The Art of Story Telling


Story telling is not just limited to books and movies. Stories infiltrate our life is thousands of ways. Often we are either the story teller or the story receiver and we do not realize that we are engaged in the act of storytelling.  Kids are expert story tellers when the play pretend games. Grandparents tell stories when they share family history. Gamers tell stories as they play. Even a simple television commercial can be a story in thirty seconds.

We don’t think of ourselves as story tellers, but guess what we are. Have you ever gone to work on a Monday and a coworker asks, “How was your weekend?” Then you tell them about the shopping trip with all the sales you lucked up on or ball game you went too. You are telling a story.

Not all stories are good ones and not all stories are worth telling. This is true. The skill of storytelling is like anything else. Some of us are good and it, some of us are not and some of us can tell average stories. It is the interesting, heart felt, tragic and scary stories that we tend to remember the most. The key is engaging the story receiver’s emotion. It is the listener, viewer, reader who determines if the story is good or not. The story teller may think the story is good and be completely wrong.

As a writer the exchange of story from the teller to the story receiver fascinates me. I want to know what makes the receiver remember the story, why was the story worth the time of telling and why would you want to repeat the story? It is the psychology of the story that is the game changer for me.

I challenge you to be aware of the stories in your life. Notice when you are on the telling end and the receiving end of a good story. What makes you remember a story? What makes you repeat a story? Most importantly what makes you really like story or fall in love with a story?

If you are interested in sharing your story experiences drop me an email at or a comment here. I will respond to every one of you.




I’m Thinking about Ending Things by Iain Ried


There are three types of people in the world. Those who have read the book and love it, those who have read this book and hate it or those who have not yet read this book.

I loved it. When you read it you are certain that you have fallen in to an episode of the twilight zone. Nothing is as it appears. The story revolves around a girl on a day trip with her boyfriend to meet his parents. She is thinking about ending things. It is the things that you have no idea what she means. Is she breaking up with him? Is she considering suicide? It is a mystery. Even at the end of the book it may still be a mystery if you don’t pick up on all the subtle hints. I actually read this book through twice be fore I had the ah ha moment and figured out most of the plot. Though very intense, it is an easy read. I read it through the two times over one weekend.

A word of caution! Danger Will Robinson!

There are web sites that discuss the book and the theories around it. Please read the book first before you read any of the theories. It will be a better ride to just go in to the book blind. Please do not cheat yourself of the experience of this roller coaster adventure of this book. Reading fan sites before reading a book is right up there with my aversion of seeing a movie before reading the book.


I am afraid that if I keep talking I will spoil this for you so I will just leave you with this thought.  This book is deeply haunting and irresistibly unnerving. It will stay with you long after the last page is turned and you put the book down.




She Builds the Wall


Here is a bit of fiction…or is it?

She Builds the Wall

I found her standing in front of a wall. The wall was made of bricks the same color red as the bricks that build the american dream home but about half the size and perfect cube in shape. She was mixing a bucket of concrete and slathering it on the bricks. Then she placed them ever so deliberately on the wall where it looks like a strong force crashed in the bricks flinging them all over the ground. I walked up behind her and she does not turn around. She continues to work one brick at the time.

I look to my left and see the wall goes on past my line of sight. I look to my right and see the same. On it goes. I look up and it disappears in to the fog. “What are you doing?” I ask her. She sighs, “What does it look like? I am repairing the break.” Her voice is soft and not unlike my own.

It is a slow process since she is very particular in how she chooses the bricks. She lovingly picks them up and dusts off each side. She then sizes it up for the next location on the wall carefully placing it on the vacant spot. Once she is satisfied it is the correct block, she then coats it and places it on the wall. She continues to pick up bricks, coat them with mud and place them on the wall.

“What broke your wall?” I asked

Again she sighed, “It was my fault. I let my guard down and when I wasn’t paying attention someone got in, wreaked havoc and I forced them back on the other side. Now I am fixing it so they can’t come back on my side.”

She never broke her stride as she explained the break and what happened. She continued to work. Carefully picking up bricks, tenderly stroking them and placing them on the wall.

“When it is fixed, what will you do then?” I asked

Again she sighed, “I will wait for the one who is worthy of coming to my side. I think that they are never coming though. I will just watch and maintain the wall.”

With that she turned and looked at me. She smiled with my smile. Printed on her shirt was the word “Resilient”

She said, “Your shirt says ‘courage’, will you stay with me?”

I sighed, picked up a brick and dusted it off. I measured the place where it would go, slopped on the concrete and placed the brick on the wall.

Indomitable (The Push Chronicles Book 1) By J B Garner


“Reality is subjective if you only have enough belief to change it!”

~ Indomitable by J B Garner


The first book in a series, Indomitable introduces the reader to Irene Roman, an unlikely super hero. She was forced in to survival which in turn forced her to become a hero. This story reminds me of The Rook by Daniel O’Malley in that the female lead is an unlikely hero. She is intuitive, strong and brave. All the best qualities for a female hero.

What I liked about this book is Garner’s use of words in ways that force us to rethink language. For example, in the story the world is now inhabited by people with super powers. These people are called the Pushed. The concept was a little hard to grasp at first but they were pushed in to these powers by a force that caused this altered state. The reader is “pushed” to accept this new use of the term. This concept of manipulating words and their meanings to fit the story is a cleaver talent that Garner uses well.

One thing that was difficult for me was some of the passages that reflect Irene’s thought and some of the lines she speaks do not sound authentically female. I found myself thinking, no woman would say that. It is my biased female point of view. As a writer I get how difficult it is to write in a voice that is not your norm. It is not easy.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes sci-fi, fantasy and super hero genres. It is a climactic combination of all of those and more. Though it took me a bit to get my head around the concepts, it was well worth the time and energy it took to devour it. It caused me to consider that life is not always what you presume it to be.  I look forward to reading the rest of the series. Keep writing interesting thought-provoking books Mr. Garner.  I am a fan.

Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger by Beth Harbison

I chose this book simply for the title. It seemed funny and something to lighten the mood from all the serious books I have been reading lately. The story was cute and true to life in a lot of ways. The protagonist Quinn had a rough time getting over a betrayal of her boyfriend, Burke. An enjoyable romance with plenty of swoons and humor throughout. I loved Quinn’s gay best friend, Glenn, who runs the specialty wine and cheese shop next door to Quinn’s dress shop. Glenn is the voice of reason throughout the story.

I was disappointed at the ending. It was a bit anticlimactic. After all of Quinn’s agonizing, crying and pining over lost love she slips easily into a new relationship. I expected more of a build up to the end and a less predictable outcome.

I wasn’t blown away by this book, but it was a good Sunday afternoon read. If you are bored and need something to pass the time this book will do, but it reads like a bad Hallmark movie.

Is It Just me? My Take on Hunger Games

I have a separate blog for book reviews but I have a book I would like to talk about. It seems that the entire world is talking about Hunger Games. I finished reading it last night. For the most part I liked the story. The characters and plot are well written; however, I think the story did not benefit from children killing each other. The theme of death could have been handled without murder.

When I posted this comment on my Facebook page, “Am I the only person on the planet that thinks there is something wrong with 24 children killing each other in a novel that is promoted as a young adult must read?”  I received varying responses, but for the most part everyone seems to like the book.

Val, a middle school teacher responded to my post with this comment,

“Violence that they see in most movies and video games does not relate to them. At 13 they aren’t fighting a war or zombies etc-it isn’t realistic to them. However, putting them into a world where it is killed or be killed because their government demands it for both punishment and entertainment makes it real. It has also opened some of their eyes to the political maelstrom going on in our country, and they see how the world of Panem could happen. Their comments to me don’t glorify the violence; they are more freaked out by the reality of it.”

That got me to thinking, children need to be “freaked out”. They are disengaged from reality by all sorts of things, video games, movies, so-called reality TV that is not really real. I responded to Val, ” I see. I like that they are tuned in and “freaked out” by the reality. Too many kids are tuned out.” Also, they should be involved in the ” political maelstrom ” in some way. They will be the voters of the future.

I am still certain that the story could have been just as effective if the tributes died from starvation, sickness, or wild animal attack, which did happen in the story . The element of death is convincing and challenging without adding the element of child on child violence. If the Hunger Games book or movie engages kids in politics, condition of world peace, violence prevention, overall  doing good deeds for others, and gets them to consider what happens in reality, then I could be a fan.

It’s Official

I didn’t manage to post anything yesterday due to going to the doctor and being diagnosed with pneumonia. I hate being sick. On the bright side I have been able to read a lot the past couple of days while I am stuck in the bed. So, I started cruising the best seller list on the Barnes & Noble web site. What is all the hype about Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins? My first thought was,  “Young people dying for entertainment? Really?!” I am still not sure if I will like it or not.

I understand the premise, though intriguing, it is not original. There are myths where children are sent to their death and history is full of games that end with death and survivors. The popularity of “Hunger Games” speaks to the character of our society. Not just that book, but others too that promote legends, evil plots and death. These stories seem to fly off shelves and fly in to movie theaters even quicker. What happened to the love of literature? What happened to authors the likes of Jane Austin, Hemingway, Faulkner, and others who wrote of other human situations. I am not taking a stand against “Hunger Games” or other books that use such dark subjects, I am making an observation of our society and what we are reading.

It fascinates me to look at what is popular and what is selling. As a writer I want to stay on top of trends and tastes of the reading public. More often than not I am left wondering what the appeal is to death, vampires, murder and others. I am no different from the average reader. I will sit down with a good murder mystery in a heart beat. Why is it that even those like me who love God, are devoted to Christianity still are drawn to dark subjects?

I think we crave the ending. We need to know that at the end of a horrific story that good always wins. We need to belive that good always concurs evil. When in reality, things do not always turn out that way. Just turn on the news and see for yourself. There are daily stories of children being abducted, people all over the world are starving,  murderers being convicted, soldiers being killed by enemies, stock markets falling, homes being foreclosed on and people are being laid off. Reality is in our face with evil everyday. Good looses out every day. As bad as our world is at this moment in history and as awful some of the events of the past have been, it is as it should be.

As Christians we are not promised a perfect life or a life without evil. We are promised that if we stand firm in the Word of God, we will be saved in the end. At no time are we promised not to have hurt or bad out comes along the way to that end. We are not promised to have lives without suffering, sickness, and heartache. We are only promised that if we remain faithful to the one true God we will be saved from all this mayhem at the end of it all. That promise that good will prevail motivates us to look for it all over the place. We want to hear about the hero or heroine who defeats the evil villain, the leader of a government takes care of the oppressors and protect their citizens, the parent who searches for their missing child and finds them, and the charity who fights against all odds to feed a group of starving natives. We need to believe that good is going to prevail. If we do not have that hope then we start to question our faith and worse we question God.

We need to keep our desire for the story of good versus evil in balance with our knowledge of reality, and with our faith in God. We can not allow ourselves to believe the myth that good with out God can concur evil. It can not. That is the myth of our modern world. Good people can not on their own destroy evil. Out culture promotes the self-will of good people in our entertainment, but we must remember that all good comes from the one true God. That is just the truth of the matter. God wins. Good that comes from God defeats evil. Well deserving smart brave and heroic people can not defeat evil on their own without God.  End of story.