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Showing posts from 2020

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!

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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

The Great Audience Question

Over the weekend I read a book by another Christian dystopian author named Angela R.Watts . The book is called The Divided Nation and is the first of a series called The Infidel Books. I’d been watching this book for a while as it made its way around Goodreads, reading review, visiting the author’s blog and website and learning about her mission. All authors should have a mission. There needs to be something bigger under the stories you tell that you want to reach the world with. Watts has a well-defined mission, and that’s what attracted me to her book.  Having a mission can help you overcome what might be the biggest hurdle of being a writer. That’s the question of who you’re speaking to—The Great Audience Question. A lot of times, authors go in thinking finding an audience is simple. I did this, for sure. There’s a market for dystopia, right? Christian dystopia is a growing thing, isn’t it? What young Christian reader isn’t tired of the same-old same-old in Christian

Dronefall Halftime Tour Wrap-Up

This post is a bit late but there you have it: my first-ever attempt at running a blog-tour for my books. Once again, many thanks to the wonderful bloggers who volunteered to collaborate with me for this event. If you missed it, here's the roundup: Feb 3rd: Nicki Chapelway at Myths, Magic, and Madness (spotlight) Feb 4th: SHINE at hauntingghosttown (interview) Feb 5th:  Bree Dawn at The Long Voyage (interview) Feb 7th:  Oceane McAllister at Oceane's Writing Rambles (interview) Feb 8th:  Elizabeth at Elizabeth's Corner (interview) Feb 9th:  Nicole Dust at Legend of a Writer (interview) I also want to take the opportunity to thank my readers and friends and followers who have supported me up until this point in the adventure of writing and publishing the Dronefall Series. I hope you had some fun learning a bit more about me, and about Dronefall and the story behind it.  I’m really excited to move on to the second half of the series. I promise, if you

Introducing...The Dronefall Halftime Tour!

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This is going to be my first-ever blog tour for anything I’ve written. I have to say, organization, particularly when it involves other people, is definitely not my strong point. (Note that this opening post is a couple of days late.) Neither is self-promotion. I think a lot of authors can relate. I decided that 2020 was going to be different, and I was going to go ahead and attempt some promotional activity, weather it actually went that well or not. So, here’s my first try. I’m putting on a blog tour celebrating the release of book three of six in the Dronefall series. Many thanks to the amazing bloggers that volunteered and put up with my panic-inducingly last-minute scrambling to get this thing scheduled. Your time and energy are greatly appreciated. A round of applause, please. Dronefall has been a major endeavor so far. I think about it every day, and there have been loads of unforeseen roadblocks and hurdles. But check it out, I’m three books in—halfway thro

The Birth of Dronefall: The Story

I’ve had a lot of dreams like this: Who are they? We don’t know. What do they want? Can’t say. But they’re peeping at the windows, and we’ve got to hide. I was researching for a project in college when my interest in drones and mass-surveillance solidified. I started to conjure up a future where drones ran the world. They dominated the airspace, delivered the packages, cleaned the chimneys, kept the peace, and few questioned it. This was a world that believed constant surveillance was the only way to protect the public. But in the end, humans still had to call the shots. Someone had to decide who was a threat. For my main character, I picked out a cynical young woman who believes she’s irrelevant and invisible to society—until someone behind a monitor (or is it just an algorithm?) seems to target her as a threat. So, she takes off and joins her only friend in a neighborhood full of Christians that have their own reasons they wish they were invisible. I don’t know. A st

The Birth of Dronefall: The Seeds

Through the heart of my Alma Mater’s main campus runs a railroad. A slow freight drags through a few times a day, typically, covered in weathered graffiti. Whistle wailing and detuned bell chiming, it shakes the library where I lived most of my college days. As a student, I wore a lot of dark eye-make-up and went around with my backpack slung over one shoulder, which was bad for my back. I was there for academics only and typically sat in the back of the class avoiding participation. I made good grades and no friends, but I didn’t really care. I had an idea for a new book. The idea was born under vaguely hostile conditions. The vagueness, in fact, was part of the inspiration. As it turns out, mainstream society, even in my small town has some kind of a problem with Christianity. There were a few occasions when this was very obvious, but most of the time it was just subtle enough to make me wonder if I was imagining it. Maybe I just have that “Christian Persecution Complex” the

The Birth of Dronefall: The Gap

I think I was thirteen years old when I dropped Return to Harmony on the floor and didn’t bother to pick it back up. I told my mom I didn’t like books that were about quote, “people’s lives and how they feel about them.” I really wasn’t that into the fluffy inner struggles of young ladies and how their bland love interest’s hair smelled. When I was thirteen, I liked stealth military aircraft and meteor showers and those little kits where you can hatch things. Honestly, I still prefer those things over reading stories about people’s lives and how they feel about them. I actually have a kit for triops on my desk as I write this. I can’t wait to get it started. Hope it works. So, I noticed fairly early that the Christian fiction market was a little lacking. There are quite a few sweet romances out there starring heroines with rather obvious problems who learn rather obvious lessons and get the guy who was rather obviously designed for them. Apparently, this appeals to Christ