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DVD Review



I apologize for not being more active, but not having other reviewers or books to review, it's been a little difficult. However I want to let you know about this wonderful DVD "God's Not Dead." Working at the library I found it on our shelves and took it home. When I brought it back I raved about it. I wanted to take it out again, but it seems word gets around. It's always on hold for someone else. That's great.

The opening scene is in a freshman college philosophy class. The professor states he is an atheist, and asks that if everyone will sign a paper with 3 little words on it he can dispense of the dust and get to the subject. Those 3 words are "God Is Dead." One student cannot sign that. He is given 3 chances to argue the case of the existence of God before the class.

Fueled by hate on one side and a determined love of God on the other this is not your simple movie. The poor kid researches and goes off on a journey of his own to state his case. The end is nothing short of amazing. I guess telling people stuff like this is one of the reasons I can't get a hold of it a second time. It's really that good.

For more you can go here:
http://godsnotdeadthemovie.com/synopsis

To purchase a copy try these links:
Amazon
ChristianBook.com
Barnes & Noble

May our Lord be with you now and always. Remember, God is in control, even when things look like they're crashing all around you. David

Saturday, August 09, 2008

CHION, by Darryl Sloan


Day 7. - For our final day I thought it would be good to have an interview with the author of CHION, Darryl Sloan. He consented and it was great talking to a fellow Irishman. Enjoy!

CFRB - I see you're from Ireland. Where abouts in Ireland do you live?

DS - A town called Portadown, in Northern Ireland, which is really part of the UK. Technicially I should view myself as a Brit, but I prefer to call myself Irish. Portadown is just a few miles south of that big blob of water called Lough Neagh, which you can see on any map, smack
in the middle of Northern Ireland. There's an old legend that says the Isle of Man (between Ireland and Britain) was created by a giant lifting a section of earth from the middle of Ireland and tossing it into the sea.

CFRB - Ireland is called the "Emerald Isle", referring to how fertile and green it is. How come you chose a story that would hide all that beauty?

DS - Because I'm warped, probably. ;-) This is actually the first time I've thought about the issue. I guess it's because I've never really been interested in writing about beauty. What motivates my writing is drama and conflict and pain, the sort of vehicles that allow the characters in a story to grow. My fiction is always about people. The beauty of their surroundings rarely comes into my thinking, except when I get to have fun with the atmosphere of how strange it is, as in "Chion." I always side with bizarre over beautiful.

CFRB - Did you have any goal you wanted to accomplish in this story, or did you just want to tell a good story, as is the case with many Irishmen?

DS - Yes, I had a goal, but that only came about after I had developed the story in my mind. I knew from very early on that I wanted the central character to be a boy who was terminally ill. I didn't know why I wanted it that way, but that fact became central to the what the subtext of the book revealed itself to be: How do you find meaning in a life that's mortal, when death appears to rob your life of any meaning?

CFRB - Is there anyone who has influenced? How?

DS - I've always been super creative, since I was a young kid. Through my teenage years I developed interests in drawing, painting, computer programming, composing music, filmmaking, and of course writing fiction. Aside from my natural inclination to experiment creatively,
the biggest encouragement I ever had to write a novel came from reading Stephen King's "On Writing." I highly recommend it.

CFRB - Can you give a brief synopsis of your journey to publication of CHION?

DS - Well, it was hassle-free, because I self-published. I skipped the whole agent-hunting process and did the whole thing solo. I'm fortunate in that my background has made me skilled in areas like desktop publishing and graphic design, so I was able to do everything without paying anybody. I didn't even need to use one of the intermediary POD publishers like Lulu, Authorhouse, etc. I went straight to the printing firm direct. When Lightning Source produced
the book, I chose not to have it listed on Amazon. Weird decision, you might think, but there's method to my madness. When a web surfer discovers my book through my website, what sense is there in directing him away from my site in order to buy the book, sacrificing 60% of the
retail price to a third party in the process? How much better it is to sell the book directly to the reader, out of my own personal stock, enabling a less expensive cover price, and an autograph. The startling economics of this is that I can sell my book for $8 plus shipping and still make about $3.50 profit. It's also worth noting that eBay is a wonderful outlet for authors to sell their own books. In fact, it's my main sales avenue.

CFRB - What else have you written? Tell us a little about that book?

DS - My first novel was called "Ulterior." It's set in the same location as "Chion," a very real school building where I happen to work. But this one's quite a different story. It's all about a teenage boy who breaks into the school at night, with criminal intent, only to discover there
is something hidden and sinister going on that threatens the lives of all the children.

CFRB - What first gave you the idea for CHION?

DS - I got thinking about all the movies that had been made about weather phenomena - everything from John Carpenter's supernatural horror "The Fog," to the more believable "Twister," to the ice age in "The Day After Tomorrow." I thought, "Has everything been done or is it still possible to be original in this theme?"

CFRB - You obviously found a way to cover this theme with originality. What else would you like to share with readers about yourself or CHION?

DS - I'm not overly productive, and I like it that way. After "Ulterior," four to five years went by before I was publishing another novel. I've got fully developed ideas for other novels, but I just can't write them because I know they're just vacuuous entertainment pieces. And for the massive investment of time that it requires to write a novel, I just can't bring myself to do it unless there's more to it - a subtext of some kind, something important about life or about the world that I want to communicate. Better to have written a few novels that are remembered than thirty or forty that go the way of the dodo.

CFRB - That's a great philosophy.

DS - If you're wondering what might be coming next, the strongest thing in my mind at the moment is a sequel to "Chion." All I can say is it will be set one year later and based around the theme of how the world prepares for the possibility that the sticky snow will fall again. But
while surival looks assured this time round, there's a major twist. When will this be written? Will it even be written? Who can tell at this stage.

CFRB - Share with us one of the craziest things you've done or that's happened to you?

DS - Ten years old, walking through a public park, a teenage punk runs up to me and places the tip of a knife against my back and holds a hatchet over my head, and he says, "Hey. Come with me." I remember having the cold, clear thought: "This is it. I'm going to die now." All my in-built sense that bad things only happen to other people evaporated. And I started to cry. And he laughed ... and ran away back to his friends. I have no psychological scars from that event whatsoever. The cotton wool just leapt straight back into my brain: "Oh, I guess bad things only ever do happen to other people." But I sure never forgot it.

CFRB - Where did you get the idea of "sticky snow"?

DS - I guess I fixated on snow, because fog had been done, rain had been done, ice had been done, tornadoes had been done, etc. So ... snow. But unfortunately, snow was fluffy and white and fun for kids. I knew I couldn't make a disaster story out of this unless I made snow
fundamentally different. So, with a little thinking outside the box, somehow I came up with the notion of glue-like snow: when you stand on it, you stick to it, quicker and firmer than Superglue.

CFRB - What concept or scripture is God revealing more deeply to you in this season of your life? And how is that revelation influencing your life?

DS - In the last year or more I have been becoming increasingly aware of how much I am wasting my life, spending so much time staring at a television screen, or playing videogames, or yes, even reading fiction. I was in danger of leading the sort of life where, outside of work, all that's left is to close yourself off from reality and entertain yourself as much as possible. When you start to wake up from this sort of thing, it's actually a little scary to walk past peoples
houses on a dark evening, glancing into living rooms and seeing people gazing continually into the oblong box in the corner of the room. There's some kind of seduction going on that makes us willing to close ourselves off from real life to seek some kind of escapist paradise, while real life passes us by. And what is real life: anything from the enjoyment of nature to the joy of helping others. "Love your neighbour as yourself" is one of the most profound, yet easily ignored, Scriptures I've ever read.

CFRB - Unfortunately, I'll have to 2nd that. Why did you choose the Greek word for the title of this book?

DS - Choosing a Greek or Latin title for a book is what I do as a last resort, when I can't for the life of me discover an English one that's good enough. You know what I mean. "Deux ex machina" sounds kind of cool, doesn't it? I recalled that phobias were named from Greek words
- arachonophobia, and all that. So I wondered, is there such a phobia as the fear of snow. And indeed there was. With a quick Google search, I found out about "chionophobia." And it sounded cool. For a long time, that was going to be the title of the book, but I became dissatisfied with how big a mouthful it was. I later discovered that you can shorten the Greek "chiono" (snow) to "chion," which means "like snow." Perfect.

CFRB - How do you choose names and get to know your characters?

DS - For names, I just pick and mix in my head. Without wanting to sound overly mystical, sometimes a name will feel right and another will feel wrong. I don't know why, but I go with it. I start with vague ideas of personalities and characters, but they really only come to life when you get down to the business of fleshing out your synopsis as actual prose - putting flesh on the skeleton, so to speak. Occasionally, you get a nasty surprise, when you realise halfway through your story that you can't make your character do a particular thing because it's out of character with what you've let him become. Writing fiction really is an amazing experience for the writer, when characters live inside your head. You know it's an illusion, but these people take on incredible substance. I had a particularly potent experience of this one time when I chose to write an eight-thousand-word story in two days.

CFRB - What's your favorite scene from CHION?

DS - In terms of action and drama, I really love the very beginning. I love the way the story wastes no time in pulling the reader straight in, and I love the way the reader will be initially confused about the events until the missing pieces in the puzzle are slotted in. I have great fun with this material when I give presentations on the novel to kids. I tell it in my own words, stopping at points to ask the kids what they think is going on. And they love it. In terms of the more spiritual side of the story, all I can say is I love pages 132-133. I daren't spoil it for readers, but it's an exchange between Jamie and Tara that brings into focus the whole theme of the story - the inevitability of death and its effect on the meaning of our lives.

CFRB - You're the first author that has expressed a desire not to have a video teaser. Can you tell us why that is?

DS - I actually would like to have one, but I feel that so many of them need to be more than what they are. Pan-and-scan image slideshows just aren't enough. I did that sort of thing for my first novel, and I don't feel it had a great impact. I would want to get actors organised, to put together snippets of scenes from the novel, so that it would look as effective as a genuine movie trailer. It would take a lot of organising, which is why I haven't done it. But would it be worthwhile? I think so.

CFRB - Are there any closing remarks you'd like to share?

DS - I always love interaction with readers, so please feel free to contact me, and to take part in the many discussions that arise on my blog, which you can find at http://www.darrylsloan.com

CFRB - Thank you for taking the time to share with ou readers. It's been fun.


David Brollier
CFRB co-founder

Visit Darryl's Homepage
Also His Purchase Direct Page

Sorry gang, can't find him on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Borders

The following CFRB Members have reviews and/or interviews.
Just click on the "button" to go to these CFRB member sites.



The following sites will post cover art and synopsis:

Friday, August 08, 2008

CHION, by Darryl Sloan


Day 6. Trust. While Jamie is struggling with issues of faith, Tara is struggling with issues of trust. I put Jamie's issue first, because Tara's issue is not about faith in God, but rather trust in another person. Her trust is bolstered at the beginning of the book by the actions of some teachers. It is then put to the test by the actions of other teachers. All those at Clounagh Junior High have been placed in a situation in which trust must be utilized for survival. There are those who disagree with this belief and she struggles to find which side she's going to stay on. She chooses the side of trust, not because it is easy, but because the alternative is too frightening for her.

Each step of the way Tara finds her decision to trust challenged. Mainly we find the focus of the story, in this aspect, revolves around her trust in Jamie. At first she reluctantly agrees to place her trust in him, but Jamie's actions which follow, begin to haunt her. Did she make the right decision? Just as she seems to come to grips with one issue Jamie thrust her into another issue, which almost unravels her trust. She finds this road almost as frightening as the alternative she had turned her back upon. Yet it is trust in Jamie that wins the day.

Spiritually speaking we do place ourselves at an extreme risk when we place our trust in other people. The only one perfect enough, wise enough, fair enough, to put our trust in is Jesus. Like Tara, even when we decide to put our faith and trust in Jesus we are going to go through situations which will make us doubt our decision. We may think that we must be out of our minds to be following this Jesus. Christ asks us to do many things which are not only difficult, but at times seem contrary to our task. Yet if we will see things through to the end we will find out that God had the complete picture. He was just purifying us and making us more useful for His service, and in doing so more useful to others. In the beginning, that's not the way it seems. We find ourselves overburdened, because we trust so little. As we give more and more over to Jesus, He takes over more and more of that burden. In the end we can say with the apostle Paul, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

David Brollier
CFRB co-founder

Visit Darryl's Homepage
Also His Purchase Direct Page

Sorry gang, can't find him on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Borders

The following CFRB Members have reviews and/or interviews.
Just click on the "button" to go to these CFRB member sites.



The following sites will post cover art and synopsis:

Thursday, August 07, 2008

CHION, by Darryl Sloan


Day 5. Another thing that Darryl Sloan deals with in this novel is the struggle with faith. He alternates between feeling like God isn't listening to his prayers, and knowing that God isn't listening and answering, even if we don't see it. Jamie sees this snow and the tragedy that results, and he wavers. He prays that Tara would be safe, but he doesn't really believe that God cares enough to answer his prayer until Tara is safe. This is the way it really is. We are asked to do something that is far beyond our capability to fulfill, but when we ask God to be our strength it seems like He always says, "Work it out yourself." It takes a long time to realize that God is answering our prayers, only in a much different way than we thought He would.

That's so real, so like us, so like God. We are so weak, so short-sighted. We get to thinking we have all the answers, when we are really stupid. I'm sorry if that sounds rather blunt. We run around doing our own thing. If God is really our Heavenly Father, don't you think we should act like it? Shouldn't we be obedient children and realize that, as our Dad, God knows what is best for us. Jamie shows some really great insight. He steps out on, what might be called faith, to help Tara. He sees a possible way of escape, but he refuses to leave her behind. Each decision he makes from that point on is marked by an unusual commitment. Yes, Jamie falters in his faith, but eventually he overcomes.

Look at the great saints in the Bible. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, the prophets, they all have tremendous faults. Lying, stealing, adultery, even murder. These guys were not the cream of the crop if you just look at what they did wrong. If you look at how they handled those wrongs, asked forgiveness, and in some cases bore incredible hardships because they knew they had to reap what they had planted, even if God did forgive them. It gives me hope. If God could love them and record in His Book that these were men of faith, then there is hope for me. There's hope for Jamie. That hope lies in bearing our burdens to Him who died for them and repent of our sins. Hope is the product of God's grace, which is an attribute of His love. This is seen so beautifully in CHION.

David Brollier
CFRB co-founder

Visit Darryl's Homepage
Also His Purchase Direct Page

Sorry gang, can't find him on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Borders

The following CFRB Members have reviews and/or interviews.
Just click on the "button" to go to these CFRB member sites.



The following sites will post cover art and synopsis:

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

CHION, by Darryl Sloan


Day 4. Loners. Have you ever been a loner, or are you a loner? Do you interact with those around you, but don't feel like you belong? Do you ever feel like you really don't want to belong with the crowd, but feel lonely nonetheless? Jamie Metcalfe is a loner. One gets the feeling that he is a loner by choice. He can hold his own with the rest of the kids his age, but deep inside he just doesn't fit, nor does he really want to. The only person of any real value to him in school is Tara Morton. Having a crush on a girl at such a young age is going to set you apart. It's going to make you the butt of foul jokes and intolerable teasing. Yet, for reasons explained later in the book, that doesn't bother Jamie. He would rather be set apart, be a loner, than conform to their narrow-mindedness. Yet, on the other hand, he really doesn't want to be alone. Perhaps that only fuels his feelings for Tara.

For those who think this is all a bunch of crap, that kids this age don't have feelings like Jamie has, let me correct them. You see, I had a girlfriend when I was 13. She was a girl from my church. I envisioned growing up and singing and preaching the Gospel as she accompanied me in both singing and playing the piano. She was beautiful, and I was completely taken with her. A year after we started "seeing" each other, which basically meant we hung out together at church or at church functions, she broke up with me. The pain I felt I still can't describe. It was as if all of a sudden I was lost. I tried in vain to find out what happened and win her back, but all it did was make me look like a bigger loser, so I finally learned to let things rest. Had we been trapped in church by this "sticky snow" I would have done anything and everything to see that both me and my girl got out safely. I would be concerned about the others, but if it was a choice between just the two of us or not getting out at all, I would have taken her and only her. Mind you my brother was there too, so what I'm saying packs a lot of weight. I would have done the same thing as Jamie.

Being a loner has its good points and its bad points. The good points are being able to shield yourself from a lot of the garbage that is out there in our society. One of the really bad points is that you start to become proud. You think that you can go it alone, and begin to tune everyone out, even God. I was like that too. Oh, I prayed to Him, but He didn't seem to be listening. This is one of what I call "Elijah moments". After defeating the prophets of Baal, Elijah fled from Queen Jezebel. During his flight he dropped to the ground and asked God to kill him, "I'm the only one who hasn't bowed his knee to Baal," he lamented. God reminded him that there were thousands of others who had not bowed to Baal, thousands who still served God faithfully. God then led Elijah into the wilderness. Notice how the trial comes right after the victory? Now that's really not in the story, but who knows what the next chapter of the story would have been like? Would Jamie have had to battle against his own pride? Probably, because he had been shielding himself for so long by being a loner that he left himself unprotected. Pride managed to seep into his heart. We even see a glimpse of this in the ending, but I'll let you find that for yourself.

David Brollier
CFRB co-founder

Visit Darryl's Homepage
Also His Purchase Direct Page

Sorry gang, can't find him on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Borders

The following CFRB Members have reviews and/or interviews.
Just click on the "button" to go to these CFRB member sites.

The following CFRB Members have reviews and/or interviews.
Just click on the "button" to go to these CFRB member sites.



The following sites will post cover art and synopsis:

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