Devotional Book

Our plans, and life in general, can kind of get away from us in some of the different seasons of life, am I right?

I never would have thought I would write the first book for the Kingdoms of Broken Stone series in less than a year and then take more than two years to get started on the second. I apologize to those who’ve waited patiently to continue reading the story, especially if you were hoping the next announcement from me would be in regards to the next installment.

During this season of life I’ve moved twice, had a job change, and, I hope this makes up from some of the disappointment, gotten a puppy.

(To be honest, the puppy was recent, so she didn’t really have an impact in delaying my writing.)

Her name is Lucy. She’s quite a bit bigger than this now, but I wanted to find the cutest picture I could to smooth things over a bit for not having the next book even remotely ready for enjoyment.

While a lot of life has happened, the main reason not much happened in the way of writing was my own lack of motivation and discouragement.

Perhaps I didn’t have much of a reason to be discouraged in terms of how many copies my first book sold. I shouldn’t have expected a large number when it was self-published, virtually lacking a cover, and my circle of influence, or “reach”, isn’t very large.

But I was disappointed nonetheless. Disappointed and discouraged.

So I didn’t really want to write the next book or any other book or do any writing of any kind. I focused on work and family and didn’t set aside any meaningful amount of time to write. I’d put so much of my time into writing, pitching, and pushing the book and the return wasn’t anywhere near what I hoped it would be. I had tried to set reasonable expectations and to take to heart the genuinely encouraging comments and reviews I received from those kind enough to read something I’d written, but even as my head told my heart to be happy with the blessings I’d received from others who read it, my heart still hoped it would sell enough to justify the amount of time I spent on it.

Silly, I know, but as much as I tried to adjust my hopes to something resembling what could be reasonably expected given the circumstances, I suppose the imagination that helps you write a fantasy book creeps into other parts of life as well.

For me, there is a funny set of emotions tied to writing and then asking people to pay for what I’ve written. I’d really like a lot of people to buy my book, but I’m also terrified about what they will think when they read it. I’d really like them to love what I’ve written, but if they do, will I disappoint them if the next thing I write isn’t as good? I’d like to be able to say that I write for an audience of one and hope to please God by using what He has given me, and maybe sometimes I’m able to have that perspective, but I often care about what others think and how many people read it, whether it is a book, article, or blog post.

Some of what I have written here may come across as ungrateful to those who’ve helped write and publish my work and to those who have bought and read my book. That is not my heart at all. In one sense, I am humbled beyond any words I can write that people would help me in this venture and that they would spend their resources (money and time) to purchase and read my work. I thank God for each of you and hope you have felt it was time and money well spent.

But it would be dishonest of me not to tell you all that has been in my heart and mind. Your kindness has earned that.

I do have something for you to read that, while it isn’t exactly new, has been edited, reworked, and assembled in a small collection.

Before I wrote Boy of Dreams, I’d been working on writing daily devotionals. I had hoped to write enough to fill a year, but I only got through 120-130 or so before I switched to writing the book. I had posted them here on my site for anyone to read.

At some point I had the idea to edit and assemble them in a small book. I wasn’t ready to begin full on writing again, but I thought if I worked on a writing project I could start to get back in the rhythm.

What I didn’t realize at the time was how much I needed to read the various scriptures and truths I’d written in the past. Many of them are written directly from places of weakness and struggle and were just as applicable to me now as when I first wrote them. The circumstances might be different, but many of the underlying heart and mind conditions are the same.

I planned to have one collection of 100 devotions, but I had to break it into two because you are only allowed to quote a certain number of verses from any given translation of the Bible without special consent. So I figured the easier thing to do would be to create two smaller devotionals of 50 each.

The book is available for Kindle or Paperback on Amazon.

 

Rebel Christian Review and Update

Hey All,

I haven’t posted much lately for a few reasons. I took a break from writing after publishing Boy of Dreams to reset a little. While doing that I spent my time contacting book reviewers and seeking out contests to enter the book in while also experimenting with how best to promote it. Then I started a new position at work that I enjoy but has taken some extra time during the transition. I’m just now starting to get back to “Book 2” in a serious way.

However, I feel it would only be fair to be transparent and set expectations properly for when “Book 2” might be available to be read. The contests I’ve entered Boy of Dreams in will take awhile to finish up. If the book does well, they have the potential to raise its profile and desirability for publishers. I have a core trilogy of three books planned, though I wouldn’t be opposed to continuing to write stories in the world of Kingdoms of Broken Stone beyond the three books I have planned. I’ve been advised that, If I want to have a shot (however small it might be) at a publisher picking up Kingdoms of Broken Stone (or KOBS as a friend has called it for short), I need to keep books two and three on the docket so that the potential publisher gets to be the one to release them for the first time.

Admittedly, it isn’t all that likely that Boy of Dreams will win the contests I’ve entered it in. It also isn’t likely that it will be picked up by a publisher, but I’d like to give it time just to see. If after the contests have finished up I haven’t had any traction in that regard, I’ll go ahead and self-publish the rest of the trilogy. But I wanted to set expectations for my small group of readers who are looking forward to continuing the journey, it might be a little while waiting for these things to shake out. I’ll keep writing with the idea that it will be self-published so that it is ready once I have an idea which way it is going to go, but even self-published it would be sometime in 2019.

All that being said, here’s another one of those reviews I was working on getting from Vay Elaine at the Rebel Christian.

My Footprints in the Sand

There is a poem titled, “Footprints in the Sand” that you have probably seen at some point in your life. In the poem, a person has a dream in which they look back over their life and see two sets of footprints in the sand, symbolizing walking through life with the Lord. When they look back at some of the hardest times in their life, they are surprised to see only one set of footprints. They thought that once they decided to follow Christ, He would never leave them on their own. Confused, the person questions the Lord about this:

“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has been only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

The Sand on My Journey of Life

I think if you were to stand with me, and we were to look back over my own life together in a similar manner, there would not simply be a few places with only one set of footprints and others with two sets sitting neatly side-by-side. Nor would there be a nice long continuous line showing no variation or detours.

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Reviews

The tools to write a book have never been more accessible than they are right now. For centuries, the entire process was done mostly by hand. If after completing a book you wanted to make a copy of it, a scribe would then rewrite the entire thing. Books were enormously time consuming to create, expensive to purchase, and the ability to read them varied. This is part of what makes the number of ancient Biblical manuscripts and the quality of those manuscripts remarkable. Many, many people invested countless hours meticulously copying and preserving the scriptures. Looking at just the Greek New Testament, there are 5,600 ancient copies remaining. The next closest is Homer’s Illiad with 643. After that it drops off considerably. We only have 10 copies of Julius Caesar’s writings. I digress.

The point is, with modern technology, millions of people now have the tools to create and distribute their written works. What was once difficult–or impossible–to access due to technological and education restraints, is now ready at the push of a button or tap of a screen (or even voice command). The challenge isn’t so much having a channel to distribute your work but getting people to pay attention or even be aware of it.

Readers have more choices everyday. Bowker reported that over one million books were published in the US in 2009. Finding something to read isn’t hard. Finding something good to read can be.

As an author or aspiring author–more often an expiring author–without a large platform, how do you get anyone to pay attention to your work?

Well, mainly you ask other people to share it with those they know. 

Whether they have a personal circle of people you don’t know or posses a platform of some kind, asking others to spread the word in some manner is really the only way to get your book noticed among the millions of other titles out there.

Of course you can do marketing and pay to have your book promoted and try to build your own platform, but really those are just different ways of asking people to spread the word. They can be effective but often require financial investment.

This is why it is so helpful to an author when people review their book in some form or fashion. In essence, each person or publication that does so raises the books visibility and credibility with more people. Those that have no personal connection to an author will often rely on reviews to make a decision about whether to give a title a shot or not.

Because of this, I appreciate each person who has read and reviewed my work on Amazon, GoodReads, or their own site/publication. Of course I am encouraged by each personal message I get about the book and how much someone enjoyed it as well. Sometimes those particular messages come right when I need a little extra encouragement as I begin work on the second book.

But when someone takes a couple minutes to go online, rate the book, and write a couple lines, that helps both in the moment and going forward.

To be clear, I get that people often intend to do so and forget, I know I would. I also understand that some people value their privacy and I get that too. But for those who remember and take the time to go on and give a rating and short blurb or something more substantial, Thank you.

 

 

 

Why the 90’s were Better (NOT a slideshow)

LeVar Burton was traveling through space exploring new frontiers on Star Trek and teaching kids to explore new frontiers through a love of reading on Reading Rainbow. Really this article could end here.

 Also, do you think it’s a coincidence that the guy doing a show about reading wore space glasses in Star Trek? Hmmm…

The only time I ever enjoyed Romeo and Juliet was when a Jack Russell Terrier was teaching me about it on Wishbone. Not everyone likes history and classical literature, but who doesn’t like a small, hyper-intelligent dog saving the day and educating everyone at the same time?

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Kingdoms of Broken Stone: Boy of Dreams

Boy of Dreams, the first book in the Kingdoms of Broken Stone series, is out now!

Purchase a paperback or Kindle version or see a preview from – Amazon

Kingdoms of Broken Stone: Boy of Dreams tells the story of an impatient wizard and her new apprentice that must keep their country from being torn apart while they search for the rightful heir to the throne.

The story is set primarily on the Isle of Esten. In terms of placement within the world, Esten is loosely based on the British Isles. However, its people groups, history, and interior geography are notably different. The greater world around it is influenced by common themes throughout fantasy stories, popular legends and myths, as well as non-fiction ancient and medieval history.

 

The major characters differ in age and racial backgrounds while their shared experience develops over the course of time. Though the conflict and enemies they face are the product of imagination, the emotions and decisions are ones that everyone wrestles with in various ways. Good and Evil are pitted against one another to form a classical foundation to a fresh story with new faces.

Those who enjoy The Adventures of Robin Hood, Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Tales of King Arthur, and other like stories are sure to recognize similar themes while experiencing a new world through unique characters.

 

Novel: First Draft Complete

I finished the first draft of my novel and have personally edited it once. I’m going through a second time and have a few others helping with the process. Meanwhile, I’ve begun querying agents to test the waters and gauge interest.

If you know of any literary agencies or publishing houses you think I should be aware of or reach out to, feel free to leave them in the comments.

I want to share the title and synopsis with you because I am excited about the story, but I know those things could change if it does eventually get picked up by someone, so I will refrain for now. I think it is safe to tell you that the world in which it is set has been influenced by Arthurian tales, the Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Adventures of Robin Hood, as well as Ancient and Medieval non-fiction history. It does not draw anything directly from these, but there are similar elements.

That’s all for now!