Book Review: Amity of the Angelmen

Guest Review by Rachael Clipson

book review amity of the angel menAmity of the Angelmen by T. C. Slonaker is a book that keeps you on your toes.  It is a great book for those who just want a good read or for those struggling with their faith. I often found myself wondering if the story could actually happen or not. What if your best friend was half angel??

Amity, the main character,  has had a great life as the preacher’s daughter until she finds out some interesting news. It turns out she is God’s messenger.  She asks many of the same questions that I would ask if in that position. I found myself taking a walk in her shoes. I often thought, what if God is telling me to do that? She is a strong character, but has times where she is like any other teenager and can’t find hope in her situation. She has a great friend though that helps her find hope for her mission.

Mackenzie is a very young man trying to find his place in God’s plan. He happens to find himself in the middle of Amity’s mess when Mrs. Sheridan drags him to rid Her house of evil. He becomes Amity’s best friend and protector. He seems to be the only person she can turn to. But with Mackenzie becoming a priest he can’t have close secular relationships. Where will this leave him and Amity?

T. C. Slonaker has written a wonderful Christian mystery that leaves you begging for more! It makes you realize that God has a plan for you even if you don’t know what it is yet.
Book Review Amity of the Angelmen

About the Book

Amity David is not human, as the seventeen-year-old pastor’s daughter had thought she was. Her life has now been upturned and possibly set aright with the help of Mackenzie Abel, a young priest as conflicted about his calling as Amity is about hers. Blindly searching for answers together that will serve God’s intent, the two also struggle against feelings they have developed for one another. Can Amity trust the alleged angel who told her she is descended from a demon? Part of her hopes not because, if true, it means she is being called to help free others like her from the ties of her evil heritage through war. What happens when a being created out of evil, is called to fight on the side of good? And what if this evil being thinks she is a good person, only to find she is not even a person at all?

About the Author

Tracy enjoys her life as a wife and mother of three in just outside Reading, PA. She still has a soft spot for kids and an eagerness to use her degrees in Elementary Education by using them as Director of Christian Education at her non-denominational Christian church. She has also learned to love running, and has not given up her childhood fondness of sports (playing softball and watching football). She gives thanks to the Lord for all His good gifts. Visit her website, follow her on Twitter and Facebook, and connect with her on Goodreads. You can find her book for purchase on AmazonBarnes and Noble, or the Martin Sisters Publishing website.

About the Reviewer

Rachael lives in a very small town in East Tennessee, where she attends Roane State Community College, majoring in Elementary Education. She loves to read whenever she gets the chance. You can follow her on Twitter @Rachy355.

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On Writing: Keeping the Faith

What to Expect When You’re Reading Christian Fiction

Guest post by TC Slonaker

writing christian fiction

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I am a Christian. What does that mean to me?

Here’s the main point of what I believe – I have sinned. Even though I couldn’t help it, I still deserve to be punished for my wrong. Why? Because when I die, there are only two possible outcomes: being with God forever (in heaven) or not being with God forever (eventually in hell). There was only one way to erase all sin. God had to cast away His perfect Son, Jesus, as the  sacrifice for sins.

Christianity is not my religion; it is my way of life. From the time I first discovered Jesus, God, the Bible, and church – when I was seven years old – until now, there has been one thought always in the corner of my mind:

“Is God pleased with the life I am living for Him?”

My theology in a nutshell. I believe a lot of other details, but that’s the crux of it.

Back to the original question: What does that have to do with my life?

God has put more in my life than just worshipping Him in church. While my regular job is in my church, I also have kids and talk to their friends’ parents. I play softball. I dawdle on Facebook and Goodreads. I have an extended family. All the while, trying to make sure I am giving the best Christian example I can.

I am also a writer. How do I incorporate the above into my writing?

Well, the Bible has already been written. And we are encouraged in the good book not to add one iota to it for dire consequences. So what’s left to write?

Writing about people.

Here’s the problem. Remember how I said that all people have sinned? That actually works pretty well to make for interesting books. But wouldn’t God frown on reveling that sin?

As a Christian, shouldn’t I be writing about how to do it right? What being a Christian looks like?

The truth would be more honest, wouldn’t it?

For example, there is a situation in my first novel, Amity of the Angelmen, where a young priest (Father Mackenzie Abel) falls in love – and perhaps takes it a step too far – with a 17-year-old girl. Especially in light of all the bad press the Catholic church has received recently about abuse among priests, I was extremely nervous about putting this in.

Here’s the deal. Mackenzie is not perfect, even though he is a priest. He makes mistakes. When you read the book, you will probably like the character. (The most frequent question I receive about the book is, “What happens to Mackenzie?”) So, if I have done my job as an author correctly, you will feel his pain in knowing he did what he shouldn’t have done. Some of you will think, “Good for him!” Others of you will think, “What are you doing?” But you will all know that he knows he has sinned.

I’m not condoning it. I’m simply saying it happens.

A book I have slated to come out possibly next year gets even darker with the life of the suicidal child of an alcoholic. I really struggled writing it, because I have no experience with a life like that. But I know it’s out there. And this is a story of how God can use even someone with no self-worth to become the commander of His army.

My books aren’t about perfect people. (Amity is afraid to do as she’s told. Asher is prideful and uses his popularity in using girls to fill his loneliness, Malachi is an angry delinquent with plenty of blood on his hands, and Caedmon could be responsible for the death of his parents.) None of that is new to God. There is hope for these four. When the Israelites needed to get through Jericho, they used the help of a prostitute. That prostitute wound up being in the bloodline of Jesus Christ.

Maybe you don’t necessarily write Christian fiction, but you are struggling because a book you are writing is going to a place that scares you. What do you do when you have to write something you don’t believe?

Take a deep breath. Remember you are writing fiction, not a Guide Book to Life. No one should be reading your book for advice on how to live their lives. If they do – just blame your character. (And be sure to escape your character’s mind after he does the dirty deed.  You don’t want to get any ideas of your own!)

So, I am a Christian writer. What does that mean?

I tell it like it is, and God gets the glory for any good that comes of it. So read on, and be comforted that you are not alone.

On Editing: You May Be Doing It Wrong

Why Your English Degree Might Not Make You an Editor

Guest post by TC Slonaker

on editing

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I am a writer.

Even with my first novel in publication, and a second on its way, I have trouble bringing myself to actually use that title. When I am reading the likes of C.S. Lewis and Harper Lee, I hardly feel worthy to share the same occupation. But I didn’t always boast this humility.

Here’s my background. In school, I was caught in the beginning of that “Let’s boost every kids’ self-esteem” movement. I won awards for my poetry and even found myself holding a pen set designated for Writer of Year, both in 8th and 12 grades. Obviously, I must have known what I was doing. I mean, hey, I placed out of having to take any composition classes in college. Even they thought I knew it all, right?

Ha.

Once I had written my first novel, I began to send it to publishers and agents in hopes of finding someone to take on my project. I expected some rejections, having heard the stories of all the greats. No one is accepted on their first query. After 19 rejections, I thought perhaps all the appropriate niches for this book were full. If I wanted to see this work in print, I might have to do it myself.

When I made the decision to self-publish, I knew my work needed to be looked over.  You know.  For the little things I may have missed like missing commas or forgotten capitals.  Because nothing is more frustrating than reading a book and finding a typo, right?

After all, how bad could it be? Remember all those writing awards I had won? In high school? Of course, high school is not my recent past.  That means it had been 20 years since I was a student of English. But the language hadn’t changed any, so I was sure I was fine.

I had even been a teacher of English – as high as 6th grade, mind you.  And all that stuff was still pretty familiar. I have to correct my own kids’ work regularly too. Many people even hate me for constantly reminding them of which “your” is needed.

So I formed a group of my friends to be “betas” and tasked them with finding my little typos. They hadn’t gone very far when, I am convinced, God sat upon His throne, shaking His head, saying, “Oh no.  She’s really going to do it.  She is going to try to represent me with a book that looks like that.”

Harsh, you say? I wish I could show you the compilation of edits made to the very first chapter of my “masterpiece.” The work I had pored over.  And over. And over again.  I’m telling you, I read that book so much, I was even getting sick of it myself.

I wasn’t going to catch my mistakes, because I didn’t know what I was doing wrong.

So, God set the wheels in motion, stopping me from my adventure into self-publication and finding a publisher willing to work with me. Since I had been nervous diving into publishing my book with no knowledge of the publishing world whatsoever, I jumped at the chance to have a professional do it for me.

After all the contract signing, copyrighting, and other business about which I was clueless, was finished, I leaped into the next phase of editing.

O. M. Gosh. I felt like a first grader, who just learned to read, being taught (patiently) all the rules of composition that I either never knew or was choosing to ignore for the sake of voice. (I learned later that voice didn’t have to break rules and look ugly.  There were better ways to achieve it.)

My editor taught me what felt like years’ worth of proper grammar, syntax, style, and story-telling. I wish I could list it all! Actually, I have been compiling a list of my biggest mistakes.  I use it as a check-off list as I proofread my other novels. It is an on-going list, because sadly, I know there is plenty more to learn.

The result was a book that I was not embarrassed to sell. I probably wouldn’t have been embarrassed to sell it before the editing, but I should have been!

Okay, fellow writers, what are you taking away from this? I’m not putting you down if you have selected the self-publishing route, especially if that was the way you wanted to go in the first place.  However, if you are only self-publishing because your work has been rejected numerous times by traditional publishers and agents, I would suggest looking into finding a professional editor.  A publisher might be too busy to tell you that his pet peeve is when someone starts a sentence off with the word, “But,” but an editor will fix it so you can experience a valued look from the publisher.

I haven’t made it as an author, if “making it” counts as selling more than 13 books. So, my opinion might not matter all that much. But as a reader, I will tell you that I do not want to waste my time on a book that is not well-written.  Please give it your best.

Tracy enjoys her life as a wife and mother of three in just outside Reading, PA. She still has a soft spot for kids and an eagerness to use her degrees in Elementary Education by using them as Director of Christian Education at her non-denominational Christian church. She has also learned to love running, and has not given up her childhood fondness of sports (playing softball and watching football). She gives thanks to the Lord for all His good gifts. Visit her website, follow her on Twitter and Facebook, and connect with her on Goodreads. You can find her book for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or the Martin Sisters Publishing website.