Sunday, November 1, 2015

Clean Read Month at The Word Place



The November theme at The Word Place is Clean/Christian Reads. I’m honored to have two guests this week:
v  Lia London, author and administrator of the Facebook group Clean Indie Reads will be here on Wednesday.
v  Luana Erlich, author of the Titus Ray Thrillers One Night in Tehran and Two Days in Caracas, will visit on Friday.
Both Lia and Luana will be sharing insights on clean/Christian reads and why they write them. You won’t want to miss what they have to say!
What is “clean”?
So, what is a “clean” read? We all know what the opposite is. Let’s face it--they’re big sellers. My personal definition of “clean” is simply
No obscene language
No graphic love scenes

Frankly, neither does anything for me and will usually result in a click of the “delete” button on my Kindle, even if I’ve paid good money for the book. I’ll admit to skimming through to the end on a few occasions simply because I wanted to know the outcome. However, I don’t review or recommend the books, and it’s a shame I don’t feel I can do so.
A lifetime of reading
When I think back on books I’ve read over my lifetime (which is a long one), I wonder why I read some of the things I did--and I rather wish I could say I hadn’t. Perhaps “everyone” was reading them at the time. Perhaps I just accepted the content as “the way people write these days”. I really can’t give you a good reason. Quite honestly, I don’t even remember the stories now! That’s a good thing, I guess, not to be permanently “marked” by these less-than-uplifting reads.
Growing up in a West Texas ranching community, I spent a lot of time at the local library. Those were the days when a child could be safely dropped off and left for several hours. The librarians kept an eagle eye on everything and everyone. And, if you arrived with a buff-colored card clutched in your little paw, you dare not venture to the left which was the “adult” section but rather to the right which contained books suitable for your age.
I remember the day I received my blue grown-up card at the age of 11 or 12. My mother led me to a shelf of Grace Livingston Hill books and said with all the subtly of the serpent speaking to Eve, “Your grandmother enjoyed these, and so did I.” So, of course, I spent a long year plowing through Mrs. Hill’s books which definitely fit the “Christian” category. I loved them. They encompassed romance, danger, treachery, and happily-ever-after, and my young soul felt satisfied.
Later, I followed my mother’s lead into other books, but none assaulted my sheltered mind or shattered my innocence. And I’m glad. I wasn’t ready to face the real world--and while today I’m a senior citizen and haven’t missed much, I still want to live on the sunny rather than the steamy side of life. 
Do I practice what I preach?
I write about real life because that’s what we live. Real life is too often “unclean”--but it can be presented without the graphics. The underlying message in most of my books is forgiveness and reconciliation, and I don’t hold up some of the things the characters do as being right or even acceptable. They’re human, and they make mistakes--but they can go on from there.
Eight year ago, retirement gave me time to write and learn about getting published both traditionally and independently. Those eight years brought me five traditional contracts and the opportunity to go “indie” as well. They also brought me the first of five grandchildren who are more important to me than a single word on a single page of what I write.
Someday I’ll be a memory rather than a presence. I don’t want them to ever open one of my books and fail to recognize the “Mimi” or the “Nanny” they knew. I don’t want my legacy to be one of, “I can’t believe she wrote that,” but rather, “This is what she believed, and she followed through.”





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