police start their investigation, all the clues point to Nick. There is a very good reason for that. He’s not doing himself any favors as he, in front of all the cameras and beside his missing wife’s photo, does the craziest thing: he smiles. It’s all downhill from there. Did he kill Amy? Or is she just gone?

I loved Gillian Flynn’s free, conversational style. It gave me an idea of who Nick and Amy really were and allowed me to form my own opinion of each of them, you know? Not just be told that Nick is weak and a little disturbing or that Amy has some serious—serious—issues. They spoke through the pages and couldn’t hide who they were. That’s the beauty of first person. My only dislike was the excess profanity. That’s just a personal thing though. An old person, I don’t remember who, told me long ago, “You gotta eat the fish but spit out the bones.” Well there were a lot of bones in this fish. It was like carp. Other than that, I loved the novel and look forward to Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Nick.

“Gone Girl” made me consider toxic relationships and if you’ve never been in one then God bless you. Imagine being with someone that you can’t really close your eyes around. Being intimately involved with a crazy person, or to be nice, a person who lives on the outskirts of a town called reality. The thing about it is, there are all sorts of telltale signs that the person you’re getting involved with is emotionally challenged and I think that either Amy or Nick (I won’t say which because I don’t want to spoil the ending) chose to ignore those signs. Should you see them, the signs that an interested person is a little off, run! Pray that they get it together. But by all means, pray while you’re running.

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When the Past Won’t Let You Go


People talk about forgetting the past, moving on—Letting-It-Go. But what if the past won’t let you go? What do you do? For Grace Monroe, heroin of Victoria Christopher Murray’s Truth Be Told, the past is a nasty stain she can’t wipe away no matter what she does professionally, no matter her political strides. The past comes calling and she has no choice but to face it or be destroyed.

Grace seems to be the perfect wife. But as we delve into the novel, we see that she has made a pivotal mistake. She tries to move on but the error rears its head when a woman from her husband’s past returns with a package that won’t allow his history with her to be forgotten. How will Grace handle it?

The novel gives you many real life issues. Grace not only has to deal with the strain of her husband’s past. She also has to deal with her rocky relationship with her sister, Mabel. There’s a little bit of resentment there. Mabel—who has done things quite differently than Grace—seems to be more successful on the surface. The tension causes them to be short with each other. Cold. Distant. Almost condescending. Another past Grace can’t get away from.

As I read the novel, this theme of a nagging past kept appearing. Perhaps the past wouldn’t let go until Grace learned a lesson from it. Like ghosts that can’t rest until they deliver some message. Truth be told, the past, while sometimes painful, is a great educator, a professor providing nuggets for growth. Experience helps  you either excel in an area or avoid making mistakes.

I enjoyed Murray’s treatment of the story, her voice and the way she captured real life.

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SIMON’S SPLINTER (A Romance) 11/28/14

For Owen Graham, cohabitation was not about convenience, was not a test drive, nor a question of buying the cow when the milk was free; in fact, the choice had nothing to do with livestock or dairy. He avoided marriage because he had never seen it work.



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Where Is Home? (My review of Toni Morrison’s “Home”)

hWhere is home? And how do you find it without knowing what it looks like? For a man named Frank Money, finding home was a journey to a distant country, a place where he was hated and hunted, a return to a birth place, where he was negated and unwanted—a place devoid of peace, a nativity fraught with negativity. His place of birth was not his home. The house where he was raised was only wood and floor filled with foul memories.

There was Cee, his little sister. She too searched relentlessly for that place of safety and peace, she too unsuccessfully. The wood and floor for her held hateful words from flesh and blood, no love, no nurturing, no bright outlook. The house held only resentment. So Frank and Cee resorted to running away to the wrong places where hardship waited and death and destruction baited. Their search for home, because of their ignorance of its appearance, resulted unfortunately in their homelessness.

Toni Morrison’s “Home” was a deep look into the lives of children left to fend for themselves—children who matured physically and mentally, but not emotionally. Her writing is so entertaining and energetic that you can’t help but be enveloped by the story. You sympathize for Frank and Cee. You even feel sympathy for Lenore, the antagonist who lived and breathed hatred. Morrison helps you to even understand her emotions. Unfortunately, you also get to understand why Frank was really so remorseful when he returned from The Korean War.

“Home” deals with damage and redemption, showing readers what can happen when a child isn’t shown what home really is. It encourages me to increasingly create that place of safety and security for my children so they don’t have to wander aimlessly to find that place called home. Home is peaceful and loving. It’s easy and inspiring. It’s filled with safety and stability, reason and rationality. When my heirs begin settling their own homes, I don’t want them to wonder what it looks like, where it should be, and how to find it. Daddy taught them, with all of his might, that Home was someplace wonderful. Home was someplace right.


James Fant is an author of inspirational romance and suspense. He lives in South Carolina, where the mountains and the beaches have befriended him. His books include:

Fourteen Pages
An Ode for Orchids
Close the Door
The Secret Branch
The Mended Fence

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How to Read Moby-Dick


This post is worthy of reblogging because it’s words made me run to purchase the novel “Moby Dick” and simultaneously shamed me for having never read it.

Originally posted on The Stake:


by Bethany Taylor

While out walking my dog very early one morning I ran into a frantic woman, beseeching directions to Starbucks.

My reflexive internal response was, “I’m sorry to tell you this, ma’am, but he went down aboard the Pequod,” but I kept the joke to myself, stifled my giggles, and directed the woman towards the coffee shop.

For the most part, everything I’ve ever read about Moby-Dick has been either beautiful and solemn like a dull sermon, or dismissive of it as a baggy boring relic of bygone days. The book invites comparisons to the whale itself: the sheer size and density, a brick of over 600 page, as though its treasures must be gleaned from crosshatched ink scars carved in white slabbed pages.

For many, it is A Book To Be Read, almost a Jonahian duty that cannot be shirked lest the gods be angered, an…

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Excerpt from my upcoming novel “SIMON’S SPLINTER”

SimonsSplinterEbookCoverFORWEBA haunting darkness hovered above the streets of London. Bleak shadows crept over damp cobblestones and Graham could hear slow and menacing footfalls off in the distance. Where in the world had Aisha sent him? And why in the world did he agree to go?

He walked the streets alone. Lost and unsure how he ended up in that dreary neighborhood where rats roamed free and beggars with rotting teeth huddled next to piles of burning trash. The beggars hissed at him as he passed by.

“You’re in the wrong place now, then, ain’t ya?” an old hag asked as she clawed at him with unusually long fingernails caked with dirt.

“Aye there, pre’y boy. I’ll be a good shag for ya!” another hag exclaimed. She was sprawled out on a stained mattress that reeked of rotten fish and urine. She patted the mattress and gray dust spread into the black air. She smiled to reveal one chipped, yellow tooth that was clinging to her purple gums for dear life.

“I feel be’er than I look, I assure ya!” she cried. “Come gimme a rump. It’ll only cost you a life time.”

Then she released a harsh shriek of laughter into the musty air and the rats scurried away into the shadows. Graham jumped as he heard a crash from out of the darkness.

“That be the backstabber for sure!” the mattress hag howled. “The backstabber’s comin’ for ya, now boyyo!”

“What?” Graham asked. “Who is the backstabber?”

And then he felt the wind separate right next to his face and he heard a whistle. Someone had thrown something at him from within the shadows. He walked quickly to where the object landed and saw that it was a twelve-inch blade with a diamond encrusted handle. The blade stuck halfway out of the cobblestone; it was still whipping back and forth, displaying the sheer force from which it was thrown.

“Backstabber’s toyin’ with ya, she is! Be’er make a run for it!”

Another blade flew out of the darkness and drilled deep into the back of Graham’s thigh. He screamed as the hags bounced up and down with glee. Then he jetted down a dark alley away from the shrieking hags and hopefully away from the deadly blades. He couldn’t see them, but he knew that they were still flying past his head. He moved his legs as fast as he could but the cobblestones turned to mire around his feet. It seemed as if the alley had no outlet and no end. It was an infinite tube of darkness that swallowed him.

Exhausted, he collapsed into a pit of sludge. His leg throbbed. His heart pounded. He tried to crawl out of the muck but then he felt a presence behind him, cold and sinister. It called out his name.


It called out his name again softly.


He was confused because the cold and sinister presence sounded just like his fiancée.

James Fant is an author of inspirational romance and suspense. He lives in South Carolina, where the mountains and the beaches have befriended him. His books include:

Fourteen Pages
An Ode for Orchids
Close the Door
The Secret Branch
The Mended Fence


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