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Showing posts from April, 2013

Finding the Bigger Fishbowl

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One of my kids' favorite books is A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer...I'm sure most of you probably know it. It's that story where a little boy buys a fish at the pet store, and despite the shop keeper's warning, feeds the fish too much, and the fish begins to grow and grow and grow. The boy moves the fish from bowl to pitcher to pot to public swimming pool in order to find a place where the monstrosity he's created can fit. There are illustrations all through this book of a fish that doesn't even have enough room to turn around in whatever container he's occupying. He shifts from oblivious to shocked to dejected.

Authors in the Christian publishing world, in terms of marketing, seem to have this "big fish, little bowl" scenario working against them. Not in the sense that we've outgrown Christian publishing with our writing prowess and sheer market massiveness, but just that there's simply not enough water in Christian publishing in whi…

Valor's Worth: Book III of The Windrider Saga, chapter 1 sample

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Welcome, old friends and new explorers! Below, you'll find the first chapter of Valor's Worth, the next book in The Windrider Saga, for your preview. Please bear in mind, this is a draft of the chapter, subject to change once my editor gets his mitts on it. For now, I hope you enjoy it. And if you do, consider picking up copies of the stories preceding this one: Divine Summons and A Greater Strength. Both these ebooks can be yours for less than $7--which is less expensive than a single book from a big press.
So, without further ado...

Chapter 1 The Phoenix
We sailed high over the dense pine forests of northeastern Kelmirith, our only companions winging birds, clouds, and wind. The westering sun warmed my cheeks, although its dip below the horizon would soon usher in the frosty chill of a mid-autumn night. Far below, the winding river Nuruhain flashed, a strip of amber glass set alight by the sun’s inevitable demise. The rhythmic whoosh of Majestrin’s silver wings thrust us forwar…

Purple or Poetic? The Fine Line in Prose

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Since I spend about an hour and a half to two hours every day in my car, I use a lot of that time to think and observe. I figure, if I must have a commute that takes away time from my  writing, I can at least use that time to hash out things about or within my stories.

This morning was an observation kind of day. We had thunderstorms last night, which left everything quite wet, and lingering patches of thick haze hung in the air, depending on the elevation or the proximity of low, boggy places along my route. Since I take "the back way" to my job, I spend it driving through the hilly, wooded terrain of southeastern Pennsylvania, a route dotted with covered bridges, venerable fieldstone farmhouses, and mottled sycamores. Today, the sun was rising over the crest of a sloping farmstead, and the sunrise shone through the water droplet-laden grass grass with a silver glow. I fixed that picture in my mind, for use in a later book, I'm sure.

For me, if the description of a sett…

Intimacy with an Audience of Thousands

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Recently, I started reading George R R Martin's A Game of Thrones, as part of my quest to read in both the mainstream market as well as within the tinier niche of Christian speculative fiction.  I have not made it far into the book, and am not sure if I will finish it. Certainly, it is well-written, and the depth of the worldbuilding is fascinating, but I hit a speed bump in the chapter where the young teen character, Daenerys Targaryen, is given in marriage to the older Khal Drogo, which is very early in the book. I'll be honest--call me a prude if you must--but I found the on-page depiction of their wedding night squeamishly troubling.

Now, the fact is, if you are looking at the practices of medieval society, a teen-aged girl marrying an older man has plenty of precedent. Just because it seems skeevy to us in our modern-day mentality doesn't necessarily make it a deal breaker for me on this book. The coarse language in the preceding chapters was also a non-issue for me. …

Valor's Worth: Off to the Judge, Jury, and (hopefully not) Executioner

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Once again, another manuscript has escaped my hands and is now sitting in the likely-crowded inbox of an acquisitions editor. Even though I've had at least a dozen conversations with the powers-that-be at this publishing house, I can't help but have a little bit of trepidation about sending the book out for their ultimate acceptance or rejection. It's sort of like sending your kids into the first day of middle school. Maybe not as traumatic as the first day of Kindergarten, but somehow you know they are going to face new challenges, probably some nitpicking, and definitely some growing pains, and as much as you dread what might befall them, you know it must be done.

Having been down this small publishing road a few times now, I know what I want from the relationship, should the publisher in question decide this book is worth taking a chance on. It's no secret that every book    a publisher takes on is a risk, and my newest Windrider book takes some chances.For one, it…