Weekend Reading!!!

It’s time for my Weekend Reading!!! One of the good things about being married to an avid reader, is she doesn’t mind if I put my nose in a book along with her. Although, it’s rarely the same book.

My wife and I have much different taste (Apart from Stranger Things). She is a Historical Romance reader and I’m an avid Science Fiction fan. In fact you should probably go check out her blog, follow her on Instagram, Twitter and all other imaginable places (It will earn me bonus points) then comment below and tell me you did so- It will earn you bonus points with me.

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One of my goals for 2018 is to read some of the classics in Speculative Fiction. Works by authors like Eddings, Heinlein, Bradbury, Asimov, Herbert, and a host of others. I think to often we dismiss these pioneers as yesterdays fiction- Just a pile of books collecting dust that are no longer relevant to a modern audience. To this I say: Nonsense. 

The works of these authors- Who wrote to give warning- Are just as relevant today as they were fifty years ago. Perhaps because in some ways the warnings of what we as a society could become were brushed off as simple conspiracies.

The first book I’m turning to in these classics is Space Cadet, by Robert A Heinlein. Heinlein is considered by many to be the grandfather of Science Fiction. A mentor to Bradbury, he paved the way and went from a simple pulp writer to a Hugo award winning author.

Space Cadet, written in 1948 is the story of Matt Dodson, who joins the Space Patrol to help preserve peace in the Solar System. It’s the standard story of a boy going to an unfamiliar academy and becoming a hero. Fifty pages in I’m already loving it.

So that’s what is up for me this weekend. What about you, what do you plan to read…? Tell me in the comments.
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Why I Write Dark Fiction: Or Horror

I’m taking a short break from writing. We’re moving in a few weeks and between repairs to our current home that need to be done, and packing, time isn’t all on my side. So I actually may be blogging a lot more over the next few weeks. (Don’t ask how I have time to blog but not write fiction: I may punch you)

Last week I had someone message me after reading my novella “My Friend Louie” with the question- How can Christian’s write horror…? Interesting question- and one that has been explored by a number of folks. But first let me explain…

My Friend Louie is the story of a young boy who has just witnessed his mother leaving him and his father, who has very few friends, and is trying to survive a bully down the street. Through out the course of the story he finds a Baseball bat, who he named Louie, and who he believes is alive and able to speak to him, through his sub-conscious.

It’s Louie who convinces him to use Louie (the bat) on his father and smack him on the head, it’s Louie who tells him to use (Louie the bat) on the bully down the street and go beat that crap out of him.

Told in a raw memoir style, I can say it’s not my best writing by any stretch. There are several that like it and other that don’t. And that’s okay… But that got me thinking about the question asked to me- Why do you write horror?

It’s weird, because I don’t think I do, and I certainly don’t set out to write horror. That’s not my end goal. And I certainly don’t believe I write horrifying things. But I do admit, I may write Dark Things.

Why…? Because I think it’s necessary. I think it’s honest.

Let’s get real. Life doesn’t always end in a happy ending. Bad things happen to good people.

G.K. Chesterton has been quoted dozens of times for having said that- “Fairy tales are more than true… Not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.”

This is so true- But yet not entirely true. Because the reality of the world we live in is this-

Sometimes the dragon wins…

That’s is a difficult truth to live with. But it’s reality all the same. Evil exist- Evil wins.

But for those of us who know Christ, we know there is hope.

We live in a broken, dark, dying world, that is full of sin. That’s reality. And there are so many in life that don’t see any sort of light or hope at the end. It’s just an empty void.

You see: My life is a life that has been spent living in the darkness of the shadows. I know what it feels like to not have hope. I know what it feels like to not see a way out. I understand the pain of brokenness and despair. I’ve lived that life.

Today I live free. Oh I still live in the shadows, only now I live in the shadow of the cross. It covers me and provides me with the hope I need.

I write not to explore the monsters, but to expose the fact that there are monsters everywhere, and we have to face them. Win, lose, draw… Life isn’t easy. Sometimes the story isn’t about defeating the dragon, but surviving and holding on to the light in the aftermath of the dragon winning a small battle.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that a part of me is the young boy in that story. I would be also lying to you if I didn’t say that a part of me is Louie as well.

So my stories from time to time may be a bit dark with some horrifying elements. They may not end in a happy ending. They may not even be all that Christian in the Christian sense because, there won’t be a solid redemptive story. But I promise you this…

They will be personal. And they will end with hope. And sometimes hope is all we need to get us through to the end.

 

“Compulsion” & “My Friend Louie” Now in Print

My two Novella’s “Compulsion” & “My Friend Louie” are now both available in print!

I enjoyed working on both of these stories. Compulsion was birthed out of the question I wanted to explore: Is there a limit to God’s forgiveness, and is there a line we as people will not cross to forgive someone…?

My friend Louie I wanted to explore the psychological issues of a young boy dealing with his parents divorce, as well as surviving a bully. Both of these issues are personal to me- And I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me in both Michael and Louie.

Many have had asked me: Is Louie Real…? Is he in fact, a possessed baseball bat…? Or is he just the product of a psychological damaged teen…? I’ll let you the reader decide.

These books were some of my first attempts at publishing- For my errors and early weaknesses in the craft, I do apologize. I am fully aware of passive voice issues, telling verse showing (Although in My Friend Louie that is an intentional device) and countless other shortcomings.

However, I enjoy the stories and more than anything- I hope you do as well.

You can get both by clicking on the link below:

And Compulsion includes two bonus short stories in the back.

COMPULSION

MY FRIEND LOUIE

Jesus & the Beanstalk Review

“We live in a world populated with Giants.”

I dove into this book on a plane ride back home one afternoon. I expected to knock out the introduction then catch a quick nap. After the first line I was hooked. Every where I turned I was reminded of my own life. Before I knew it my flight was landing and I was having to jump off and catch my connection.

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Lori Roeleveld’s new book Jesus & the Beanstalk takes the classic fairy tale Jack & the beanstalk and lines it up with powerful Biblical truths. Reminding us that there is power is the small things- like beans. That at times we toss aside our faith, listening to the doubts of the world, and never experience the power to slay the Giants that invade our lives.

As I read this I looked back on my own life. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the countless times I failed. Only to realize that during those times I was relying on my own self-centered self. That I was making life about me, my achievements, and my ambitions. It was only when I allowed the Power of Christ to rule my life that I saw my Giants slain.

Jesus and the Beanstalk is a personal story of how the author overcame her own Giants- Walking us through 1 Peter ch 1 we learn 8 incredible truths to live larger than life faith.

I give this book five stars and highly recommend it as something to read in groups or alongside your personal daily Bible study. Lori has an excellent grasp on a doctrine that is Biblically based.

A Time to Rise – Cover Reveal

The television host Mr Rogers was known for carrying around a quote from a social worker in his wallet. The note said:

“Frankly, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.” 

In storytelling, we call this the principle of  Make Me Love, or as Andrew Stanton says in his Ted Talk: Make me Care.

In my life I have lived in story. I have found myself diving deep into the depths of words scattered across pages, searching for friends, adventure, and a sense of wonder. The job of a story teller is to do just that. To open a black box and invite a reader in, and to quickly close the lid so they can’t escape. But that only happens when an author has obeyed the principle of “Make us Love / Make me care.”

The incredible covers created by Kirk DouPonce (Dog Ear Designs) for Nadine Brandes Out of Time Series are absolutely captivating. They provide that invitation and that principle of story- Making me want to care and love.

One can’t help but be left with questions: who is this girl? Where is she heading? And what is she searching for?

Pravin Blackwater is not the most likely hero one would expect. But once we hear her story, like those in her world, we can’t help but love and care for her.

This series is one of the most intriguing dystopian series I have ever read. With quotable prose that pulls you in and traps you until the early morning hours.

I’m sad- in some ways to see it come to an end. But like all great characters I have traveled with- the adventure may end, but the story goes on.

The last book in the Out of Time Series is being released this October. And I’m excited to see where our friend Nadine Brandes takes it!!!

Don’t hesitate to jump into this world.

The links for book 1 A Time to Die and book 2 A Time to Speak are below.

So jump in- Be encouraged- And get lost

A Time to Die

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A Time to Speak

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