All posts by Ellen

When the Heart is Laid Bare #Review

Back in July, I edited my review of Skylar Hamilton Burris’ excellent book, When the Heart is Laid Bare, for Christ and Pop Culture. I should have posted it then, but here it is now.

When the Heart is Laid Bare

One doesn’t expect to laugh while reading of tragedy, grief, and healing. And yet, that’s exactly what happened when I read Skylar Hamilton Burris’ When the Heart Is Laid Bare, which Double Edge Press has graciously made freely available to Christ and Pop Culture members. While grappling with death and suffering, Burris successfully weaves wit and humor into her story lines.

Read the rest.

Murder for Money

“The discovery in 1828 that two drunken Irishmen had, within the space of a few months, committed sixteen murders in [Edinburgh], and had sold the bodies of all their victims to a leading anatomist for dissection, shocked the people of Scotland as no other series of crimes has ever done. . . . The city was in a state of constant terror. Children were told to keep off the streets, and families stayed indoors from long before sunset. At no time in living memory had Edinburgh’s locksmiths done such a roaring trade. Even tough laboring men took to coming home from work in groups rather than on their own. . . .” So writes Donald A. Low in The Regency Underworld.

In the early 1800’s, British surgical science was still in its infancy and, by law, only bodies of executed criminals could be used for dissection. The demand for research cadavers far outstripped the supply. To meet this need, “resurrectionists” illegally dug up freshly buried bodies out of cemeteries and sold them to anatomical schools, a practice known and condoned by surgeons.

In 1827, the unscrupulously enterprising William Burke and William Hare sold for dissection the corpse of a fellow lodger who had died of natural causes. Encouraged by the profit they made and the assurance by the anatomy school of more money for more corpses, they lured 16 more people to their deaths before they were discovered.

Does this MO sound familiar? It should.

Abortion proponents constantly assert that abortion is offered as a necessary service to women. However, the CMP video “Human Capital: Episode 3” shows abortionists making their procedure decisions according to orders for fetal organs.

Read the rest at BreakPoint Blog.

A Time to Die #Review

My thin rectangular Clock sits on the carved shelf across the room, clicking its red digital numbers—red like blood. Today marks the first day of my last year alive.

ATimetoDieThis is part of the opening of A Time to Die, a work of dystopian Christian fiction by Nadine Brandes.

Nadine Brandes has accomplished what many authors attempt, but few succeed: causing me to expect one development, then delivering another. A few climactic scenes kept me truly uncertain as to the outcome. I’ll refrain from spoilers. However, I will say this: Dire outcomes are believable because main characters do experience wretched events. This book isn’t recommended for those squeamish about severe injuries and blood, though such events are rare. Their descriptions aren’t gratuitous or overly gruesome; they serve a purpose within the narrative.

Read the whole review at BreakPoint.

Facing Risk

Avalanche Danger Decision Point enroute to Mary's Nipple at Grand Targhee Ski Resort
Avalanche Danger Decision Point en route to Mary’s Nipple at Grand Targhee Ski Resort

Five years ago, I had an epiphany and a book idea was born. The impetus appeared in the August 13th, 2010 edition of my local paper, the Idaho Mountain Express.

New York skier’s heirs sue rescuers for $5M

“By ASSOCIATED PRESS

“DRIGGS, Idaho — The family of a New York man who skied outside the boundaries of a western Wyoming ski area and was rescued the following morning but later died of hypothermia has filed a wrongful death claim.

Continue reading Facing Risk

Review: Death in the Tetons

I live in Idaho near Sun Valley Resort, where my husband and I ski all winter with our two children. On my first of many trips to Grand Targhee ski area, the white-out conditions common to the area disoriented me. Fearful of unknown terrain, I increased my vigilance to know where I was on the trails at all times.

Death in the Tetons: Eddie “Cola” Fitzgerald’s Last 24 Hours, by Susan Tatarsky, recounts the story of a man who didn’t maintain such awareness, with tragic results. From the book description:

DeathInTheTetonsCoverThe Teton Range, located in the Rocky Mountains, is prone to sudden whiteout conditions that can disorient skiers enough that they lose their way. To help prevent this, ski resorts have clearly labeled trails, and the region boasts two separate Search and Rescue organizations plus the Grand Targhee Ski Patrol.

None of these helped Eddie “Cola” Fitzgerald in the last hours of his life. …. 

Based on the true story of Eddie Fitzgerald’s death, Death in the Tetons is a retelling that includes facts and actual legal depositions by those involved—all of which reveal the tragic sequence of events that robbed a man of his life.

In August 2010, my local paper published news of the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Fitzgerald family against Search and Rescue, et. al. I wondered then if the plaintiff understood the dangers of the large snowfalls Targhee receives, or if they comprehended the vastness of the surrounding rugged terrain. Throughout Death in the Tetons, many passages indicate that winter dangers in the Rockies are not fully understood by the plaintiff or the author.  Continue reading Review: Death in the Tetons

Bike To Work & School Day — 100% Participation

It’s being kinda wet.

Today is Bike to Work Day and Bike to School Day in Idaho’s Wood River Valley.

And it’s raining. *whimper*

Hmm, since my writing office is at home, I’m already at work! But… but… that would be wussy. Terrible example for the kids.

“You’re coming, aren’t you, Mom?” asked my daughter.

“Yes! Yes, I am,” I replied.

So, my business had 100% participation! And so did our family.

I am back home now. Pockets unloaded of swag, my wet bicycling things are hanging to dry. And I’m back in my fuzzy robe, warming up. All in a day’s work, play, and parenting.

Pure Transgressions — #NaNoWriMo 2014 Winner

My NaNoWriMo self-awarded mug
My NaNoWriMo self-awarded mug

So, as in 2013, I won NaNoWriMo again in 2014, but forgot to mention it here on my blog.

Pure Transgressions: Synopsis

A young woman heads off to college. Within a campus Christian fellowship, she is befriended by a charming young man, who woos her, wins her, and dominates her life until she dumps him. A few weeks later, he is found dead in her kitchen and she is found covered in his blood. She claims self-defense, but neighbors heard arguing that give credence to suspicions of a murder of rage. What happened just before the young man’s death? How innocent or guilty is the young woman? Irregardless of the legal determination, how will she fare in the court of public opinion?

Excerpt

Continue reading Pure Transgressions — #NaNoWriMo 2014 Winner

Genesis of the Dead #Review for BreakPoint

Having little interest in zombies, I know nothing of the popular apocalyptic genre. However, C. T. Casberg, author of Genesis of the Dead, makes the case that zombies are of interest to God.GenesisOfTheDeadCover

Think about it. Who are the living dead? Sin entered in, the fruit was eaten, and humanity died. But we’re still walking around. We are the living dead!

That’s why Casberg decided to turn the Old Testament into a Young Adult zombie-apocalypse comedy—the first in a trilogy—and decidedly pulls it off.

Read the whole review at BreakPoint.

“Sailing to Paradise: Sin, Disease, and Natural Disaster” on CaPC

Fifteen years ago, my husband, Todd, and I sailed across the Pacific Ocean from Mexico to New Zealand.

Arrival in New Zealand, Breem Head
Arrival in New Zealand, Breem Head

About a month ago, Christ and Pop Culture (CaPC), in their online members’ magazine, published my article detailing some of our Pacific adventures. What we began as a sight-seeing trip, God turned into a spiritual journey.

“Ellen, come look at this,” my husband, Todd, requested.

We were five days sailing into our first ocean passage from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia in 2000. We expected the 2,800-mile journey to take close to four weeks and possibly a full month of blue water sailing. I sleepily uncurled from the off-watch bunk of our Cal 34 sailboat, Mandolin. Todd presented me with a weather fax he had downloaded via our HAM radio to our laptop. It showed that a Tropical Depression had developed to the southeast in the Gulf of Tehuantepec, the birthplace of Pacific Ocean hurricanes. This weather system had the potential to kill us. It was heading our way.

I had wanted to write an overview of our experiences for some time and I thank CaPC for being the catalyst for me to finally write it down. Today, CaPC published the article on their website.

I think I might start a #RomanceOnTheHighSeas Twitter campaign. Some choice quotes:  Continue reading “Sailing to Paradise: Sin, Disease, and Natural Disaster” on CaPC