Month: March 2016

What Are You Reading?

What were you reading in March?

What Christian fiction have you been reading over the last month? And what are you planning to read in April? Here are my recommended reads from March, and what I’ll be reading in April.

Reading March 2016

The best novels I’ve read over the last month were:

Step by Step by Candace Calvert (click here to read my review at Suspense Sisters Reviews)
The Hearts we Mend by Kathryn Springer (click here to read my review)
The Pounamu Prophecy by Cindy Williams (click here to read my review)
Hidden by Vannetta Chapman (click here to read my review at Reality Calling)

I’m looking forward to my April reads: I’ve got Close to You, the debut novel from Kiwi author Kara Isaac (great to see something set in my part of the world!), as well as some mysteries and a family drama, Breaking Free by Jennifer Slattery.

What were the best novels you read in March? And what are you planning to read in April?

Book Review: I Always Cry at Weddings by Sara Goff

If you’ve signed up for my monthly Newsletter, you’ll already have receive my entirely biased list of 50 novels from my favourite Christian authors. If you haven’t . . . sign up on the right! Today I’m reviewing I Always Cry at Weddings, the debut novel from New York author Sara Goff.

I Always Cry at Weddings by Sara Goff

Book Cover ImageAva Larson is a lapsed Christian who’s about to marry her long-term boyfriend in what his family hope will be the New York wedding of the year when she realises the relationship is over. That you can’t marry someone “for the guests and the gifts”. Or for his mother. But disestablishing an over-the-top wedding is expensive, and Ava is left with bills even her high-end fashion job can’t pay for.

Now alone, Ava has to decide what she wants out of life, which leads to her making new choices, some good and some bad. It’s an edgier plot—Ava hasn’t lived the perfect Christian life—but that’s what makes it real. She’s an excellent character because she doesn’t make all the best choices and she doesn’t know all the answers. It isn’t “typical” Christian fiction. There are no Amish, no almost-perfect characters, no people living in happy-happy land, and the only church is the home base of a soup kitchen ministering to Manhattan’s down-and-out, not more pot-luck dinner in a small-town family fellowship.

But it’s real. Excellent characters with plenty of growth, a strong plot from an author who brings the location and the people alive, and an understated Christian message. Excellent reading, recommended for fans of Sally Bradley, Beth Moran and other authors of atypical Christian fiction. I’ll be watching for Sara’s next novel.

You can find out more about Sara Goff at her website (www.saragoff.com), and you can read the beginning of I Always Cry at Weddings here:

On Art and Writing

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tbptzuz2sovlpo5/Screenshot%202016-03-15%2013.05.23.png?dl=0If a picture is worth a thousand words …

this blog post is roughly the length of War and Peace. Luckily, you don’t have to read that much. Instead, click here to watch this short timelapse video from Carla Klingenberg at Carla Grace Art (and then come back).

 Two things struck me as I watched Carla draw this wolf’s eye.

  1. Carla is incredibly talented.
  2. There are a lot of parallels between art and writing, or between art and music (and probably between art and a lot of other creative pursuits).

It doesn’t just happen.

Carla didn’t pick up a pencil or two and draw this. In the same way, musicians don’t just pick up an instrument and play like Bach (or Mozart or Louis Armstrong or Jimi Hendrix or whoever plays your kind of music).

And writers don’t pick up a pen (or a computer keyboard) and churn out Pride and Prejudice or War and Peace or Redeeming Love.

Working at this level takes talent, teaching, and practice. Lots of practice.

Carla has spent years perfecting her technique. I’m not going to produce what she produces overnight. But by watching and imitating her technique, at least I’d know I was on the right track (for example, I’d never have guessed that she used an eraser as much as she did. I’d have left that blank, drawn around it, not coloured and erased).

Here’s what Carla shows us we need to succeed in our artistic endeavours:

We need to have a plan

We can see from the start of the video that Carla isn’t starting with a blank sheet of paper:

  • She has a vision of what she wants to achieve
  • She’s starting with a plan, a structure, a frame to build on.
  • She’s sketched the basic outline
  • She’s assembled the tools she’s going to need to reach her vision.

We need to know the craft

We’re not born knowing how to do things like draw, play an instrument, or write—although we may well be born with some natural talent. But in order to produce art of this quality, Carla has undertaken some training (she’s an art school graduate), and that will have taught her various aspects of the artist’s craft. For example, who knew that part of the technique was rubbing out?

We need to practice the craft

I’m no expert on art, but it some of her first draft looks like smudge. Some looks like it’s caked on too thick. But the video shows us that a lot of that was deliberate. Carla was laying a foundation. She’s learned from experts, and she’s done enough practice to make it now look easy.

We need to edit

Carla spends a lot of time rubbing out what she doesn’t need, then adding the final touches. It’s like the grace notes in music, those tiny additional flourishes that set an outstanding musician apart from the rest of us. And we have to do the same in writing.

This, to me, was the real eye-opener. Without this editing stage, the end product wouldn’t have looked nearly as good. It requires as much talent and craft and practice required to finish the work as it did to begin.

Craft is even more important at this final editing stage: you have to know what you’re doing to polish it to get the right effect. Otherwise you might fail to touch up something that needs polishing, or delete something vital, or add something that’s not needed.

Lesson: editing is part of the creation process. And we need to learn to excel in this stage as much as—or even more—than any other.

Book Review: Kept by Sally Bradley

Kept by Sally Bradley

If you’ve signed up for my monthly Newsletter, you’ll already have receive my entirely biased list of 50 novels from my favourite Christian authors. Today I’m reviewing Kept by Sally Bradley, another edgy contemporary Christian romance novel, set in Chicago. This review previously appeared on my personal review blog, Iola’s Christian Reads.

I first saw Kept reviewed by Rel Mollet of Relz Reviews. Like me, Rel is tired of reading Christian novels which have the same feel as every other Christian novel. We’re looking for something real, something different, but something which still affirms our Christian faith. Rel raved about Kept, and while I bought it immediately, it’s taken me a while to get around to reading it. I kept (ha ha) hearing good things about it from people whose opinions I respected, and I started to wonder … could it really be that good? Or was I setting myself up for disappointment?

Well, Kept really is that good.

Kept isn’t perfect. There was one amusing typo (a segue is a change of topic in conversation; the two-wheeled ride-on has the same pronunciation, but it’s a Segway. Silly name, if you ask me). There was one scene from the point of view of a minor character that didn’t seem to add anything to the plot (and in hindsight, could have been eliminated), and there were a couple of minor plot points that didn’t make sense (maybe they’ll make more sense on the re-read). And there were times when I would have liked to better understand what was going on inside Dillan’s head. He plain didn’t make sense at times.

Of course, he’s a man, so that could explain things.

Those details aside, Kept clocks up a number of achievements that rate highly with me. She’s managed something completely original—a story about a kept woman, a euphemism for a high-class prostitute—yet it’s unashamedly a Christian novel, a story of forgiveness and redemption that reminded me of Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. The writing is excellent, and manages to cover some gritty ground without ever spelling out the ugly details.

Sally Bradley has created a cast of likeable characters who feel true to live, even in their failings. Dillan, at “six foot thirteen”, is a complete klutz, which perhaps forces him to cultivate a friendship with Miska even when he’d rather avoid her. His brother, Garrett, is a loveable lawyer with a past he’s still trying to get over.

Miska is complex. At first she comes across as the sweet girl-next-door—until we begin to get to know a bit more about her, and realise she’s caught up in the oldest profession, and telling herself the biggest lie: that he’ll leave his wife for her. One day. It’s never exactly explained how she became a kept woman, but we see enough of her background to realise it’s a logical progression, and that she feels no qualms for taking the men in her life for everything she can get. After all, that’s all men have ever done to her.

Miska’s scenes showed how good the writing was, because I was completely engaged in her character. She’s an intelligent woman who does dumb, DUMB, things when it comes to men, and there were times I wanted to give her a good shake. Dillan and Garrett were similar, and even at the end I was thinking that Dillan needs to get over himself, while Garrett just needs to get his head examined. They were frustrating, but in a good way—like a teenage daughter.

Their actions might be annoying, but you love them anyway.

Yes, that pretty much sums up Kept. Recommended for those who want something real in their Christian fiction.

You can find out more about Sally Bradley at her website.

What is a Kiwi?

What about the Kiwi Twist?

I write contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist. I’ve defined contemporary romance. I’ve attempted to define Christian fiction (and therefore Christian romance). But what about the Kiwi twist?

First we need to clear up a more important question: what is a kiwi?

Hint: it’s not this:
Kiwifruit. Not a kiwi.
This is a kiwifruit, previously called a Chinese gooseberry. It’s not actually a gooseberry, but it got that name after Mabel Fraser brought some seeds back from China, Alexander Allison cultivated them, and people thought it had a gooseberry flavour. Hence, Chinese gooseberry (although the Chinese called it yang tao).

We renamed it ‘kiwifruit’ when we started exporting to the US in the late 1950’s because of anti-Chinese sentiment during the Cold War. Several names were suggested, but kiwifruit stuck because the furry brown fruit reminds us of our national bird, the kiwi, also small, brown and furry:

North Island Brown Kiwi - This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust.
North Island Brown Kiwi

It’s also the colloquial name we call ourselves as a people. We’re Kiwis, and proud of it.

Being a Kiwi has certain responsibilities. We’re required to love rugby and cricket (and never admit if we don’t). We’re supposed to love the beach and the outdoors—not difficult. As an island nation, most of us live within an hour’s drive from the beach, whether it’s the mighty Pacific Ocean, the calmer Tasman Sea, or my own slice of paradise, the Bay of Plenty (named by Captain Cook, because it was and is a land of plenty).

I grew up in rural New Zealand, in a bicultural community where most of the families were involved in primary industry (mostly farmers and orchardists). It was a simpler time: a shared telephone line and only one television channel meant we played outside until it was time to come in for dinner. We ran barefoot, cycled in the road and didn’t wear cycle helmets. We disappeared for hours down to the creek or (later) to the beach.

We’re world leaders in dairy and kiwifruit production (although our lamb and wool production is right down. We now have only six sheep for every person, down from twenty in the 1980’s). We have an almost-free health system that’s the envy of many (and we still moan when the government raises the fee for prescription medicine to $5 per item). We don’t have the right to bear arms, but someone still goes on the rampage with a gun and murders half a dozen people once every ten years, although, we’ve never had a school shooting.

It sounds idyllic.

But New Zealand is a post-Christian society. Going to church on Sunday is a minority activity, and Sunday morning has long since been taken over by children’s sport and café brunches. Prostitution is legal, and advertised in the entertainment section of the local newspaper, right beside the movies and the Garfield cartoon. We’re world leaders in enviable statistics such as teenage pregnancy.

Yay.

Like many Kiwis, I haven’t just lived in New Zealand. I spend ten years living in London, where I worked in an office with people from all over Europe and Africa (and the occasional Australian). Some were Christians; most weren’t. All had different perspectives on life that have contributed to my own views, to a greater or lesser extent.

We’ve also travelled extensively, both as a couple and as a family. At last count, I’ve visited twenty countries (more, if you count Monaco, the Vatican, Luxembourg and Lichtenstein). And I’ve visited twenty US states . . . although I admit one was a drive-through where I didn’t get out of the car. I’ve met people on their own ground, talked to them about life, about faith. And learned.

These experiences combine to form a world view that’s wider than the tiny rural towns and non-Christian family I grew up in. It’s a world view that’s uniquely Kiwi: we are a young nation, a travelling nation, a nation of immigrants. A post-Christian nation. A nation of individuals who love sport and the outdoors. And a few strange people who love God. And books. Books which show God.

And that’s the Kiwi twist I hope to bring to my fiction. A slice of Kiwi life drizzled with a dash of humour and infused with a global Christian world view.

Book Review: Jaded by Varina Denman

If you’ve signed up for my monthly Newsletter, you’ll already have receive my entirely biased list of 50 novels from my favourite Christian authors. Today I’m reviewing Jaded by Varina Denman, a debut contemporary Christian romance novel with a difference, this one set in small-town Texas. This review previously appeared on my personal review blog, Iola’s Christian Reads.

Jaded by Varina DemnanContemporary Christian Romance Book Recommendation - Jaded by Varina Denman

I passed on this book when I first saw it available for review. The cover looked boring, as though it was about the Amish, or perhaps their Mennonite cousins. The blurb didn’t attract me, although it did make it clear that the book was set in small-town Texas, with no Amish or Mennonites in sight.

It looked boring.

But then reviews started coming through, specifically a review from Andrea Grigg. She raved about Jaded … which convinced me that maybe I’d misjudged Jaded, and persuaded me I had to read it (and I’d missed the opportunity to get a review copy, so I actually had to BUY this one!)

I admit that at first I wondered what Andrea was so excited by. Ruthie Turner hates church and works two jobs to support herself and her depressed mother and desperately wants to escape the tiny Texas town of Trapp (although I didn’t pick up on that obvious pun while I was reading). Dodd Turner is the new high school maths teacher, and the new town preacher. The teaching job puts him in regular contact with Ruthie, who he is attracted to but who will barely give him the time of day.

It all seemed a bit mundane and annoying. Ruthie annoyed me because I couldn’t see why she didn’t just up and leave (if she can get two jobs in a town as small as Trapp, surely she can get a job anywhere). The people of the town of Trapp annoyed me because of their small-minded attitudes. And the people of the Trapp church especially annoyed me, for their judgemental and ignorant attitudes (they probably believe King James wrote the Bible).

Excellent contemporary CHristian Romance

But I persevered because the writing was excellent. It mixed first person (Ruthie) and third person (Dodd), which is something I’ve seen more novels fail at than succeed at. Once I got past the initial glitch that Jaded was written in both first and third person, both points of view flowed well. Ruthie was a particularly strong viewpoint character: I didn’t necessarily like her, but she had an engaging way with words:

“My uncle was pushing seventy and moved slower than a horned lizard on a cold day.”

Great image.

“I thought how nice it would be to keep inching back, crawling to a place where memories couldn’t meet me.”

That evokes an emotional response, a feeling of recognition. It’s strong writing.

“Loneliness floated over me like a snowdrift. Loneliness so thick I could smell it. Taste it. Hear it. Not even why my daddy left had I felt anything like it. Not even when the church shunned us. Not even when Momma became a ghost.”

Wow. One paragraph manages to pack in Ruthie’s entire backstory as well as several rounds of emotional punches. If only every novel I read had such good lines.

But it’s one thing to say the writing was strong. Great writing is nothing without a good story and engaging characters. And it took a while, but I did eventually connect with Ruthie and the other characters, perhaps a quarter of the way through. After that, I didn’t want to put the book down. It was that good. The writing may have pulled me in, but it was the characters who kept me there. I’ve since read the sequel, Justified, and it was just as good. Now I’m waiting for the third book in the trilogy.

Thanks, Andrea. I really needed more books on my to-read pile.

What is Christian fiction?

Is there an easy definition?

I write contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist. But what does that mean? Last week, I looked at the easy part of this definition: contemporary romance. This week I’m getting to the harder part: defining Christian fiction. Or, rather, defining what Christian fiction isn’t.

What is Christian fiction?

Is Christian fiction defined by the publisher?

Some say Christian fiction is fiction published by Christian publishers, except publishers can’t be Christian. Only authors can. Christian fiction might be novels published by members of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, but that excludes self-published authors and non-evangelical publishers targeting a specific denomination, such as Roman Catholic.

No, it’s not about the publisher.

Is Christian fiction defined by the seller?

Some say Christian fiction is fiction sold in Christian bookstores, members of the CBA (The Association for Christian Retail, formerly the Christian Booksellers Association). But Christian stores tend to only stock books from major ECPA publishers which ignores self-published authors, non-evangelical publishers, and many small publishers. And fiction from ECPA publishers isn’t just sold at CBA stores—it’s also sold at Barnes & Noble, Walmart and Amazon.

No, it’s not about where it’s sold.

Is Christian fiction defined by the author?

Some say Christian fiction is novels published by Christian authors, on the basis that as a Christian, your beliefs should come through in everything you write, “Christian fiction” or not:

Every story choice you make arises out of who you are, at the deepest levels of your soul; and every story you tell reveals who you are and the way you conceive the world around you.

Characters and Viewpoint, Orson Scott Card

I understand the sentiment. I agree with it. But being a Christian doesn’t automatically make what you write ‘Christian’.

No, it’s not about the author.

Is Christian fiction defined by the content?

A lot of people seem to define Christian fiction—especially Christian romance—by the content. But it’s often a list of content which shouldn’t be included: no sex. No graphic violence. No swearing. No smoking. No drugs. No gambling. Perhaps no dancing and no alcohol and no mention of Halloween. But Christianity is about what we believe, not what we do (or don’t do).

No, it’s not about the content.

Is Christian fiction defined by the world view?

Some say Christian fiction is those novels written from a Christian world view. That sounds reasonable . . . if we could agree on what that means. One view is that a Christian world view means the absence of postmodernism:

What is postmodernism? In simplest terms, it means we no longer believe in absolutes. Everything is relative . . . In postmodern literature, the author isn’t saying anything . . . you, the reader, have to decide what the text is saying to you.

Writing to a Post-Christian World, Ann Tatlock

That makes sense to me. But all these things are telling us what Christian fiction isn’t.

Not what it is.

So what is it?

Authors Terry Burns and Linda W Yezak address the question in their book, Writing in Obedience: A Primer for Writing Christian Fiction. Reading Writing in Obedience was a lightbulb moment for me. It’s a conversation I’ve been having with myself (and others), and the authors provide the best explanation I’ve seen. I’m going to summarise it here, but I do recommend you buy the book to read it for yourself.

First, the authors quote the definition of Christian fiction provided by Francine Rivers:

If you pull out the Christian thread from the plot and the plot unravels, it’s Christian fiction.

Some novels are more overtly Christian than others, and this may well depend on genre. It’s perhaps easier to have a Christian romance novel than a Christian fantasy novel (JRR Tolkien was a Christian, but this doesn’t make Lord of the Rings Christian fiction. Great fiction, sure. Just not great Christian fiction).

Four Categories of Christian Fiction

Anyway, Burns and Yezak divide Christian fiction into four categories:

  • Fiction written for believers
  • Fiction written for unbelievers
  • Fiction written for backsliders
  • Fiction written for seekers

Believers want Christian fiction which wrestles with issues of faith, and they want to see the Christian main character emerge victorious. I’d agree. But it’s preaching to the choir, and we’re called to spread the gospel—which isn’t to say the choir doesn’t need help. It does.

Thankfully, not everyone is called to write for the choir. Some are called to write for unbelievers, backsliders and seekers, and this means adopting a different style of writing. The underlying theme and message may well be the same, but it has to be delivered in a way the reader wants. In this respect, Burns and Yezak say:

We should never share our faith directly with the reader. As soon as the reader realizes the author is talking directly to him, the book becomes preachy, and the chance he’ll put it down goes up significantly.

I believe this shows why many Christian authors are choosing to write fiction of a more “edgy” nature, or choosing to leave specific references to God and Jesus out of their stories: to reach backsliders, seekers and unbelievers. These are markets which desperately need to be reached, and perhaps can’t be reached through the traditional CBA market.

For example, Lion Hudson, the main Christian publisher in the UK, say they can’t sell books that mention Jesus or have an overt conversion scene, as their readers are typically disenfranchised with organised religion: they are predominantly backsliders or unbelievers. (Please don’t think that means there are no Christians in the UK. I lived there for ten years and I know there are. But they tend to read either general market fiction, or Christian fiction from US authors).

I commend those who are writing for backsliders, unbelievers and seekers, those who have to strike the balance between writing Christian fiction and being a Christian who writes fiction. It’s not an easy task.

For myself, I believe I’m called to write for Christians. To write Christian fiction.

Good Christian fiction.

Good Christian fiction, in my opinion, should feature characters who are Christians, or who come to Christ in the course of the story. Good Christian fiction (especially romance) should be about more than the romantic tension between the hero and heroine.

Good Christian fiction should show the spiritual growth of either the hero or heroine, with the level of spiritual growth depending on their individual starting points. Just as in real life, we don’t get saved and suddenly become super-Christians who know everything (if only!). Christian life is about obedience to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2). There would be no point if we were perfect.

Good Christian fiction has to reflect this truth: life is full of imperfect Christians trying to be real and live for God in a fallen world, working out our faith in fear and trembling and allowing God to work in us. It’s about reflecting God in what we write, about allowing Him to work in and and through us, in our writing and in everything we do.

So that’s Christian fiction. What do you think?

I’ll be back next week to talk about the Kiwi twist.

Book Recommendation: Making Marion by Beth Moran

Making Marion by Beth Moran

 

An Outstanding Contemporary Christian Romance Novel

If you’ve signed up for my monthly Newsletter, you’ll already have receive my entirely biased list of 50 novels from my favourite Christian authors. Today I’m reviewing Making Marion by Beth Moran, a contemporary Christian romance novel I enjoyed for the characters, the writing, and the memories of living in England. This review previously appeared on my reviewing blog, Iola’s Christian Reads.

Book Description

(from the back cover, as there doesn’t seem to be a description on Amazon)Contemporary Christian Romance Book Recommendation - Making Marion by Beth Moran

Where’s Robin Hood when you need him?

Marion Miller comes to Sherwood Forest to uncover her father’s mysterious past. She is looking for somewhere to stay, but instead finds herself on the wrong side of the reception desk at the Peace and Pigs campsite. Despite her horrible shyness, she promptly lands herself a job working for the big-hearted and irrepressible Scarlett.

It takes all of Marion’s determination to come out of her shell and get to grips with life on a busy campsite, where even the chickens seem determined to thwart her. Then an unfortunate incident with a runaway bike throws her into the arms of the beautiful, but deeply unimpressed, Reuben.

Can Marion discover her father’s secret? And will she find peace, and perhaps even love, among the pigs?

My Review

Making Marion isn’t a novel for the ultra-conservative Christian reader. It has a distinctly British flavour in terms of language, content, and plot. Marion has a lot of issues in her past, and these are addressed through humour (like Bridget Jones) rather than angst (as used by, say, Karen Kingsbury). I found the sometimes irreverent humour made the hard parts easier to read, but some readers might find that same humour to be disrespectful or offensive.

The plot was good, and the characters, especially Marion and Scarlett were excellent, and the writing was probably the best I’ve come across from a British author, with a subtle theme of love and forgiveness. The present story was regularly interspersed with flashbacks to Marion’s past, which showed us something of the events which had shaped her, and how much she had to forgive.

Recommended for those looking for the depth of Sally Bradley and Varina Denman with the humour of Bridget Jones.

What is Contemporary Christian Romance?

I write contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist.

Pink Hearts Design On A Heart Background Shows Love Romance And Romantic Feelings

But what does contemporary Christian romance mean . . . and how do you know if it’s something you’re interested in?

Contemporary

Well, contemporary is relatively easy to define. It’s set now. In the present. Or perhaps the recent past, if the book is part of a series (because almost all series move forward in time with each successive book, whether it’s by years, months or mere days). Some people define contemporary as anything after 1950, but as a reader, I disagree: contemporary has to feel like now, complete with the internet, social media and 24/7 connectivity.

Romance

Romance is also pretty easy to define. Romance Writers of America, the leading voice of the genre, define romance as having a central love story, and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. Put simply, romance readers expect a happy ever after (HEA) ending, and for the romance to be the core element of the plot, a some minor subplot.

Christian

Christian . . . now, that’s a little more difficult. It’s often referred to as inspirational romance, in that Romance Writers of America define inspirational romance as “religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religious or spiritual belief system) are an integral part of the plot.” A lot of inspirational romance is simply that: inspirational, perhaps morally uplifting, without the focus on sex found in most modern romance novels. Such novels might be inspirational, but don’t always feel especially Christian— I’d like to think being a Christian is a little more than being religious or inspirational or focusing on fleeting feelings.

As we know, the word ‘Christian’ describes a wide range of belief—Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican (or Episcopalian if you’re from the USA), Baptist, Pentecostal. Most Christian fiction steers away from referring to specific denominations, but tends to be at the conservative evangelical end of the Christian spectrum (in part, because one of the largest Christian book chains, Lifeway Christian Resources, is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention and won’t stock anything that runs counter to their beliefs).

Even so, many of these Inspirational Romance novels are ‘Christian-lite’, featuring characters who go to church but don’t seem to pray or read their Bibles except on Sunday. Others are ‘Christian-heavy’, overdosing on preaching and sermons and characters who can’t seem to utter more than a few words without throwing in a Scripture quotation . . . which breaks the number one writing rule, of show, don’t tell. It’s a fine balance, as different readers are looking for different levels of Christian content.

So what is Christian fiction? And Christian romance? I’ll discuss it more next week, but meanwhile, what do you think? What are you looking for when you pick up a Christian novel?