Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Look Back...

One year and twenty-seven reviews ago I started this blog. I had long wanted to write a review blog, but a number of things held me back. First of all, my own writing schedule was pretty heavy, did I really have the time? And what about the money? It doesn’t take a rocket-scientist of a financial planner to tell you that taking time away from a paying gig (writing novels) to a non-paying gig (writing a blog) might not be a good idea from a career-making standpoint.

Plus there were other considerations. If you’re one of those people who research online “trends” you may have heard that “blogs are on the way out” people just don’t read them anymore. Really?

If you do decide to go against the odds and write a blog, conventional wisdom says that to increase traffic you must update it several times a week.

So, in an era where people don’t read blogs, and if they do, they want two or more entries per week, and of course, it won’t pay anything, I decide to come out with a twice-monthly book review blog.

But it’s what I wanted to do, and I haven't regretted
 it for an instant. (I think I have blogged about this very thing when I reviewed Big Magic.) 

I decided early on that I wanted 'I Like It' to be a recommendation blog rather than a review blog.  I refuse to give zero star reviews and write scathing comments about books I don’t like. Authors get enough dumped on them. This would be a blog where I would only recommend books worthy (in my opinion) of four or five stars. If you and I were talking books over a cup of coffee these are the ones I would suggest.

After a few postings, the blog morphed into something else entirely. And I changed the mast head to reveal this: A Blog of Personal Endorsements and My Journey With Them.

An old friend of mine keeps after me to write my memoir. I guess I’ve always been a bit reticent to share “everything” with “everybody.” (It’s why I write fiction, after all!) I’ve always admired people who can be candid about their lives —Anne Lamott comes to mind, as well as BrenĂ© Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert. What they write truly inspires me, but I guess I can't be that candid. People will have to read between the lines of my novels or glimpse my own spiritual journey through what I recommend here.

A third thing happened as I began this blog journey. I decided not to make it about books alone, but about other forms of media. Music has always been a very important part of my life, so how can I not write about how the music of Carrie Newcomer and Steve Bell (still to come! I’m working on a review of Where the Good Way Lies.) Music has shaped me and comforted me, especially music that tells a story.

And video—how can I not recommend that you glimpse a bit of God’s creation in Moving Art, and science vs. humans in the haunting movie Ex Machina.

I began a year ago with William Kent Kruger’s Ordinary Grace. That was intentional. For a number of years now I have been on a journey away from writing Christian fiction. My publishers wanted things I couldn't write. And then I read Ordinary Grace - a faith novel about a very real family and their struggles. I thought, Christian fiction doesn’t need to be sappy everyone-saved-at-the-end type of book. I could write about real people struggling with real problems. At that same time my own faith began shifting, and Kathy Escobar’s (who has become an online friend of mine) book, Faith Shift really helped me to see that I wasn’t alone, and that I was okay.

I have also had the comment—Why don’t you stick to one kind of book? Make this a "spiritual memoir” blog or a “mystery/thriller” blog. Because, you know, you really can’t have both.

I can have both, because I read both. I usually have a nonfiction book on the go as well as a novel. Here’s how I read a novel: every day, my eyes glued to the pages, reading fast and far into the night. Here’s how I read nonfiction: slowly, a chapter a day, meditatively with my morning coffee and often writing notes in the margins.

Some have also asked me, do I review only independently published books or do I stick with a traditionally published books only? Actually, I don’t give two hoots who published the book. I never mention publishers in my reviews. If it’s well written and has affected me personally, I’ll review it and recommend it
So, there you have it. A year into this blog and I've no intention of stopping.

 I thank all of you who have sent me emails with suggestions of books to read. 

Here's what's on tap for the future: - Steve Bell’s Where the Good Way Lies, Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans, the music of Richard Shindell, Rob Bell’s controversial book, Love Wins, as well as The Shack (the movie will be out soon!) and on the thriller side of things: The Couple Next Door, and The Water’s Lovely by Ruth Rendell. 

In two weeks: The mysteries and thrillers of the late Ruth Rendell, who profoundly influenced me as a beginning mystery writer. I am now re-reading The Water’s Lovely and will be writing about that next time.


  1. It really goes to show that making good money doing the things you love is really a blessing.
    I agree. Christian fiction doesn't have to be be filled with Pollyannas and sappy plot lines about women who have impossible things dumped on them and yet keep up a strong faith. It's wonderful, but it's not me. I want to hear about Christians who fall and manage to get up again. How did they do it? I know several people in my church who read gritty difficult stories about genocide and the the struggles the Christians affected by that deal with it.
    As for blogs, I liken them to news stories on websites like or I would rather read a newsclip than watch it. I'm a word person. So, to me, what can replace blogs? Podcasts? They aren't easy to do, not in my experience.
    Enough of me. Keep blogging, Linda!

    1. Thanks Barbara - I know we think alike on a lot of issues! I too, read a number of blogs. I have them on my 'Feedly' feed on my iPhone and read them every morning.

  2. What a great post. I'm sharing this.