Friday, April 11, 2014

Website Up & Running

My new website dedicated to my creative writing efforts is now up and running.  All future blog posts will appear there.  Check out the site at  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

This is Our Chance

For years, Christians have been complaining that Hollywood ignores them.  If you've kept track over the past two decades you should have noticed a rise in the "R" rated movies and a lessening of family friendly films.  Well, I have it from a very reliable source that 2014 holds a wonderful surprise for Christians...14 family-friendly, God friendly films.  This is our chance.  We can go to the movies and support this risk...or...we can keep complaining and watch the other know, the one's we've complained about.  So what will it be?

I took some of my children to two of these films this past weekend.  My 13 year old saw Noah with me, and my 11, 13 and 16 year old daughters just saw God's Not Dead with me today.  I have the following comments.

As to Noah, we were curious, cinematically impressed, but otherwise uninspired.  While the movie makers spared no expense on the actors or special effects, they played loosely with the storyline.  Because of such, I recommend that you and your family take time to read the story from Genesis chapters 5-9 before attending the film.  Take it for what it is, and then take time to compare and contrast the Hollywood version with the truth of God's Word.  Watch the film, but do not take it as truth (in and of itself).  Use it as a catalyst for discussion of truth.

As to God's Not Dead, my girls and I were, am, and will continue to be impressed, challenged, and inspired.  The film took a simple approach.  It offered no special effects, no enormous stars, but offered real life situations and the truth.  Wow!  The movie brought back horrible memories from my childhood when a friend's father burned a Bible I gave my friend.  I waited for lightning to strike the man...and to be honest...was terribly disappointed when God chose to remain silent.

The truth it or not, God gives us a choice...believe Him or not.  Yes, He loves us that much.  He gave everything we needed to have life:  His word, His Son, and His love.  What else do we need?  What else are we waiting for?  This is our chance.  Seize it today.  The same goes for our movie choices.  If God is allowing Hollywood to grant these choices:  biblical movies...inspirational movies...spiritual movies...shouldn't we go?

Here are a few that you can see now, and one that's on its way:  Son of God, Noah, God's Not Dead, and Heaven is for Real.  Support these the God.


Friday, March 21, 2014

For a Rainy Day

I grew up hearing my grandmother talk about putting money away for a rainy day.  The next time it rained, I asked, "Grandma, you going to get your money?"  She smiled and then explained that "a rainy day" didn't mean the next time it rained.  It meant she was putting money away for a time when she needed it.  Well, this post isn't about rain or money.  It is, however, about creative ideas.

I await the release of book two, The Dragon's Pawn, and I write the rough draft of book three, The Treasure of L'lor Rac Siwel.  In the meantime, my mind churns out ideas by the dozens.  So what do I do?  Do I stop working on the novel and take off on the new tangents?  Or do I ignore the new ideas, treating them like distractions, so I can focus on the novel under construction?  Actually, I chose neither option.

I will continue to write on The Treasure of L'lor Rac Siwel, but I pause long enough to sketch out the ideas that are coming like a tsunami.  I learned the hard way, put an idea off for another day and I don't remember it.  But, I stop long enough to outline and write brief notes about the new idea and return happily to my present project.

Doing this, I learned a secondary lesson...possibly even greater than the first.  I am actually able to focus on my current project and do so without regret.  You see, I know the other ideas are safely tucked away for a "rainy day."  I just hope I have an audience that will one day appreciate the continuous journey with me.

That's it for now...back to The Treasure of L'lor Rac Siwel.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Judge a Book by its Cover?

We've all heard the saying, "Never judge a book by its cover."  But how many of us decided whether or not to buy a book because of its cover?  I know it's how I choose which books to thumb through and which not to.  Those with intriguing, catching covers and titles draw me further in.

I hope that's true.  My first book, The Pact, however, had a very basic cover...just the picture of my four main characters.  Its title wasn't very catchy either.  But there was a method to my madness.

 Let's face it, this is not the most thrilling of cover choices, but it does have purpose and meaning.  In fact, the cover design artist had quite a bit of input on the cover.  He actually read the book!  The three suggestions I made each limited the title's meaning to one specific idea.  Each one held a different meaning, keying in on a specific use of a pact.  But, if we backed away, put a picture of the four boys on the cover, the reader could decide which meaning of "the pact" I meant.  Quite ingenious.  So I went with his idea, and the cover you see above became the print cover.

Now it's time for book two, The Dragon's Pawn.  In this case, we wanted to grab the attention of the potential readers...specifically appealing to young  (middle to young high school) boys.  And we came up with this:  

As to the title...well, you'll just have to read the book to get that.  I don't want to spoil the fun by telling you now.  If you do read it, you'll understand what I mean.  It releases April 3, 2014 and is already available for pre-release through my publisher's site:  "" and I hope you'll check it out.  After all, the title and the cover do matter.  Come on...admit it.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Long Overdue!

Hey, this post is so long overdue it's embarrassing.  I have been sick with bronchitis for several weeks and haven't been able to kick it.  Well, I am finally feeling like a human being again.

Anyway, just a short note to say, The Dragon's Pawn is coming soon.  I have proofed and reproofed the text and have seen the preliminary art for the cover.  I can't wait for it to come out!  April 3, the launch date is almost get ready.

Also, I will be in Tucson (assuming I am finally well) for the Tucson Festival of Books and will be signing copies of my first book in the Canaanshade Journeys, The Pact.  I'll post pictures and updates and will be back on my normal cycle of 2-3 posts a week soon.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.  And thanks to those who have been praying for my recovery.


Saturday, February 8, 2014


I posed an interesting question on my Facebook page.  If you had to change places with any fictional character, who would it be?  It's a fascinating question...

Instead of selecting someone based on his strengths and powers, you also have to consider his weaknesses and his life consequences.  For example:  If you chose Atticus Finch because of his strength of character and his integrity, you have to accept the fact you would now be living in a society that devalues equality and is extremely racist.  Not to mention you just gave up air-conditioning.  What if you chose a superhero such as Spiderman?  Then you have all the super-villians out to kill you.  Yes, you have superpowers, but you have all the consequences with it.

Considering the question suddenly makes you aware of the depth of characters in fiction.  How do we learn so much about each one?  The writer uses two methods:  direct characterization and indirect characterization.  Direct = "he was lazy" which tells the reader directly what to think.  Indirect = "he sat in his chair with his feet up watching as everyone else in the room was busy helping in the kitchen" which allows the reader to come to his own conclusions.  It's a difficult decision as a writer.  What do I tell and what do I show?  And the writer's choices either deflate the story or build it's tension and credibility.  This is the struggle I am facing as I continue my saga of Canaanshade.  I hope to keep you involved and invested.

Here are some of the choices you all made in your character-life swap:  McClintock, Big Bird, Castle, Snow White, Cinderella (post-shoe fitting), and Frank Reagan.  What about you?  Who would you choose?  Then take a moment to thank the writer for making such a person.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cat Got Your Tongue?

It sometimes amazes me how difficult it is to say much with so few words.  I once prided myself on the ability to be what I called "The Reader's Digest" of writers.  I still omit much more detail than most writers, but I am no longer short story driven.  I seem to enjoy the depth and intricacies of a novel.

Now I am faced with the challenge of taking that novel and summarizing it in a few words.  Knowing what I put into the various layers of the novel, I am finding it hard to shrink it to less than a hundred words and still capture the depth of the novel's meaning.

My second challenge is:  "About the Author."  What does one say about himself?  Too much and I am conceited...too little and I am seen as boring.  How do I balance humility with important detail?  Would love some advice.  I guess the cat's got my tongue.