Setting the record straight

In the comments section of the post below this one, there is an exchange with Andi. (By the way, she has an excellent blog on divorce and healing). It is a very worthy point and I wanted to bring it out in the open.

Andi said...


I find it interesting when you review a book that you have such negative things to say about the writing yet I don't see your book(s) being published and being toured. Maybe you need to tender your reviews with a little more grace. Just a thought.


I take this criticism to heart. Andi is correct to chide me on the negative things I have to say about some Christian writings. However I am just one voice.

Gina Burgess said...
Just to set the record straight, Andi, I haven't really tried to get anything published. I have not had that 100th rejection, only 2.

However, I owned just less than 1,500 books and read twice as many more. I don't know any author as prolific a writer and I am a reader. I do know what works and what doesn't work. I do know what is good writing and what is poor editing.
I realize I am very opinionated when it comes to Christian fiction and that is because a Christian author should strive harder, longer and deeper than any secular writer to get the message out in such a way that unbelievers would want to read because of the literary value of the work, if not because they are searching for something they do not have.
These days publishers crank out 10,000 titles a year and each book is counted a success if it sells 15,000 copies! That barely pays for the printing costs with hardly anything for the author. My standards are not too high, they are too low and that means the editors and publishers are pouring out crappy product.
I want something not only CLEAN to read but something that is really GOOD to read. I know there is a great deal of talent out there that hasn't had the chance to be published and it is truly irksome that someone who is published several times over gets lazy in their work because they "have so much on their plate" they need to have someone help them write the book as in the case of Ms Walker. It is especially irksome when Ms Walker has written some excellent stories. I feel cheated, frankly.

Actually, to set the record even staighter, I have had more than 145 articles published on the internet (, more than 100 feaures published in newspapers, and two articles picked up by Associated Press for national distribution. One article picked up by the National Social Workers Association and published on their website, and my blog was cited in a doctorate paper on Women's Issues. So, while I have not had a book published, my writings have had considerable local, national, and global recognition.


Becca by the Book by Laura Jenson Walker

Here is a good example of a successful novelist getting a bit lazy. Laura Jenson Walker has written some truly excellent prose. This isn't one of them.

The Getaway Girls Club is a group of bookworms who go on trips that illustrate the novels they read. Quite a wonderful concept. This novel focuses on one Becca Daniels who is not a Christian but belongs to the group anyway. Walker leads us on a merry chase of Becca and her commitment woes. The story starts out incredibly exciting. Jumping out of an airplane is exciting, but breaking an ankle is not so thrilling. This sets up a delightful scenario for a story that truly can go places. There is a lot of fun expected when she makes this wager with her group that she can maintain a relationship with the "next guy that asks her out" for a full three-months or 25 dates which ever comes first.

So, the set up gives the reader the hairy anticipation that this story could go literally anywhere and be fun. Unfortunately, it did not turn out to be very much fun. Wisecracks will only go so far before they get a bit annoying. I couldn't tell you if Becca learned anything or not, or even if she overcame her commitment phobia. But, there was one character that shined like a beacon and that was Lucy. She was more than a two-dimensional character in a book. She lit up the page in such a quiet way that you'll miss her if you aren't watching for her. She isn't a member of the Get Away Girls and is by far a minor character. Yet, she is worth reading the book for. Isn't that strange?

At least the reader is given hope that Becca will turn out well, but you must read to the very last page. I give this is a one star story.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Becca By The Book

Zondervan (January 1, 2010)


Laura Jensen Walker


Sales clerk, barista, telemarketer, sign waver...

At twenty-five, free-spirited Becca Daniels is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. What Becca doesn’t want to be is bored. She craves the rush of a new experience, whether it’s an extreme sport, a shocking hair color, or a new guy. That’s why she quit her bookstore job, used her last bit of credit to go skydiving, and broke her leg.

And that’s why, grounded and grumpy, Becca bristles when teased by friends for being commitment-phobic. In response, Becca issues an outrageous wager—that she can sustain a three-month or twenty-five date relationship with the next guy who asks her out. When the guy turns out to be “churchy” Ben—definitely not Becca’s type—she gamely embarks on a hilarious series of dates that plunge her purple-haired, free-speaking, commitment-phobic self into the alien world of church potlucks and prayer meetings.

This irrepressible Getaway Girl will have you cheering her on as she “suffers” through her dates, gains perspective on her life’s purpose, and ultimately begins her greatest adventure of all.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Becca By The Book, go HERE


Laura Jensen Walker is an award-winning writer, popular speaker, and breast-cancer survivor who loves to touch readers and audiences with the healing power of laughter.

Born in Racine, Wisconsin (home of Western Printing and Johnson’s Wax—maker of your favorite floor care products) Laura moved to Phoenix, Arizona when she was in high school. But not being a fan of blazing heat and knowing that Uncle Sam was looking for a few good women, she enlisted in the United States Air Force shortly after graduation and spent the next five years flying a typewriter through Europe.

Her lifelong dream of writing fiction came true in Spring 2005 with the release of her first chick lit novel, Dreaming in Black & White which won the Contemporary Fiction Book of the Year from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her sophomore novel, Dreaming in Technicolor was published in Fall 2005.

Laura’s third novel, Reconstructing Natalie, chosen as the Women of Faith Novel of the Year for 2006, is the funny and poignant story of a young, single woman who gets breast cancer and how her life is reconstructed as a result. This book was born out of Laura’s cancer speaking engagements where she started meeting younger and younger women stricken with this disease—some whose husbands had left them, and others who wondered what breast cancer would do to their dating life. She wanted to write a novel that would give voice to those women. Something real. And honest. And funny.

Because although cancer isn’t funny, humor is healing.

To learn more about Laura’s latest novels, please check out her Books page.

A popular speaker and teacher at writing conferences, Laura has also been a guest on hundreds of radio and TV shows around the country including the ABC Weekend News, The 700 Club, and The Jay Thomas Morning Show.

She lives in Northern California with her Renaissance-man husband Michael, and Gracie, their piano playing dog.


A Lady Like Sarah by Margaret Brownley

This romance was a most satisfying offering, and was absolutely time well spent while reading. It has all the elements of romance without any fancy footwork of the author trying desparately to get the characters to "act" in a certain way. These are extremely well-developed characters, interesting, funny, believable with no contrivance. I said that twice, and I meant it.

While Sarah is just a little bit saucy, it isn't at all in a tiresome way. Just enough to keep it light, but not so much that you feel like she's annoying.

What a delightful plot, to put a young preacher (with a bit of history) with a woman outlaw (who's only real fault is being born into a family of brothers who want to teach Wells Fargo a lesson by stealing from the outfit.) The plot is only a little bit predictable in that you know the two will "git hitched", but how that comes about is what is so much fun. I do think the brothers came around rather abruptly, but all's well that ends well. This is a charming piece of Light Romance fiction. I highly recommend it!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

A Lady Like Sarah
Thomas Nelson; Original edition (December 22, 2009)
Margaret Brownley

Sarah Prescott has never known a respectable life; just a hardscrabble childhood and brothers who taught her to shoot straight.

Justin Wells left Boston in disgrace, heading out alone on the dusty trail to Texas. But when the once-respected clergyman encounters a feisty redhead in handcuffs with a dying US Marshall at her side, their journey takes a dramatic turn.

His high society expectations and Sarah's outlaw habits clash from the start. With a price on her head and a sweet orphan in tow, Justin and Sarah make the difficult journey toward Rocky Creek. There justice will be meted out hopefully with a portion of grace.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Lady Like Sarah, go HERE


Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this, except Margaret happened to be writing for the church newsletter. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."

It turns out God was and Margaret did. She now has more than 20 novels to her credit. In addition, she's written many Christian articles and a non-fiction book. Still, it took a lot of prodding from God before Margaret tried her hand at writing inspirational fiction which led to her Rocky Creek series. "I love writing about characters at different stages of faith," she says of the new direction her writing career has taken, "and I'm here to stay."

Happily married to her real-life hero, Margaret and her husband live in Southern California.

Watch the Book Trailer:

Holy Spirit Made Me Do It by Laurie Webb

In my group on LinkedIn called Christian Authors, Editors, Publishers, and Bloggers, I met a lovely lady named Laurie Webb. She has always been upbeat and has stimulated some pretty good discussions. The purpose of our group is to help motivate excellent Christian writing and to encourage each other in our writing.

Laurie gave me this book to review and it is a hum-dinger. Who ever thought we as Christians would need to be taught Spiriual Etiquette? In these latter days' daze we need it more than ever.

Recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit, understanding who He really is, and then utilizing the gifts manifested by the Holy Spirit  are essential to the Christian lifestyle. Without those critical factors, we do not have what it takes to survive this sojourn.

I have been preaching for years that unity of the body is essential for our Spiritual health. Regardless of our views on doctrine issues, we must be unified in minds with one Spirit, not uniformity of souls and thoughts. Laurie tells us in her book that this is a picture of harmony within the body. Yes! That is so true. She also notes that the Holy Spirit told her that a picture of harmony is a well-oiled machine, a smooth transference, working together as one such as a fluid relay team. It takes the whole team to get the job done. What excellent word pictures.

This is not a book you can skim through in an afternoon. There are lots of hard kernels and lots of profound thoughts. There are some excellent points to discuss, too. This book is small but it packs a punch that the Body of Christ should take on the chin as a timely wake up call to perfection. We should all want as much of the Holy Spirit as we can hold, and to never quench His holy work within and around us.

This would be an excellent study book for discipleship training, or for a Sunday School class. Frankly, I do not agree with everything I read, but that does not mean that we should throw out the baby with the bath water. We should glean all the good stuff and study the things that we don’t agree with to see how those things can be understood with godly understanding, and reconciled with what we understand of scripture.

There are great truths in this little bombshell. It is well worth the money and I do recommend it.

**** four stars for worth of study.

About the author - Laurie L Webb is Director/Instructor at Spirit Life School of Ministry  Spirit Life School in Macon, Georgia. She began attending church at the age of six and accepted Jesus as her personal Savior as a pre-teen but did not become serious about her relationship with God until her early twenties. Since then, she has attended Family Bible Institute and become an Ordained Minister. Along with her husband, Buddy, she was a youth minister for several years and taught Bible studies in her local church and community. Presently she teaches and is Director of SLSM in Macon. She and Buddy have been married for 24 years and have two beautiful daughters, Lindsay and Katie.


Going Rogue by Sarah Palin

I have a new hero after reading this book. Condalisa Rice was my hero for so very long and now I've added Sarah Palin to my short list. I greatly admire Todd Palin for his tremendous graciousness, I can see why Sarah loves him so.

Sarah opens the doors to her home and her life in living color with this book, part memoirs and part autobiography. The difference is that in memoirs, you can spin free of hard facts and let go with your opinion. Sarah, lets some folks have it right between the eyes with her frank and, in my opinion, on target opinions. This is a must read for every patriotic citizen of the U.S.

She gives us an insight into the smoky back rooms where the "face" of the politician is put on. The Alaskans should be thanking the good LORD Almighty for Sarah Palin an the work she did in Alaska. The truth is, politicians would shake in their boots if Sarah made it to the White House. She knows how to clean house and she'd do it, too.

The sad truth is, there are far too many so-called news hounds who are yellow journalists. If you are not familiar with that particular breed, they are the ones who love sensationalism rather than truth. Dan Rather comes to mind. That breed has no ethics, Connie Chung comes to mind... and Katie Couric... and too many others to name. When did the news industry dump ethics in the rubbish and head down the sleasy path? I have been lamenting this for years. That Cambell Brown person did not get even one half of the Katrina story correct, yet there it was in blazing glory and accepted as truth. Ah, well...

Going Rogue is one of the best non-fiction books of 2009. She is explicit about work ethics, the American people, about politics, about family and about the news media (not all are bad, mind you!) It is five stars and very much worth the money. Get to know her. You'll really like her.


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