Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category

Okay, it’s fairly obvious (since you’re here) that I’ve changed the look of the blog. So what do you think? I’ve got a listing of all the current titles available on the front, with some tantalizing images of future covers that I’ve worked up as well. The navigation should be a little smoother, too.

Soon I’ll be incorporating a few more elements (though I’m doing this at work right now, so I don’t have access to everything on my hard drive), including regular newsletters and polls (yeah, as in, “What would you like to see finished first,” or “What stories do you like best,” etc.), as well as (hopefully, if I can swing it) a chart that shows the progress of my various projects.

I think, by the time we’re done, this is gonna be an awesome site to call home. I hope you come back and check often and chat. Lemme know what you think!

Yes, I’ve gone and bit the bullet. I’ve submitted Jefferson’s Road: The Spirit of Resistance to Amazon.com as an e-book for their Kindle reader.

Really hoping I haven’t just stepped in a big ole’ pile of poo.

Anyway, I will keep this blog posted on what happens–if anything–with the book. Assuming Amazon approves it for their store (it’s that whole “Is this guy recommending sedition?” thing that’s got me a bit nervous, truth be told), then I’ll announce it on Facebook, create a fan page there, and upload the (slightly revised) video below to youtube and any other video site I can think of. I’ll also be announcing the book on the Tea Party website I joined a while back, as well as anywhere else I can think of.

I’m sure a mass e-mail wouldn’t be too inappropriate, either. Yeah, it’s SPAM, but it’s my address book. Just saying.

For anyone curious why I’d do something like this, check out the following links. You’ll see what I mean.

http://christianwriters.com/showthread.php?t=31559

http://christianwriters.com/showthread.php?t=31569

Thanks for listening.

A friend and I get together for breakfast every other week or so – just two guys trading ideas, stories and the like, sharing what God is doing in our lives and how He’s calling us to serve Him next. He told me that he thought God might’ve spoken to him in his quiet time, and that he thinks God told him that I would get a book contract in a week.
That was on June 25th.
Naturally, I had him write this down on a scrap of paper I’m keeping in my wallet, but I thought I’d record it here as well, just because… you know… just in case it’s true.
I don’t doubt for a minute that God can speak today. I’ve heard His voice myself a time or two (at least once He yelled at me. Deservedly so, of course). Some like to assert that God doesn’t speak anymore, but I find those arguments unbiblical. It’s not like He has cosmic laryngitis or anything. And why would He give us the indwelling presence of His Spirit if He didn’t aim to talk with us now and again?
Of course, that doesn’t mean we always hear Him right. I think it’s fairly easy to insert our own wishes in place of God’s actual voice, and maybe that’s what my friend has done. Which is kinda cool in its own right – means I’ve definitely got people pulling for me on this one.
On the other hand, maybe he did hear from God. I guess we’ll find out in a few days.

On a different note, I’ve been working up a book trailer for Jefferson’s Road. Yeah, I know – it ain’t published yet. But I’ve pretty much decided that it’s going to be – one way or another. If Kelly Mortimer declines to represent it, and no one else picks it up, I’m going to go ahead and use a POD printer to get it done – then find a way to get it into as many hands as I can. I figure I’ll have to do some marketing anyway, even if it is picked up by a traditional house, so it won’t hurt to be prepared.
Thing is, it’s just one of those stories that needs to be told. There’s too much crap coming down the pike not to do something about it. I fear for my country – not so much from what the current adminstration is doing, but from how it continues to divide us. I don’t think the rifts will heal, and with continual pressure pulling us in both directions, I don’t foresee us holding together as a people much longer.
I know I sound like some kind of moderate. I’m really not. But I don’t think the Left will let up until they’ve destroyed the country, and I don’t think it will be much longer before the Right is so fed up that they do something rash – like the Baird’s in Jefferson’s Road.
In a way, Jefferson’s Road is my own prophetic warning. See, it ain’t really about killing the President at all. It’s about a new Civil War ravaging our country – a war based not on geography, but on ideology. No convenient lines will demark the battle fronts. Not even red state vs. blue state. I’m anticipating a complete, societal meltdown. That’s what I want to warn against. I just hope somebody’s listening.
Maybe you think I’m being overly dramatic. Maybe you think it can’t happen here (thank you Sinclair Lewis). Or maybe it’s already happening. I read about bricks being tossed through election headquarters and political volunteers getting roughed up. Protests and counter-protests. People getting arrested for daring to pray in public (happened in Elmira). Assaults on free speech. And the President appointing more leftist czars than you can shake a stick at. I keep an eye on the news, and I think “It can’t be long now,” and I just feel such an urgency to finish the next book and get these stories out there before it’s too late.
Back on 9-11 the whole country came together because we had a readily identifiable enemy. But our togetherness didn’t last long, did it? That’s the problem. There are two ways to unite a people. You either give them a common vision, or you give them a common enemy. We don’t have a common vision anymore. So common enemies are all that work.
Nietzsche said, “Only a horizon ringed about with myths can unify a culture.” The common myths that made us Americans have been under assault now for generations, and I fear that the new generations don’t even know what it means to be an American anymore. And without that common vision, and without a common faith in a Creator God, we will not stand much longer. A strong wind will blow us down like a hollow oak. Anyway, that’s just my take on things.

New Year!

Posted: January 2, 2009 in Ramblings

So here we are at the start of a new year. I’m still writing, and still waiting to make it as a writer. Recently, I started submitting The Coppersmith to the Christian writers forum for peer review. I’m a little worried about how they’ll handle chapter three, given its graphic nature – though that in itself will tell me something about how well the book will be received. Nevertheless, I’ve gotten some very good feedback so far with chapter one. Still awaiting a little more for chapter two.

It seems I’ve overwritten the first chapter–too much description and backstory on irrelevant characters slowing down the pace of the action. I suspect this is the result of just starting the story, and not being fully familiar with my characters or how they act, nor my storyline. I wonder if I’m guilty of this in all my writing, or if this is just characteristic of my first chapter for this novel. I know I can see this little hobgoblin ruining the first chapter of Topheth, and probably in Jezebel as well. I will have to look into The Autographs to see if it manifests there also.

In the meantime, I’ve continued to work on both The Autographs and The Spark, hoping to finish them soon. I’m beginning to see why it takes so long to turn out a quality novel (meaning, two years since finishing The Coppersmith and it still isn’t ready), though I hope to take advantage of the peer review process in forums and in my writing group to expedite this process.

Computer Crash!

Posted: August 7, 2008 in Ramblings

Oh, this has been a fun week! It started on Tuesday morning, when my laptop began freezing up, then refused to boot up entirely. Mercifully, God resurrected it one last time – enough for me to suck all of My Documents onto the hard drive of my server downstairs – before it crashed and burned for good.

So now I’m writing this on the new church laptop, a rebuilt Acer model I bought for $325. Can’t beat the price, but it’s been fun reinstalling Windows and all my programs. Up until late last night I didn’t even have a sound card driver installed (which is scary, given that we rely on computer generated music for our church on Sundays. No worship leader yet. Got to go MIDI.).

Anyway, I’m still getting used to the new machine, and this is on top of needing to start a new teaching series based on the book of Judges. The weird thing is this computer has one of the new wide screens, which is great, I guess, for video, but still makes everything look kinda squished.

At least I was able to save all the documents. And find all my disks to install needed programs (touch and go there. I almost didn’t find the wireless network driver, which would mean no internet, no network, no nothin’!).

Ah well. Gotta love the computer age!

Back to Work!

Posted: August 5, 2008 in Praise Report, Ramblings

It has been a busy past week and a half. In addition to now recording our Sunday messages and being able to upload them to the church website, as well as uploading a weekly blog entry on the site, I’ve also been gearing up for a new series we’re doing called The Justice League – a series of character studies from the book of Judges. I’ll play off of similarities between some of the more famous Marvel and DC Comics superheroes (no, I’m not going to distinguish between who belongs in which universe. All you comic-book purists can just deal with it!) and some of the more famous Judges from that period of Israel’s history.

Additionally, I finally have a job interview! It’s a bit less than what I was making at the paper, but assuming I’m hired, I can supplement our income by delivering papers or some other side job until we’re able to pay bills through writing and/or church work. At least it’s a foot in the door.

And at last, the real reason I’ve been somewhat absent from my blog and from the forums… (drumroll)… I’m writing! Woohoo!

At this point I am actively working on both St. Jude and Autograph, which I’m enjoying immensely. I’ve done some more work on the screenplay, but it isn’t holding my attention right now the way these two novels are. St. Jude is delightfully dark and moody, and Autograph is fast-paced and fun – kinda like Indiana Jones meets The DaVinci Code. Yes, when it comes time to sell the book, I’ll have to find some other comparison. No agent wants to hear a writer say, “My book is the next DaVinci Code.” I’ve heard that a number of times already.

I don’t have any earthshaking expectations for Autograph. I’m mostly writing it ’cause it’s fun. Yes, it deals with forgiveness and even biblical archaeology, but it doesn’t have a larger point to make other than a fun road trip. It’s mind candy.

St. Jude, of course, is all about making a point. It’s a sermon on grace, without being a sermon, of course. I’ll post an excerpt for y’all to take a look at in the near future. As always, feel free to comment on it.

But since the day is short, and since I don’t have much of this unexpected vacation left, I’m going to sign off for now and get back to work! Later!

Okay, now that’s just cool!

Posted: July 23, 2008 in Ramblings

This has been an exciting day.

Umm… (disclaimer:) for those of you with any tech saavy at all, please don’t laugh…

I just figured out how to add links to my website for church. Don’t go all “Duh!” on me now. Wait a second.

See, I built the website in PowerPoint. I don’t know enough html to build it from scratch so I use a what-you-see-is-what-you-get type interface to make it look like how I want it to look. PowerPoint probably isn’t the best choice (I downloaded a freeware version I found, but I can’t figure the darn thing out), but it works for me.

The problem has been putting files and blog and audio files and such up, as I haven’t been able to figure out how to make the links point to the proper file on my web server.

Today at last!

So anyway, now I have a second blog up and running off of my church website. You can visit it here: www.crosswalkcoc.com, and just use the link in the upper right corner to go to the blog. I’ll be updating weekly with the various ramblings I usually subject my church to each Sunday.

Gotta go eat dinner now before prayer meeting. Later!

Further Along

Posted: July 16, 2008 in Praise Report, Ramblings

So last night (well, actually a good part of yesterday) I buckled down on my screenplay Age of Reason, and managed to push out another fifteen pages or so of writing. I’m rather pleased with myself right now, thank you very much.

The only problem I see with the story at the moment is that the movie will be too short. I’m told you can expect about one minute of film per page of screenplay. I will have about 60 pages as the outline stands currently. An hour is respectable, but not enough. I was hoping for a decent hour and a half.

I don’t want to pad the movie unnecessarily, but this has caused me to wonder what else in the story line needs further development. I don’t want the story to go off track from the main thrust, and yet I think I can probably accomplish both ends by showing how the crisis of faith has affected more people than just two families.

In fact, I just realized I have two additional characters (one of whom serves as an antagonist) for whom I’ve shown practically no developing scenes whatsoever. Now I just have to figure out what to write and how to weave it into the outline.

I’ve been using a USScriptSmart Gold template for Microsoft Word for the screenplay. It’s useful in that it helps with the formatting while being completely free of charge (hey, I’m still essentially unemployed. Free is very important to me). The downside is that it makes inserting anything new into the script very difficult, as it doesn’t automatically adjust for page breaks. I’ll have to spend a significant amount of time reformatting this document once it’s done to satisfaction. Oh well. Someday (when I have money to spend) I’ll invest in a decent screenwriting software program.

In the meantime, I’m just about better than half done. Cool. Soon, I’ll just have to worry about selling the script. Woohoo.

Call Me Scatter-Brained

Posted: June 28, 2008 in Ramblings

It’s a quiet night. The kids are tucked into bed. My wife is upstairs reading a novel, and I’m downstairs contemplating a bowl of ice cream before we watch a rented flick. Tomorrow is Sunday. I’ll be preaching on trusting each other. The thrust of my message is that we can pretty much trust each other to mess up in our relationships, but we should choose to be vulnerable anyway as an act of love.

I’ve started yet another new book. I’m beginning to suspect what I’ve known for a long time. I have a hard time finishing novels. This time I’m working on Saint Jude. Saint Jude is the story about what happens when an ex-con, a convicted pedophile in this case (I tried to imagine the worst possible sin I could), moves back home and wants to start attending church. It’ll be an interesting contrast in grace versus law, I think. I’m not sure about the beginning just yet, but I’ll keep working on it. At the moment I have 5,136 words.

So here are the stats:
Topheth – 27,910 words
Jezebel – 6,486 words
Autograph – 24,475 words
The Novem – 26,289 words

Gee, if I’d have just concentrated on one book, I’d have (gets calculator) 90,296 words. A second finished novel in addition to The Coppersmith. My only consolation is that if I keep this up (and don’t add any more new novels!) I’ll be able to knock out a series of books to sell in a short period of time. I don’t know if that will be a good thing or not.

On the other hand, I prefer to spend time working on multiple stories. I can switch back and forth whenever I get stuck or bored, and keep writing without any real issues with writer’s block. Oh well. As long as I’m enjoying the process.

Balance

Posted: June 16, 2008 in Ramblings

So now I’m active in at least three forums (which is a drop in the bucket, of course), and I’m getting emails throughout the day responding to various comments I might leave in different locations. Hmm…

Not much writing getting done.

I took some time the other day and worked a bit on Autograph. I have my doubts about finishing it (although I think sheer stubborness will win out), if only because I haven’t really found myself liking the book so far. I like the concept, and I even like the story I came up with in my outline. Just not the writing. It isn’t even style or grammar. I just don’t like it that much yet.

I’m going to give it some time, though. I may yet find the story’s voice.

The real difficulty in balance is in having so many conflicting priorities. I have to look for a steady job (which is irksome, ’cause I’d rather get paid to be me – or at least to write). I have ministry to do (I don’t get paid for that usually. I have a little support coming in, but nothing to live on). And, of course, my wife wants my expertise on putting together her homeschooling reports. Sigh.

I know that sometime today I will be prayer walking the neighborhood. I’m convinced this is how God wants me to gather His people together – if only because nothing else has worked!

And maybe part of the problem is having so many stories I want to write – stories I have started and just not been able to finish yet. Heck, I have more of them coming to mind all the time.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand I can wave to make this all happen. I have to work at it all slowly and steadily, all the while acknowledging that none of this may go anywhere except for my harddrive. On the other hand, the truth is I’m not really writing for everyone else. I write because I want to. I tell the stories I’m interested in.

And I remain confident that all of this is going to make sense – even bear fruit at some future date.

I planted a garden the other day. We have these woods and underbrush behind our house. I cleared away about 60 square feet, tilled the soil, and planted about seven rows of corn. I’m told most people don’t succeed with corn. I just about broke my lower back working with the shovel and rake (no pick axe or motorized equipment. Just a shovel and rake), not to mention the blisters on each hand. I’ve also contracted a nice bout of poison ivy all up my hands and arms (should’ve seen that coming.).

And now I have this barren patch of earth behind my house. The seeds are in the ground. It’s good soil. The sun is shining, and the rain falls. And in about two months time, I might see some corn. Right now I just get to trust that all my hardwork and pain will pay off.

Now my wife wants me to plant some squash…