Archive for February, 2011


Lie Reveal – Tomorrow!

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

Ack! I’d wanted to post the “lie reveal” from the previous post today, but my lecture took longer than expected to write, and my students’ first paper for me is due tonight at 6:30pm and I’m getting all kinds of wonderful emails saying things like “I’m not done, can I have an extension?” and “Can you look over my thesis and see if it’s good so I can write my paper?”

…*blank stare*…

…*crickets chirping*…

Yeeeah, it’s 3pm right now. Can you see how impressed I am?

This is me right now –>facepalm

Well, without the baldness, or spaceship, or, you know, being a guy. But still.

Needless to say, I’ll be back tomorrow with the truth. You’re going to throw things at me when you find out. ;)


Book Review: ‘If God, Why Evil?’

   Posted by: Faith    in Tasty Tomes

My book to share today is a little heavier than usual, but those of you who enjoy philosophy, theology, or even ethics may find it right up your alley!

And just to give you a quick little flash forward, I have a number of book reviews coming up for some fantastic books this month, including:

…among many others! So, stay tuned. :)


If God, Why Evil?:

A New Way to Think About the Question

by Norman L. Geisler

Philosophy / Apologetics

Release Date: February 2011

Synopsis:6974 IfGodWhyEvil_FNL2.indd

Where Did Evil Come From? And Why Doesn’t God Do Something About It?

The problem of evil is perhaps the most difficult question the Christian must face. If God is good and all-powerful, why is there suffering in the world? Can’t God put an end to murder, rape, and starvation? What about earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis? Why couldn’t a perfect God have made a perfect world?

In this concise but thorough book, Dr. Norman Geisler carefully answers these tough questions, using step-by-step explanations and compelling examples. He walks the reader through time-tested answers but also provides a new approach revolving around whether or not this world is the "best of all possible worlds." All this adds up to comforting news for believers: we can rest assured that God is both loving and all-powerful.

My Thoughts:

If you’re interested in the problem of evil, or curious about how an all-powerful, all-loving God could allow bad things to happen to good people – whether we’re talking personal troubles, natural disasters, or even illnesses – you’ll find something of value here.

Geisler approaches the topic as a philosopher and a Christian, using philosophical paradigms that will be familiar to anyone who has taken even a basic philosophy class at any level. He looks at arguments for and against basic points, and uses both historical and scientific data to answer the common objections to issues such as the nature, origin, persistence, purpose, and avoidability of evil, while also addressing the problem of Hell (eternal evil).

The appendices in Geisler’s book were actually the most intriguing part of the book for me personally, because he discusses the evidence for the existence of God using basic scientific principles and insights from prominent physicists and astronomers. He also gives several pages to a critique of the popular novel The Shack, looking at the theological issues surrounding Young’s portrayal of God and the nature of evil.

I found Geisler’s book to be very well put together, very readable, and highly logical. Reading the book doesn’t require a background in philosophy, nor does it present convoluted concepts that might be above the average layman’s comprehension levels.

Rather, if the problem of evil and why a loving God, if he existed, would allow so much suffering in the world is a question you have struggled with in the past (or perhaps are struggling with today), Geisler’s book offers some new, carefully presented, rational ways to think about the issue. And it’s a short read, to boot – a far cry from a textbook slog!

About the Author

geisler Norman L. Geisler (PhD, Loyola University of Chicago) is distinguished professor of apologetics at Veritas Evangelical Seminary in Murrieta, California. He is the author of more than seventy books, including the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications,  Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


First Crusader Challenge: Ramble On!

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

Okay… I’ll give it a go. Rachael’s first challenge for us is a bit of a “getting to know you” exercise, where we’re supposed to include:Crusader

  • - one secret
  • - one lie
  • - one interesting quirk
  • - one annoying habit
  • - one of your best character traits
  • - one of your favorite things in the whole world

…and there are specific words we need to use in the post (can you catch them?). I’m going to approach this in a free-writing style, and see what happens… this should be interesting…!


coffeeNot to bloviate or anything, but I once drank so many cups of coffee so quickly that the waitress at Pizza Hut literally cut me off. Yep, that’s right… she refused to serve me any more coffee. I’d had this goal of drinking as many coffees as there were creamers in the dish on the table (typically 8), and I don’t remember how far I  got… maybe 7? I don’t actually put creamer in my coffee, mind you, I drink my coffee black: Unadulterated, the way God intended. Er, though if you took that analogy all the way, someone might ask “why don’t you just eat the bean?”

Cover it in chocolate and I’m happy to.

Speaking of chocolate, which leads me to think about cake, I’ve recently realized that I hate the taste of fake chocolate in those grocery store cakes. If you ask me whether I want a chocolate or vanilla slice, I’d actually prefer the vanilla… but everyone always thinks I want chocolate. I think maybe the recipe used to be different? I know they changed the icing, and now it’s so disgusting I don’t even want to eat it anymore. But I have reputation as a cake-a-holic, which for some reason I feel I need to maintain… but what if I’ve decided I only want to eat good cake from now on, not this $9.99 grocery-store bakery slab cake garbage?!?!

IMG_0208Yeah, yeah, I know, white whine. My cat whines a lot. So does my bird, who is thankfully not a fuliguline creature (nor is he like one); rather he is an aratinga solstitialis. Also known as LOUD. Which means he fits right in with my family, since I have a habit of traipsing around the house whilst singing / shouting / screeching / exclaiming at the top of my lungs. It’s a wonder the neighbors haven’t complained. Of course, it also makes things difficult for my poor Husbando, who is trying to run a business during the day.


Technically so am I, but “run” and “work” are looser terms in my book. I tend to shift from location to location throughout the house, lest I become restless. Kind of like a rabbit, or other small woodland creature.

I’ve always loved animals. Sometimes, I regret that after graduating high school I didn’t apply for a science program with the intention of working in the animal behavior field. It’s one of those things I’d be willing to give a shot at in the future, if we came into a large sum of cash (haha) and I found the time & energy. Second career, maybe? I’d also love to start an animal rescue in my backyard, but El Husbando keeps shooting that one down. He’s not even willing to let me start a home zoo… what nonsense! I can fit a pot-bellied pig and at least one zebra in my kitchen, easy. 

And with that, I’m off to brave the blades that are my cat’s claws. She doesn’t like to be pet, but I like to pet her, which makes for an interesting relationship… so, until next challenge, write with passion, and tell me… can you spot the lie in this post? :)


Good luck! I’ll post the answer in a few days if no one gets it.


Book Review: ‘The Mysterious Lady Law’

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

I have a quick little review for you today… short ‘n sweet!

The Mysterious Lady Law

by Robert Appleton

Steampunk/Romance eNovella

Release Date: Jan. 31st, 2011


ladylaw2 In a time of grand airships and steam-powered cars, the death of a penniless young maid will hardly make the front page. But part-time airship waitress and music hall dancer Julia Bairstow is shattered by her sister’s murder. When Lady Law, the most notorious private detective in Britain, offers to investigate the case pro bono, Julia jumps at the chance—even against the advice of Constable Al Grant, who takes her protection surprisingly to heart.

Lady Law puts Scotland Yard to shame. She’s apprehended Jack the Ripper and solved countless other cold-case crimes. No one knows how she does it, but it’s brought her fortune, renown and even a title. But is she really what she claims to be—a genius at deducting? Or is Al right and she is not be trusted?

Julia is determined to find out the truth, even if it means turning sleuth herself—and turning the tables on Lady Law…

My Thoughts:

Steam technology, murder, and a touch of romance all combine together to make this a diverting & fun little novella set in Victorian England. When a young airship waitress/music hall dancer arrives home to discover her sister has been murdered, she’s even more surprised when Lady Law–Britain’s most notorious and successful private detective–offers to take the case for free. Against the advice of a young Constable (who seems to take more than a professional interest in our heroine), she accepts Law’s offer .

Between attacks on the heroine, Law’s unnaturally quick resolution to the mystery, and a budding romance, the story presents a decently entertaining steampunk read, if a bit too short for the scope of the story.

I found that character development was a bit light–a result of the story’s length, no doubt–and at times I had difficulty following the action. The description of places and things were a bit muddled, which made fight scenes a bit confusing as I couldn’t quite picture what was happening. I also didn’t think that one scene in particular (near the end, as our heroes attempt to learn what Lady Law is really about) was necessary… a bit gratuitous and out of place. I still can’t figure out what possessed the author to throw it in there.

That said, it wasn’t bad and it made for a nice, light, Sunday afternoon read, and I appreciated the author’s efforts to include plenty of steam technology even within the shorter framework of the story. And at Carina’s very low price point, it’s more than worth the entertainment!

About the Author

appleton Visit Robert Appleton’s website to learn more about him & his (extensive amount of) work!

Book was provided for review courtesy of NetGalley and Carina Press.


You Are Not the Exception

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

Forgive me if I sound a bit rant-y in this post, it’s nothing against anyone personally. But I have a point to make to the generation below me. Maybe you’ve run into instances like this, or other writers who have this attitude:

“All those guidelines don’t really matter, right? Everyone basically wants things the same, it’s not like they’re going to care where my margins are or what font I use. They’re not really going to reject me / take away marks (in a competition) / etc.”

Oh, really?

Then why do you think they wrote up all those guidelines in the first place?

Let me explain why I’m a little bit ticked off today.

clinicalGuidelinesAs some of you know (if you’ve been around the blog a little while), I’m currently teaching English Composition at a local college. It’s a class of first years (and some seniors who avoided taking the class until now), and I’m supposed to teach them how to write research papers / other forms of academic writing, and do it well.

Last night I spent 45 minutes talking about formatting bibliographies and citations. I could have spent a lot longer… if you’ve ever picked up a Turabian, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Forty-five minutes really isn’t that long.

I talked about all the different rules that go into formatting different types of sources: Books, articles from books, journal articles, webpages, ebooks, yada yada yada. Where the period goes when you cite an article versus where it goes when you cite a reference listing. Where the commas go. Where the quotation marks should sit, and which aspects are capitalized and which are not.

There are many rules, but they’re based on an international standard of formatting. We use this across the globe, so that we can understand each other and share information easily. Imagine the chaos if we all wrote bibliographies in different ways! It would be much more difficult to find the information you need, let alone make sense of the information.

So after spending all this time talking about bibliography formatting, and pointing out that one of their texts (the Turabian) had plenty more rules, a student raised his hand and asked:

“All of these things are pretty much the same, right? Like, we’re not going to lose marks if we—”

Yeah, I stopped him right there. YES, YOU ARE. I’ve told you the rules, and you are not the exception. You cannot claim ignorance. Why do you think I spent all that time explaining the rules, and make the citation book a required course text?

They will lose marks for a period in the wrong place. For capitalizing “ed.” in a bibliographic entry. For forgetting a comma. Because those are the rules, and I (and academia) have asked you to follow them in order to be a part of what you are studying.

trashcan In the same way, when you enter a contest, or send in a query, or even send off a manuscript to a critique service, you must follow the rules. They are there for a reason. You are not the exception, and you will lose marks in a competitive situation or be immediately rejected by an agent / market if you haven’t bothered to follow their guidelines.

Doesn’t matter how great your story is. If you don’t follow guidelines, you will not succeed.

You are not the exception.

Follow the guidelines. Follow the rules, no matter how trite or pedantic. Prove to your evaluators, whether a professor or a short story market or a literary agent, that you mean business and you can cooperate with others within your field.


If you don’t?

You’ll get back a pile of red-marked sheets or a “no, thanks” every time.

Rules and guidelines for writing are there for your benefit. Prove to the world that you can listen, understand, and follow direction.

You’ll be surprised how quickly your feedback changes for the better.


Have you run into authors like this before? Writers who seem to think they’re above playing by the rules?

Or maybe you were like this as a student and know better now… maybe you’ve noticed that the younger generation often thinks this way (not everyone, don’t start crying foul!).

Or maybe you’re still not sure why following guidelines is such a big deal?


2nd Writers Platform-Building Crusade

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

Want to boost that online presence? Rach's Crusade pic...! Easy to recognize, so you know it's a Crusade post every time!

The lovely Rachael over at Rach Writes… is doing it again! She’s holding a platform building for writers who are looking to make more connections with each other and build up their online platforms.

The first Crusade ran last fall, and now she’s running it again!

What does being a Crusader involve? The original post is here, but in a nutshell, it’s this:

  • support from & connection with other bloggers & aspiring authors
  • writing posts & articles on our blogs that correspond with Crusade challenges
  • “paying it forward” by helping each other build our platforms (through following, commenting, etc.)

The length of this Crusade runs from now until April 30th. If you join in the fun, I can almost guarantee your posts will have more comments, you’ll make new friends, and find yourself even more aware of how your writing platform has an impact on your public personality.

It’s fun! Follow new blogs, get new insights, meet new people in the same boat as you!

And there’s guaranteed to be plenty of silliness along the way. :D

Go post here to join the Crusade! See you there…


Reading on Lazy Friday

   Posted by: Faith    in Rye Thoughts

Since I haven’t particularly been in the ‘blogging mood’ this week (I blame the weather), I’m not feeling inspired enough to give you words of wondrous writing wisdom or whatnot. Though I am, apparently, an advocate of alliteration.

Anyway. Rather than attempt to wax poetic when the inspiration is clearly not there, I thought I’d give you something else… how about a story?

I wrote the short story below (flash, really) for storypraxis last month, based on the prompt ‘mist’. It was chosen for the bi-weekly ‘best of storypraxis’ online magazine, so if you want to read it in its original context, go here.

Read on, enjoy.


by Faith Boughan

Marjorie knew the Mist would come for her eventually. What had her mother always said? “It comes for us all, in the end.” In the final throes of the disease that ravaged her body and mind, Marjorie’s mother vanished, the authorities chalking it up to a senile senior citizen having wandered off and met The End one way or another. Marjorie knew better. She’d been taken, and that’s all there was to it.

Tonight, Marjorie walked along the shoreline of the Bay of Fundy. Alone. What had she come for, anyway? She kicked a piece of driftwood that stood in her path, and watched it tumble across the sand, toward the waves.

She pulled her arms around herself and shivered. Her third husband, dead only six months prior. Her fourth child, lost to the violent temper of her second husband. Her job – god, how she’d hated that job anyway – gone, torn away by ‘concerned co-workers’ who’d reported her moments of weakness in the bathroom stall to the Upper Echelon of Management. And she, too broken to fight, simply packed up her desk and left.

So why here? Why now? She could try to convince herself it was for memory’s sake, a measure of comfort in feeling close to her long-gone family. But she’d be lying.

cannon_beach_misty A tiny blonde girl ran down the beach, feet squishing in the mud where the tide rested only minutes before, splashing into the waves and squealing with an abandon that belonged solely to little girls in nature. Marjorie allowed herself a moment of happiness, remembering her own little girl before. But only a moment.

And in that moment, the Mist came. She felt it before she saw it, its tendrils reaching out to her, beckoning. Pleading. Begging.

It’s time, the Mist said, You’re ready now.

Marjorie stared into the Mist, and the Mist stared back. She shuddered, her hand outstretched and plunging into the Mist before she’d processed what she’d done. The Mist smiled and curled around her wrist, weaving between her fingers, caressing her deepest hurts.

She couldn’t look away. The face of her third husband stared back, full of longing.

No more pain, Marjorie.

The image was replaced by the faces of her children. Her four beautiful children, taken before their time.

No more sadness.

Her first husband, John, gazed back at her now. John, who she’d pushed away. She’d been too young to know what it meant to love, but he’d known. Oh, how he’d known.

Let it slip away, Marjorie.

And there was her mother, eyes vacant but whole.

Marjorie took a step forward and stopped. The Mist wanted her, called to her, offered comfort and release from an existence that wasn’t an existence at all. But was this it? Was there nothing more? Had it come to this?

Come closer.

On the beach, a lifetime away, Marjorie heard the shrieks of the blonde girl as she splashed in the waves of the ocean. The girl’s mother, laughing, and the cries of the birds overhead. So much promise. So much unlived life.

“No pain?” she whispered into the Mist. “An escape from my allotted portion of misery?”

It’s too much for one person to bear, the Mist whispered back, You don’t deserve this. Let go.

She almost stepped forward. Almost. Giggles of a tiny girl stayed her feet.

“What about hope?”

There is none. You, of all people, know this.

Marjorie sighed, and took a step back. “But that’s where we find it the most, don’t we?” She turned to look at the girl and her mother. The woman embraced her child, and the girl’s smile lit up the twilight hour as if it were crafted from the sun. “That’s what keeps us going.”

Without thinking, she drew her hand from the Mist.

The Mist screamed, clawed at her, shouted obscenities in a language so ancient that none could understand. And Marjorie, with the first spark of hope she’d known in a very long time, knew her mother had been wrong.

In the end, everyone has a choice.


If you’re still here, thanks for reading. :) Have a great (& productive!) weekend, drive safe out there if you’re in the areas still getting hit by snow! (Well, drive safely no matter where you are, please. But that should go without saying.)