Author Archives: Bruce Hennigan

Where are Stories Born?

In 2011 I was in the midst of delivering on a five book contract with Charisma Media. During the year, I worked on three books at once. The first book was already in Charisma’s hands and I went through the months long process of editing with a professional editor, designing a cover, and approving the final book. The second book was the one I would turn in at the end of the year in its final format. I was editing and writing the final manuscript. The third book was the next book in the series and I was outlining, researching, and writing the rough draft.

So, why in the midst of this would I decide to write two short stories a week? Simple. I had to keep my creative juices flowing and to do so, I availed myself of a wonderful website no longer around called “Storypraxis”. My editor, Andy Meisenheimer was involved in the website and the premise was that every couple of days or so, a story prompt featuring a word or a phrase was released. You then had about 36 hours to free write a short, short story based on the prompt. No editing. Just free write and get it down on the screen. Then, you uploaded the story and if it was “good” enough, it would be featured the next month in the site’s digital magazine.

I recently ran across all of my short stories from that brief time. From the stories I wrote over a year’s time, I chose 63 stories to share with my readers. I have put them together in a short book entitled “Praxis Makes Imperfect?: Prompting Your Story” available at this link.

If you are interested in writing, I challenge you to take a look at the writing prompts. They are listed in the front of the book. Sit down and just let your imagination flow and see what comes out of the inspiration from the word. Then, if you are at all interested, check out the story I wrote from that prompt. Some of the stories are ridiculous. Some are almost sublime. I used this process to explore characters, ideas, what if questions, and possible novel ideas. Some of the short stories ended up in my novels. Others are waiting in the wings impatiently, the characters tapping their toes with arms or tentacles or appendages crossed waiting for me to unleash them into the world of my stories. Patience beings. I will get to you!

So, enjoy this little book. See what stories the prompts inspire in you and write, write, write! Bleed all over the page! Let your imagination soar! And, then judge for yourself I managed to soar. Or to crash and burn!

Now, back to that hunchback wandering in the catacombs looking for that certain book of arcane secrets . . .

Upcoming Book Signing!

I never dreamed of becoming a publisher.

I just wanted to get my books out there for people to read without all the hassle and delays I have experienced in publishing four books through traditional publishing.

It started with “The 11th Demon” and I’ve managed to publish five books through my 613media,LLC. And now, Mark Sutton and I have published “Hope Again: A Lifetime Plan for Conquering Depression” through our LifeFilters, LLC company and its imprint Hope Again Books.

There are two stories I can share about this new book. Mark and I had the honor of holding a book signing at First Baptist Church Orlando and Oasis Church in Daytona Beach. We sold almost 200 books between the two events but that is not what drove me to my knees in humility.

At one of the events, a person approached Mark and said he had come to church that day to tell God goodbye. He would then end his life that afternoon in total despair. Now, Pastor David Uth’s sermon was absolutely amazing and powerful. But, the sermon combined with the encouragement to purchase our book helped him to overcome his despair. He is now doing much better!

At the other church, a parent purchased a book because his middle school child, yes, his CHILD asked him to buy him a copy of the book. A week later, the parent shared his child was devouring the book and it was helping them deal with depression. A middle schooler!

Only God can take credit for this! Our traditional publisher had given up on our book and had taken it out of print. As I shared in an earlier post, an email from a woman in South Africa found our book and it “saved” her life and that email prompted us to publish a third version of “Hope Again” on our own. And, I am so glad we did! God is still using our stories of depression to help others.

Now, Hope Again Books is releasing another title! Mark Sutton has written a powerful and exciting work of fiction based on the wars in heaven that led to Lucifer’s fall.

Entitled “Pitfall”, this new book will be released in a special event on December 7th at Brookwood Baptist Church in the Well, the church’s coffee bar/book store. You can come and go from 3 to 6 PM. The address is 9014 Brookwood Church Way, Shreveport, LA 71106 and we are at the corner of Bert Kouns and I49.

Hope Again Books will be sponsoring free coffee drinks and snacks. Mark will be signing copies of his new book and we both will be there to sign copies of “Hope Again: A Lifetime Plan for Conquering Depression”. I will also have copies of all seven of my books.

So, come on by and celebrate the release of Mark’s new book.

First Orlando Book Signing

First Baptist Church of Orlando is a large church; a large campus; a large membership; and a pastor with a large heart. This shouldn’t be a surprise. He’s a Louisiana boy!

Mark Sutton called me about two weeks ago and wanted to know if I could be in Orlando on Sunday, October 28th. I had a full schedule the week before that Sunday. I had a doctor’s visit on Monday, a Reason to Believe Chapter meeting Tuesday, a speaking engagement for my friend Chan Hearron to his high school senior class Wednesday afternoon, my radiology practice meeting Wednesday night, a speaking engagement for Laveer Financial Management meeting to over 100 people Thursday night . . . AND we were driving to Dallas Friday morning to meet with my son and his wife and their two foster children for a long weekend of fun and grand parenting (and Aunting for Casey). Whew! And, somehow, I was to magically appear in Orlando on Sunday morning!!!!

Well, the Lord knows what is happening in our lives. Turns out I could fly nonstop from Love Field Saturday afternoon from Dallas to Orlando nonstop and then fly back to Dallas Sunday afternoon and we could drive home to Shreveport Sunday night.

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Holiday Update

As we move into the holiday season I want to remind everyone of a book that would make one of the best holiday presents. “The Homecoming Tree” is set in Shreveport, Louisiana at the beginning of World War II and features a powerful and moving story of a young boy coming of age and a man who has lost touch with his morality. Filled with historical references of northwest Louisiana’s involvement with the war effort, this story will not only educate readers but will entertain readers. Let me just say if you like “It’s A Wonderful Life”, the movie, you will like “The Homecoming Tree”.

So, check out the “Books” tab on how to get your hands on the ebook or the printed book. And, stay in touch as Mark Sutton and I are planning a book signing before the end of the year when he releases his new fiction book, “Pitfall, Book One: Angel Wars”. More on that soon!

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There’s a New Book for Depression!

I simply couldn’t believe the email I had just received. My author representative from B&H Publishing informed me:

“Hello Bruce, so sorry for the late response. Your title Hope Again is actually out of print and B & H does not have any plans to take this to a Print On Demand Product. With that being said, since the book is co Authored, we will need written request from you and Mark Sutton to revert the rights to you. Please forward that request or any questions you may have to your Author Care Specialist at email below. Let me know if you have any questions.

Blessings to you

Person’s Name Deleted
Author Care Specialist”

I had simply asked to order more of our book, “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression” for an upcoming seminar only to discover our book was no longer in print! No one had bothered to inform us of this! When I kindly complained about this we got this response:

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Depression Is Never “Out of Print”!

I have some sad news.

Mark Sutton and I have written two books on depression. The second book, “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression” was released in September, 2014. Now, we have discovered, that book is no longer in print.

When Mark and I discovered this fact back in late spring, I was disappointed and we decided that the end had come for our depression book. The very next day, I received an email from a person who claimed the book “saved her life”. In desperation, she reached out in prayer and God led her to our book. The 30 day program led her away from her decision to end her life! And, this person was from South Africa!

It is difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact that something that Mark and I wrote based on our painful experiences with depression could be used by God to change the life of someone else! But, this is how God works. As soon as I read the email, I called Mark and we bent every effort at that point to putting out a third book as soon as possible.

And, we continue to get weekly orders for our LifeFilter cards from our website conqueringdepression.com!

So, now for some good news.

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Our Epitaph at 50?

On this day in 1969 the newspaper headlines spoke about a massive infantry invasion near Saigon in North Vietnam. 47 enemy combatants were killed with no American casualties. On the same day, the newspaper reported that in the days before Senator Ted Kennedy was pulled from his submerged car and Mary Jo Kopechne, age 29 drowned at Chappaquiddick Island while she was a passenger in a car being driven by the senator. The scandal would haunt him for the rest of his life.

In Bienville Parish, the school board signed off on a desegregation plan for integrating black and white schools. Along the Red River, Shreveport’s famous “shantytown” of homeless and indigent occupants was demolished. In other news, plans to implement an anti ballistic missile treaty with the Soviet Union were stalled in the midst of the height of the cold war. The world was awash with war and possible nuclear annihilation and political scandal and the churning war against the “establishment” by the hew “hippie, free love” movement. America was in turmoil! Soon, oil prices would escalate thanks to the newly formed OPEC and the economy would tank in the aftermath. One of the casualties would be the Apollo space program.

But on this day, America had landed a man on the moon. America had succeeded in putting a man on the moon before the end of the decade. We made it by 5 1/2 months!

Neil Armstrong on the Moon

I was 14 years old and managed to keep my eyes open long enough to watch Neil Armstrong step off the Lunar Excursion Module onto the surface of the moon at around 2 A.M central time. The dark, shadowy image on my television was difficult to discern, but the enormity of that moment was not. I have shared before how my father and I shared a love for the space program. And, the prospect of one day going into space and walking on the moon was always my greatest dream. But here, in a moment of incredible historical significance, all of the bad news of the world around me was vanquished by the deep appreciation of our combined, unified accomplishment as Americans. For a brief moment, millions of Americans put aside their differences and rejoiced in man’s ability to reach out for the unknown.

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Shocking Reviews!

Okay, I’m guilty of neglect.

I was working on my Author’s Page on Amazon this morning because of some confusion from people trying to order “The Homecoming Tree”. It seems there are entities out there who purchase the book and then sell it second hand and for some reason, when you search for the book, THEIR listing comes above my own!

Anyway, while reviewing my settings I stumbled across the REVIEW page that lists all of the reviews for all of my books. Honestly, I have such a poor self image from my childhood, I have avoided reading the Reviews. I was afraid of what they might say.

But, let me put this as kindly and as humbly as possible, THANK YOU for all of the reviews, both positive and negative. I was truly humbled that anyone would choose to read something that poured out my imagination onto the written page. THANK YOU all!

You can check out the reviews at this link.

I am currently working on two books. First, I hope to finish “The 8th Demon: A Wicked Numinosity” by the fall. Second, I am putting together the first book in my science fiction trilogy, “The Node of God” and hope to have it available by the end of the year.

Also, Mark Sutton and I are working on a book about the lies of culture. And, I am outlining the sequel to “The Homecoming Tree” — “The Homecoming Prayer”.

To order my books please go directly to my Author page at this link. If you would like to order books directly from me as some of the print versions can only be ordered through me, go to this link.

If you are interested in our depression book, go to this link.

A Message to the “Book” Marketers!

If you are calling me promising me an extended marketing deal for my books, please read this!

If you are someone who wants to be published authors, let me give you a word of advice. 

There’s no such thing as a free lunch! Be careful when companies claiming to be “self publish” companies or “book marketing” companies call you out of the blue. Chances are very good all they want is their money. You see, I’ve been there and I’ve been burned. To the tune of over 50,000 dollars in two different endeavors. One was a “marketing campaign” that secured me over two dozen interviews on blog talk radio. That set me back a cool 25,000 dollars. Guess how many books I sold from that campaign.

48.

That’s it.

The next really bad experience came from a “reputable” self publishing company affiliated with a well known Christian publisher. I was contacted out of the blue and told I would receive “VIP” treatment because I was a traditional published author and that IF, and there is the key word that is so small but carries such a huge burden, IF my books sold X amount of copies I would be offered a contract with the big Christian publishing firm.

So, I forked over 25,000 dollars to put together my book. Part of the deal was to print up 500 copies that could be returned by book stores so book stores would stock my books. Never happened! And, when bookstores contacted me to order books for upcoming book signings at their store, they couldn’t find my books to order them! After two years, the company contacted me and wanted to know if I wanted the printed books or if I would pay to have them destroyed since warehousing them would be too expensive. I got 100 of the books but the rest were destroyed.

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Of Scars and Blankets

I followed the trail of blood from our library across our living room floor. Drops of it had congealed on the carpet in our bedroom leading like bread crumbs to the bathroom. My wife, Sherry, was hunched over her bathroom sink running cold water over her hand. She had cut herself. Again.

Let me pause here and assure you that this was not a deliberate act. Sherry likes sharp scissors. Very sharp. She sharpens them regularly. Why does she like sharp scissors? The better to cut her blankets with. A few years ago, Sherry learned how to make blankets from simple material. Not the intricate quilting most people know about. These blankets were made from two pieces of material with ties around the edge. What made these blankets different from any other involved the process of constructing the blanket. Each tie around the edge is made while saying a prayer for the person for whom the blanket is given.

In time, our library, once the province of my books, was transformed into Sherry’s blanket production center. Over the past few years she has produced dozens and dozens of intricately designed, colorful blankets. Each blanket has a singular colored back piece and a very colorful front piece. And the designs on the front she has chosen to match the intended person’s personality.

When she found there were lots of scrap pieces left over, she developed a way to make smaller blankets as baby burp pads or tiny blankets of dolls. Nothing was wasted.

But, the heart of her endeavors are the prayers and the Bible verses. Sherry developed a laminated card containing the favorite prayers of those who knew the person for whom the blanket was intended. Sherry would ask various friends and relatives for their favorite Bible verses and then place them on a large laminated card attached to the blanket. You see, the blanket was more than just a piece of material. It was a creative act of worship, prayer, Bible reading, and very intentional in every part of its creation.

Today, I am sitting on the balcony of our condominium on the beach at Perdido Key, Florida. Sherry and I are talking about the Bible verses we have just read in our morning Bible readings. What you must understand is how creative is our daughter, Casey. She draws. She paints. She creates constantly. It is her way of working through her epilepsy and its emotional toll on her life.

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