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Showing posts from 2019

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is practically here! I hope your season has been at least as merry and bright as mine, so far. I’m still rejoicing over the release of Dronefall Three, which is now available in paperback as well. Doesn’t look like I’ll be having a white Christmas this year, but I suppose you can win them all, now, can you? I’ve had a great year here on Stardrift Nights. I’ve broken my record for amount of posts in a year since I started. And I did my first ever series Writing for Christ. I hope to become even more active here come 2020. Watch me break the record again!  I published three books this year. First my poetry collection Songs from the Small Hours, then Dronefall Two, Lightwaste, and finally Dronefall Three, Rainchill. I can see from my now slightly depressing post at the beginning of the year that I actually intended to finish the Dronefall series in 2019. Oops. But I’m actually glad I’m still working on it. And in January, I thought it was going to be a quintet. Ha!

Rainchill Is Available on Kindle!

News at last! Today I got the email I’ve been anticipating literally since Spring—the email telling me Dronefall Three, Rainchill, is available to the reading public . Now, it’s still just the ebook right now, the paperback will be fast on its heels. But for those of you who can’t wait you can go get the eBook right now. It’s 99c. And guess what? So are the first two books, so no matter what level you’ve attained in your Dronefall readership adventure, you have no reason not to jump in now and take advantage of the excitement.  Guys, you have no idea how excited I am to be releasing Rainchill. I completed the first draft last year as my NaNoWriMo project, and I knew, even then that I had something uniquely thrilling to share. I know I keep saying this, but Rainchill is my favorite Dronefall book yet. I’m not saying it has to be yours, but I think you’ll be able to tell I had a great time writing this book, and I hope some of the enjoyment will catch. Rainchill is a partic

Making Scenes Immersive

Good immersive writing is nothing short of pure magic. To be able to conjure up bold tactile images and surround your reader with your story in stereo—that’s what takes good writing to an unforgettable level. But how do you do it? Details, Details. I know you get a lot of modern writing gurus warning against too many details. We have a lot of sparse, un-atmospheric, writing out there as a result of people taking them a little too literally. For the most part, you actually do want details in your writing. Details are important for characterization, building a setting, creating suspense, evoking emotions, foreshadowing and hinting, etc. Just be careful with your timing and try to incorporate them into your beats. Don’t be afraid of them. If they really do slow you down your story, you’ll probably be able to tell when you read through it. Only cut what actually needs cut.    Remember who you are. That is, stay in your chosen point of view character’s mind. Staying focused wi

Happy Thanksgiving!

There are kind of a lot of things authors complain about. That’s understandable. Writing is hard. Editing is hard. Publishing is hard. Promotion is hard. Plots get tangled like those Christmas lights some of you have already gotten out. You get mediocre reviews, or bad reviews, or no reviews. You upload a cover and it ends up all shifted over to the bottom right and there’s an unexplained clipart anteater getting in the way of the title. Writing is an overwhelming psychologically and emotionally demanding occupation. It’s easy to forget to stop freaking out over the latest plot-hole or formatting disaster and be thankful for how far you’ve come, sometimes. If you write at all, you have something to thank God for. He gave you a passion, a talent, a mode of creative self-expression. It doesn’t matter if you’re amazing at it or get any recognition for it—you have a beautiful thing. You can paint pictures with words. That’s an art and a gift. Enjoy it, nourish it, and thank God fo

Rainchill Cover & Blurb Reveal

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So, remember that, uh…thing that chased Halcyon for several grueling blocks at the end of Lightwaste? Well, you haven’t seen that last of it. Dronefall Three, Rainchill is finally in the process of being released. I’ve hit several delays, as usual. I realize I keep telling people “It’s coming out this month,” and not making good on that promise. I’ve got many hundreds of thousands of words worth of novel manuscripts at this point in my career, but I’m still completely baffled by how some debuting indies actually release their books on an exact date which they tell the world a year in advance. Actually, I don’t really know how anyone plans anything a year in advance. But I will say now, you’ve got less than thirty days to wait for Rainchill . It’s coming! So, I think it’s about time I’ve released the back-cover blurb and the cover. Take a look: The Official Rainchill Blurb: Sometimes it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie. Halcyon Slavic’s brush with the hostility

Then Autumn Took Hold...

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It always happens sometime around the end of August. I’ll be standing in the sun, smelling the new-mown grass, the sunscreen and the corn pollen and then suddenly…I recognize something in the slant of the sunlight. And in the middle of the close summer heat, something deep inside me whispers, “Oh boy, here it comes.” And the mercury rises and falls and rises again, but there’s no stopping it. Fall is coming. For me, it’s one of the things that makes the merry-go-round of the year all worth it. So, the equinox was on Monday. Specifically, it was at 3:50 am Eastern Daylight Time. That means the sun crossed the celestial equator and day and night were of equal length. Closer to home, it means my favorite season is officially underway, the leaves are allowed to start changing now, the air should get cool and crisp and start to smell like woodsmoke and spices and wet forest floor. And suddenly I feel like I’m ready to take on the world. I don’t know the science behind that

Christian Speculative Writers: Your Mission Matters

Don’t underestimate the power of this genre group. You probably do. I did. I have to admit that even though I am a diehard speculative lover not to mention an almost strictly speculative author, I only recently realized why it was so important. Fantasy, science fiction, and futuristic genres are still somewhat neglected in the Christian market. The vast majority of modern Christian fiction still falls under “women’s fiction.” I feel like I probably rant about this all the time, so I won’t go into it again. All I’m going to say is that God created us with vast imaginative powers, and they were never meant to be limited to creating the love-interests of our dreams and stopping there. We’re made for so much more. I don’t think it’s any accident that some of the most powerful and popular books and series of all time have been speculative fiction. The stories that draw masses of people tend to be the ones that expand our world to new horizons. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Star T

Writing for Christ: The Content Question

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I’ve got to admit it. I really just write what I want to write. There’s a lot of discussion out there about exactly where Christian authors should draw the line in content. There’s a lot of disagreement. I’m not going to give you a do/don’t list for this. Instead, I wanted to focus on the attitudes and reasons we include some things and omit others. I don’t think there’s a clear-cut universal answer to this question. So much depends on presentation and context and how well the author can pull it off. But most of all, your reasons for writing certain things into your story is what makes the difference. Here’s where I try not to call it on other authors I read, but sometimes, as a reader, it feels distinctly like the author is just trying to shock, or imitate some popular author’s style, or make their writing “more relevant.” I think most authors, even non-Christian authors, agree that when it comes to content, you’ve got to draw the line somewhere. A lot of readers don’t a

Writing for Christ: Writing a Variety of Christian Characters

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I won’t judge people who accidentally make their Christian characters too homogenous too harshly. I see why it happens. But because of my upbringing and experience, I wouldn’t excuse myself so quickly. I spent the first 20 years of my life attending a Presbyterian church—but before you assume anything, know that the pastor is markedly conservative and has heavy Lutheran influence. But you should also know that my grandpa was a Pentecostal preacher at a “non-denominational” church down the road. He was descended from a line of tent-revivalists but also differed from some Pentecostals on some points. What’s more, my family is musical, so we’ve crashed church services all around the area to give musical programs and lead worship. My sister has worked for Methodist and Baptist churches as a pianist. I’ve been to Catholic masses at monasteries and to quiet Lutheran Christmas services and Loud Mega-Churches with lightshows. I’ve even been to a Seventh Day Adventist church where the

Writing for Christ: Writing Non-Christian Characters

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My series on writing Christian fiction continues today with a very important and too often neglected subject. We’re here to discuss the non-Christian characters that appear in the stories we write. If you write enough books and stories, some time or anther you’re going to want to include a character who is a non-believer. You should, actually. It will grow you as a writer and as a Christian. Something extremely important to remember is that you absolutely must respect you character. This can be hard with a character that disagrees with the most important thing in your life, I know. But I can tell when an author, screenplay-writer, or even an actor doesn’t respect their character. The result is painful. The character becomes a flat, burlesqued caricature devoid of life and dignity that only exists so to be a scapegoat for all the artist’s bile against certain viewpoints, characteristics, and ideas. They are never fully realized as a character. No matter how much you disagree wit

Writing for Christ: Including the Gospel

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We now continue with our series on writing Christian fiction. Welcome back. I hope you got something out of the first post. This post is about how and when to insert the whole Gospel into a story. As we’ll see, there’s a right and a wrong way to do it, and there are times when it isn’t even the best thing for your book. I think there’s some debate about the role of Christian authors. Actually, there’s some debate about the role of Christians, period. There’s a camp that seems to assume that the singular goal of everything a Christian does is to win souls. Evangelism is the ultimate calling for everyone. I don’t want to stomp on anyone’s toes but I would like to suggest that this might not actually be the case. Hear me out. Evangelism is extremely important and I do believe everyone should live a life that points to God and be ready to evangelize should the opportunity arise, but that isn’t our only calling as Christians and certainly not as Christian authors. I think our

Writing for Christ: Avoiding the Instant Conversion

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Welcome to the first post of this series on writing Christian fiction. Brew a cup of tea, open the window to hear the birds outside, and we can get started on today’s subject: how to avoid forcing a character to go from nonbeliever to believer in some abrupt unnatural way. If you’re like me, you want to make a conversion into a strong satisfying character arc, not a quick fix that no one will believe. Compared to real life, novels are highly concentrated. Characters are expected to change somehow over the course of the story. We love character arcs. In Christian fiction, character change is often even more emphasized. Back in the day, Christian novels almost always had a conversion scene. It was about as expected as the kiss on the last page of a romance novel. (Do you ever just start flipping to the last pages of a bunch of romance novels in succession? So gross.) Coming to Christ is a lot like falling in love. We all hate the insta-love trope. We hate it because it feels

Introducing Writing for Christ

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Okay, guys. I’ve got a blog series in store for you. I’ve outlined eight posts on topics I think every Christian fiction writer will find useful. All the topics respond to issues I commonly find in Christian fiction—and hear other readers complaining about. I’d be delighted if you would join me for the next however many weeks this ends up taking us, to get a fresh look at our call as Christian fiction writers. I’ve designed each post to minimize musing and fluff and maximize new material and practical advice to think outside the box and actually improve your fiction over the course of the series. There will be bullet-points, I promise. The topics we’ll cover range from the usual things like the challenges of keeping content clean and making your book a story, not a sermon, to things we discuss less often like how to fairly and accurately represent non-Christian characters and remembering the pastors and clerical figures can be complete acting characters too. We’ll talk abo