Tag Archives: Christianity

Review & Giveaway: Anahuac by William D. Darling

ANAHUAC
A Texas Story (Volume 2)
by
WILLIAM D. DARLING
  Genre: Historical Fiction / Thriller
Publisher: Canned Peas Productions
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 244

Scroll down for the giveaway!

The Anahuac of 1972 is more than just an isolated outpost on Texas’s Trinity Bay – it’s a place where greed and justice uncomfortably intermingle, where the evangelical fervor of charismatic preachers resonate, where blacks and whites navigate a fragile co-existence, and where a murder leads to even darker mysteries than murder. 
Jim Ward, introduced in Morgan’s Point as a young, idealistic Houston prosecutor, returns in Anahuac as an older, more conflicted, more complicated man, coming to Anahuac to defend a man who appears guilty of a horrible crime. His discoveries lead to entanglements in the very nature of good and evil, in a town that is at once of its time and timeless, steeped in a history that is unexpectedly but definitively drawing Ward in its narrative web.
 

PRAISE FOR ANAHUAC: 

“Austin writer William D. Darling’s second novel, Anahuac, is an entertaining, engrossing legal thriller that offers both darkly humorous and good-natured thrusts at life, love, and law . . . first-rate reading, especially for readers who enjoy legal thrillers, lawyer procedurals, suspense, Texas settings, and characters who live large.” – Lone Star Literary Life
“Darling draws vivid portraits of his setting while also bringing in historical currents like women’s liberation, the growth of container shipping, and the rise of the prosperity gospel, adding interest to what’s otherwise a fairly simple courtroom drama.” – Kirkus Reviews
I’m a Texan originally from the east coast who’s had occasion to meet some of these characters from another planet. Darling weaves us through the minds of lawyers with jealousies, insecurities, questions of faith, honor, and guilt as they tackle the case of a horrible crime that has the potential to put a man of God away forever. I held on tight as we went through the engrossing trial, which did not disappoint! If you love history, crime, passion, religion, and suspense, this is a must read! – Kristy Recker (an Amazon reviewer)
While certainly a period piece, I’m glad that this book didn’t delve too far into Texas history because it already has so much to offer on its own. There is no point in making a masterpiece of the backdrop when the main players, the main point of the story, are so captivating and brilliant already.
I suppose the history of Anahuac leading up to the novel’s present time in the 1970s does serve as a sort of primer before Darling paints his characters with broader and more colorful strokes. Rather than telling us about racial or gender tension, he shows how that strain originated in history and how it evolved into what it was in the 70s. He does the same thing when explaining why the residents of the small town are suspicious of outsiders, even those who are also from Texas but from another town. We’ve seen that trope in movies, but it’s never really explained.
Even before the detailed choreography of the courtroom scenes, one can sense that Darling is an attorney. How? The opening scene all but tells you who murdered Sarita and the main character, Jim, is not really trying to figure out who did it. Jim’s focus is to make sure that the jury can’t say for certain that Reverend Randall Clay killed her. As he builds his case, he might briefly wonder who was really behind it, but his laser-like focus is on making sure his client is found not guilty. And Darling writes the story with this same focus and mission, to let the reader in on what is known for certain and what is hypothetical, with the intent of having us draw the most logical conclusion.
The story of the impending trial is the main thread of the novel, but there are a few other strands woven in concerning the married lives of the couples and the people in their circle that add further tension. I don’t know if those storylines added much to the novel, but I’m pretty sure they carried over from the first book. I think that if I had read Morgan’s Point, I would be more interested in the subplots.
Growing up in a Christian home in Texas, I just had to also mention my specific thoughts on Reverend Clay. I found him fascinating because he struck me as a Billy Graham at first, or maybe I just got that vibe because his medium was radio. But then I definitely likened him to Joel Osteen because of the solicitation for money and the questionable financial practices of his operation. And then he went right back to being a Billy Graham because he could actually spout scripture and theology off the top of his head without stuttering. Anyway, he was a great character and I wouldn’t mind reading about what his deal really is.
My only critiques are production things: the text could use some proofreading and the cover could be less literal and maybe scaled down a bit.
Overall, I thought this was a great read. There is not a wasted word on the page. If you skim, you miss something significant. If you like courtroom dramas, this book is definitely for you.

William D. Darling is a lifelong storyteller and very nearly a native Texan, arriving in his beloved state as an infant in 1942. His first novel, Morgan’s Point, introduced readers to both the mid-‘60s rough-and-tumble world of the Houston courts where Darling came of age, and the Galveston Bay region that has long fascinated him. His latest novel Anahuac, serves as a sequel to Morgan’s Point as well as its own fascinating tale.
Darling, who has lived within the legislative bustle of Washington, D.C. and in the beauty of a Central Texas ranch, currently resides in Austin, where he and his wife have built a longstanding law practice.
UPCOMING AUTHOR APPEARANCES:
January 12, 2018, 7:00PM

Anahuac Reading & Signing

Deep Vellum Books3000 Commerce StreetDallasTXUS 


January 20, 2018, 10:00AM

Anahuac Reading in Anahuac
William D. Darling brings it on home! He’ll read from Anahuac in the city where the new novel is set for the first time ever.
Chambers County Library202 Cummings StreetAnahuacTXUS 

February 17, 2018, 4:30PM
Anahuac Houston Release Event
William D. Darling will sign and read from Anahuac, celebrating the release of the book with friends and well-wishers in the city he once called home, as part of a multi-author event.
Murder by the Books2342 BissonnetHoustonTXUS 

 

————————————-
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
THREE WINNERS EACH WIN A COPY OF ANAHUAC + $10 Amazon Gift Card
January 5-January 14, 2018
(U.S. Only)

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Review: Prayerful Passages by Jack H. Emmott

PRAYERFUL PASSAGES
Asking God’s Help in Reconciliation,

 

Separation, and Divorce

 

by 

 

Jack H. Emmott
Genre: Religion / Spirituality / Devotional 
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Date of Publication: February 9, 2016
# of pages: 64
 

The power of asking God for help while struggling to save a marriage, separating, divorcing, or rebuilding life is the driving force behind Prayerful Passages:  Asking God’s Help in Reconciliation, Separation, and Divorce by Jack H. Emmott.  The fifty-six prayers are practical, touching on all shades of difficulty.  They are specific and short; accessible and comforting; inspiring and inspired.
In Prayerful Passages, Jack has opened the doors of comfort and healing to guide a Christian struggling with the anger, loss, and grief that inevitably arise during the separation, divorce, and reconciliation stages of a marriage in peril. Open the doors of your own heart to God’s grace and healing. These prayers will aid you in your journey.
PRAISE FOR PRAYERFUL PASSAGES:

 

In Prayerful Passages, Jack Emmott, with profound clarity, helps faithful people struggling in their marriage to find not only the words they need to pray, but also the Divine Presence and power they need in challenging life circumstances. — Rev. Stuart Bates, Rector, St. Francis Episcopal Church, Houston


****
This book will make an ideal gift for a friend or family member going through divorce.  I wish the families I’ve seen in family court had been able to make their difficult passages with these prayers in their hearts and on their lips.  This book would have alleviated their anguish.– Frank Rynd, J.D., Former Family Law Judge
****
A compelling sharing of compassion—this book shows the impact a prayerful, Christ-centered life can have on the human spirit.  What a powerful read . . . I was wowed by its wisdom. — Larry R. Cook, CPA
 ****
All you have to do is open to the table of contents to see the brilliance of this wise voice that pushes us all to see the world as a more inclusive, loving place where we are all perfectly imperfect children of God. Jack offers his reader empathy, wisdom and redemption for the human spirit. Don’t miss the wisdom of a man who has lived into surrender at an early age as his polio left him trapped in an iron lung to survive. But, he didn’t just survive; he blossomed and thrives today, venerating the love of the Divine for all of us. This is a must-read for all of us who want to live more fully into our loving relationships.– Micki Grimland, LCSW, Owner and Chief Psychotherapist, Southwest Psychotherapy Associates 

 

Review

Growing up Baptist, I’ve attended many churches and seminars that are Bible-based. When I went away to college, I took a Bible as Literature class to open up my spiritual world. As a relatively new believer in no “true and correct” religion, I still maintain the idea that Christianity must be Bible-based. And according to the Bible, divorce is a no no in most cases.

Emmott provides an excellent resource for people who are so distraught that they lack the ability to form the words to ask God for help. And I was impressed that he provides the template for so many different scenarios that a person might find themselves in; whether that is reconciling a marriage, separating temporarily, or divorce. He also suggests prayers for those with or without children.

I only wish that Emmott provided Bible passages for the reader to immerse themselves in. Specifically, passages that explain why divorce is not desirable. And I wish that he had provided resources within the book for those who are doing all that they can to save their marriage. Praying for help is good, but one has to look for the help as well. It would be a great service to the reader to have some of those resources already in their hands.

I was a little confused by “Prayers for Putting Our Child/Children First”. In that particular passage, it’s not clear whether the spouses are just separated and not divorced. Biblically, man and wife are cleaved and have a covenant with each other, not their children. In a Christian marriage, Christ comes first, then your spouse, and the children after that. If the couple were divorced already or on the verge, I would understand this particular prayer.

Overall, I think this is a good book to share with someone who might be going through a difficult time in their marriage or divorce. I would definitely couple it with some Biblical references to help solidify understanding and provide additional comfort.

 

What makes Prayerful Passages: Asking God’s Help in Reconciliation, Separation, and Divorce appealing is the courage, calling and faith of its author Jack H. Emmott. In 1954, just as the Salk vaccine was entering massive medical trials, Jack was stricken with polio and paralyzed from the neck down.  With faith in God and selfless help from his parents, educators, healthcare providers, and later his wife Dorothy and his close-knit family, he became a successful lawyer, civic leader, volunteer, inspirational speaker, author, and song writer. Though today confined to a motorized wheelchair, he has long navigated as a full member of society.

 

 

 

As a member at Gray Reed & McGraw in Houston, Texas, with over thirty-five years working in family law, Jack primarily focuses on collaborative law, a resolution option for divorcing couples. In collaborative process, couples mutually agree to voluntary disclosure of relevant information, which is much faster and less expensive than formal discovery.  The children are protected and shared, not divided like property.

 

 

His life experience and abiding faith in God led Jack to write Prayerful Passages: Asking God’s Help in Reconciliation, Separation, and Divorce. Jack says, “The exact words of the title Prayerful Passages literally came to me one night during evening prayer. I felt, at that very moment, I had received an invitation from God to write a book of prayers to help others and to please the God who had always accompanied me in the darkness of disability.”
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The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar

 

Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours
 
present
 
 
THE DOOR OF THE HEART
 
by
 
Diana Finfrock Farrar
 
Married for twenty years, Tammy & Ed Sloan suddenly find themselves on opposite sides of a hot button current social issue when their high school aged son is punished for bullying a fellow athlete who is gay. The wife of a conservative Texas politician, Tammy begins to reexamine her values after the incident blows up in the media and embarks on a mission not just to view LGBT issues through a loving Christian perspective, but to become an active participant for positive change. A generous look at the gay community through a Christian lens, Diana Finfrock Farrar’s novel interweaves multiple story lines that feature endearing characters, both gay and straight, each confronting the consequences of homophobia and demonstrating a need for the understanding and the embracing of the LGBT community, especially in the heart of Bible-belt reactionaryism.
 
 
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First time novelist, Diana Finfrock Farrar, is a native Texan and financial adviser representative who loves snow skiing and traveling, competes in sprint triathlons, and is an ordained deacon and elder in the Presbyterian church (PCUSA) where she sings in the choir every Sunday.  Blessed to have been born into a family that taught her how to live a life of faith, love and relationship — the idea of family has always been at her center.  Feeling called to make a difference, Farrar has penned her first novel with the hope of educating her readers on issues of empowerment, injustice, and compassion. She and her wife, Charlotte, were married in Ontario, Canada in 2010.  They live in Texas and share five children and three grandchildren.
 
 
 
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