Wild Plans for Fall and Beyond

  Well, look at that, my favorite season has arrived. Guys, 2020 can’t be a total flop as long as the air cools and fills with migrating birds and multicolored leaves around the end of September. We’re right on schedule. God doesn’t cancel. So, hey, it’s not all bad, is it?   You know, I’ve done a lot of soul-searching and Buzzfeed quizzes. You’d think I’d know myself pretty well, but I guess there’s always more to learn. I had a breakthrough in August. Years of accumulated frustration over my career finally made me rethink my approach to my art, my promotion, and my online presence. I realized I’d been trying to do what people—strangers online and business-minded experts—insisted worked, rather than letting things grow naturally from who I am and how I have always succeeded.   There’s a lot more to authenticity than not using beauty filters on your selfies, kids. Being true to yourself isn’t just striving to assure everyone that you’re imperfect and have a lot of issues by venting

5 Myths About Christian Fiction

I have recently noticed some Christian authors are backing away from the “Christian fiction” label. Some writers don’t want to write “Christian fiction” or at least are reluctant to call their novels that. Some believe they can reach a wider audience by avoiding the label, and others have just had so many bad experiences with reading Christian fiction in their past that they just have no interest in writing it. Okay, just to get this out of the way, I certainly am not trying to say that Christian writers should only write Christian fiction. My debut was not technically Christian fiction, and neither are the vast majority of my short-stories and poems. Neither do I think God doesn’t use non-Christian art to his glory. I’m an advocate for both. Here’s the real problem, and I think it’s important. When I find out why these Christian authors are avoiding the “Christian Fiction” label, I discover their reasons are often based on false assumptions. Myths. I’m going to break down

Writing in the Dark

Writing takes a lot out of you. Writing a novel is no easy task, and makes huge demands on your time and energy. I wish there was a way to log the hours I spend just thinking through my story, without even getting into the time I spend with my head in a notebook or my hands on a keyboard. It’s definitely a full-time job. When life itself becomes complicated, uncertain, heavy, and exhausting, it takes a toll on my writing life. In the midst of these troubled times, when many of us don’t have any idea what life will look like next week, somehow, we have to find ways to keep calm and carry on. But with all these new demands on our minds and emotions, we all know how easily writing can fall through the cracks. But I know and you know we can’t stop writing. We can’t give up on what brings us joy and satisfaction just because it’s harder than usual. So, what should we do about it? I hope to offer a morale boost as well as share with you some practical tips on dealing with dis

On Breaking the Rules

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules for Writing: Never open a book with weather. Avoid prologues. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. Never use and adverb to modify the verb “said.” Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.   Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.” Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Okay, so I’ve seen this floating around the internet, and I get annoyed every time I read through it. I thought I would finally raise my objections here. First off, I’ll admit I had to google this Elmore chap. I had never heard of him. Apparently, he was writing crime thrillers and suspense in the 1950s. Cool. Probably why I never heard of him. But anyway. I have nothing particularly against Mr. L

How We Rise Cover Reveal!

Now is the time for dystopian fiction. When the would starts to go dark and strange around us, we often, as readers, fly to books for a safe place to find relief from the stress of reality. And yet, sometimes what we need the most is a story that shows us just a bit of our own situation. We need to see something that sheds light on our shadowy existence and proves that we can face it—and much more. We need hopeful dystopian stories. Stories of flawed, troubled people stumbling through the chaos and learning to stand up to it all. That’s why I’m so excited to be hosting the cover revel for Brooke Riley’s How We Rise. The novel will be coming out on July 15 th —sooner than you think. I know time is a little odd right now, but here getting there. Anyway, enough with the talk. You’re here to see the cover. Here it is. Epic, right? I love it. It’s got so much atmosphere. And, in case you don’t know what How We Rise is about, here is the blurb. When the truth gets you kill

An Author's Guide to Surviving Quarantine

I kind of like the world shutting down. We should do it more often.  Since I’ve been off work (and gloriously free from all social obligations) I’ve been feeling oddly motivated. I kind of enjoy breaks in routine, and learning to adjust to strange conditions, so this hasn’t been as trying for me as it might be for some.   Of course, it won’t be the same for everybody, but for me, this downtime has triggered my enthusiasm for Getting Things Done™ and I’ve been able to clear my head a bit in the middle of all this. I’ve seen a lot of encouragement going around the internet for people to get into this mindset, but also for people to not force themselves to be highly productive and beat themselves up for feeling unmotivated. I’m not saying everybody needs to be highly productive every day. Our worldly expectations have been removed. Our time is our own, to use as we actually want to and need to use it. For me, that means doing what refreshes me most—creating. In this

The #1 Mistake Christian Authors Make

Set aside your author identity and think about your reading life for a minute. I have a question for you. How many times have you been frustrated, unsatisfied, or downright bored by Christian fiction? Let me say something right now: Christians do not have an inherent disability when it comes to creative pursuits. There isn’t something wrong with us spiritually that should hinder our ability to create, neither is there something wrong with our worldview that makes it destroy art whenever it is at its foundation. In fact, God gave Christian artists the opportunity to create things of eternal beauty and value. So, why is it that so much Christian fiction is glaringly sub-par? I see one mistake at the root of the problem. One. That should be good news. The solution is a simple shift in mindset and a re-evaluation of your mission. So, here’s what I think it is. It might sound a little off at first, but hear me out. You’re over-spiritualizing your work. I’ll be the fi