Thursday, July 30, 2015

Reviews for Rails to a River

on July 19, 2015
Once again Jim Ainsworth has written a novel worthy of highest acclaim. His characters come to life and leave the reader feeling as if you've known them always. From the beginning, I couldn't put the book down because I was drawn in to the web of intrigue surrounding Tee Jessup. Tee is such a well developed character, very likable, and extremely believable. This is another winner from an amazing author.

on June 24, 2015
Another winner from one of my favorite writers. Read this one first, and then read "Firstborn Son." Characters are well-developed and believable.

on June 7, 2015
Rails to a River is the fifth book that I've read by Jim Ainsworth. It was an amazing read! I literally had to put the book down after the first two chapters and just digest what I had read. I think and I read in a very visual way. Jim's development of characters, descriptions of the scenes, and stitching together of the plot let the book flow through my mind so smoothly it was like watching a movie on the big screen. I truly look forward to getting "a'holt" of another one of Jim's books. Ken Ryan

on May 25, 2015
Jim has done it again! A wonderful story with believable characters. Each page draws you in deeper to the story.
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on April 29, 2015
Absolutely loved this book! If you haven't read Jim Ainsworth, you are missing out!

on March 30, 2015
Jim's characters draw you in --you feel and experience their lives as vividly as you experience your own. Jim is a wonderful storyteller, weaving personal knowledge and expertise into his plots! Wonderful reads!

on March 28, 2015
RAILS TO A RIVER is my first Jim Ainsworth novel, and it has been a true pleasure. I can’t compare it to any of his others, but I enjoyed the contemporary setting for an age-old sorrow where necessity drags a man away from his dreams. While some might call Tee Jessup shiftless because of his constant moving from one empty job to another, he is actually a man honoring what is true within him but at a cost. The story keeps you riveted because of the unexpected twists of characters and plot, but this masterful writer keeps all the ends tied so the reader doesn't trip over any of them. I haven’t read many books of late where I couldn't wait to get back to my Kindle, but this was one. Ainsworth’s passion for his Texas home, its cowboy history and the very land under his feet keeps his descriptions fresh and his story real.

on February 20, 2015
Ainsworth has written an intriguing story which cannot be predicted from one page to the next. The turns and twists are marvelously woven together to make the story live. I loved it. The only reason I did not give it five stars was I thought the protagonist rose to the top of his profession too quickly. Advancement in his chosen field comes more slowly than it was presented. Don't let that opinion keep you from reading this great story. It is well worth your time.

on February 15, 2015
Jim H Ainsworth is an avid story teller that writes in a style that I call easy reading. He carefully develops his characters, weaves his Christian background throughout his stories, and the stories keep your interest. I have read seven of Jim's books and I am currently reading the eighth. I find his writings to be both educational and inspirational. I recommend Jim H. Ainsworth to all ages

on February 14, 2015
Rails to a River is a masterful blend of the intricateness of corporate America and the cowboy way of life, two subjects Jim Ainsworth knows well. Truth and fiction are so smoothly interwoven, one can only imagine where Jim Ainsworth ends and Tee Jessup begins.

Recent Reviews for A River of Stories

By Jake G. via Amazon 
I just finished reading A River of Stories, and I'm amazed at the development of Jim Ainsworth's storytelling ability. The book is a collection of stories about life, family, friends and a quest to understand everything, and they reveal the depth of character of a truly wonderful writer and amazing man. The stories are not only entertaining, but many deliver underlying life messages and lessons that I wish could be plugged in and downloaded to my grandsons. I soon will be reading the last of this series, "Rails to a River", and I looked forward to the bar being raised even higher.
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on May 10, 2015
Jim Ainsworth is one of the few writers to write about a long-neglected, but significant region of the country--east Texas. This anthology records the area's mythology and simultaneously tells us Jim's own engaging narrative through a series of skillfully written stories and articles about his youth up to the present. In A River of Stories one gets to know Jim and east Texas. Their stories turn out to be, like those of all good writers, one and the same.
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on April 30, 2015
In today's majority Christian America, Biblical literacy is as rare as mathematical proficiency. In the last segment of A River of Stories - "Believing in a Grand Thing" - Jim displays his life-long discipline in "doing the math". He describes his cover-to-cover approach of reading through the Bible three times. Many Protestants do not know there are 400 years of Hebrew narrative missing in their Bibles when compared to Catholic versions. In addition, many are not aware that book order has nothing to do with the chronological order of the narrative. With this in mind, Jim's ability to mine so many nuggets of ancient wisdom is remarkable. This is an important book. Buy it. Read it.
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on April 23, 2015
Great collection of stories! I will enjoy reading them over and over again!
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on April 20, 2015
I was slow in reading this book due to being short stories, but once I became engaged with the stories, recognizing the true characters from his books, I could not put it down. I have been amazed at the many people Jim has met, drawing them into life long friendships. I must admit tears filled my eyes while
reading the eulogies. I believe I got a glimpse of Jim's character in all his books, but in "A Rivers of Stories" Jim revealed his heart. I loved this book so much, I plan on giving this book to others. I am looking forward to more books by this author.
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on April 13, 2015
This book is a collection of readable stories taken from the life of the author. It gives a new insight into his wonderful Rivers series and his new Tee Jessup series. I particularly liked his Bucket List chapter and his tribute to his father. This collection will certainly provide food for thought. Don't plan to breeze through the stories; stop and think about each one.
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on March 30, 2015
What a life... What an inspiration...what adventures! Thank you JIm, for sharing so many extraordinary experiences. Would love to be a fly on the tree next to some of the Cowhill Council's confabs! A River of Stories was a delightful collection.
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on March 1, 2015
These true stories are short, real, and very readable. One can dip in and out at will and still never lose touch with the Jim Ainsworth magic which can be found in each tale. In "The Eulogy I Never Delivered", Ainsworth does deliver a pitch-perfect, loving tribute to a father who comes alive on the page--a tribute which sets the tone for the rest of the book: genuine, heart-felt remembrances of interesting people, times, places. This author is an authentic cowboy/writer, one of the best--fiction or non-fiction.
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on February 26, 2015
While some have walked similar paths, few are brave enough to bare their souls as Jim Ainsworth has in A River of Stories. It is quite a ride, one you won't want to miss.
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on February 10, 2015
I loved Jim Ainsworth's new book, A RIVER OF STORIES. When a great story teller calls up memories of good cowboys, great horses
and growing up "rural" its better than homemade ice cream on a hot summers day.

John Moss, Pecan Gap, Texas
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Friday, July 3, 2015

Turning Splendor into Value

We have been talking about best seller vs. low-sellers. Now let’s discuss fiction vs. non-fiction and what sells best. By now, you probably know that novels are the hardest sell for unknown writers. So why do I write them?

Abraham Verghese, MD and medical school professor, says, “Good fiction can achieve a higher kind of truth than non-fiction. Good stories are instructions for living . . . a great novel can transport you to another planet, let you live vicariously a full life, and when you come back, it’s still Tuesday, and yet you’ve learned the lessons of a lifetime. That’s what everyone, doctors included, could get from fiction, and God is in the details.”

People often ask how much in my novels is true. I usually give them a percentage. When they ask about Home Light Burning, a novel that takes place just after the Civil War, I tell them it as about as true as your average history book. Actually, in some places, it’s more accurate than many history books.

G. K. Chesterton’s book Everlasting Man influenced C. S. Lewis to return to Christianity. Chesterton said, “It’s not enough to be told about something that happened or a historical fact. We want to know what it felt like. So long as we neglect this subjective side of history, which may be more simply called the inside of history, there will always be a certain limitation on that science which can better be transcended by art. So long as the historian cannot do that, fiction will be truer than fact. There will be more reality in a novel; yes, even in a historical novel.” 

Pat Conroy said, “A novel is my fingerprint, my identity card, and the writing of novels is one of the few ways I have found to approach the altar of God and creation itself. You try to worship God by performing the singular courageous and improbable favor of knowing yourself.”

Fiction or non-fiction, we should realize that reading for pleasure and reading for knowledge are not mutually exclusive. Novels have changed the world—because we learn from stories. We can gain knowledge and pleasure in the same book.

My point in making the comparisons between our writing and best-sellers is to illustrate that you might write a very good book that does not sell well. Most don’t.

But I can promise based on my own experience that you will grow wiser and stronger through the reflection required to write a book—that you will meet dozens of new people and will rekindle dormant friendships. You will gain pleasure and a sense of accomplishment for your efforts, and you will contribute to posterity—if not for thousands, at least for your closest circle of friends and family.

Write your book not because you want a best-seller, but because you have something to say, something to pass on to future generations.

No experience? Afraid of making mistakes? How does one get experience? From making mistakes and from deliberate practice. So just write. Be yourself. Find your voice. Write how you talk and express how you feel.

The bad news is that, after more than twenty years of writing, my doubts about writing have still not disappeared. I told someone once that I write because I can’t sing. When my doubts return, I hum the words to “Why Me, Lord?” written by Rhodes Scholar Kris Kristofferson (whose ambition was to be a novelist). I knew the first few lines by heart, but when I looked up the lyrics, I found this verse:

“Try me, Lord. . .  if you think there’s a way—I can try to repay—all I’ve taken from You. Maybe,        Lord, I can show someone else—what I’ve been through myself—on my way back to You.”

Also from Ravi Zacharias: “the day that each person willingly accepts himself for what he or she is and acknowledges the uniqueness of God’s framing process marks the beginning of a journey to seeing the handiwork of God in each life. Trying to mirror someone else’s accomplishments is one thing. Trying to be someone else in distinctive capacity is unhealthy and breeds insatiable hungers. Not everyone is a Bach or an Einstein. But there is splendor in the ordinary.”