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The 7th Demon Arrives!

How far would you go to save the one you love? What if it required you to betray every moral and ethical fiber in your body? What is the cost of love?

Jonathan Steel is about to find out! In Part 1 of “The Unholy Triad”: “The 7th Demon: The Pandora Stone”, Josh Knight is afflicted with a debilitating disease after coming in contact with Pandora’s Box. The only man who has a cure for the disease forces Jonathan Steel to perform three tasks for the Seventh, Sixth, and Fifth Demons of the Council of Darkness in order to save Josh’s life. Steel must embrace evil in order to do good and betray God! As Jonathan Steel races against the clock to perform the first task, he realizes he must deceive his new ally, Max. And Josh, under the influence of the mysterious Pandora Stone is slowly being overcome by the mind of the evil spirit of Pandora!

I have been working on this book nonstop for over a year and a half. During that time my family has had to endure serious medical challenges that are unrelated to COVID. My adult daughter went through a prolonged ordeal of pain and suffering unlike anything I have ever seen in my 40 years of practicing medicine. Throughout this ordeal, her faith remained steady and unchanging and was a beacon of light for my wife and for me. As of the end of July, her pain was relieved after surgery and she is doing very well right now.

When I started this book, COVID was not on the horizon. My daughter was not suffering from pain. And yet, I put Josh into a life threatening medical situation. Talk about art imitating life! It was very difficult for me to finish this book for that reason. In fact, on October 1, 2021 only Part 1 of “The Unholy Triad” will be published. I wanted to get something out there for my readers who have been so kind and so patient. Some of you have reached out through email and we have shared out own personal stories of pain and suffering.

Part 1 is entitled, “The 7th Demon: The Pandora Stone”. This book, along with Part 2 features THREE demons ganging up on Jonathan Steel and his new family. So be WARNED!. This book ends in a cliffhanger. And to reflect that, the price point is much smaller and the second book will be out by December 1, 2021.

I hope you enjoy this book. It will be available on October 1 for print order and for ebook purchase. Just in time for Halloween, this creepy tale may keep in hot and cold running chills!

Book Event, Mark Sutton’s Demon Undertow

First off, request for prayer for Mark Sutton who is receiving treatment for a viral infection. Not COVID! Since he has had a lung transplant, he is immunosuppressed. He and Donna are still planning to be in Shreveport this weekend (they live in Florida) for his book launch of “Demon Undertow”.

We will be in the Well, the coffee shop of Brookwood Baptist Church (at the corner of I49 and Bert Kouns) this coming Saturday, May 15th from 5 to 7 PM. Free coffee and snacks. And, FREE books.

That’s right. Charisma Media, the publisher of my two books, “The 13th Demon” and “The 12th Demon” have returned all rights to me along with remaining inventory. So, this coming Saturday you can come by and pick up a FREE copy of “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” as long as supply lasts. And, in addition to that, I will be offering the second book, “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” and the third book, “The 1tth Demon: The Ark of Chaos” for only $2.50 each. This gives you a chance to sample the Chronicles of Jonathan Steel and see if you would like to continue reading the entire series so far.

But, the feature of our Book Event is Mark Sutton’s newest book: “Demon Undertow”. The cover alone has caused a bit of a stir, but the book is riveting and redemptive in its ultimate message.

Here is a synopsis:

The ocean-side community of Hidden Beach, Florida, is under attack. A series of murders has the police scrambling to find the killer, and as the body count rises, they narrow their search to Henry Watchman, pastor of Hidden Beach Community Church. Though the pastor denies having any part in the murders, he and his wife, Jenna, are hiding a terrible secret.

Vincent Anderson, a young detective on the force, is bending his time and effort to catching the pastor –but the murders continue. And behind it all, a shadowy force rises from the ocean’s depths. Though unseen, it pushes men and women to the brink of ruin. If not stopped, the sinister force will swamp many of Hidden Beach’s citizens in a Demon Undertow.

In addition to this book, Mark’s other fiction book, “Pitfall” about the war in heaven will also be offered. Also, our book, “Hope Again: A Lifetime Plan for Conquering Depression” along with a set of LifeFilters will be offered.

Come on by Saturday evening and have a cup of coffee. Meet and greet Mark and Donna Sutton (we will be using social distancing because of Mark’s illness). Hope to see you there!

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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Jonathan Steel is Returning!

I have just finished the rough draft for the next book in the Jonathan Steel Chronicles. Tentatively it is entitled “The Ninth Demon: Cross Time”. It will still be a couple of months before I hope to get it into press but for those of you who have been waiting patiently these past two years, here is the Prologue to give you some idea of what’s going on. (Or, not!)

 

PROLOGUE

It was time to die. The man standing at the window did not want to die. But, neither did he want his two girls to die. The window looked out over a vast cavern filled with sunlight streaming in through the far opening. A transport airplane appeared in the distance, touched down on a dirt runway and pulled into the huge cavern. Workers converged on the plane like ants to honey.

“Are you ready to die?” Someone said behind him. He had not heard the man enter the room.

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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!

 

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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

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.

The Shreveport Times Article

I met author Judy Christie a few years back at our “Author! Author!” event here in Shreveport. Judy writes excellent novels with a “Louisiana flair” and her books are delightful. Check them out. Well, not too long ago, Judy and I reconnected and she has written an article for the Shreveport Times about little old me! I am humbled and honored by her article you can read at this link.

Now, for an update to the fourth book in the Chronicles of Jonathan Steel. I am finishing up the final edit this week. After being released from a very restrictive book contract and whittling down the story from 120000 words to 75000 words it is a pleasure to completely redo the novel. I was forced to cut so much of the story in order to meet these word count restrictions. Now, I have written the book I want to read. And, hopefully, my writing has improved thanks to editorial input from fiction editors I worked with while at Charisma.

My plan now is to publish the book under my own imprint and I am shooting for August or September so I will keep you posted.

Thanks again to Judy for a wonderful article.

Can Fiction be Christian?

fantasy_books

 

This past week the Christian publishing world was shaken by the announcement from Broadman & Holman (B&H) Publishing regarding their new Christian fiction strategy. Steve Laube, a major voice in the Christian publishing industry, commented on these changes at this link. This may seem like some mundane industry-babble but it has grave implications for the reader of Christian fiction. The bottom line is this: a major Christian publisher has decided to back off of fiction unless it ties in with some other media initiative (such as a movie). In fact, all contracts for future fiction that would have been released  beyond April 2014 are now null and void. Kaput! Gone! And, I know that feeling!

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Why? In September 2012 just a few weeks before the release of my second book, “The 12th Demon: The Mark of the Wolf Dragon” by Charisma, I received a notification that I was being released from my five book contract after the second book. This didn’t catch me totally by surprise. I had already heard from a couple of my fellow authors at the Realms imprint (an imprint is a division of a publishing “house” focused on a particular “genre”) who had suffered the same fate. As of September there were two of us left, myself and Mike Dellosso easily Realms bestselling author. Mike has now moved on also. At least I was in good company! I know this was a business decision made because of the downturn in the economy but it had a lasting impact on my personally as well as many Christian authors.

What does all of this mean for you, the reader of Christian fiction?

It will mean a much smaller selection of books and a much narrower range of genres. Major publishers will not be taking as many chances with new authors and will not be looking to branch out into “strange waters” such as Christian speculative fiction. Frankly, this frightens me. I am already a victim of the troubled economic times coupled with the sea change in traditional publishing trying to adapt to newer digital technology. However, I followed the advice of Michael Hyatt, once CEO of Thomas Nelson (which has been swallowed up by the larger HarperCollins publishing behemoth along with Zondervan). He suggested I self publish. The good news for authors like myself is there are many reputable self publishing ventures available. The bad news is I have to fund the book and all of the prep work myself. Let’s just say it makes for a tremendous tax right off! But, I am hoping the momentum of two previous books will help “The 11th Demon: The Ark of Chaos” sell enough copies to keep the series going.

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Summer Reads — Two Good Books!

Summer-reading-006Summer is coming. Hot days. Humid days. Days on the beach or in the shade of an oak tree. Lazing around beside the pool. And, people want to have something to read.

As you prepare for summer, I want to remind you that there are two books that are perfect summer reads. Let me introduce you to the Chronicles of Jonathan Steel.

The first book, oddly enough, has the highest number in the title. “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye”. You see, I’m counting down from thirteen to one. Jonathan Steel is a Christian version of Jason Bourne. He has no memory of his former life except for one outstanding event. The day he became a Christian is the only meaningful memory he can recall. As his memory begins to return, he finds that he has a very specific skill set that only a mercenary or an assassin would have.

Who was he? Soon, he begins to remember an abusive and hateful father. It doesn’t take long for Steel to become embroiled in evil. He encounters a serial killer possessed by “the 13th demon”. It doesn’t take long for this man to bring tragedy into the life of Jonathan Steel and he vows to track down the killer and destroy it.

But, although evil is real, so is the force of good. Steel finds himself in the midst of a spiritual battle in the small town of Lakeside. An evil presence has settled into the local church and is determined to take over the town. Steel wants revenge but he also realizes he has made a promise to help others in danger.

“The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” is harrowing and frightening but ultimately redemptive. It is a story of good versus evil. It is a story of self sacrifice for the good of others.

The second book, “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” picks up where the first book ends. Steel has assumed the responsibility of being a guardian to a young teenage boy. The boy’s uncle, Cephas Lawrence, is Steel’s mentor. Steel finds himself in Dallas, Texas battling an army of vampires to recover the young man who has been kidnapped by Rudolph Wulf, the 12th demon. The story ranges from the Texas countryside to the mountains of Transylvania.

You can read the reviews of both books here.

Will there be other books? I have planned all thirteen books and have already written the next two books. Unfortunately, my current publisher has “released” me from my current contract and I am looking for a new publisher to pick up the rest of the books. If you are a traditional publisher or know of a traditional publisher interested in picking up the series, you can contact my agent, Nancy Jernigan at jjernigan@hiddenvaluegroup.com.

But, rest assured, if I do not have a traditional publisher soon, I am planning on self-publishing “The 11th Demon: Ark of the Demon Rose” under my own imprint. I have retained the same fiction editor I worked with for the first two books so I am excited about the final manuscript!

So, pick up the two books for summer read. The books are appropriate for men, women, and teenagers. It is suspenseful with a touch of horror. But, I guarantee a good story and a redemptive message.

Check it out and see that evil is real. But, so is God!

 

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