The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch-Book Study Questions for Homeschooling, Youth Groups, and Book Clubs

*Note to home-school parents, youth leaders and teachers: You can pick and choose the questions depending on the purpose of your instruction and the age group of your students/readers.

Character development:

Characters-specific: Determine which characters you wish to discuss, either from the list given or others- Benedict, Micah, Isabella, Sebastian, Tommy, Eva, Faden, Roy, David, Martha, Mr. Jones.

How did adversity affect each character?

How was past or current adversity resolved as the character developed?

Why did Benedict have such a difficult time letting go of his past?

Why did Micah have such a strong faith?

Why was Isabella really called “mama Bella”?

Why did Sebastian resent his father?

What was Tommy most afraid of?

Why was Eva so afraid to sing?

How well do you think Faden handled his feelings for Tommy?

What do you think David’s biggest challenge was?

What was Martha’s biggest fear?

How important was Mr. Jones’ character and why?

How did Roy demonstrate that an adverse past can create a positive future?

Which character was your favorite and why?

Which character do you feel was the strongest emotionally and why?

Characters-general:

Were you able to relate to any of the characters portrayed and in what way?

Were the characters believable?

Was there any experience in the novel that you feel you can apply to your own life experience?

Do you find this novel valuable? Explain your response.

Which character made the biggest transition, in your opinion?

Which character made the smallest transition, in your opinion?

Spirituality:

In your opinion, how well does the author portray the presence of God in the everyday lives of the characters?

Is the author successful in presenting faith in a relevant and relatable way?

Give an example of each of the following Christian values and explain where they were best presented:
forgiveness, strong faith, honesty, loyalty, perseverance, purity, charity, compassion, tolerance

Book Structure:

Discuss some of the narrative devices that the author uses? E.g. Flashbacks, foreshadowing, third person narration, plot twists, dialogue, and imagery. Do they work?

Do these narrative devices help move the story along or are they just distracting to the story?

Style:

What can you say about the author’s writing style?

Discuss the narrative style.

What are some of the noticeable themes in the book? How did the author develop these themes? Were these methods effective?

The Author:

How well did the author take you into the story?

Was the use of description effective?

Could you envision each character?

Could you envision the setting?

Did you find this novel enjoyable?

Would you recommend it to a friend? Explain your response.

Does this book prompt you to want to read more from this author?

Quotes:

Which character quote did you find most effective?

Which character quote do you feel is the defining message in the novel?

.PDF VERSION of Book Study for “The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch”

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Why I’m Inspired by “Duck Dynasty” and the Robertsons

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I’m not the only one who loves the reality show “Duck Dynasty” or the Robertson family. That’s pretty evident, since the fourth season episode drew in 11.8 million viewers. That’s the largest audience ever for a reality show on cable television.

I’m not a big fan of reality shows. Most of them are filled with inappropriate content and language, and founded upon superficial values. But “Duck Dynasty” is the complete opposite.

There are many reasons why the show is popular. The family members are real and honest and have a great sense of humor. Although they’re wealthy, they remain grounded and haven’t forgotten their roots. They refused to “tone down” Christian references on their show, even after the network requested it. But most of all, they’re not apologetic about being Christian. They’re very open about their love for Christ. And it’s an honest devotion, not manufactured for television or ratings. It’s evident that they love God and they want to share that and the Gospel with their audience! This is why I find the show and the family inspiring.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the show, here’s the sneak peak for season four:

The Robertson’s are God-loving people. Hollywood is full of characters who say they’re Christians, but their actions far from represent those claims. I believe that “Duck Dynasty” is so popular because finally we’ve been introduced to a family who live the Word.

The Robertsons are the kind of Christians I strive to portray in my novels -true Christians who live the Word. Martha and David and Eva from The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch are like the Robertsons. As is Gabriel in my upcoming novel, Freeing Tanner Rose. Their love for Christ is not just a hobby, it’s who they are. It’s natural. Scripture says you’re either with Christ or you’re against Him. And when you’re a Christian, there’s just no compromise.

“Duck Dynasty” and the Robertsons not only inspire my writing, but they inspire me to become a better Christian! What about you?

Friends, are you a fan of “Duck Dynasty”? Do the Robertson’s inspire you?

If you loved this, then you’re sure to like…

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch: Chapter 1

What are people saying about, “The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch”?

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch-Book Study Questions for Youth Groups, Schools, and Book Clubs

Check Out My Posts at Project Inspired

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Project Inspired is a busy place to be these days. Not just because of the many awesome posts to inspire young Christian girls, but also because of the many young girls that visit.

There’s so much to discuss, from fashion to natural beauty and Christian teaching to pop culture. If you haven’t checked it out, you should. That’s where I’ve been spending much of my time these days.

Check out some of my posts there! 

If you loved this, then you’re sure to like…

I Want to Write a Novel, But Where Do I Start?

 Why People-Watching Enhances Characterization in Fiction Writing

My Cures for Defeating Writers Block

SHORT STORY: “After the Honeymoon” By T.M. Gaouette

Bleak cold mornings made the journey into work all the more unappealing. Mondays were bad enough, but Fridays were depressing all the same, because they arrived so quickly and reminded me that life was racing by at this stage in my life. Not to mention that Friday was only two days away from being Monday again.

Childhood is a moment in life always taken for granted for lack of knowledge of its true value. Who would know that the days were simply lengthened because we filled them with a multitude of mindless tasks and actions? We regarded our evolution with indifference. Before we are aware of it, life itself has taken the reigns. When once, each day felt like a week, now it passes swiftly by, threatening to go unnoticed if we choose to blink too long. I, personally, hadn’t even caught up with my life, as of yet. I’d planned to achieve so much more by this point, but to no avail. Rather, here I was on a chilly November morning, having left my country home before day really broke, waiting for a train, amongst others who looked on with the same expressions of defeat -all seemed lacking in strength and ambition. We were all gray together, and we blended into the morning without having the grace to disappear, as I certainly wished I would do. I waited for this train every morning, just so it would take me out of the suburbs and into the city and bound to a job that required nothing more of me, but to add and divide and multiply. Accounting was not my major in college, but it had become my career. It gave me the opportunity and the feigned pleasure, to find as many ways to screw an already slipshod system. Yet still it did nothing to validate my existence. Had I the energy, I would scream out, “Lord, why have you forsaken me”? in anguish; although admittedly, with no where near the justification allowed of Him that first uttered the words. But I stood quiet, for the mere fact that this was my own doing and I had no one else to blame.

I watched as the train rattled in, rocking from side to side, and then screeching to a halt. I waited as some bustled off and tons crammed on, not caring about the pushers, as I’d become one also. Nudging in all directions for wanting of a place to sit, but I was not quick this morning and stood instead for the long, long journey into the city. The fragrances mingled as usual. I tried to read from my neighbor’s folded paper, not completing any article, however, since he was a faster reader than I. We all leaned on each other; comrades on a similar mission. No smiles, but familiar nods, as if to say, “Another day, yup, I know how you feel.” I looked in between the heads to the outside world where the dreary day veiled everything that not long ago had been green and luscious and basking in sunshine. Another winter was upon us. I hated winter.

As the journey met the half way mark, the train had emptied a little so that breathing had become a possible feat. Seats had become available and I found mine finally, opposite a dark haired woman wearing black stilettos. She read her newspaper intently as her body rocked and jerked inconsistently from side to side with the momentum of the train. She also held her paper folded in her right hand, and in her left she clutched a Starbucks coffee which she sipped every few minutes. Her nails were painted orange and she wore a diamond wedding band. When I looked up at her face, she was staring back at me with slight amusement. I hadn’t realized the length of time I’d taken to size her up, but she’d felt the gaze obviously and I looked out the window quickly out of embarrassment.

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Michael Jackson’s Pro-life Song, “Song Groove (Abortion Papers)”

I don’t want to have a discussion about the accusations against Michael Jackson. I have my own ideas about a man who never had the chance to be a boy. It’s a sad story.

This post is for MJ fans who believe in protecting innocent life.

Following is a previously unreleased song on the newly released BAD 25 album -the 25th anniversary edition of Jackson’s album Bad. It’s called “Song Groove (The Abortion Papers).”

Following are some of the lyrics:

Those abortion papers
Signed in your name against the words of God
Those abortion papers
Think about life, I’d like to have my child

I also wanted to mention this song because I do have a pro-life novel coming up in the future. You’ll see the connection to this song when it’s out. Until then, enjoy the song.

I have to do it in a way so I don’t offend girls who have gotten abortions or bring back guilt trips so it has to be done carefully…I have to really think about it. (Jackson reportedly wrote)

Image Credit: rickey.org

Classic Fiction of the Past Offer Lifelong Inspiration and Motivation

In the recent author profile by Steven McEvoy at Book Reviews and More and Catholic Dads Online, I was asked a few questions about my all-time favorite books.

  • If you could only recommend 10 books to a reader looking to be a well-rounded and whole person what books would you suggest?

I would offer up a variety of genres. Narrowing it down to 10, I’m pretty sure I’m going to forget some great books, but here goes- To begin with, and I hate to be cliché, but I have to suggest the Bible, beginning with the Gospels, C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, The Great Divorce, and Mere Christianity, Milton’s Paradise Lost, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Sr. Helen Prejean’s Dead Man Walking, Henry James’ The Beast in the Jungle, and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

  • Who were some of your favorite authors in your teen years who helped shape you?

I loved reading as a child and read a variety of genres, but the ones that had the most effect on me, as a person and a writer, were C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, Kenneth Grahame, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and The Brontë sisters.

Other titles I neglected to include in the interview were Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Johanna Spyri’s Heidi, and Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. I’m sure I’m still missing more great reads, but let’s move on.

In responding to these questions, I was reminded of how often I read as a child and how much I devoured each book. Little did I know back then that I’d build a deep connection with the classics.

You know a book’s great when it stays with you throughout your life.

These books were not only inspiring and motivating; they also challenged my subconscious-if not immediately then as a child, then at least in later years when I recalled them -when they were pertinent to a specific time or situation. I’m often prompted to think back on these novels from long ago. They were classics then, and have continued to maintain elite status, even as millions of new titles come on the market.

When I get the chance, I like to reread a favorite classic. It’s inspiring for me as an author. And it’s motivating as a reader. Chapters and scenes are randomly recalled throughout the pages of many. I just wish I was habituated to dog-earring and highlighting for future referencing and inspiration. Then again, a full reread is always worth the endeavor.

Lord, bless my words so that I glorify You in everything that I write.

Friends, feel free to share your favorite classics with me.

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