Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Getting Political . . . on second thought...

I have a lot of opinions. Most of them not about writing. (One of my dream jobs would be to have my own radio talk show. I know: So would everyone else right.) But I've been hesitant to get into certain topics here because I actually thought my novel would be published by now (positive thinking not arrogance) and I didn't want to alienate any future novel buyers.

It's just makes sense to me that if you're in certain lines of work, you probably shouldn't talk about politics because it could alienate customers, listeners, readers, viewers, etc. (i.e. I no longer watch Letterman for this very reason.)

But I wonder if I'm wrong about that. I would still read Koontz even if I disagreed with his politics. That is as long as his novels weren't just transparent conveyors of indoctrination. Letterman interjects his politics to the detriment of his jokes. If he didn't do that, I'd still watch.

I'm curious as to where most stand on this. Would you care? Would you be hesitant to buy a book from someone you disagreed with? What about someone who went really far like declaring all Christians stupid or openly campaigning for abortion?

I'm sure everyone has a limit. I surely wouldn't buy a novel ---even a great one--- from a Klan member. Where do you draw the line?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Writing Christian Fiction is harder . . .

...than secular.

(At least the way I define it.)

The supposed common knowledge is that making it in Christian music is easier than secular. I doubt if that is true. Struggling secular bands may see less talented musicians "making it" in Christian music and come to that conclusion. I think what they are missing is that's it's a different dynamic (or skill set). The audience will see through a pretender. You still have to deliver a product that meets or exceeds audience expectation.

I think the same is true with Christian fiction. In fact, given the deeper survey of thought afforded by a novel, it would be exponentially harder to pass one's self off as a the read deal just to, as the misconception goes, travel down an easier road to publication.

I had assumed that the writers I'd meet who don't write Christian fiction, would assume the same thing: That it is probably easier, and therefore look down upon me.

So it was a pleasant surprise to hear the response of the first novel writer who asked me the question: So what do you write?

After hearing my response, he said, and I paraphrase: "That must be really difficult. I just write, but you have to keep theme in mind from the beginning." I think he even said something about admiring me for even trying. I was like "Wow. He gets it."

I have several novel ideas that would never be published by a Christian publisher. Those ideas definitely seem easier to plot out and roll with.

Right now I'm struggling with developing the Christian novel ideas I have. I say it's harder. What do you think?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

And they call me the extremist . . .

I really don't get the pro-abortion stance. My only assumption is that it's a self-delusional rational for birth control for people who want to be irresponsibly promiscuous.

You either believe a fetus is a human being or you don't. If you don't then you have to decide when it becomes a human being.

But beyond that, I've always been mystified by the following phrase: I'm against abortion except for rape, incest, or the life of the mother.

**(Okay, I'll concede that I'd have a hard time letting my (if I was married) wife die instead of the baby, so let's skip that one. )

Why does a child born of rape or incest rate lower than the rest of us? What a horrible thing to say. Can you imagine what those who were born of that circumstance must think when they hear this argument?

The current trend is to characterize those who believe "rape and incestuously conceived children are innocent and deserve to live" are extremist. Wow.

Why does the value of a human being diminish based on the actions of others or inherent circumstance? Sounds like early mid-twentieth century Germany to me.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Responding to comments . . .

Sorry I took so long . . .

Great comments on the last two posts everyone. I'll respond here since I took so long.

To Kay's comment:

"The idea of more money is always appealing. But I'm thinking that maybe if I say that my writing is a ministry I should back that up by perhaps contributing all proceeds to a ministry or something. And make that known to those who purchase"

This is exactly the point I'm trying to make. Now, keep in mind, I'm not saying authors should or should not do this. I'm saying that this should be the attitude of those who want the publishing houses to make decisions based on evangelism and not profit tempered with principles or values.

sidenote: quote from Randy Alcorn that might be of interest to you, Kay.

"Most writers won’t sell a lot of books. I encourage those who do to give away most or all of the royalties to God’s kingdom. Recognize they belong to Him, not to you. Because all the royalties from my books go to missions work and other kingdom causes, I’m not tempted to spend on myself the millions of dollars God has graciously entrusted to me. Instead, my wife and I get to give them away and to rejoice as we make eternal investments in God’s powerful work around the world."

Notice he said those who sell a lot of books. You have to eat first right? I know what you're thinking: "God will provide." Maybe he provided you with just enough books sales to eat.

XD, I think we're in agreement. It's not an either-or thing. It depends on individual declaration. On the fiction delivering a message thing, I did say it does happen. But as an evangelical vehicle in the Christian discipleship connotation of the word, it has little results. Not that they're not important results, but a very inefficient vehicle. I say trade in that clunker.

Todd, I still say if an artist makes 10 million/year off his work and wants to be lauded for his work being a ministry and then he goes off and buys a $10 million home, a private jet, three Porsche's, etc., he is out of step with the will of the Lord. One particular Christian artist loves to get awards for begging me to give $5 to third world starving kids while he flies off in a private jet after his concerts spending more in 4 hours than I make all year. He could fly first class and save $40 thousand. You can feed a lot of kids with $40 thousand.

The widow who gave the penny gave more than all the others combined, because she gave everything she had. I don't think that means everyone has to give everything they have, but they should give more than the sliding scale equivalent of chump change. A multi-millionaire giving $500 is not the same as me giving $500.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Last post - furtherized . . .

Thanks for the great comments on the last post everyone. I hate to admit it but . . . you too, Todd. Actually your comment beat me to the punch on the furtherization of my positation. And, Kay, there is certainly alot of room for overlap.

For instance, let's take a Third Day concert. Third Day considers themselves a ministry. But, . . . you have to buy the ticket. Personally, I have no problem with that because I equate it to passing the plate at church. Someone has to pay for the electricity, the water, the pastor's salary, etc.

They haven't to my knowledge declared themselves an evangelical outreach. With that said, happenstance evangelism does occur at Third Day concerts. (Probably more than all of Christian fiction combined.) In essence, evangelism is sold. But indirectly. This is kind of how I view publishing. I wrote my novel for everyone, but the reality is that since I'm pursuing publication through CBA, it will be read mostly by Christians. Christians who will be paying for it.

** The rest of this post was gonna be about the declaration of ministry that Todd covered in the comments of the last post. So we'll move onto something else.

This may be a little off the path, but I am a little perturbed by those who claim to be a ministry, be it in preaching, music, or writing, and then live a lavish lifestyle all the while basking in the glow of accolades for doing God's work. One particular musical artist lives in a mansion and routinely mentions his Porsche. One takes a private jet home after his concerts. All this while asking me to send $5 to a pet charity.

Kind of like a politician who wants credit for his "service" to his country. As though it's a sacrifice. Let's see, you get fame, glory, power, riches, and then we're supposed to serenade you with thanks for your "public service." Thank you Mr. politician for screwing the little guy, cheating on your wife with the intern, all while giving yourself a raise, full health benefits and a pension for life, lying and stealing all funded by the taxpayer. You truly are a hero.

Disclaimer: During the writing of this post, the author was suffering from low blood sugar and was thus subject to nonsensical ramblings.

Friday, October 9, 2009

For Sale: One Savior.

I've said before that I don't see any great potential of Fiction as a conveyance of evangelism. That's not to say that fiction can't evangelize or hasn't. In fact, I'm quite sure it has and I hope mine does. But I would say it is a very inefficient means.

With that said, I am always puzzled by those who lambaste the CBA publishers for not treating themselves as an evangelical outreach ministry. They are not. They are a business which supplies a product, subject to a set of chosen standards, to a market of individuals who make certain requirements of them. They succeed or fail based on their ability to satisfy those requirements.

The puzzling part for me is that an author who wants their fiction to be an evangelical tool decides to get it published through CBA.

Why? --- Am I the only person who believes that evangelism should be free? So we want to reach people but only if they pay $14.99?

If you want your novels to be strictly an evangelistic outreach, then use the evangelistic model:

1. convince other Christians of the value of your project.
2. ask them for donations.
3. self-publish the novel.

Can you imagine if Billy Graham went to a third world country to preach but charged admission?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Some got it, some don't . . .

Happy belated 13 th birthday to Teddy. That's 91 to you and me. (I'm sure that formula's not right.) Anyway, let's hear from the birthday boy:

Okay, don't hate me because I've aged beautifully.

You can do it, too. The secret is to eliminate all stress. Here's my patented 3 part plan:

1. Find a sucker, I mean human like Dayle. He does all the work and all I have to do is eat, sleep, and fetch the occasional tennis ball.

2. Perfect a pathetic look. That way even strangers give you stuff.

3. Two words: Twenty-four hour naps. ( I know it's more than two words, it's a joke. Silly humans. )

For a more detailed plan, send $24.99 to Teddy (That's all you need. The post office knows it's for me. Kinda like Santa Claus. )

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Disturbing Trend . . .

It's bad enough that the American Left is hell bent on pushing God out of our country - lock, stock, and barrel. They don't care about fairness. Everything's fair game: revising history, school children who write essays about Jesus being their hero, even Christian charities which provide beneficial social services.

The media-entertainment and news- distorts, stereotypes, and maliciously impugns everything Christian. I could go on and on, citing examples, but you probably could too.

What's worse? A new breed of Christians are picking up the cause. This new Christian has decided that the stereotypical fundamentalist Bible Belt Christian represents the majority. But instead of trying to clear the misconceptions, they join the Left. I suppose they assume that if they prove to the Left that they are not representative of the maligned stereotype, that they will somehow be accepted. This is pure fantasy. It's divide and conquer. They will be next.


I have seen a small hint of this in author interviews. Some of them can't wait to distance themselves from stereotypes. The most common I see is the rush to tell the interviewer how much they love to drink. We all know the Bible does not prohibit drinking. It only prohibits getting drunk. So why the need to profess. My theory is that they are really saying: "Hey just because I'm a Christian author, please don't think I'm really one of "them". I'm cool. I drink and everything."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Doing the Blurbs . . .

I'm surprised by the attitude of some authors who've expressed a distaste for blurbs. They contend that they are ineffective and a waste of time. Among the reasons they give is that readers don't buy based on blurbs. For this and other reasons, they refuse to do them.

As a reader, I totally disagree with this. If an author whose books I've enjoyed (i.e. Robert Liparulo or Tosca Lee) shows up on the cover of a book I'm browsing, I definitely take a closer look. I still may not buy it, but it does get more than a cursory glance and will get the default buy over another book without those blurbs.

There are other good reasons to blurb. One is the simple fact that it doesn't hurt to get your name out there as often as possible. Inherent in a blurb to the reader is that the author considered these blurbers equal or superior to himself. Therefore, if an author's name appears on two books that a reader enjoyed, I assume they would do what I'd do: Check out that author's work.

Personally, after I'm published, I plan to do as many blurbs as I reasonably can. With a caveat that I want to keep my credibility with the readers. In other words, I won't blurb a book I don't like. I expect the same from the authors I plan to request blurbs from. If they don't like my book, I want them to say no. No hard feelings. If they don't have the time -- same deal.

There's another reason to do blurbs.

Imagine you're an author and you've had a single novel with modest sales and some guy you never heard of asks you to blurb his debut novel. You read it, like it, give it an honest blurb even though you may have had some problems with the quality of the writing. You then forget about it and go on to the next project. And then it turns out that guy's name is William P. Young and the novel is The Shack. Now your name and novel title are on 8 million books. What do you think that advertising is worth? Not to mention that he'd blurb your next novel without hesitation.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The arrogance of some published authors . . .

The actual title: The arrogance of some published authors who don't sell a lot of books yet.

This author has confused published with successful. They have also confused published with all-knowing brilliance in the field of novel writing. Their acknowledgments and interviews have a narcissistic "I've reached the top of the hill because of ..." tone. I'd rather they have the philosophy that I haven't done anything until the reader says "ooh, I can't wait to read your next one."

Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind a published author teaching me the craft, what editors are looking for, or how to get published. But please wait until you're a bestseller before acting like one. Or better yet, don't ever act like one.

I won't go into anymore detail because it may be easy to figure out who I'm talking about.

Fortunately, not many authors fall into this category. Most of the authors I've met feel lucky to be published and they have an ongoing hope that their novels will be enjoyed by the readers. And they hope they have a chance to publish another without letting their readers down.

I stopped reading two novels this week. I couldn't finish them. One because of style, the other because of too many plot holes and inconsistencies. The latter was written by one of the types of authors I'm speaking of. He/she may be published, but he/she is not as great as he/she thinks.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The arrogance of the expert newbie . . .

This is one of my biggest pet peeves in the community of writers. There are a few unpublished writers out there who have taken a class, read a book, or attended a conference, who now think they know exactly how to write a novel the correct way.

But the kicker is, they feel the need to impose their newly found "truth" on the rest of us. Even going as far as commenting on successful author's blogs in an argumentative fashion of how wrong they are when said successful author gives free advice.

Now I'm not against anyone expressing their views, but you might want to listen to an author who sells a lot of books. The readers are the true arbiters of "correct" writing.

I have seen this psychosis before. Someone discovers the secret of something, has an "Ohhh, I get it now" moment, and then develops an arrogant gestapo like attitude toward the rest of us dumb rubes who don't employ these truths.

There is no one way to write a novel. Editors culminate years of experience to offer valuable but sometimes flawed advice. The reading public, however, can be hard to pin down. They want a good story, period. It's up to editors to figure out what that means this week. They all admit that if they knew exactly what makes a bestseller, then every book they put out would be one.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm not supposed to say this, but . . .

. . . it's true. I have read published novels that I believe were inferior to my (unpublished) manuscript.

I know, I'm treading on thin ice here and I'm in danger of sounding like a delusional fool or an arrogant jerk. But, don't worry I'm a realist. I have read many novels that are better, and in some cases (such as Tosca Lee's), far better than mine.

Furthermore, I'm not saying those novels I feel rank below mine are not good, or not well-written, or undeserving of being published. I know how hard it is and I'm happy for all of them.

So, should I ever say this? Should I just keep my opinion to myself?

I believe there's a time and place for everything. (Actually that's not true. That's a crazy saying. There's never a time and place for nazism or cruelty to animals for example.) I would never say this to anyone in a professional setting. No good can come out of it.

These thoughts are better left in your own mind or in private discussions with good friends who know you're not delusional or a jerk. But then again, do you really know what they think of you?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Done to death . . .

I think it's time to put one (okay really two) specific tension raising device to rest. I think it all started with Dirty Harry (at least for me).

It's the cop whose boss issues him/her an ultimatum that he needs to straighten up his act or he's gonna find himself back on some lowly rookie beat. The other one is the fact that every cop finds himself and his/her partner in a battle with a rival duo in the department. (many times this rival is associated with the bad guys.)

These are done so many times that I'd bet if you took a poll, most Americans would believe this is as common in law enforcement as the stereotypical donuts.

I think this has been so infused in the American psyche that authors throw this in their novels subconsciously.

I know, I know, if you read my manuscript I'm sure you could find some similar device I've used that you could say the same thing for. That's okay. Remember, it's far easier to criticize others. : )

So, is it just me?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The king is dead . . .

Now that my reign as Writer's Digest' Your Story winner is over, I assume it's kosher to post my story now.

"The Truth"

Marty slung his towel across his shoulders and jogged a few paces to catch up with Caleb. “So what did you tell your mom?”

“I told her the truth.”

“Man, she lets you do everything. How do you do it?”

“I never lie to my mom.”

“That’s cause he’s a goody two shoes.”

“Leave him alone, Joey.”

“It’s okay, Marty. Joey doesn’t bother me.”

Marty stepped closer to Caleb and whispered, “But he’s always picking on everybody.”

“Come on girls,” Joey called out. “We don’t have all day.”

The trail took the boys through the woods and over two hills until they came to a large rock formation. Joey climbed onto a small boulder. “Here we are. The pond’s on the other side. You girls ain’t scared of a little climb are ya?”

“Boy, I can’t wait to jump in. Is it deep enough?”

“Yes, Farty Marty, it’s deep enough.”

“Stop calling me that.”

Joey reached down and petted Marty’s hair. “Relax, Farty, I’m just kidding.” Joey dodged Marty’s swing. “Besides, you got nothing to worry about. You can handle that jump better than we can.”

“What do you mean?”

“You see me and Caleb, we got muscles. But you, well, everybody knows lard floats.”

Marty swung at Joey, but missed.

The trio found their way up the rock face until they reached a natural platform. They looked down in collective awe at the clear, jade pool below them. Fed by a small stream, it was surrounded by rock walls save for one side where the water trickled over a worn shelf which provided a perfect spot for laying out in the sun.

“Wow, this is great.” Marty started to climb down the path to the water.

“I thought you wanted to jump in.”

Marty stopped and looked back. “From up here? It’s too high.”

“Awwww, what’s the matter? You scared?”

“No.” Marty stepped to the edge and looked down.
“If you’re so brave, you do it.”

“No problem.” Joey took off his shoes and filled one with the contents from his pockets. “Let me show you girls how it’s done.” He raised his hands Olympic style and dove head first. He exited the water with a victory howl and climbed up the path as he watched Caleb jump in. “Okay, Farty Marty, your turn.”

“Stop calling me that!” Marty took off his shoes but left his shirt on. He stood near the ledge and stared at the distant water.

“I knew you couldn’t do it.”

“I can. Just give me a minute.”

Joey plucked him behind the ear.

“Quit it!”

Caleb climbed out of the water. “It’s okay, Marty. It’s not as high as it looks. You can do it.”

Marty tried to calm himself as Joey chanted. “Farty. Farty. Farty.”

“Leave me alone.”

“Farty. Farty.” Joey plucked Marty’s ear.

“Stop it!” Marty turned around and pushed him. Joey stumbled sideways and tripped over a rock, stumbling down the path to the rock shelf below. Blood pooled around his head.

Marty and Caleb stared at each other, unable to move. Caleb finally walked over and put his head next to Joey’s.

“Is he ?”

Caleb looked up at Marty, nodded, and climbed up the path.

Marty couldn’t stop his body from shaking. “It was an accident. I didn’t mean to do it.”

“It’s okay, Marty.”

“Oh, man, there gonna put me in prison. I’m going to jail.”

“No you’re not. I’m gonna call my mom and tell her what happened. It was an accident, that’s all. Don’t worry. She’ll believe me.” Caleb retrieved his cell phone and made the call.

“Is she calling the police?”

“Yeah, but relax. She’s gonna tell the police the truth.”

A moan broke through the silence. Marty looked down at the body. “He’s still alive. What do we do? What do we do?”

“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.” Caleb started down the path.

Relief washed over Marty. He stayed put and watched Caleb. “Is he alive?”

“Yeah, but barely.”

“What do we do?”

“I told you. I’ll take care of it.” Caleb carefully turned Joey’s head exposing the wound. He knelt beside Joey, held a large rock over him, and smashed it against his head.

Marty stumbled back a step. “What did you do that for?”

Caleb threw the rock in the water and brushed the dirt off his hands. “I told my mom he was dead.”


“I never lie to my mom.”

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Photos from the road . . .

Arches National Park.

Golf in Moab, Utah.

Bridge in Sedona, Arizon.

Click on each to get a better look.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Conference notes . . .

Last week, I attended the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference in Estes Park, CO. It was the third one I've attended and I've noticed some patterns.

(Btw, I do recommend this conference. The beautiful setting and relaxed atmosphere make for a more personal experience than the others I've attended.)

The authors and organizers are the real friends of the pre-pubbed writers. They are selfless and eager to help the un-pubbed get pubbed.

On the other hand, the editors and agents put up walls. They are stand off-ish and seem to try their best to avoid everyone except their colleagues. It's hard not to blame them. They know everyone there wants something from them so it's a different relational dynamic. I'm sure there is a small percentage of pre-pubbed writers who have acted in a way to cause this jadedness, but I wish there was some way to reverse it. Even if you don't want to pitch to one of them, it's hard to have a conversation because they are so on guard. But most seem to enjoy it, albeit uncomfortably, and contribute valuable info.

But there is a couple of them don't even seem to enjoy it. I wonder why they are even there. They either don't take appointments are announce they are not looking for anything. They then sit on a panel or two and then go home. I guess a free trip they can write off is incentive enough. Then again, I don't really know what their motivation is.

The classes are good, but it's information that can be easily acquired in a few hours perusing the internet. I am always shocked by how much my fellow conferees don't know. Not all of them mind you, I don't want to insult anyone. Just enough to make me wonder.

The critiques are always great. Anytime you can have successful authors read your work and give you feedback is a good thing. Even if you don't agree with everything they say, they know what they're doing and can contribute something to the whole of your knowledge.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Notes from the road - the wierd.

Courtesy of my local library, I listened to a couple of Audio books while driving the 65+ hours during my vacation.

One of those books was Dekker's Boneman's Daughters. In the book, the killer likes to murder his victims by breaking their bones without breaking their skin-while they're awake. As I passed through southern and southwest Texas, where the story was set, I noticed a trend. The narrator would mention a location and then I'd see it. Now I'm not one given to be irrationally afraid, but driving alone on deserted highways can play its tricks.

I kept half-expecting the lunatic from No Country for Old Men to show up.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Notes from the road . . .

Here's my thoughts from 8 days on the road:

Texas is BIG. I mean it's like a whole other country.

I thought west Texas and Arizona were flat. They are not. I'm stunned by how little water there is. Almost every river and creek I crossed from San Antonio through New Mexico to Arizona to Utah to Colorado to Kansas was dry.

It was 104 in Phoenix. Hot right? Not really. I mean it's hot, but it ain't South Louisiana humid hot. It felt like maybe 91. If you don't believe me, come down here in August.

A word about the Grand Canyon: Wow!

Utah is beautiful and the food is surprisingly good.

I love Americans of Mexican heritage. The people of Vail, Colorado could learn a lot from them. It's the rudest, least friendliest place I've ever been.

Woke up Saturday at 6:30 am, attended conference until 2:30 pm, then drove straight to my sister's house -- 24 hr drive. Picked up my dog, drove home, Fell asleep at 10:45 pm. Awake for 40 hours straight. Now I know what it's like to be drunk. At least I think it felt the same. I've never been drunk. Okay, once when I was 15. But that was peach schnapps and orange juice and I just got sick.

Next post: conference notes.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The odd file . . .

At a Christian writer's conference I attended, a fellow conferee asked the editor panel when they thought Christian erotica would become acceptable. To his credit, the editor who fielded the question said "Never" and went on to give a really considerate, thorough answer to a question whose answer seemed obvious.

Of course, she wasn't satisfied and went on to give the obligatory arguments. Sex is a gift from God. He invented it. It's part of who we are as His creation. So what's the big deal?

While all of these statements are true, she ignored the concepts of inciting lust, temptation, and coveting. Yes, it's still coveting even if the covetee is a fictitious character. And, she used up 12 minutes of valuable editor panel time on a topic that helped no one else in attendance.

Need to vent Sidenote: I had the good fortune to have this person sit next to me at this editor panel session. Despite all the empty rows, she sat 2 seats from me and plopped all of her belongings on top of my soft-cover briefcase. When the hour was up, I stood up to leave but her belongings were still on my belongings. I gave the obligatory slight pull and said excuse me. She was looking my direction, but didn't remove her belongings. I had no choice but to lift her things and place them on the next chair so I could retrieve my stuff. Of course, you probably know what happened next. She gave me a disgusted look like I'm the one who was in the wrong.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bait and Switch . . .

Most of my acquaintances and friends are shocked when they first discover that I don't believe in evolution. Even when they all know I'm Christian.

The reason: Because these same people consider me one of the most brilliant people they know. Seriously. Go ahead, ask them . . . I told ya.

So successful have the evolutionists been, that to many, it seems impossible that any educated person could not believe it.

Usually, after the initial shock, they proceed to bring up a supposed aspect of evolution. This is normally when I have to stop them and inform them that they are actually talking about natural selection which does happen. They give me a perplexed look and I have to explain.

Similarly, I once asked my biology professor to give me his best example of evolution. He did. I then informed him that he gave me a great example of the alteration of physical traits of a specific species due to changes in the ecosystem of that particular species, but he did not give me an example of evolution.

He looked at me perplexed and said "Huh?"

That brilliant response almost threw me, but I managed to collect myself and explain to him that Darwin's book was called the Origin of Species, not the theory of the mechanism behind which physical traits are slightly altered.

In other words, the only thing evolutionists can prove is that certain species over time produce generations that are slightly taller, slightly recolored, have slightly shorter or longer appendages. It is, HOWEVER, the same species. If anyone believes they are different species, then they have to believe that me and Shaq are different species and that makes them a racist -- bammo -- I win the debate. It actually gets worse. According to the standard of what constitutes a species, then me and anyone of you with blond air are not the same species.

The pro-evols have almost completely succeeded at blurring the line between Micro and Macro evolution. They have convinced the masses that by proving natural selection, they have proven the invention of species through natural selection. NOT THE SAME THING.

There is no evidence whatsoever of a species being created through minute changes in the physical traits of a parent species. There are no transitional fossils detailing these minute changes---only huge leaps which are backfilled only by conjecture and false hope. Think about it. If it takes millions upon millions of years of minute changes for a one species to become another, then all of those minute changes should be seen in the fossil record. They are not. Even Darwin said, that without the eventual discovery of these transitional fossils, his theory falls apart.

Their tactic has become so successful, that many Christians have adapted the "God used evolution to create the earth as know it" theory. That way they can believe in creationism and prove they are intelligent because they believe in evolution at the same time. The problem with this line of thought is that it limits God. God doesn't need billions of years of a mechanism which bows to the natural laws He created to create the Earth as we see it. He can just do it. He's God. He transcends His own laws. Including time.

So cheer up Christians. Not believing in evolution does not mean you're ignorant. In fact, you can prove how intelligent you are by not falling for the bait and switch.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Gift From God. . . Really?

If I have a gift for writing (big IF), I'm not sure I can claim it's a gift from God. Let me explain:

I once had an "acquaintance" who was an okay singer. She wasn't great, but good. She once told me (after singing in church and getting the usual pats on the back ) that her singing was a gift from God.

I thought about that statement and responded differently than most people do. (not to her personally) My first reaction was Why? Why would God do that? It didn't make sense to me. If it were a gift from God, why wouldn't He have made her better? And this path of thinking usually goes on to say that God grants us all gifts. Like pastors who try to pass off cleaning the church as a gift. That's not a gift, that's a wonderful person who has a spirit of servanthood toward his/her God.

One thing many don't seem to realize is that every time you say something, you're also saying the opposite or the reverse inference. For instance, when Mrs. Okay Singer tells someone that her voice is a gift from God, she is also saying "God chose me over you. That's right, He chose to give me a gift that brings me personal glory and adulation and you the gift of cleaning my toilet." Furthermore, since she was also beautiful, she was also saying that God made me beautiful and talented and he chose not to do that for you.

Another problem with this thinking for me is that the secular world is full of talented people. Did Satan give them those gifts? If God is giving gifts in fields such as music, writing, art, etc, for the purpose of winning the lost, wouldn't Christians be leading all music sales and book sales and movie sales. Doesn't happen except for the occasional exception.

Here's what I think. Most of our so-called gifts -- we're born with. God is looking for a willing heart. If you're willing, no matter your level of talent or skills, He can use you and your abilities to move mountains or affect one life. Which is the same as moving a mountain.

One thing to remember is that we're not destined to win the world for Jesus. The Bible says that only a minority will choose to accept Christ.

Disclaimer: The girl in question cannot possibly be identified. I didn't give enough info. And, it might not be a girl.

Disclaimer 2: This is one of those things I don't have completely figured out. My thoughts on this are subject to change or amendment. If you think I'm wrong, please comment. I'd love to hear other thoughts on this.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Double taxation . . .

I just finished doing my taxes. No, wait, I did my taxes months ago. That's right - I just finished signing up for the CCWC writers conference. It actually felt the same. There were mailings and forms and deadlines and re-reading of instructions and I wasn't even sure they got the forms or if I filled them out right and not to mention . . . Wait . . . just got confirmation. I knew I did it right.

I've decided to take the long route to get there. Louisiana to Estes Park, Colorado via the Grand Canyon. 40hrs of driving.

I'm gonna hit 3 places I've always wanted to go. The Grand Canyon, Arches National Park, and The Rocky Mountain National Park.

I'm still worried about the attitude, I mean altitude, at Estes Park. 8,000 ft. I had enough trouble in Colorado Springs at 6,400 ft. Kids were pointing at me, adults were laughing at me. I even had to take breaks when I took the elevator. Keep in mind, I live 4ft below sea level. So if you go or see any pictures from the Conference, I'll be the guy in the background gasping for air.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'm boycotting Burger King . . . that'll scare 'em

I've hated the new BK ads since day one. (By new I mean the series of ads over the last few years that have taken a severe departure from the tone of the ads I grew up with.)

I really hope these ads are not working. If they are, this does not bode well for the future of our society. The new SpongeBob ad is way over the line for me. What really amazes me is that the people in control of Spongebob would allow this. Hmmm, maybe I'll boycott them both.

The only problem is: I already don't eat Burger King or watch Spongebob.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

A couple of things . . .

I'm still waiting for my copy of Writer's Digest so I can see my story on the page.

Now I don't mind the wait, but the members of my writing group already got theirs last week. It's supposed to hit shelves today, but my local BAM still doesn't have them. The library carries it, but they still don't have it either.

I attended some really nice sessions at the Jubilee Writer's Conference at my local library today. I rarely hear something I haven't read on line before, but it's still good reinforcement. I am a little surprised when a fellow attendee is shocked to hear something that should be common knowledge to anyone seeking publication. Maybe it's just my nature. I've done so much research I could give most of these lectures myself -- which one day I hope to do. Looks like a lot of fun. I have to stop myself from running up there and grabbing the mic as it is.

And, finally, I'm a little upset about something. I just counted all the nuts in my can of Deluxe mixed nuts and contrary to the promise on the package --- it contained 51% peanuts. Excuse me, I need a minute to myself.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A blessing counted . . .

We are blessed to have a great library here in my home town of Houma, LA. Not only is the Terrebonne Parish Main Branch big and beautiful (the picture doesn't do it justice), but they put on a lot of great events. (It's so good, people don't want to leave -- there's a cemetery right behind it.)

For example, last year I attended a performance by a virtuoso classical guitarist for free before he went off to Carnegie Hall.

This week is the annual Jubilee Writer's Conference. The cost: $25. In attendance: well known authors such as Heather Graham, F. Paul Wilson, (Louisiana's own) Deborah Leblanc and many others.

On a different note, next month, I'll be heading to Estes Park Colorado for the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference. I'm sure you want to send me a check to help me pay for the expenses, so send me an e-mail and I'll give you my address.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In just a few weeks . . .

My short story "The Truth" will be published in Writer's Digest. With a strange portion of something called "Luck" (and if I haven't made a faux paus of deduction), Stephen King and Jerry Jenkins will be on the cover. This will no doubt result in higher sales and reads of the magazine.

I must admit: It's a great thought that something I've written will appear in a magazine featuring the aforementioned on the cover. Okay, so it doesn't exactly make us colleagues. I get that. But what it does mean is that the only short story I've ever written which also has the distinction of being the first thing I've written that will be published, will also be the most widely read. Possibly, more than anything else I'll ever write. Even if I have a good career.

Maybe I'm making too much of this, but I am jazzed that so many will be reading my work. (please note: this is the first time I've ever described myself as being jazzed.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Do you hear what you're saying ...

We've all heard the pro-abortion argument presented in kinder ways. No, it's not pro the killing of fully developed unborn babies - it's pro-choice. Sounds better doesn't it? After all - who could be against "the right to choose." My prediction is that this moniker, after it garners enough negative connotation, will also be replaced by something even less innocuous.

This happens in politics quite often. Usually these titles mean something almost the opposite of what they say. For example, if you see an ad paid for by the citizens for the fair treatment of puppies organization -- this is probably an organization that thinks puppies make a delicious snack.

Corporations do this all the time. Anytime, you see a company with a name like: Environmental conservation services of America, this company no doubt pollutes the environment is some way. The title is a cover. It's good PR, but it's ultimately malicious dishonesty.

But, back to abortion.

They use phrases like women's rights, a woman's right to choose, and a woman should be able to do what she wants with her own body.

The problem is that none of us have that right - completely. It's against the law to fill our body with illegal drugs, sell our body for sex (except in Nevada), sell our organs, ... I'm sure I could think of a few more.

I guess my point is: If you're going to take a side, at least have a good reason.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Learning the hard way. . .

I've been reading a lot of novels lately trying to learn whatever I can from each author and each reading experience.

Trying at once to notice how authors handle certain situations while simultaneously trying to think like a reader again.

In an earlier post, I shared my aggravation at a novel that was mis-represented by the backcover copy. It ruined the experience for me, but I decided to give the author another shot. After all, that could have been a marketing decision or just an author buckling under the pressure to hype the novel. And, the novel itself wasn't that bad. This author is successful for a reason.

So, I did some research and ordered what is considered this particular author's best. From the moment I started reading it, I loved it. Well written, great characters, and an interesting "sort of" twist that I didn't see coming until late in the book. I couldn't wait to recommend this book to my friends and order the author's other works. Simply put - I couldn't put this book down. Until the end, when I actually threw it across the room. (I know. It surprised me, too.) I was actually angry.

I will never recommend this author to anyone, nor ever read him/her again.

What crime did the author commit? The main character did something completely against his character. (excuse the repetition) The character that had been developed throughout the novel would never have done what he eventually did. Now I know that people often do things against their nature, but this was not the time or place.

I believe the author did this in an attempt to achieve a more literary effect. The old "don't let everything end so nicely" routine. While I admire that when done well, here it is obviously forced. The same effect could have been achieved by other means. Having a protagonist lose something during his journey can give the story a richer depth than just having everything work out perfect. But here, the cost is too great. The particular character who suffers in this novel gains nothing from it, nor deserves it, nor did the author give any good reason for it - which may have helped.

As I have discovered through those who've read my novel, readers invest a lot of emotion in the characters. I vow to never do this to my future readers. (positive thinking)

I wish I could name the novel and the author, but I just wouldn't feel right doing so publicly. Sorry.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Update to last post . . .

For those of you chomping (champing for Nicole) at the bit to read it, Writer's Digest has posted the story on their website.

To read it go here:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The results are in . . .

. . . and I am honored that the editors of Writer's Digest have chosen my story as the winner of the Your Story Contest #16.

My short story "The Truth" will appear in the June issue. If you want to read it, get your subscription now. (Or buy the June issue when it comes out.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I've made the cut . . .

In the Writer's Digest Your Story contest.

If you're not familiar with it, each issue gives a writing prompt with which, those who dare, are invited to write a short story or 750 words or less. The editors then pick 5 finalists to be voted on by the readers. The winner's story is then published in the magazine.

I have never entered one of these before and I'm honored to say that my first try has been chosen out of over 700 entries. The voting ends on January 28th. Wish me luck.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Overselling . . .

Marketers always oversell to some extent. Some of it is forgivable. But when it goes so far that it's mis-represents the product, it can be a problem because of the take-away disappointment felt by the customer.

As such, back cover copy on novels usually oversell to some degree. But when it promises lemonade and you get motor oil, well, that can be a problem.

I recently read a novel, which wasn't bad, by the way, that did this. The back cover promised something that was not in the novel. This left me sort of not liking the novel, which actually wasn't bad - it was just mis-represented. I felt a little cheated.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Book Review - Forsaken

Taylor Pasbury, a beautiful former Secret Service agent, has started her own security business. Her first client is Simon Mason, the world’s best know televangelist. Mason has been receiving threats from Muslim extremists and must face the most difficult decision of his life, choose between his love for God and the love of his daughter.

If you look to the left, you'll find in my list of "favorite Christian novels so far", Something That Lasts by James David Jordan. Forsaken is a solid follow up leaning more toward a commercial style than STL.

Though the heroine, Taylor Pasbury, is a familiar type-character - (the beautiful but can handle herself against any would-be rapist type) - Jordan does a really good job of fleshing out the character, giving the why's and how come's to support his choices.

Much like STL, Jordan explores Christian principles and faith issues with layered depth, avoiding the mistake of letting his characters give the easy, pat answers or responses. Life is usually more complicated than fiction. And, there are always consequences.

Forsaken is a well-written and well-paced novel I believe most would enjoy. I also highly-recommend Something That Lasts. To see my review, click here: Something That Lasts - Book Review.