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READ: Review, As Good As She Imagined by Roxanna Green with Jerry B. Jenkins

I admit it. Books written with a collaborative- or ghost-writer have a special place in my heart. That’s because when I’m not leaping tall buildings in a single bound, I’m often the words behind others’ stories. The task of capturing someone else’s heart is a terrible, beautiful challenge. So when the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian WritersGuild offered the opportunity to receive an ARC (Advance Reader’s Copy) of As Good as She Imagined (Worthy Publishing, 1/2/2012), I responded right away. One of the special challenges of writing (and reading) the story of “the angel of Tucson,” Christina-Taylor Green, is that we already know how it ends. When news of the shooting broke this past January, we watched and listened in horror. Regardless of political affiliation, we prayed for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and mourned as the death and injury toll mounted. Other than Ms. Giffords, the victim whose death sparked an outpouring of compassion was nine-year-old Christina-Taylor. Born on 9/11/01, her life was bookended by tragedy but bathed in significance. In As Good As She Imagined, her mother and Mr. Jenkins pour intense effort into making that message plain. The book combines a strong narrative thread with italicized comments from Christina-Taylor’s father and others who knew this bright, confident child. The additional perspectives add credence to her parents’ claim that their daughter was born for greatness. The news-like feed that fronts each chapter adds a powerful, creative element without glorifying either the killer or his crimes.  As expected, raw grief makes its presence known, tempered by a strong faith that seems natural rather than forced. I applaud both Mrs. Green and Mr. Jenkins for their work to complete this book so soon after the tragedy that birthed it and for sharing the personal truth behind the public reports. Only God knows the potential for good cut in the lives cut short by a misguided marksman. But as President Obama challenged those who heard his memorial tribute to Christina-Taylor, we have potential of our own. Read this book and receive a challenge to become “as good as she imagined.” Watch the book trailer here: Find a local Christian bookseller here:  Or order the book on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, or Christian Book Distributors.(FTC disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book free from the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. I was not required to post a review or a positive response.) Do you have a memory of either  9/11 or the day of the Tucson shootings to share? Is God urging you to new challenges for 2012? Please share your thoughts in a comment below. Also, the winner of my Christmas prize pack is reader Judy B, who serves as her mother’s caregiver....

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WRITE: Florida Christian Writers Conference; Jerry B. Jenkins Reception

I mentioned in an earlier post that dyslexia has influenced my approach to writing and life. I’m not dyslexic, but one daughter and other friends are. I’ve learned a great deal from them and have found that the backwards approach provides unique perspective. Perhaps that’s why so much of my writing life has come about, well, backwards. I was writing when I could barely read. I was published before I knew anything about submissions (my teacher did it for me). I wrote book proposals and then books for authors and CBA publishers without following the typical steps of the publishing world. This Thursday through Sunday, I’ll complete a step I wish I’d taken long ago. I’m about to attend my first official writers’ conference! The Florida Christian Writers Conference (FCWC) is held annually at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center, less than thirty minutes from my home. I had planned to go last year but a book deadline (for the books mentioned in my previous post) kept me at my computer. I’ve planned to attend other conferences in other years and cancelled those as well. My husband and I decided I would attend the FCWC this year no matter what. I had planned to commute, but God and a generous friend provided a scholarship for room and board. I know my Father has great plans for me there. I look forward to the things he will teach me. I look forward to the relationships I’ll build. I look forward to hearing from old friends like Cec Murphey and Eva Marie Everson along with others I hope will be new friends like Angela Hunt, Nancy Rue, and Jerry Jenkins. I’m interested to hear from Jerry especially because he has spent much of his life doing what I do now—and much more. Word Weavers, the local Christian writers’ group to which I belong, will host Jerry at an afternoon reception this Sunday, March 7, after the FCWC ends. For details, see the attached flyer. Jerry will speak about the craft of writing and the work of the Christian Writers Guild. Word Weavers will offer door prizes along with a reception and book signing. Join us! And please pray for me as I attend the FCWC. I’ll be the one taking the backwards approach—and watching for God at...

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