Archive for February, 2012

Posted: February 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

My son David’s first film. Hope you like it!

Excerpt from Topheth

Posted: February 22, 2012 in The Writing Life, Topheth

Okay, so here’s the excerpt to Topheth that I promised. This’ll give you a taste of what the novel’s about, and an idea of why I’ve wanted to rescue it from the dustbin. From Chapter Nine:

He stood across the street from the One Way Holiness church, watching the line of people filing in and out the building. The building was old, with dark brick rising starkly from the concrete to assert its presence against the evening sky. Faded lines of crumbling mortar formed a bluish grid against the shadowed blocks, and the concrete stairs faded into gray obscurity, marked here or there only by the rigid black of exposed re-bar beneath its steps. The paint on the sign above the door was chipped and peeling, but the image of a single finger pointing straight to the faded pearly gates announced the congregation’s faith in the exclusive way to salvation.

The Sunday evening services had just let out, and people were still milling about, enjoying the afterglow of the prayer meeting. Quiet laughter filtered across the street to touch lightly on his ears. He breathed out a long sigh, watching them. Most of the congregants were black. Dark faces against the night, showing only the whites of their eyes and smiles, like the Cheshire Cat of Alice’s Wonderland.

Ashley loved the cat. She always wanted to know how he disappeared and left only his smile behind. How can something smile when it’s invisible? How, Daddy, how? The corners of his mouth turned up just a bit. She made him read her that story over and over again, till he nearly had it memorized. He should bring her here. Seeing these faces might answer her question.

He put his hand in his pocket and fingered the glass bottle of gasoline stuffed deep inside. Of course, she couldn’t come. Not now. The only way she ever came back was in the fire.

Same as the way she left.

He curled his other hand into a fist and pressed his teeth together until they hurt. Not now. He couldn’t do this now. He could feel her tugging at him, wanting him to walk away, wanting him to let her go. He shook his head. Not hard. But firmly. He was still her father, and when he said no it meant no.

She wouldn’t leave. He wouldn’t let her. If it meant sacrificing those who killed her to keep her with him, then so be it. Let justice be served.

A fragment of scripture played through his mind. The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. He thought maybe it was from Proverbs or one of the Psalms. No. Ecclesiastes. They’d recited it at her funeral.

He swallowed and turned his eyes to the dark heavens. “No,” he whispered. “You can’t have her yet. Not as long as I can bring her back, and punish those who took her from me.”

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

“No. I won’t let you.”

Let me go, Daddy.

No.

A chirping reached his ears, shattering his reverie. He reached inside the inner pocket of his overcoat and pulled out his cell phone. The particular song told him he had mail. It was an update from the local news station, one that was automatically sent from their website, and was once again about the fires. Plugging in an earphone, he watched the report. There were night shots of the flames, with fire trucks assembled to quench the blaze. He stared with growing excitement as the roof of the First Presbyterian Church caved in, sending a burst of smoke and sparks spiraling into the night sky. The newscaster reported the church was a total loss. The report went on to say that sources close to the investigation have informed them that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sent in an agent from the Behavioral Analysis Unit to assist with the case.

After a moment, he removed his earpiece and flipped the cell phone closed. So that’s who she was—this woman who looked like Ashley. A profiler. He stared back at One Way Holiness. There were a few white faces mingled among the African Americans. One or two younger ones wanting to be cool. A few older ones who looked as though they’d been in the neighborhood forever. All of them were few and far between.

He’d stick out like bird droppings on blacktop. No, there was no way he could slip in unseen. Not yet.

He leaned back against the post and waited, blowing a long sigh into the deepening blue. His breath was a smoky vapor trailing away into nothingness.

What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

He snorted. That one was easy. Book of James. He looked into the sky and let his lips part in a tiny snarl. “You can quote to me all you want.” He spoke his defiance quietly, the time for angry shouts and wailing jeremiads long past. It had been that way in the beginning, when the unreality of God’s crime was lost upon him. First, there were screams, ribbons of torment torn from his throat. Then prayers. Not the ‘Bless me, Lord, I pray,’ kind of prayers either. Long, loud, begging, bargaining, bleating prayers that were little more than groans. Cries for mercy, for miracle, for meaning. These eventually subsided, and at long last came the questions. Why?

He asked that one a thousand times. Why. It wasn’t even a question anymore. It was an accusation. How could You let this happen? What kind of God takes a fourteen year old girl and burns her in a fire? What manner of Deity delights in such sacrifice, and then demands unquestioning loyalty from the bereft?

What kind of God is that?

For a while, he debated whether any such God might exist at all. Perhaps there was no God. No one to answer for these crimes. No one to pay.

He shook his head, reaching for a cigarette. He tapped the pack against his open palm and pulled free a slender stick of paper and tobacco leaf, bringing it to his nose to smell the aromatic scent. His lighter flared in the blue, and he turned his face away from the crowd by the church, lest they see and recognize his features. In seconds he sucked the fumes into his lungs, blowing them out again in a sigh.

No. He’d decided a capricious God was better than no god at all. No god at all meant Ashley meant nothing at all, either. No god at all meant her life was meaningless. Her death less tragedy than senseless joke. It was simply not something he could accept.

Therefore God was cruel. Capricious. Culpable. And if he couldn’t punish the One who stole his daughter from him, he’d find other ways to work out his wrath. He took another drag off the cigarette and turned back to the church. Most of the people had filtered away from the church, slipping down the street to their cars or homes, leaving nothing but a scant trickle of humanity still lingering in the night. At last the few remaining drifted away from the door. The lights in the far back of the church winked out.

It was time.

He crushed out his cigarette against the telephone pole and stuck the butt into his front pocket. Wouldn’t do to leave any DNA at the scene for some enterprising CSI to stumble across. He crossed the street, glancing quickly both ways before scampering up the steps and inside the darkened vestibule.

The church’s sanctuary was much as he’d pictured it. Long rows of wooden pews with ornately carved sides stood gracefully on either side of the room. A wide aisle surged through the center, with crimson Berber carpeting spilling toward the front, where an altar squatted with the ubiquitous candles and cross. The pulpit was large, with broad panels on either side made for pounding a point home. A slender, silver microphone stand curved toward where the speaker’s mouth would be—a useful if completely unnecessary appendage in this small of a room. On the left, behind the railing up front where the penitent could pray sat the choir loft: three rows of pews that could seat maybe twenty five to thirty people. The projector and video screen on the wall behind the pulpit suggested the church was at least making the attempt to come into the twenty-first century. Idly, he wondered how much they’d paid for it.

From deeper within he heard the sounds of someone moving about. The minister or janitor or someone responsible to lock things up. He peered into the shadows but saw no one. Ducking behind the pews, he eased his body beneath the wooden bench, wiping his mouth on his sleeve as cobwebs clung to his lips. He tasted dust and sweat. The floor beneath him was cool, but hard, offering no comfort to his neck or back. His exhalation was loud and ragged in his ears, and he forced himself to calm down, easing his breathing to a whisper. Footfalls told him someone was coming.

He stared up at the bottom of the pew, seeing the faint stencil of the manufacturer’s name and logo still visible after all these years. The date on the pew said 1934. He wondered if the church itself had been here that long, or if they had purchased the benches used from some other congregation. No matter. The pews would burn. More fuel for the fire. More time with his girl.

The footfalls were nearer now. Heavy, plodding steps parading down the carpet. The sound was muted by the Berber pile, but he felt the vibrations in his back. He peered out at the corridor, willing himself unseen. A pair of heavy brown shoes appeared, beating out an even path to the door.

He held his breath, feeling a bead of sweat run down the width of his forehead and crash to the ground, almost certain its impact would reverberate, deafening against the hallowed floor.

The footsteps paused, and then turned in his direction. He could just see the leather toe of the shoe, hesitating near him. There was a resounding click! and the room plunged into darkness. A moment later, the front door closed, the key turned in the lock, and the footfalls retreated down the steps.

Gradually, he let his muscles relax. He hurt all over, and his breaths came out in tight, rapid pulses of air. He swallowed and pushed himself out from under the pew and stood there a moment, letting his eyes adjust to the darkness. He moved quickly over to the window, where clear plastic replaced the broken stained glass on at least one pane. His knee slammed into the back of the pew and a small yelp escaped his lips. He bit his tongue, refusing to cry out. Peering through the plastic pane, he watched as the figure he guessed was the church custodian ambled down the sidewalk until he was lost in shadow.

Finally, he let out his breath and sat down on the pew nearest the window. In the light that filtered from outside, he pulled out his fire-making kit. The bottle of gasoline caught in his pocket as he removed it, forcing him to turn the pocket inside out to free it. It came loose with a wispy thread caught on the lid. He tucked the pocket back inside his pants and set the bottle on the bench beside him. Next to it he set the lighter. He sat upright and looked around again, startled by how eerie the church felt, ensconced in shadow. Pale light filtered in muted hues from the stained glass windows, caressing the backs of the pews and glinting daintily off the far wall. He clenched and unclenched his fingers, wiping his sweaty palms on his pants several times to dry them.

Don’t do this, Daddy.

He pushed his palms into his face, not wanting to see. The memory came anyway.

Fire blazes before him, roiling clouds of black smoke smelling of burning vinyl, fuel and rubber. Glass shatters and crackles as the flames press against the van’s windows. Inside is Ashley. Little Ashley. He screams to her but she doesn’t answer. He reaches for her but a wave of heat slams him to the ground. Ashley, Ashley!

Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.

His sob broke the silence and he looked up, startled by the sound.

Let me go, Daddy.

No, Ashley. It’s time to come home.

Please, let me go.

Come home.

Daddy—

Now.

He picked up the bottle and the lighter, striding quickly to the front of the church. He splashed the fuel across the altar, the pulpit, and the new screen for the projector. He ran a line of it along the back bench of the choir loft, watching it dribble in sagging streams down the back of the pew. He dumped more on the carpet in front of the altar.

No, Daddy!

“It’s time to come home, now.” He bent forward and lit the cigarette lighter, holding the flame close to the fuel-soaked carpet.

“Obey your Daddy, now.”

A burst of orange and blue flame shot out along the carpet, flickering whimsically under the altar. It reached the line of gasoline that had fallen down the right leg and started lapping greedily up the table. He stared at the flame, fascinated by the demon’s pulsations. The fire climbed up the altar, and the line on the floor spread to the pulpit. Heat pushed against his face. It was a dance of hunger, a gyrating pulse of pure desire caressing, embracing, licking, gorging itself upon the wood.

Ashley.

The heat stroked his face, inviting. He gave himself to it, fingers of warmth gracing his neck, his arms, his torso, his loins. He was aroused. Later, he’d feel guilty for this foreplay. Right now, he wanted to give himself to it, to let the spirit that claimed his daughter’s life bring him to climax. He pushed out a heavy breath and retreated to the far pew. He fished out a fresh cigarette and stuck it between his teeth. The heat hadn’t reached the rear of the church, and the back of the pew still felt cool to his touch. His desire subsided.

That was always the danger. The demon wanted him. It craved his flesh, to possess him body and soul—a lover whose embrace would kill. But the demon also carried his daughter’s essence. He could bring her back, but only through the fire. The succubus brought her with it, dangling her presence, her smell before him, bait to lure him into the infernal coitus. It was a treacherous courtship, letting the demon woo him. He gave the spirit the churches instead, letting it satiate its hunger on those who’d wrought his grief.

He took a drag from his cigarette and leaned his head against his closed fist. God, how he missed her! Firelight flickered before him, brightening the church with its intensity. A clump of ash fell away from his cigarette, collapsing on the floor like a delicate, gray snowflake. A single touch would smear it into oblivion.

Something fell up front, sending a shower of sparks toward the ceiling. He started, looking up at the front of the church engulfed in flames. Outside the church flashes of red pulsated against the windows.

He’d stayed too long. Swallowing hard, he pushed himself from the pew and darted for the exit. He grabbed the handle and pulled, stunned when the door refused to budge. He tugged again, but it wouldn’t open. Behind him, he heard the demon laugh. He turned around, staring wide-eyed at the entrance to hell he’d opened up. The abyss of fire and smoke stood yawning before him. He turned and yanked on the door. Frantic. He raised his fist to pound on the frame, to scream for help.

He saw it. The knob of the deadbolt turned horizontally in the door. The firelight flashed against its shiny surface. He grabbed it and twisted. The deadbolt slid back. The door flew open. Cold air rushed into the building, a torrent of fresh oxygen eager to feed itself to the flames. Heedless, he burst through to the outside.

Lights from fire trucks and police cars surged toward him. He leaped over the steps and stumbled down the sidewalk. His legs scrambled for their footing on the concrete, but then they caught their stride and propelled him forward into darkness. He turned left at the corner and stumbled up the side street, then dashed right at the first alleyway. Only when he’d made three more turns and was sure he was now several blocks away did he slow to a walk, feeling his lungs burning for oxygen, his throat raw and warm with sputum. He was sure he tasted blood.

He put his hand against his heart and kept walking. His heart beat rough and heavy through his shirt, slowing only a very little as he turned again and worked his way toward his van. It couldn’t have been far. That’s when he noticed it. The smell of smoke heavy in his clothes. He fairly reeked of it. He pulled his collar close and breathed in her scent, her warmth. Oh, Ashley, Ashley! I’ve missed you, so very much!

He reached for his cigarette pack, and stopped. He’d left it behind. His cigarette. The one he’d lit in the church—no doubt still smoldering. When had he dropped it? He couldn’t remember. He closed his eyes and sighed. It could’ve been anywhere.

He pulled a cigarette free and lit it as he worked his way back toward the street. There was nothing to be done about it now. If they found it and guessed it was his, they’d have his DNA on file. They’d be able to put him at the scene of the crime, at least. Still, he told himself, that wasn’t in itself proof of anything. And even with the DNA off a cigarette, the church was a public place. There were lots of people who might stop in, not just him. Would they even be able to identify the saliva as his? Who knew?

It was a chance he had to take.

Posted: February 22, 2012 in The Writing Life, Topheth

I spent most of last night (really this morning. Early this morning) picking up the old threads to Topheth, the sequel to The Coppersmith. I started this book back in 2007, sometime after wrapping up the first, and I never finished it. I only got to around 27K words or so before moving on to write The Lost Scrolls. Now, going back to it again, I’m finding it a little difficult to reconnect with my lead character.

Part of the problem is that she’s changed between now and then. I made some serious adjustments to Janelle Becker before releasing The Coppersmith, mostly in terms of giving her a drug problem, and now I have to make who she is in this book consistent with who she’s become. The other part of the problem is that I’ve changed as a writer. I find that I’m much more critical and more developed than I was when I started working on Topheth. Even though there are parts of the story that are pure gold (my main reason in picking it up again), especially the scene where my arsonist tries to recall his daughter’s spirit by setting fire to the church (you’ll have to read it. I post an excerpt shortly.), there are way too many other parts that just need radical work to make them presentable.

All this is to say that I’m probably way off on my word count goals, but that’s largely because I’ve spent most of my time editing the story to try and get her character “right.” I’ve reached the point now where I can move ahead with the story, though the truth is she’s still not quite there. But I have more confidence now that I’ll get her where I want her to be before the story concludes. Regardless, I’m done making excuses. Now it’s time to crank out some words.

Just when you thought The Lost Scrolls was only fiction! Check out this article from WND: I’m including the story below in case the link doesn’t work.

Earliest Gospel of Mark found?

Would be oldest fragment of New Testament known to exist

Published: 11 hours ago

 by Joe Kovacs, executive news editor for WND, an award-winning journalist and author of the No. 1 best-selling book Shocked by the Bible: The Most Astonishing Facts You’ve Never Been Told.

A New Testament professor is setting the world of Bible scholarship on fire with his claim that newly discovered fragments of early Christian writings could include a first-century version of the Gospel of Mark, from the same century in which Jesus and the apostles lived.

Daniel B. Wallace of the Dallas Theological Seminary made the stunning announcement during a Feb. 1 debate with Bart Ehrman at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill on whether we have the wording of the original New Testament today.

“If this Mark fragment is confirmed as from the first century, what a thrill it will be to have a manuscript that is dated within the lifetime of many of the original followers of Jesus!” Wallace said. “Not only this, but this manuscript would have been written before the New Testament was completed.”

Wallace says seven New Testament fragments written on papyrus had recently been discovered – six of them probably from the second century and one of them probably from the first. He expects further details to be published “in about a year.”

“These manuscripts now increase our holdings as follows: we have as many as eighteen New Testament manuscripts (all fragmentary, more or less) from the second century and one from the first. Altogether, more than 40 percent of all New Testament verses are found in these manuscripts. But the most interesting thing is the first-century fragment.

“It was dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers. He said he was ‘certain’ that it was from the first century. If this is true, it would be the oldest fragment of the New Testament known to exist. Up until now, no one has discovered any first-century manuscripts of the New Testament. The oldest manuscript of the New Testament has been P52, a small fragment from John’s Gospel, dated to the first half of the second century. It was discovered in 1934.”

Wallace’s interest is focused on the portion from Mark’s Gospel.

“Before the discovery of this fragment, the oldest manuscript that had Mark in it was P45, from the early third century. This new fragment would predate that by 100 to 150 years.”

Craig A. Evans, professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College, says the find may indeed be of very great importance.

“If authenticity and early date are confirmed, this fragment of the Gospel of Mark could be very significant and show how well preserved the text of the New Testament really is. We all await its publication,” Evans told the Christian Post.

Others agree.

“Any find that gets us a quarter-century or so closer to the time the original gospels were written would be highly significant, even sensational,” Andreas Kostenberger, senior professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological in Wake Forest, N.C., told Baptist Press.

“Of course, in part the significance of the discovery depends on the size of the fragment, not to mention the verification of the date. There have been previous reports of discoveries of early Mark or other gospel manuscripts that did not check out at closer scrutiny, so it is certainly appropriate to maintain scholarly caution until the full data are known and available to public scrutiny. For example, some scholars got burned when they prematurely accepted so-called ‘Secret Mark,’ which turned out to be a forgery.”

When asked about the trustworthiness of what Mark really wrote if we don’t possess an actual original copy of his manuscript, Kostenberger said, “The fact is that the earliest manuscripts of all or parts of Mark that we do have show remarkable consistency and stability. And none of the minor variations between different manuscripts affect any major doctrine of Christianity at all.

“Of course, there is no way to prove positively one way or another what might have happened during the period between the original writing of Mark and the first available copies. Knowing what we do know about the care with which ancient Jews as well as early Christians took to preserve the original wording of what they believed to be authoritative and sacred writings – in fact, the very words of God – inspires a high degree of confidence. First the apostles, and then those after them carefully guarded the reliability of the eyewitness testimony to Jesus contained in the four canonical gospels.”

Just like I maintained in the book: the manuscript authority for the New Testament is untouchable and impeachable!

You can pre-order a copy now from Amazon. The book is slated to come out in June.

All good things must come to an end, and finally, Eye of Darkness has done so! Woohoo! I have finished the book. 106,662 words and 55 chapters long. Now all that remains is to finish the map (and it’s a little different building one electronically than drawing it from hand) and drop it into the text. And a little editing, too, of course. Cover art needs a little TLC yet, too.

But it is relieving to be done, finally. I’ll wrap up these items in the next few days, and should be able to release it via Createspace, Amazon, and Smashwords shortly thereafter. Of course, the fun part will be learning how to incorporate images into e-books. Not something I’ve done before, but it’ll be a good experience.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to plunge ahead with Topheth rather than Tree of Liberty. Given that The Coppersmith is outselling both Jefferson’s Road books, it seems to make sense. I’ll still get TOL done before summer, I’m sure. Topheth already has 26k words or so and a pretty complete outline of where to go, so I should be able to ramp up the speed needed to finish it by the end of March. That’ll give me about three months to work on TOL before the end of June. Worst case scenario: TOL waits for a September release. Regardless, it’ll be cool to have these books and The Lost Scrolls coming out around the same time.

I’ve spent the last several days going through Eye of Darkness with a fine-toothed comb, clearing out some of my more problematic little “hobgoblins” and rewriting a few scenes that just didn’t click for me. And the good news is that I’m back on track with the novel, and rapidly closing in on the end. Whew!

In a way, this book has been a bit of a lesson in humility for me. I started it in April, and the goal was to churn it out as quickly as possible. Now, I suppose I could give myself the time off for NaNoWriMo (which I finally won this year for Spilled Milk), meaning I pretty much took off November and most of December. But that still means that it’s taken me about eight and a half months to write this book. Hardly the ten weeks I was hoping for.

It’s not that I can’t write fast (Spilled Milk only took seven weeks). It’s just that this story has turned out to be far more complicated than I’d originally thought. And bigger. About 25% bigger.

Oh, I almost forgot: I took a significant break from it to edit both The Lost Scrolls as well as The Elixir of Life (which I’m still working on). So maybe seven and a half months. About three times what I’d estimated. Stats like that, I should work for the Defense Dept.

Anyway, I’m going to stick with the plan and keep working on finishing books as quickly as possible. The sheer number I have to write has not lessened a bit. In fact, I just came up with two more Janelle Becker book ideas just yesterday: One is called No Honor. In it Janelle has to investigate a serial killer in Dearborn, Michigan who is disguising his kills as “honor killings” among the more fundamentalist Muslims there. The other book is untitled at the moment, but has Janelle infiltrating an environmentalist terror group that functions like a cult. That provides me with six Janelle Becker books. And if I want to get any of these written before I die, I’ve got to get cracking. Oy!

Posted: February 11, 2012 in Jonathan Munro Adventures, The Lost Scrolls

I received a glowing review from Janet Dimond over at Christian Books Today for The Lost Scrolls. I’m not sure if it will link correctly, so I am sharing it in its entirety here.

“The fact something has never been found does not mean it never existed.”

An edge-of-your seat page-turner that will lead you across Turkey, Syria, the U.S. and elsewhere in a cat-and-mouse search for a scroll revealing the location of the missing autographs (original manuscripts) of the New Testament. Finding them, and being able to date and compare them to other ancient copies already in existence, would prove the accuracy and authenticity of the New Testament. But there is another mystery to solve and protect – a strange artifact – a fifth gospel written in Greek on what has become known as the Egerton papyrus. The scroll holds the key to everything.

In this spy vs. spy meets James Bond meets Indiana Jones quest, Dr. Jonathan Munro is reluctantly dragged into the chase to find the scroll before a private collector, professors, monks, priests, mercenaries and police on several continents, each with their own motivation – money, fame, research, knowledge, the contentment of knowing the scrolls are with their rightful owner.  Who that turns out to be will shock you.

We’re immediately hooked as we’re dropped into the midst of the race with a stabbing and a strange key. Jon’s ex-friend, archaeologist Dr. Stephen Kaufman, has been seriously injured in an attempted murder, and has sent Jon a clue and a message that he needs his help. Add Stephen’s sister (Jon’s ex-girlfriend) to the mix, and you have a recipe for adventure and issues of trust/mistrust that move the story forward at a frantic pace. Don’t rest or daydream during this one – you’ll miss key clues as you try to unravel the mystery yourself behind the location and meaning of the scroll.

Several stories intertwine in this mystery-suspense with holy and unholy alliances, twists and turns and unexpected outcomes. Intrigue grows as the story is told from several points of view, all mixed together, like viewing a movie through different cameras and angles. This makes perfect sense as the book could easily be made into a screenplay. It reads like one of those movies where you’ve bought the popcorn, but forget to eat it because you’re so wrapped up in the storyline and what’s happening in front of you.

Michael’s writing is brilliant. The facts are not handed to us on a platter. We are shown just enough evidence at the right time to link events that later make sense. And just when things seem to be calming down enough to take a breath, or rest your eyes, there is another shadow in the dark waiting to take you somewhere else. Your mind is never left idle. Characters and locations are drawn in vivid detail, and we are transported through the action without thinking much about it. We are simply “there.”

Jon Munro has devoted his life to providing evidence for the faith, even though he at times struggles with his own. It’s a refreshing honesty. And the fact he says science proves the Bible accurate, time and again, and has never been disproven, is a comfort to those seeking the Word of God as truth in their lives.

As an ancient history buff, and former translator, I was instantly drawn to the story and found it hard to put down. The Egerton papyrus really does exist, and it was interesting to think about the real-life quest that must have taken place to find and keep it. Michael has blended fact and fiction seamlessly. Well worth the read, this is fast-paced, non-stop action and intrigue at its best.

Janet Dimond is a freelance editor, proofreader, corporate and technical  writer with over 25 years’ experience in writing and editing for various  audiences. Several of her authors have won Word Guild awards. Some of Janet’s clients include Faith Today Magazine, Tyndale University College & Seminary, and Augsburg Fortress/Castle Quay Books. She believes the author’s voice should prevail, not hers, and can help take you from rough copy to published material. Easy to work with, Janet offers positive, concrete solutions at reasonable rates.

Please visit her website for additional services and information.

So there ya go! If you want to read the book (and who wouldn’t after a review like that!) you can pre-order a copy now from Amazon. The book is slated to come out in June (about three months earlier than we thought!).

Posted: February 9, 2012 in The Writing Life

Just spent a few minutes over at Joe Konrath’s blog – something I recommend any indie author do now and again (if not daily). Good way to get a solid kick in the backside and remember that success in writing is a ten year plan, not a two year or six month plan.  Konrath succeeds because he writes good books. A lot of them. And he independently sells them on Amazon and elsewhere. And he’s built up a solid fan base over several years by consistently providing good content.

At any rate, he put to rest the notion that e-books are a “bubble,” like some talking heads in Europe and elsewhere have been predicting, or that the market is anywhere near “saturated.” He made a great point: that he’d have to sell something like 10,000 books a day, and it would still take him the rest of his life to saturate the market. Oh, and he said this almost a year ago, and Amazon has sold over 6 million more kindles since then. That doesn’t take into account all the other e-readers out there.

Bottom line: I have to keep writing and releasing more books. Keep up the quality. Keep writing the stuff that people are buying (and it’s been a little hit and miss so far), and keep going.

Now that I’m refreshed from reading a little Feist, I think I can finally put Eye of Darkness to bed and get on with some more novels.

So I’ve had to take a break from writing for a little while. I could feel myself just really burning out, trying to crank out that many words with no real break. I’ve found that it’s helpful, every now and again, to read some fiction when I get like this. It’s kinda like refilling the tank. This week I’ve been enjoying Raymond Feist’s Flight of the Nighthawks. I haven’t picked up fantasy in awhile, so it’s been quite a treat to revisit one of my favorite authors. Given that I’ve been writing one of my own, it seemed a wise choice.

And I think it’s already paid off. I realized what’s been hanging me up about Eye. It had to do with how I was characterizing the fey in the book. I didn’t like it. Now, I’ve got a better plan that’ll require a little rewriting, but I think it’ll make the story stronger overall.

In the meantime I queried my editor about the next Jonathan Munro Adventure, and I got this as a response:

Please do send your manuscript! We give our authors preference for immediate reviews and feedback. Plus, we are working on the 2013 lineup.

So, with that in mind, I’ve been busily incorporating the edits my good friend Linda sent my way awhile back, and I hope to be sending on the manuscript in a week or so. But now, I’ve got to take the kids to their scouting meetings.