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Showing posts from 2009

Christmas and Fantasy

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'Tis the season to consider what we as Christians feel about Santa Claus.

Now, I know this isn't exactly a classic fantasy discussion here, but it does bear examination. I myself have held a varying opinion on the topic in my lifetime, due mostly to a re-examination of the condition of my soul and how that colors my opinion about Santa.

When my firstborn was very little, we were vehement that we weren't going to perpetuate a "lie" to our children, only to have to tell them that we had been pulling the wool over their eyes, building up the false hope that Santa Claus did indeed show up and leave presents every Christmas eve. As the years have passed and subsequent children have arrived in our family, we've stepped back from that position to a degree, mostly because I felt like it smacked of legalism. Granted, we've never actually said anything about Santa Claus coming to our house, and the kids know full well that mom and dad shop for Christmas presents. We …

The Last Marcher Lord Select Post

Well, it's official. As of about 1 am the morning of the 16th, I discovered that The Sword of the Patron did not make the cut for the finals of Marcher Lord Select.

But as I've been saying in all my other internet "hang outs," I cannot say I am battling any sense of disappointment over it. Maybe it will set in later. Maybe not

What I do come away with from the whole thing is that I have a healthy number of people who would stand behind my book. Maybe not enough to run away with a contest on Jeff Gerke's forum, but enough to encourage me that my story is one people will read and enjoy. Does it still need work? Of course. I don't know that any novel is ever really done. You just eventually stop working on it. (Hopefully that stopping point connects to a publishing contract.)

So, now I'm faced with the question...do I dive into rewrites now? Do I focus solely on finishing my serial for Digital Dragon, the come back to SOTP? Do I switch gears entirely and write…
Okay, in an effort to avoid boring all of you to tears with continued blathering about Marcher Lord Select, I'll make a single, short announcement about that, and then blog about something entirely different.

The Sword of the Patron has officially moved into phase three of the Marcher Lord Select Contest, now standing amidst a field of eight semi-finalists contending for the prize of publication in the spring of 2010. As you can imagine, I'm very excited, but doubly as thankful to those of you who have voted. I exhort you to keep voting! The margins have been extremely tight between winners to those eliminated, so every single vote counts.

Now, onto other subjects.

The Language Barrier

I was watching Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring (yes, for about the gabillionth time) and a new thought struck me with reference to my writing. As the Uruk Hai brought their particular brand of mayhem to the fracturing fellowship, their chieftain bellows, "Find the halflings!&quo…

Round Two Voting

Here we go!

The voting for Marcher Lord Select: Round Two began early. The polls for both the Premise Contest and the Main Contest (In which The Sword of the Patron competes) went live Friday at about 9:30 pm.

So, if you're voting in this one, you can do so any time over the weekend until midnight on Monday. Once again, the contest requires that you vote for 3 selections for your vote to count, so enjoy picking at least three of your favorites.

Will Danae's story live on to phase three, where voters and contestants alike will get to read the first thirty pages of the stories that remain? If it does, I don't think you will be disappointed with the mix of action and character depth you'll find in those pages.

Technical information:
Go to www.wherethemapends.proboards.com to find the contest of the forum called "The Anomaly." All contest rules and polls are posted under the top message board called "Marcher Lord Select."

Keeping it clean

Over the past week, there's been some dust kicked up over in the world of Romance Novels (don't worry, I'm not shifting the focus of this blog from fantasy to romance...just using the current debate as a jumping-off point!)

Anyway, agent Chip MacGregor and author Ted Dekker seem to be at loggerheads concerning an imprint of Harlequin called Love Inspired, which takes submissions for very "clean" Christian Romance. Love Inspired, on their site, has a very detailed list of what words they will not allow to appear in manuscripts they publish.

If you want to browse the list, look at this

Now, Mr. Dekker went a little nuts about the "narrowness" of this list, and Mr. MacGregor came back with a scathing rebuttal, but without getting into their arguments, how does this apply to Christian Fantasy?

I think the ideology is something we all have to consider when we talk about books of any genre that bear the prefix "Christian." Just how pristine should the …

End of Round One

It's with my humble thanks that I inform all of you the outcome of the first round of voting for Marcher Lord Select. It appears that my book, The Sword of the Patron, has garnered enough votes to make it through to round 2! For each an every one of you who took the time to participate in the voting, I offer my deep appreciation. When Jeff Gerke explained that the last slot to advance came down to a single vote, an author can't help but heave a sigh of relief. My congratulations to my co-competitors who have advanced, and my applause to those who submitted but did not move on. It takes perseverance to finish a novel, and bravery to hold it out for public scrutiny. Everyone involved has enjoyed a victory on one level or another.

A part of me wondered if I ought to contact Jeff Gerke, as he said if we wanted to know specifically how our books fared, that we were welcome to ask. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought, "Why?" Whether I came in 1st, 18th or an…

Ever closer

The countdown has wound to a scant few days before the voting will begin over at Marcher Lord Select. This may be one of the longest weekends of my life, barring the two times I went 3 days overdue with babies who seemed content to remain within the safety of the womb.

But just as those sons of mine eventually made their way into the light of the outside world, so shall this coming weekend pass, and to what end, who can say? I have several loyal readers (dare I call them fans while I am still unpublished?)who promise their votes, and a few readers I have not yet met who have stated their intention to vote for my novel over on the message boards at The Anomaly, but the truth of the matter is that the many, many voters who have remained silent insofar will determine the outcome of this round of voting. My continual prayer has been that I will make it past round one, but then I keep amending that to say that whatever the Lord's will is in this, that I will have the wisdom, courage and…

Quick Update

Hello, Fans of Speculative Fiction!

Well, it has begun...the opportunity to read the 30+ contenders for a spot on Marcher Lord Press' spring release list is up at www.wherethemapends.proboards.com. If you're so inclined to help choose the book Marcher Lord Press puts into print, you'll have to create a free account, and then at the top of the forums, you'll be able to access the Marcher Lord Select boards. Be warned, you must vote for three entries, so the contest won't be heavily weighted by folks who just drop in to vote for somebody they know and really don't invest in the process.

There's a pretty wide range of offerings in the fray, for sure. I, as an author, am permitted to vote, and how hard is it to choose the two books I will vote for along side my own!? Having a part in choosing one's own competition is daunting, to say the least.

It has been interesting to watch the guidelines of the contest unfold, as Jeff Gerke, the mastermind behind it all, …

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming...

Hello friends of Christian Speculative fiction!

I know I said I was going to come back here and make some comments about our local production of Dracula, but I had to push that to another burner for a moment,due to an exciting development in my journey towards publication for my novel, The Sword of the Patron.


Below, you'll find a press release form Jeff Gerke of Marcher Lord Press, the publisher that currently has my manuscript. I have received my formal invitation to participate in the votes-based contest you'll read about below. Since The Sword of the Patron is my first novel-length work, I am humbled and honored to be in the running for publication through this contest.

October 17, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Marcher Lord Press Announces Marcher Lord Select

(Colorado Springs, CO)--Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction, today announced the debut of a revolution in fiction acquisitions.

"Marcher Lord Select is American Idol meets book acquis…

Drawing the Line

Let's face it, it's something we all have to do. We have to decide what we believe honors God--what we will allow into our minds and subsequently, our hearts. The world is rife with entertainment that looks innocuous at first glance, but will slowly poison the soul. It's also full of garbage that looks horrible from as little as the thirty second teaser that pops up during commercial breaks for other programming. I'm thankful for those horrific blurbs. They save me a lot of time in deciding what I can absolutely avoid.

What I want to address today, however, are the instances where the line is blurrier. In my recent experience, one of these foggy places had to do with my husband's participation in a local stage production of Dracula.

I realize that the vampire has made a comeback, with the overwhelming popularity of the Twilight series. I admit, I know next to nothing about Stephenie Meyer's phenomenon, since I have no fascination with vampire stories, and have ne…

The Building of a World

I'm going to be honest here. I'm typing right now because the great, unwritten rules of blogging say one must update with some degree of regularity, or else risk perpetual anonymity. So here I am, doing my "butt in chair" time, as other writers I've read call it. The difference between the professional and the hobbyist, so I'm told, is the dedication to do something even when you're not feeling particularly inspired.

So, what should I talk about when my inspiration is a at an ebb? Perhaps inspiration itself would be a good topic, specifically, the muse that eggs on many a fantasy writer: world building.

I am a proponent of world building before you sit down to bang out that first story. Not that details won't come to a writer as he crafts a tale, but from my own experience, the writing of my fantasy trilogy has been eased greatly by the fact that my world was in place long before I endeavored to write stories in it. I see it as an equivalent to what the…

Some self promotion, I admit it

Alright, I'll come clean right at the top here...a big part of why I have started this blog is in an effort to gain some visibility as I zero in on my goal of publication for my fantasy trilogy of novels The Call of the Creator Series. Book One, The Sword of the Patron, is nearing submission to publishers...Lord willing, by the end of September.

But besides editing those novels, I've also been trying my hand at some shorter fiction, and the bulk of this post will be with regard to that endeavor.

For the past couple months, I've been chattering occasionally about a few short stories I've submitted to a new web-zine at www.digitaldragonmagazine.net. The editor has been very complimentary of my submissions, accepting the first two stories and even asking me to take the characters and setting and expand it into serial fiction.

And so, the continuing saga of "The Windrider" has been born. On the first of every month for about the next year (at least that's my …

Yet Another Hot Button

I realize this is a little departure from my professed focus of Christian Fantasy Writing, but it's still a topic that bears discussion.

If you think that being a reader or writer of Christian fantasy fiction invited suspicious stares from the non-fantasy-reading world, try admitting to being both a Christian and a role playing game enthusiast. Role playing games (which shall be abbreviated RPGs from here) certainly have what the general populace regards as a "weird" following. I'll be the first to admit, gamers aren't ordinary. They spend Saturday afternoons huddled around a big table with a grid map, miniatures, stacks of rulebooks and resources, polygon dice and wild imaginations at work, rather than heading to the ballpark,mowing the lawn, or whatever other "normal" task their non-gaming counterparts may undertake on that same day. Or perhaps they take up residence in front of their computers for a few hours for a journey into another world.

Now, why …

Fantasy Fiction and the Ultimate Victory

While attending the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference this weekend, one of my teachers, Jeff Gerke of Marcher Lord Press, ( http://www.marcherlordpress.com/ ) said something that really struck me as a topic that begs for deeper reflection. Well, to be honest, he said about 453,000 things that beg for deeper reflection, but I'll just take a stab at one for now.

This one statement that struck me went something like this: Fantasy, as a genre, may have the greatest potential to convey a Christian message of any fiction that is being published today. Why is that? Mostly, it has to do with the fact that fantasy tends to deal with very black-and-white delineation between ultimate good and absolute evil. Where else can a writer paint a story with those "brushes", so to speak? In an age where society wants to homogonize all thoughts and theories into a cask of gray neither-here-nor-there philosophy, we, the fantasy writers and readers, still hold the ground o…

Highs and Lows

Fantasy, as a genre, splinters into a gaggle of subgenres, the definitions of which vary from source to source. The two subgenres I'd like to deal with today, through the goggles of this Christian worldview I keep mentioning, are High Fantasy and Low Fantasy.

First, let's start off with a couple of simple definitions, for the sake of beginning the discussion on common ground. Low Fantasy, simply put, is fantasy that takes place in what we all know as the "real world", in real places you can find on a map here on planet earth, or at least put in a general geographic region between real places. High Fantasy, on the other hand, takes place in a wholly invented place, like J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth.

I, personally, prefer High Fantasy, not only for the experience of being transported to something vastly different than what I find around me in suburban Pennsylvania, but also, because spiritually, I find dealing with a fictional universe less problematic.

There ar…

Fantasy in the Crossfire

Among Christians, it's true that fantasy divides people into a lot of camps. There are people who assert that if something isn't true, (citing the definition in Phillippians 4:8*) that at the very least, it isn't worthy of the time it takes to read it; at worst, it leads down a path to damnation. There are folks who say as long as the fantasy functions as an unmistakable Christian allegory that can be aligned seamlessly with scripture, then it's acceptable. There are people who feel that as long as the story isn't rife with promiscuity and flagrant glorifying of the occult, then it flies with them. And of course, there are all shades in-between.

Myself, I fall a little to one side of the folks who support allegory. In my own work, I strive to interweave concepts and themes that are God honoring. Are they specifically trying to teach theology or scripture? No. Will there be people who bluster at me because what I am writing doesn't paint an exact picture of the G…

Welcome

I'm so pleased that your journeys have led you here, and I hope that you will hang up your coat, take off your shoes, and join me for a while at the fireside. In this place, I hope to engage friends, both old and new, in the rapt discussion of what makes fantasy so appealing. Better yet, I pray we will explore together how fantasy fiction can bring glory to the one who created imagination when he breathed his image into man.

Who am I, and why do I spend the time thinking about these things? My name is Becky Minor, and I am the aspiring author of a Christian Fantasy Series called The Call of the Creator. Book One: The Sword of the Patron nears its great and fearsome entrance into the quest for a publisher (more on that at the end of the summer), Book Two: The Voice Within, which concludes the adventures of Book One, has an appointment with deep scrutiny, editing and expansion, and Book Three (as yet untitled) has begun to rattle around in my head, dropping bits and pieces of its plo…