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To Meet & Greet Is Sweet!

I had such a great time this past Saturday signing copies of my book, "Jew in Jail" at the local Barnes & Noble in Poughkeepsie, New York.
There is just something about meeting and talking to strangers who seem extremely interested to know what it was like for me as an addict - and minority while behind bars - to spend nearly six years in prison, and learn how I was finally able to "arrest" my past addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling.
As bad as that experience was for me, not only did I come out of it as a much better person, but I am now able to help others who might be going down that same destructive path of either having trouble with an addiction, or living with low self-esteem and self-confidence.
I wrote "Jew in Jail" as I was serving my sentence in prison, and was brutally honest about everything I was going through at the time.
Whenever I go to book signings, speaking engagements, or A.A., N.A. & G.A. meetings, I am the same exact way, because my purpose is not to glorify anything in my past, but to demonstrate that change is possible if one wants it badly enough.
If I can help you, my readers, in any way possible, please feel free to reach out to me.
Like we say in the meetings, "We can't keep what we have, unless we give it away!"
I also hope you decide to read "Jew in Jail," because I am very proud of how I was able to write it under the toughest conditions imaginable, and want my story to inspire others!
Simply put, after doing things wrong for so many years, I just want to live my life now the correct way, while also assisting those who are in need as much as I can.
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Are Zombies Still Hot?

Are zombies still a hot item or is the zombie craze nearing its on apocalypse? With the new season of 'The Walking Dead' well underway and Halloween less than a week away, are people still wanting to see hordes of undead converging on society? I think so; I think the fascination with zombies will continue, there is something about the undead that perks our interest. Maybe the fascination is not so much about death but about coming back to life. I believe most people want to believe there is life beyond this life, zombies though not alive as the living have an existence beyond the grave. I wrote a short book about a Zombie Dad., check it out on Amazon for .99. Here is an excerpt from the book:

"There he was sitting in the living room, reading his evening paper as usual. When he lowered the newspaper, what I saw was not my living dad, but a corpse dad with pale lifeless, greenish skin. He turned and looked at me with lifeless eyes and a sinister grin that froze my heart; I woke-up with my heart pounding"

I guess I have a fascination with zombies myself, partially fueled by my interest in ;The Walking Dead'. If you like zombies, check out 'Yikes! My Dad is a Zombie' on Amazon. Let me know what you think.

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A fiction novel that explores the relationship between two sisters and the difficulties they face following the sudden death of their parents.

Author Cynthia L. Knight is proud to announce the recent release of her novel Whyte Chocolate. Whyte Chocolate is a fiction novel that explores the relationship between two sisters and the difficulties they face following the sudden death of their parents. The compelling book trailer for Whyte Chocolate was revealed today on DGT Book Promotion news. In addition, Cynthia L. Knight shared an insightful interview this week on the Reading and Writing Addiction blog about herself and the release of Whyte Chocolate. Cynthia’s interview can be read at and the official Whyte Chocolate trailer can be viewed on YouTube.

About The Book
The Murdock Sisters are close, unique, and beautiful. These are the only traits they share in common. Their lives are turned upside down after the sudden death of their parents. The tragedy leaves them fragile and wounded, each trying to make sense of their lives. Their only unified decision was to make a fresh start in a new city. Camille is a mild-mannered owner of a coffee house café. Bianca, wounded in love, is a pseudo-militant civil rights activist who free-lances as a journalist. The Murdock Sisters are forced to face their differences in life and love when Camille meets and falls for the handsome, up and coming executive, Preston Warner Hughes. Surprises and drama surface when Bianca, while following a lead, uncovers a plot which could destroy Preston, his career, and ultimately her sister Camille. This discovery may also put Bianca on a path towards love. The lines of sisterhood are drawn and tested between healing, romance and hate. Which one will prevail?

Praise for Whyte Chocolate:
“Whyte Chocolate offers intriguing insights on the issue of race and shows the strength and tenacity of love despite obstacles. I enjoyed the book.” - Andrea Roberts, Author of No, I'm Not Less Than a Woman and A Poetic Heart Speaks on Love and Life

About The Author
Cynthia L. Knight describes Whyte Chocolate as “a labor of love” and hopes readers enjoy the novel. The author is a self-proclaimed “lover of words”. Born in New Jersey and raised in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland Cynthia spent her early years engrossed in reading, movies, and music. She has always been an avid writer. During her youth, she was rarely found without her writing journal. Cynthia attended the University of Maryland College Park where she majored in English and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Humanities.

After college she married her childhood sweetheart and started a family, Cynthia could not escape the allure of writing and penned her first novel, Whyte Chocolate, in 1997. In 2005, Cynthia launched a book publishing company originally to self-publish her own titles, but quickly decided she wanted to help others who had dreams of publication. Cynthia is the owner and CEO of Mosaic Paradigm Group, LLC.
Whyte Chocolate is available at, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million and all major online retailers. To learn more about Cynthia L. Knight and Whyte Chocolate, visit



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4.5 out of 5 stars

Problems, problems, problems…  Solutions?

Hannah Lane, the seven year old girl we remember from The Power, The Miracle and The Dream, is now 22 years old and a “Pulitzer Prize winning photographer and renowned peace activist” (Ch. 1).  She is with a National Geographic team that has just landed on Mars, and has become officially the first woman to set foot on the planet.  Hannah has come a very long way since her loosing childhood days as an asthmatic, but how exactly did she get here?  Was it really the secret of “the power within … [her] … mind” (Ch. 12) that brought her to these heights?

The Only Way Out: Forgiveness  - The Path To Peace & Happiness takes us deeper into the spiritual philosophy set out in De Lene’s earlier book, concentrating on our desire to hurt others, and the solution of reconciliation through absolution.  We can never really be at peace unless we are willing to forgive wrong.  In this book De Lene digs deeper into a metaphysical view of the world, particularly the idea of God, however, the philosophy presented is not at all ‘orthodox’ religion.  De Lene instead derives his inspiration from the non-fiction book A Course In Miracles (Helen Schucman. Foundation for Inner Peace:__ 3rd ed.:__ 2007).  De Lene’s book is an unusual blend of novel and teaching manual, and is a very enjoyable and easy way of looking deeper into philosophy.

10916212493?profile=originalSet not too far into the future, the novel has elements of science fiction, such as the “video phone” (Ch. 2), permanent Moon and Mars bases, and the “Intelligent Traffic Management System” (Ch. 21), where cars are robotically steered.  Most of the life depicted, though, is very familiar to the reader, and indeed the book concentrates on ‘ordinary’ life and the all too common problems such as work and relationships.  The book is not science fiction in the true sense of the word.  A great deal of the 29 chapter book is plot line which entertainingly dramatizes the philosophical points, though there are four teaching chapters which deliver ideas in a chatty, but more instructive way.

The books structure is divided into two parts of roughly equal length: Chapters 1 to 16 and Chapters 19 to 29.  Chapters 1 to 3 are introductory, covering the events of Hannah’s childhood and adolescence.  Some of this section recaps very briefly the events and philosophical points raise in the first novel in the series.  Chapters 4 to 11 cover the teaching and learning experiences surrounding the new idea of forgiveness.  Chapters 11 to 16 are wholly narrative and cover the events surrounding Hannah’s contact with National Geographic and her first working trip to Kakado National Park in Australia.  These chapters also cover the beginning of Hannah’s friendships with Meiling Wang, “Editor In Chief of National Geographic” (Ch. 5), and Alexander Messina, an apparently arrogant but very gifted staff photographer.  In Chapters 17 to 24 the plot takes on a truly international theme in which the troubled world of the Middle East is explored, and in which the idea of synchronicity or “meaningful coincidence,” (Carl Jung. Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, in The Structure And Dynamics Of The Psyche:__ 2nd. ed.:__ Princeton University Press, c1969, p. 426) is dramatized.  Chapter 25 is an adventurous interlude covering exciting action on the moon.  Finally Chapters 26 to 29 explore the outcome of the earlier events surrounding the Middle East.

As would be expected from the sub-title of the book the main theme is forgiveness.  We all hurt and we all do harm, and this seems to be a fact of life, but is there a solution which practically works?  We freely talk about forgiveness, but what does it really mean?  What about retribution and justice?  Are they ignored if we forgive?  Success is a second theme strongly running through the novel.  We want to get ahead in the world, but how do we do that?  Is success simply making money, or are their deeper values we can judge ourselves on?  Are money making and values opposed?  What should we do with our personal success, or is it an end in itself?

The three main characters are immediately likable and indeed this seems to be one of the benefits of the philosophy they each espouse: we like ‘nice’ people and want to be friends with them, even if we don’t agree in every detail of what they say.  Hannah is in the main positive in her attitude to life.  She does have moments of negativity (Ch. 3) and to a certain extent she underestimates her own ability, but she is a high achiever: the kind of girl we all wanted to be friends with at school.  She of course is very successful, but she never ceases to be amazed at this, and even more puts in the work learning her photography.  She does not assume she ‘knows it all’: indeed she is known for her “determination” (Ch. 2).  Meiling is even more successful, but she too has worked to get there.  She is perhaps less certain than Hannah in her philosophical approach to life, but the two women work well together and from the beginning we wish the best for their friendship.  Alexander, behind his exterior of conceitedness, is jovial, admits his faults and is willing to pass on his skills as a photographer.  These three people move the book forward as we at first wonder about them, get to know them and then hope for their plans.

As we have already mention, this is in part a teaching book and some of the ideas put forward should be mention and looked at in more detail, though there is too much to cover in a short review.  Synchronicity has already been mentioned.  De Lene’s take on the subject is that “there is a reason behind everything” and that each event provides an “opportunity to learn more about ourselves” (Ch. 2).  In essence a person should “set your goal … [and] … synchronicity will take care of the rest” (Ch. 2).  De Lene proposes that there is an element of “spirit” in life.  He speaks of “the power within his mind, connected to spirit” (Ch. 2 and following) and also of “spirit or God” (Ch. 2 and following).  In many ways, though, this element remains undefined.  People pray to God (Ch. 15) and one minor character who claims to see God’s angels seems to know Hannah’s future (Ch. 4), but the picture of God remains distant.  Can we honestly ever truly know the spiritual in complete detail?  On the other hand there is a detailed ‘creation story’ of sorts in the novel and here many readers may experience considerable resistance.  We are encouraged, as a result of this story, to believe that we should forgive because all of life is an illusion, a dream, because “nothing really happened” (Ch. 9).  Most readers would respond that this dream seems very, very real and so does the pain we suffer.  Similarly in Chapter 13 we read of a near death experience (NDE), which seems to confirm De Lene’s notion of a God filled with only love.  This experience, as described by De Lene, is in agreement with much of the psychological literature, especially Raymond Moody’s Life After Life (Bantam Books, 1976).  It should be noted, however, that Maurice Rawlings in Beyond Death’s Door (Bantam Books, 1985) reported encountering just as many negative NDE’s as positive.  Judgement and hell seem very real.  These metaphysical notions of illusion and an all-loving God, though, are not central to the book and are not needed in order to understand and appreciate the main point of forgiveness.  The “ego” (Ch. 2 and following) is a central notion in the book.  Primarily it is seen as being “controlled by … negative emotions” (Ch. 2), chiefly “guilt”, and because of this it divides us from others so that we see ourselves as “separate selves” (Ch. 7).  There is also the notion of “holy relationships” (Ch. 10) which basically says that if two ‘right minded ’people work together huge amounts can be achieved.  All these teaching points are dispersed throughout the book and are often integrated into conversations arising out of the plot.

There are quite a few women characters in the book and virtually all of them are successful and dynamic in one way or another.  We have already talked of Hannah and her career as a photographer.  Meiling reveals herself from an early age to be “creative” (Ch. 12) displaying a talent for painting.  She is also intelligent and is successful in school.  She displays winning physical ability at sport, being a state champion at “badminton” (Ch. 12).  Like Hannah, she is characterized by a determination in all that she does.  As “Editor In Chief” (Ch. 5) she has reached the top of her profession.  She is no ‘pretty silly thing’ of the 1950’s.  Anna Messina, Alexander’s partner, is a psychologist who earlier in her life worked in “a prestigious medical center in Washington” (Ch. 20).  Hilda is a “social worker” (Ch. 4) who Hannah meets.  She is head of the “Community Refuge Center” (Ch. 4) in Australia.  She is very knowledgeable in her field.  Professor Amy McLaughlin, who initially teaches Hannah at university, is “highly regarded in photographic circles around the world for her technical expertise in the field of photography, as well as for her innovative ideas” (Ch. 5).  Feminists will be pleased by this book as the women display both emotional and social intelligence, determination and business nous, all of which enable them to achieve.

The two most prominent male characters in the book, Alexander and Nathan (Hannah’s boyfriend), both outwardly fit the traditional male role of tough, rough men.  Alexander is full of pride and Nathan is a hard drinker.  We at first feel these men would very much be at home in the 1950’s.  Alexander, however, actually has a very soft side which he has learned to develop as a result of great personal hurt, and Nathan shows that he can learn to listen and change his ‘macho’ ways.  De Lene’s novel shows the benefit of Gender Studies and will be a challenge to some men.

Minorities are represented by Meiling who is an immigrant from “China” (Ch. 12).  Here difficulties on coming to a foreign country, the U.S., are mentioned.  As we have seen she perseveres to success.  Minorities and the dispossessed also are mentioned in the novel in the form of the Palestinians, in the Middle East, and Aboriginals, in Australia.  While mentioned, though, their presence is not really dramatized.  The Palestinians very briefly appear in the character of Ramy, a youth who has had great personal hardship, but Aboriginals must be represented simply by their rock paintings.  Also both these groups are to some degree represented as being helped by others, rather than being self-possessed.  A book centring so much on personal overcoming and empowerment would have been considerably enhanced by dramatizing these minority groups more.

The elderly appear in the character of an “old bag lady … Doris” (Ch. 4).  While being bereft personal possessions because of “bad choices” (Ch. 4), she possesses a remarkable friendliness, joy of life and wisdom.  This is a dignified picture of this often ignored group.

LGBTIQ characters are completely absent.  Once again, in a novel dealing with empowerment, it is unfortunate that this group is ignored as including them would have added extra dimensions to the ideas expressed.

In terms of the Marxist/Capitalist debate, and the accompanying discourse on power, it can be noted that De Lene’s novel is not at all hostile to personal wealth.  The Wang’s are well off and the Messina’s live in a mansion with extensive gardens.  The characters globe trot with ease.  De Lene, however, very much considers what should be done with this wealth.  Hannah gives her first large earnings to the Community Refuge Center despite her own personal need.  She is aided in her causes to improve the lot of the suffering by her rich friends at National Geographic.  Her plans to increase world peace are resisted by governments and those with “vested interests” (Ch. 29).  Hannah is aided in her cause by ‘people power’ rather than ‘the system’ (Ch. 26 & 27). This interesting balance of viewpoints makes for good reading and reveals a refusal to be trapped by any one dogma.

Novels mainly aim to represent ‘real’ people and ‘real’ life, so the field of psychology, which aims to find truths about human nature and behaviour, becomes relevant.  De Lene’s novel is no exception.  Brenda, Hannah’s imaginary, fairy ‘spirit-guide’ will seem to many to be the most unbelievable part of the novel.  The psychologist Carl Jung, however, believed that ‘archetype’, knowledge bearing sub-personalities deep in the unconscious, could become manifest to the individual in visionary appearances.  Jung indeed experienced visits from, and received wise advice from, Philemon, a visionary guide (Anthony Stevens.  Jung: A Very Short Introduction:__ Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 30-32).  De Lene has Hannah feel she is “to blame” for the sexual abuse she receives from Bruce, her mother’s boyfriend.  Psychologists have indeed noted this effect in victims (Psychology Today.  To Forgive Or Not Forgive: That Is The Question - Accessed 08/10/2012).    Meditation is represented as a valid way of relaxing and gaining balanced personal insight (Ch. 4 & 6), though it is not purported to be an easy method of personal development (Ch. 18).  Psychology indeed supports the idea of the benefits of personal peace and insight coming from meditation (Harold H. Bloomfield, et al. TM: Discovering Inner Energy And Overcoming Stress:__ Dell, c1975, Ch. 5 & 6; and, Andy Fraser, ed.  The Healing Power Of Meditation:__ Shambhala, 2013, Ch. 3-6).  De Lene includes the use of a journal to record personal insights, for later referral (Ch. 6).  This cognitive technique of journaling has been shown to be of use (Morton T. Kelsey. Adventure Inward: Christian Growth Through Personal Journal Writing:__ Augsburg Books, 1980).  De Lene has his psychologist character Anna Messina decide that her clients are too much persuaded by her colleagues to blame others in their past for their problems (Ch. 20).  Anna believes that instead her clients should accept “personal responsibility for their lives” (Ch. 20) and this is certainly very much in tune with the thinking of both Existentialist psychologist Rollo May (Freedom And Destiny:__ W.W. Norton, c1981, p. 96-101) and William Glasser (Reality Therapy: A New Approach To Psychiatry:__ Harper  Row, 1975, p. 16- 23).  This psychological accuracy very much adds to the validity of De Lene’s message.

Following from psychology it should be noted that the novel has a little symbolism.  Brenda is of course a fairy.  Writing from a psychological perspective Rose Inserra (Dictionary Of Dreams: Understanding Dreams And Their Messages:__ Hinkler Books, c2002, p. 163) notes that fairies “usually represent wishful thinking and belief in the possibility of magic existing in the world, rather than reliance on the practical”.  Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant (The Penguin Dictionary Of Symbolism:__ 2nd ed.:__ Penguin, 1996, p. 369) on the other hand, describes how the history of the idea of the fairy goes right back to primal, elemental forces, indeed to the “Earth Mother”, and as such they can be seen as primary creative forces in our psyche.  As Chevalier and Gheerbrant write, they symbolize “the paranormal powers of the spirit or the extraordinary capacities of the imagination” (Chevalier, p. 368).  J.E. Cirlot (A Dictionary Of Symbolism:__ Barnes & Noble, 1993, p. 101) agrees with this point of view, describing them as creative beings who bring about change and “transformations”. De Lene, as we have seen, proposes a real element of “spirit” in the world which we are meant to take seriously (Ch. 2 and following).  The imagination, creatively seeing our true purpose as expressed in our life goals and actions, is also very important in the book (Ch. 2).  Both these elements of ‘spirit’ and ‘imagination’, when perceived in the right way, can bring about great change.  In tune with this transformational nature James George Frazer certainly describes how fairies in traditional tales can give “valuable information” to people which transforms their life for the better (The Golden Bough: A Study In Magic And Religion:__ Macmillan Press, 1976, Pt. VII, p. 227- 228).  As Hannah’s ‘spirit-guide’ Brenda certainly gives very wise advice, even if the reader does not agree all the time.  Eric Ackroyd (A Dictionary Of Dream Symbolism:__ Cassell, 1993, p. 167) indeed says that “in a woman’s dream the fairy symbolizes her mother, her own femininity, or some part of her which, if allowed to participate in the conscious organisation of her life, would bring enrichment.”  The approach to life outlined by Brenda could certainly be said to be more intuitive, more feeling, more relational, and thus more feminine, and as has been said enriching.

In The Only Way Out De Lene gives deeper insights into life, concentrating particularly on forgiveness, though the teaching goes much further than that.  The book also examines success, and takes a balanced stance in the Marxist/Capitalist debate.  The characters capture our interest and will be pleasing to those readers interested in Feminism and Gender Studies.  De Lene quite competently draws on psychology to make his novel more factually based, and there is some interesting symbolic content.  I am happy to rate this book as 4.5 stars out of 5.  The Only Way Out (Book ed.)  The Only Way Out (Kindle ed.)

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Improving Your Writing as an Indie Writer

One knock against Indie writers points to the many mistakes found in Indie books. I understand an editor can be expensive and be beyond reach of many writers.  I guess I'm lucky because I married mine. But for those of you who don't have that luxury there are things you can do to ameliorate the situation.

First is the most obvious: use MS Word's grammar and spellcheck. Take the time to do it . I know it's a pain, particularly the grammar check. Find what rules work for you. However, spellcheck is only the very first layer of editing. You need much more.

There are other inexpensive software packages that can help. I picked Autocrit, a manuscript editing software packaging online. It costs $77/yr and allows you to paste 8000 words at a time for analysis. Like most software it's not perfect but I find it helpful in removing extra words and tightening up my writing. Just take the time. As I said, there's other software out there to help. Understand that your book is judged by more than its cover. If you took the time to write it, take the time to edit. Writing is a detailed and sometimes painful craft,

Another thing you can do is read. There are many books out to help writers. Two that I found particularly helpful were "Take Your Characters to Dinner" by Lynn Yorke, and "Stein on Writing" by Sol Stein.

Of course, marrying your editor has other benefits...

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Waking Up Dead is a paranormal mystery novel that follows the quest of a ghost to solve the crime of another murder victim.

LOUISVILLE, KY., Oct. 9, 2013 -- Author Margo Bond Collins is proud to announce the recent release of her novel Waking Up Dead. Waking Up Dead is a paranormal mystery novel that follows the quest of a ghost to solve the crime of another murder victim. The compelling book trailer for Waking Up Dead was revealed today on DGT Book Promotion news. In addition, Margo Bond Collins shared an insightful interview this week on the Reading and Writing Addiction blog about herself and the release of Waking Up Dead. Margo’s interview can be read at and the official Waking Up Dead trailer can be viewed on YouTube.

About The Book

When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex. Now she's witnessed another murder, and she's not about to let this one go. She's determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up in Alabama?

Praise for Waking Up Dead

Waking Up Dead is “A definite winner! One of the best paranormal mysteries I’ve read! ” – A readers review.

About the Author

Margo Bond Collins lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter and several spoiled cats. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. The paranormal mystery Waking Up Dead is her first novel; her second, Legally Undead, is an urban fantasy due out from World Weaver Press in 2014.

Waking Up Dead is available at To learn more about Margo Bond Collins and Waking Up Dead, visit

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Returning home and to writing

“Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking; You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits”― Cindy Ross

After five months of travel though thirteen countries, I have returned home. For the first month, I played catch up with my mail, battled an ant infestation, and visited family and friends. I am home one month today, and I am itching to return to the nomadic life, even if only in the retelling of my stories.

What to expect. Look for the Women On Her Way Series. I am still undecided as to how many books, but I have several wonderful hikes to discuss. My first book will be about biking the Camino St. Jaume in Spain.

I plan to start by going though the thousands of photos, and then preparing several presentations. These will help me relive the adventures so I take you along with me. I hope you will enjoy these as much as you have enjoyed the story of my first adventure: The Camino de Santiago.

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4 out of 5 stars

Different perspectives, interesting times and reliance …

As a long time singer of Church music, both hymns and songs, and as a poet, I was looking forward to this book.  Christian poetry’s framework and structures have changed over the past thirty years, in much the same way as secular poetry has: using much more free verse.  Following in this heritage this is a book of free verse.  I appreciated Change your Perspective's hopeful tone of getting the reader to enjoy their life, to see how God and Christ could make a difference to people's lives.  In the poetry in Change Your Perspective: A Collection Of Inspirational Poetry, the reader is asked to take a journey from the physical reality of imperfection to the spiritual view of change for the better through Christ.  Despite this emphasis on the spiritual this is not a book of ‘grandiose’ events, but rather of the very ordinary.  Following along these lines Poet uses the common, vernacular speech to bring God into these poems: “When your chips are down... you say you want / To be married / You say this will / Make your life / Whole” (Ladies – Give God A Chance).

The book is a series of small recipes for getting your life back together, for changing your ideas.  It is divided into three main sections: Broken, The Almighty God and Emerge.  It delves into the everyday, including those feelings and actions that we like to deny.  In Home Remedies we read:  “We have / Jealousy / Hypocrisy / Adultery”.  The book’s remedies are equally home-spun and practical, though effective.  In Illusions we read: “Be cool / Chill / Relax”.  Poet shows God's interaction with us and what can happen for good, when we rely on God and Christ.

10916212857?profile=originalChristian poetry is as old as the Bible: the Psalms and Song of Songs come to mind.  Christian poetry has been written by a variety of poets around the world, from T.S. Eliot, in England, and W.H. Auden, in America (at the beginning of the Twentieth Century) to John Berryman’s Collected Poems 1937-1971.  In the late twentieth century many Churches modernised by modifying buildings, building new, modern places of worship, or using school auditoriums, to allow more people to worship at Church.  The proponents of Christian poetry also modernised.  Like its secular siblings, in the late 1970s, Christian poetry rid itself of structure and form.  Modern Christian poetry, compared to previously, is thus necessarily more diverse and comes from a range of sources, using more free range verse, and a less metrical style.  It is in this poetic tradition that Poet's new book, Change Your Perspective, is situated.  Brought up in Church, with hymns and music, and having studied poetry, I was glad to read this book of contemporary Christian poetry which continues a long tradition, though in modern form.  I was also glad to read this book because, despite the plentiful nature of evil acts in the Bible, good always triumphs: God generally rescues, providing Manna, solace from whales and floods as well as returning to one's friends after three days.  Similarly, in this book God and good triumph.  It’s a cheerful collection: we know that God works for good and that through the author’s life experiences God will be there:  “I need / Understanding / Need / Peace in my heart / Want a little less confusion... I am asking you to / Be my guide / Lord” (I Need You).  God is there.

In Christian theology Atonement Theory sees sin as the breaking of God’s moral law. Placing a particular emphasis on Romans 6:23 (the wages of sin is death), Penal Substitution sees sinful man as being subject to God’s wrath with the essence of Jesus' saving work being, as Galatians 3:13 says, his substitution in the sinner's place, bearing the curse in the place of man (Wikipedia: - accessed 27/09/2013).  In poems such as I Cried Out Poet uses this perspective to show God and Christ working in people's lives:
“My life was torn / I was in a rut / I was torn / Deep within my bones....I cried out / He instantly became my glue… / Know that Jesus / is your remedy”.

Change your Perspective also uses the Moral Influence view of the atonement which teaches that the purpose and work of Jesus Christ was to bring positive moral change to humanity.  This moral change came through the teachings and example of Jesus, the Christian movement he founded, and the inspiring effect of his martyrdom and resurrection (Wikipedia: - accessed 27/09/2013).  Seeing Jesus, and admiring him, we imitate, we obey, we change.  In a poem such as God's Will, we learn that: “When the time presents itself / God will let me know / Jesus / Put me on earth for a reason... I will fulfil God's desire”.

The Protestant principle of Sola Fide states that no matter what a person's action, salvation comes through faith alone.  Ephesians 2:8–9 reads, "For by grace ye are saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (KJV).  According to Protestants, salvation is God's gift at God's sole prerogative and our resulting metamorphoses comes through his power.  Were salvation achieved by works, men could take pride in their efforts toward holiness, and God's gift of grace would be diminished in contrast to man's efforts (Wikipedia: - accessed 27/09/2013).  In the poem We shall be Y2K Compliant, the narrator tells Mr Millennium: “We are the / Believers... We have God's / Power / Embedded deep down”.  It is God’s power, given through faith, which is at work: not simply man’s effort.

This is an enthusiastic collection, full of happy poems where God is present.  God's presence is sought, lost and found again.  Poet uses everyday experiences (jobs, family and relationships) to bring both questions and answers about God's presence in our lives.  In these poems Poet asks God for help, for guidance and for assistance.  Throughout the book God and Jesus assist man in daily life and through hard times, making life happier, more bearable, more able to be understood.

As one point of criticism I might have liked a few more poems to make use of different forms.  There is a uniformity of style that becomes a little repetitive.  Variation would have added more points of highlight. 


I enjoyed Change Your Perspective very much.  I liked its enthusiasm, the concepts of God and Christ in the everyday, and the book's overall sense of purpose.  I am happy to rate this book as 4 stars out of 5.  (Change Your Perspective - Book ed.)   (Change your Perspective - Kindle ed.)

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