Category Archives: Steel Chronicles

Hope Comes With the Dawn

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Sunrise over Napier, New Zealand March, 2014

Sometimes I stand in the darkness and feel its power. It is smothering; dampening; oppressive; crushing all hope. Today near dawn, I stood in the darkness and felt the power of that hopelessness. This is not the world I anticipated. Gone are the tenets of unselfish love; of benevolence; of respect for others — religious beliefs included; of manners and kindness; of true love. Gone is my God, seemingly erased and eradicated by a new god that looks back at me each morning from my own mirror and from the countless perfect snapshots of a billion selfies. Gone is kindness and empathy and warmth. Gone is dialogue in the face of endless monologuing.

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Update

2018 was supposed to be a better year.

So far, I am struggling with some serious health issues. But, God is in control and all will work out.

I’ve been busy lately with teaching “Everyday Questions” with Mark Riser at Brookwood Baptist Church. It is a small group session on how to have meaningful conversations with anyone questioning the truthfulness of the Christian faith. Also, I am presenting “What Does It Mean to Be a Human Being” this Wednesday night at 6 PM for James Patterson’s class at First Methodist Church. This exploration of the question is very important. Are we just here by chance? Or, are we made in the image of God? And, why should that be important. I will also be giving this same talk in May at our RTB Chapter meeting the third Tuesday at 630 PM.

I am working on three books to hopefully release later this year:

The 9th Demon: Crosstime

The Homecoming Tree — A novelization of my 2005 play about Shreveport at the beginning of World War II.

The Tall Tree — A semi autobiographical story based on the year of 1968 and the events that changed America.

Also, Mark Sutton and I are tentatively working on a new book.

Get Death By Darwin NOW!

death-by-darwin-epub-coverMy latest novel, “Death By Darwin” is now available. On the title page, click on the book cover or go to the “ORDER” page to get your copy today!

 

This novel is very different from my previous novels. The main character is Ruth Martinez, a troubled attorney who is given the impossible task of defending a murdered caught with the weapon in his hand. Dr. Frank Miller is accused of murdering his boss, Dr. Wallace Darwyn over a disagreement on Dr. Darwyn’s latest dinosaur discovery, Annieraptor. Ruth’s future as an attorney with her law firm rests on her ability to gain an acquittal for Dr. Miller and her boss, Grace Pennington has hired the mysterious Jonathan Steel as an investigator on the case. As Ruth and Jonathan Steel race to clear their client of the murder, a deadly creature stalks the staff of the Dallas Paleontology Institute. Can Ruth discover the identity of the true murderer? Or is it possible that Dr. Miller is a fanatical religious zealot bent on murder?

Check on this newest novel by Bruce Hennigan today and find out why the monster you should be afraid of is not the one under the bed, the one that lives inside of us!

A Day That Will Live In Infamy

I just ordered my proof copy of “Death By Darwin”. Soon, you will be able to get your hands on my next book. By December 15th, the ebook will be available and hopefully, the printed version. More on that soon.

My mother and father in downtown Shreveport during World War II

My mother and father in downtown Shreveport during World War II

But, today, I want to focus on what took place on this day 75 years ago. Yes, December 7 1941 is a day that will live in “infamy”. In 2005 our drama group at Brookwood Baptist Church performed my last written play, “The Homecoming Tree”. The play was set in the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas 1941. I based the story on my parents’ experiences living in Shreveport, Louisiana during World War II. The play has a very special place in my heart and I have rewritten it over the past 11 years. I am now working on the conversion of the play to a novel.

My hopes are to see the play performed again in its new form and also to possibly add musical numbers to the play. But, for now, I am settling for finishing up the novel. Today, in the honor of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the brave men and women who died that day and the Generation that took upon themselves to defeat the greatest evil in modern history I want to post an excerpt from my upcoming book, “The Homecoming Tree”.

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Death By Darwin Release is coming soon!

 

Version 2

Luke Lee and I are working on the final layout of the novel and the cover for my next novel, “Death By Darwin”. For those interested in this upcoming novel, here is an excerpt from the book. Jonathan Steel has been retained by an attorney, Ruth Martinez, to help defend an innocent man convicted of killing his boss. In this scene Steel has met with Detective Lunella Jones and is being escorted to the Evidence lockup.

She fell silent and tapped the desk with her fingernails. “Well, Mr. Jonathan Steel, let’s get you to the evidence room.” Jones led me through the hallways of the police station to a remote room. A window covered with thick wire separated me from a large room filled with shelves. Jones spoke with the man behind the wire and then motioned me forward. His name tag read, “Juan Destillo, F.B. I. Crime Technician.”

“Juan is on loan from the feds. He’ll give you thirty minutes, Mr. Steel. See you later.” She walked away and Juan studied me like I was some insect trapped in amber. He was a slight man with unruly, dark hair and eyes that glowed with the menial power he had been given. Read the rest of this entry

Still Writing?!?

I have been lost in my day job.

The past six months have been rather immersive for me. Due to changes in my medical practice, I have been unable to work on my upcoming books, social media, publishing, etc. It’s been tough.

I have received some very encouraging emails from those of you who have purchased “The 10th Demon: Children of the Bloodstone”. I am working on expanding my publishing offerings. And, I hope to have an official book launch here in Shreveport for “The 10th Demon” sometime in June — only six months late!

Just to give you an update on my writing. I am half way through “The 9th Demon: A Wicked Numinosity” and, honestly, the story I had planned for this book would not have worked without recent advances in nanotechnology and virtual reality. I started the book about seven years ago but only in recent months has new technology allowed me to make the story believable and possible in our world.

I am also revising a new project. “Death By Darwyn” (There’s a reason Darwyn has a “y”) was a book I originally presented to Realms way back in 2009. They optioned a first refusal and it has been sitting on the shelf. This past November, I finished the rough draft as part of NanoWriMo. I recently had another inspiration that allowed me to finish the story. It is a legal thriller and here is the synopsis:

Ruth Branson is a junior partner in a major law firm in Dallas, Texas. Bryan Nicholas and Ruth are up for the same position as full partner. When a prominent scientist is brutally murdered, Ruth is given the impossible task of defending the murderer, Dr. Frank Miller. Nicholas must prosecute. Whoever wins the case becomes the next partner. The problem is Dr. Miller was caught red handed holding the claw of a recreation of the dinosaur “Annieraptor” after ripping the heart out of his boss, Dr. Wallace Darwyn. As the trial unfolds, the issues of God versus evolution surface as Nicholas tries to depict Miller as a religious fanatic. Joining the legal team is the mysterious Jonathan Steel in the capacity of lead investigator. Can Ruth find the real killer before Miller is convicted of first degree murder? Can she resolve her own confusion about the existence of God?

raptorclaw

I wrote the book to give Jonathan Steel a minor role in hopes that readers who like legal thrillers might read the book and then want to learn more about Steel in my “Chronicles of Jonathan Steel” series.

So, keep in touch. I hope both books will be available by late summer, early fall. Thank you again for your support.

The First Domino Falls!

Be careful what you ask for.

I was wandering through Barnes & Noble about four weeks ago. I stood in the Christian fiction section and recalled a time when my first two books sat on the shelf along with books by authors such as Tosca Lee and Ted Dekker. For a moment, I imagined myself as a bestselling author whose books would stay on the shelf for more than a few weeks before they would wind up in the $3 pile at Half Price Books. I was pretty down. Depressed. Discouraged. I wrote about this in my last post and made a decision to back off from writing.

Something happened that day. Something that would change everything for me. But, first, let me take a moment to share one of my personal philosophies. My inspiration for writing comes from God. Period. No contest. No argument. And, I have discovered that I can very easily wander off the path God has chosen for me and get all wrapped up in the dream of being Ted Dekker or Tosca Lee or any of my favorite Christian writers.

And, then, God humbles me. Over. And over. And over. And, in the humbling I stop and remind myself what I have chosen to ask God every morning when I wake up. It is simply, “God, what is the one thing you want me to do today as part of your work for my life. Let me know what that thing is and not waver from the purpose you have for my life.” Wandering away from God’s purpose for my life is what got me into so much trouble 20 years ago when I descended into a horrific and paralyzing depression. (See conqueringdepression.com for more on that!).

Back to the book store. I have always maintained there is no experience you can reproduce online that rivals that of wandering through a bookstore. Surrounded by the look, the feel, and, yes, the smell of books can’t be replicated on the keyboard and screen. It’s impossible to wander aimlessly through Amazon’s almost infinite collection of “books”. And that is why, in my dreary mood that day, I paid a visit to my local bookstore chain. It was the first time in months and now I stood forlorn and depressed in the section where my four fiction books should have been featured along with others written by Christian authors who have a story to tell to the world. And, I asked myself if it had all been an empty dream; a squandered opportunity because I wanted to be published for my own satisfaction, not to fulfill God’s work in my life.

I turned away from the fiction and glanced at a small, turquoise book on the top shelf behind me. “Switch On Your Brain” by Caroline Leaf. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I see a book there is a quality, an instantaneous attraction to it that defies human explanation. I glanced away and then looked at it again. It called to me. I picked up the book and read the back. Something about it clicked. I now know this was a divine appointment. I didn’t see it at the time. I added it to my small pile of books and checked out. I placed the book on my desk along with three other books I had purchased on improving my writing.

During the next week or so, I opened one of those writing books on Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke. The opening few pages asked a very important question. “Why do you want to be published?” His answer was simple. Fame. Money. Glory. Immortality. I have an entire lecture on the three types of writers: those who can’t not write; those who want to be published; and those for whom writing is a “job”. And, all three are vastly different. When you sign that contract with a publisher, your writing moves beyond a hobby to a business. And, then the job becomes work! I had to stop and really ask myself why I wanted to continue to write and be published. The answer, I had to remind myself, lay in the paragraphs above. If God did not honor my writing, then I was wasting His time and mine doing the wrong thing! And so, I prayed once again for direction. “God, if you want me to continue to write, help me know what you want me to write and show me your will.”

This past weekend, while on call for my radiology practice, I picked up the “Switch on Your Brain” book and decided to read the first chapter. An hour later, I was halfway through the book. What happened that afternoon was like someone pushing over the first domino. You see, about a dozen things happened in one week that had nothing to do with each other when viewed separately. But, putting them together I began to see an undeniable push toward a complete rewrite of “The 9th Demon: A Wicked Numinosity”. Suddenly, information and ideas fell into my lap. Ideas circling in my brain actually gelled. And, three different separate conversations with people about totally unrelated subjects suddenly converged into the final conclusion that I HAD to write this book!

Monday night of this past week, I shared all of this with my wife, Sherry. She is my anchor, my reality check. After I laid out all of the “coincidences” of the past month, she nodded in agreement. “Yes, you need to write again.” Today, I started over with the book and it is coming fast and furious. And, the central theme of this book is so timely! I hope to share more with you in the coming weeks. But, right now, I have to write! Here I go!

So, I have an idea. Here in the ArkLaTex about six years ago we had an event featuring local authors. I’d like to consider something like that again. If you are a local Christian writer, would you like to have a weekend event where we get together and have some presentations about publishing, marketing, editing, etc.? Would you like to have a venue where you could feature and sell your books? It’s just an idea, right now. But, if you are interested or if you know someone who might be interested, drop me an email or a comment.

Hitting “Pause”

These are discouraging days indeed.

Since 2001, I have authored six books, technically 8 in all. Four of these books are fiction and two of them were originally self published then published by a major traditional publishing house. The other two non-fiction books continue to sell. They are about depression. And, depression is certainly rampant in today’s culture.

Being published has been a dream I have pursued for the last forty years. I have achieved that dream and, yet, I have made practically no money from my writing. The publishing world has changed. Kindle and ebooks rewrote the playbook and major publisher are still trying to figure out to stay alive and avoid the fate of your local bookstores and national book store chains.

I cannot continue to write books without making at least some money to justify the time it takes to produce a book. A novel is at least two years in the making. I had hoped that one day I could leave my day job and write full time. Like thousands of authors like myself, the reality of today’s publishing world has hit home particularly hard. Good authors with powerful stories and important messages are being silenced by the reality around them.

So, here it is. I’m taking a break from writing. My Jonathan Steel Chronicles has come to a satisfying stopping point with the fourth book. My original plan was to have three sets of a “quadrilogy” with each set of four books unveiling more of his growing story of spiritual warfare. The story has only just begun but reality has made me pause. I want to thank my faithful readers for purchasing the first four books. I am hoping that in the coming year as I evalutate my writing future, I may find the time and energy away from my increasingly demanding medical job (thank you Obamacare for allowing me the privilege to work four times harder for less and less income!) to continue the story. I hope I will have that opportunity and frankly, I have turned to the Lord’s will for the future of writing.

I will continue to promote my depression book, “Hope Again” as the reward from that book is far from monetary. Mark Sutton and I receive emails every week from someone who found our book and believed it “saved” their life. This kind of success surpasses any other form or renumeration. Please continue to encourage anyone you know who is depressed to check out our book on www.conqueringdepression.com.

I will continue to post on this website and blog in the future. I still have much to say about this hopeless, helpless culture that is becoming increasingly hostile to the Christian faith. Thank you again for all of your support.

Bruce Hennigan

“The Shock of Night” Book Review Day 1

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

ShockOfNightCover-485x750@2x

Coherence

I just love it when a plan comes together!

If you take all of the world building and character development we see in Patrick W. Carr’s “The Shock of Night” and judged them solely on their merits, it would be enough to make this book a thrilling fantasy. But, the real magic of a great author is in making all of those moving parts work together seamlessly in one cohesive whole that takes the reader by surprise and pulls him/her into the narrative.

My favorite writers have the uncanny ability to make me want more. They give me just enough of the story to entice to me to step into the dark forest. They show just enough of the superficial qualities of the character to make we want to know more. They dangle the proverbial carrot and I follow it into wonderful goodness.

In “The Shock of Night” the story starts off obscurely with Elwin, a Servant, journeying to the kingdom of King Lairdir with a carefully hidden secret. As abruptly as we meet Elwin and his companion Robyn, we awaken with Lord Dura, the king’s reeve who is taken to the scene of the murder of a “churchman”. Here we learn that Lord Dura has his own tortured secrets to hide, but what are they? We find out he is fascinated with what lies beyond death and desires to look into the eyes of the near dead. It is during this encounter with the dying Elwin he receives something that changes his life forever.

And, this new gift sends him into the arms of the Vigil, a group of gifted who have a secret themselves. It seems the Darkwater Forrest is growing and engulfing the surrounding land and from this Darkwater Forrest an evil is growing. And, we soon learn that the secret Lord Dura is hiding has to do with something horrific that happened to him, wait for it, in the Darkwater Forrest.

Let me stop there and not give any more of the story away. Just know that the story elements start out seeming to be not related but in time, Patrick W. Carr pulls these threads together and the story coheres, it holds together tightly and seamlessly.

I cannot recommend “The Shock of Night” highly enough. It is a joy to read, a journey to embark upon and a world built very smartly and fully. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to visit everyone’s book review and leave a comment!
The Shock Of Night — Amazon
Author Website — Patrick W. Carr

Participants Links:

Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Carol Bruce Collett
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Rani Grant
Rebekah Gyger
Janeen Ippolito
Carol Keen
Rebekah Loper
Jennette Mbewe
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
 Nissa
Audrey Sauble
Chawna Schroeder
Jessica Thomas
Robert Treskillard
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White

If you are looking for great Christmas presents, there are four books now in the Chronicles of Jonathan Steel and can be ordered from this website. If you know someone suffering from depression at this time of the year check out my book, “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression” at conquering depression.com.

 

“The Shock of Night” Book Review Day 2

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

ShockOfNightCover-485x750@2x

Correspondence

For me, the strength of a good fantasy tale lies in the ability to take me away from the mundane nature of everyday reality. Who wouldn’t want to fly through the air on a broomstick and play Quidditch? Or, cast a spell with a few choice words and teleport fro one place to another? As attractive as these prospects are the story loses its relevance if it is not rooted in reality. Without a foundation in what is NOT possible in our reality, we would not appreciate being able to experience the IMPOSSIBLE.

Patrick W. Carr creates a very viable, realistic alternate reality with the elements of the church as I mentioned in yesterday’s post. In a telling scene in “The Shock of Night”, the main character, Lord Dura is summoned to his king’s chambers. Being the king’s personal “reeve” he has unfettered access to the king. But, to his surprise, King Laidir is surrounded by representatives of two of the church’s factions. In a shocking development, the King is instructed to stop Lord Dura from investigating the murder of Elwin, an elderly Servant killed at the beginning of the novel. How can the church exercise this kind of control over a king? Is this a realistic development? Patrick W. Carr does a masterful job of creating a reality in which the church can exercise this kind of power. It is not unprecedented and our own history demonstrates the power of the Church to dictate how a ruler should conduct the state’s business. As the story progresses, the reader is drawn into this conflict and it is believable.

How about Aer’s “gifts”. Suppose in our reality, one could read another person’s mind merely by touching them? We’ve seen this kind of device used in many fantasy and science fiction novels. It is not an unusual device. But, in “The Shock of Night”, Lord Dura receives such a gift. Patrick W. Carr slowly introduces the reader to the “shock” of the reality of having this kind of gift. Rather than making such a gift sound like a wonderful skill, we see the power of such a gift and the drawbacks. In painstaking detail, Lord Dura is pulled into the power of his gift and not only is devastated by its strangeness, but is also damaged by the depth of the memories he does not expect to accompany such a gift. The reality of the double edge sword of such a gift is deftly demonstrated.

The beauty of a well told story is the correspondence of the story with enough of our own reality to give us relevance as readers and at the same time, create an alternate reality that is believable and sustained by the author. Patrick W. Carr has done this in a powerful and immersive tale that builds and builds toward a powerful face off between the forces of good and evil.

Tomorrow, I will finish my review and tie all of this together with a discussion of coherence.

Don’t forget to visit everyone’s book review and leave a comment!
The Shock Of Night — Amazon
Author Website — Patrick W. Carr

Participants Links:

Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Carol Bruce Collett
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Rani Grant
Rebekah Gyger
Janeen Ippolito
Carol Keen
Rebekah Loper
Jennette Mbewe
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
 Nissa
Audrey Sauble
Chawna Schroeder
Jessica Thomas
Robert Treskillard
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White

If you are looking for great Christmas presents, there are four books now in the Chronicles of Jonathan Steel and can be ordered from this website. If you know someone suffering from depression at this time of the year check out my book, “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression” at conquering depression.com.

 

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