Blog Archives

Welcome to the Chronicles of Jonathan Steel!

If you’re new to the Chronicles of Jonathan Steel, check out the “Reviews” tab to get more information on the first book in the series, “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” and the newest book, “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon”.

Then, go to your nearest Christian Book Store and make sure they have them in stock! If not, you can certainly order both books on Kindle and Nook. If you want me to sign your eBooks, go to Authorgraph and I can electronically sign your book.

If you live in Austin, stand by for news of a book signing in December!

Here are some photos from my book launch at the Well on October 19th and a book signing at First Baptist Orlando bookstore on October 27 and 28. During both events, my co-author, Mark Sutton, joined me to sign copies of our book, “Conquering Depression”.








Book Signing Tonight — “The 12th Demon”


Come out and snag a copy of “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” at First Baptist Church Orlando book store.

530 PM- 830 PM Tonight

9 AM- 1230 PM Sunday

See you there!!!

The Spirit Well by Stephen R. Lawhead, A Book Review

Wherein many loose threads are tied together.

Between the death of my father at age 98 and the launch of my second book, “The 12th Demon”, the past week has proved to be very busy so I will be doing a one day review of “The Spirit Well”, Stephen R. Lawhead’s latest book in his five book series, “A Bright Empires Novel”.

First, let me say that if you have not read the first two books, you WILL find yourself scrambling around trying to make sense of the story. There is an introduction of the characters in the beginning of the book that does give you a sense of the events that have transpired in the prior two books and is indispensable in making sense of the current story, even if you have read both books. However, if you have read the first two books, this book will begin to bring things together in a much more coherent narrative.

Second, Stephen Lawhead has done a masterful job in creating this believable world, or more appropriately, worlds connected by “ley” lines. His attention to historical details, his use of period language, and his inclusion of the particular behavior of certain historical periods is spot on. To read this book is to savor each and every world.

Third, Stephen Lawhead has finally brought together some diverging, or as it turns out, converging story lines. For instance, in the first book, “The Skin Map”, Kit and Mina are instantly separated into two parallel worlds and disparate times only to meet briefly in the second book before once again losing each other. But, in the “The Spirit Well”, Kit and Mina through no device or their own find themselves reunited. Mina has grown considerably into a self sufficient, crafty person and Kit has managed to develop a strong self assurance and a “six pack” to go with his bulging biceps!

Fourth, Stephen Lawhead begins to reveal the truth behind the existence of the “ley” lines and the ultimate purpose  behind their existence. I don’t want to ruin it for the reader but it has to do with “perfecting creation” through the growth and maturity of humanity, or reaching an “Omega” point. Personally, as an apologist, I have been waiting for a more obvious nod to the Christian worldview and in this book, Lawhead delivers. He discusses the “anthropic principle” and the role humanity plays in God’s metanarrative. Here is a wonderful discussion of how God operates by “always working through the small, the insignificant, the powerless — it seems to be sewn into the very fabric of the universe.”

“Over and over again, we see that when anyone willingly gives whatever resources they have to Him — whether it is nothing more than five smooth stones gathered from a dry streambed or five little loaves of bread and two dried sprats — then God’s greater purpose can proceed.”

Or, as the story manages to drive home over and over, “there is no such thing as coincidence.”

Fifth, Stephen Lawhead finally answers the question about the skin map. It is the singular goal of Lord Burleigh and his “Burly” men. The skin map will lead ultimately to the “well of souls” where immortality, youth, healing, resurrection can be found. The skin map was once tattooed on the chest of Arthur Flinders-Petrie. In this story, we discover how it came into the possession of his offspring and how it became a literal “skin map”.

Sixth, Stephen Lawhead introduces new characters and discloses the existence of a society dedicated to bringing together those who have the genetic ability to traverse ley lines. Here, in this new character of Cass and her attachment to the Zetetic Society, the connection to Kit and his grandfather, Cosimo from book one are illuminated. After reading this book, I am more excited than ever to read book four and five. The stage is set and this book brings so many, pardon the pun, parallel story lines together. I highly recommend the entire book series. Book three, “The Spirit Well” delivers the goods!

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

Book link –
Author Website –
Author Facebook page –
Participants’ links: Be sure and check out these other reviews!

Jim Armstrong
Julie Bihn
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Beckie Burnham
 Brenda Castro
Jeff Chapman
Karri Compton
Theresa Dunlap“> Emmalyn Edwards“> April Erwin“> Victor Gentile“> Jeremy Harder“> Timothy Hicks“> Janeen Ippolito“> Becca Johnson“> Jason Joyner“> Carol Keen“> Emileigh Latham“> Rebekah Loper“> Shannon McDermott“> Meagan @ Blooming with Books“> Rebecca LuElla Miller“> Anna Mittower“> Joan Nienhuis“> Lyn Perry“> Nathan Reimer“> Chawna Schroeder“> Rachel Starr Thomson“> Robert Treskillard“> Steve Trower“> Dona Watson“> Shane Werlinger“> Phyllis Wheeler

“The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” Is Here!

Today, you can officially order copies of “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” both as an ebook and a traditional book.

Check out this interview with fellow author, Greg Mitchell, “The Coming Evil Trilogy” on his blog:


“The 12th Demon” is Here!

One week from today, on Friday, October 19, 2012 I will be launching my second book in “The Chronicles of Jonathan Steel”. If you are in the Shreveport area, I will holding a book launch at the coffee shop, the Well, of Brookwood Baptist Church at the corner of I-49 and Bert Kouns from 6 to 8 PM.

Here is the schedule:

6 to 645 PM Book signing and all snacks and drinks on the house

645 Drawing for prizes

7 – 8 Q&A session with Bruce Hennigan and Mark Sutton

Mark Sutton, my co-author on “Conquering Depression” and former pastor of Brookwood Baptist Church will be present and we will be signing copies of our book, “Conquering Depression”.

I will be signing copies of my latest book, “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” and copies of my first book, “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye”.

If you purchase any book, you will receive an entry card (for each book purchased). This card will be placed in a drawing for one of the following four prizes:



Kindle HD (Newest Kindle)

Kindle Backlit (Newest Kindle)

$100 Barnes & Noble Gift Card (Since the newest Nook isn’t available yet)

You MUST be present at the drawing to be eligible for a prize.

If you are in the Shreveport area and cannot make this book launch, I will be at our local Barnes & Noble on Halloween from 530 to 7 signing copies of “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon”. I will be dressed as a vampire. And, I will be reading an excerpt from the book.

If you are in the Orlando area, I will signing books at First Baptist Orlando on Saturday night, October 27th from 5 to 8 PM and on Sunday morning, October 28th from 9AM to Noon.

Come out and see me and together we will celebrate the Power in the Blood!

An American with a Werewolf in London

I stood at the top of the escalator and looked down into the white tiled corridor below. We were in London and we were about to descend into the “Tube”, the subway system under the streets of that fair city. But, this escalator leading down into the ground was terribly familiar. I closed my eyes and I was back in the theater thirty years before; alone, frightened and sweaty. On the big screen before me was the exact same escalator and corridor I now stood before. On the screen, a deep throated growl echoed around me and a creeping creature appeared at the base of the escalator with glowing eyes.

Later that same week my wife and I decided to walk the mile and half to her mother’s house. It was a pleasant day and we sauntered down the road past houses with nice front yards and spinning mobiles and flowerbeds bursting with color. And then, we passed in front of a densely wooded section. The wind kicked up and the sky was suddenly a deep purple. A storm was coming and the air was filled with the taint of ozone and rain.

We paused to look at the sky and decided to hurry on to her mother’s house before the bottom dropped out. As I stood there I heard a low growl come from behind me. I whirled and peered into the inky shadows of those woods. Something moved in there. Suddenly, I was back in that theater as the creature in the “Tube” attacked and killed an innocent bystander. It was a werewolf from “An American Werewolf in London”.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had a moment like that. We live in a reasonable, rational world. We know that things that go bump in the night are usually loose doors or changes in air pressure or perhaps a raccoon in the trashcan. But, at that moment, all reason left me. I was suddenly in the grip of unrelenting terror; a primal fear of the beast that waits to rip out our throats and tear us apart. I was paralyzed with fear and I KNEW there was a werewolf in the woods watching us. Crazy, huh? You’ve felt that kind of unreasoning fear, haven’t you?

Sherry touched my shoulder and I almost jumped out of my skin. I never told her about the encounter with the “werewolf”, only telling her we needed to hurry along before the rain fell. But, in reality, I wanted to scream my lungs out and run, run, run! Now, back in London. Standing there at the top of the escalator where the wolf in that movie ravaged an innocent man. For a moment, I felt the old fear, cold and clammy. Then, we moved on and for the rest of that trip, I tried to forget about an American werewolf in London.

I mentioned in my last post about my childhood. I had an interview with Greg Mitchell for his blog and it will be posted next week. During that interview, I mentioned my brother’s “hobby” of taxidermy. When I try and understand my unreasonable fear of werewolves and vampires, I can easily trace its origin to my brother’s taxidermy shop. It was filled with “mounted” animals standing, sitting, and hanging on the wall. They had these beady, shiny eyes that seemed to follow you around the room. And, there was all the offal on the floor; bones and muscle and flesh from skinned animals. No wonder I was scarred for life!

In my upcoming book, “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” I feature not only vampires but a werewolf or two. Just for good measure. I chose to throw a werewolf in because it scared me! I needed that edge while writing. I kept imagining the glowing eyes at the base of that escalator (go back and watch that scene – I dare you. It is terrifying!) and the shadowy beast in the wind tossed woods. That fear inspired my writing.

But, there is another reason I chose to include the werewolf. When the moon is full, a man will change from his rational, reasonable self into a hungry, uncontrolled beast. The next morning, he will awake with no memory of what happened the night before, just a gnawing sense of doom that he caused irreparable harm to someone during his nightly romp. I have a werewolf inside of me. There are events that set it free; moments of moonlight when the beast surges out of control. I tear into the tender throats of my friends and family; and, yes, my enemies. I leave them torn and bleeding on the side of the road. Then, I wake up and wonder why I did what I did. No matter how hard I regret my actions; no matter how passionately I ask for forgiveness the harm is done. Let’s face it. Even after receiving forgiveness for a heinous deed, the relationship is never the same with the offended. Something has changed in the doing of the deed. They look at you in the framework of the beast that they now see within. They stand at the top of the escalator or at the edge of the woods and see the eyes glowing within; the beast waiting hungry and ravenous.

There are lots of words that could describe the beast. In our Christian parlance we have the catchall word of “sin”. The truth is, the best word is our “fallen” nature. We are broken inside; damaged beyond repair because of our severance from the goodness of God. We are bitten by the wolf of rebellion and the wound festers and grows inward and the beast is now full grown; full blown waiting, waiting to be unleashed. In fantasy, there is no cure for the curse of the werewolf. Only the sweet oblivion of death at the expense of a sliver bullet.

But, in reality, we have hope. Our status can be restored. The beast can be tamed and conquered with the help of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He eclipses the moonlight of our soul and sooths the savage beast – tempering it, shushing it, controlling it. I am in need of a Savior. I know this every time I look into the mirror and see the shadow of the wolf.


The “wolf dragon” of the Dacian empire.

I hope you will consider purchasing a copy of my new book, “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon”. The running theme throughout the story is one of forgiveness. How deeply can we go into the beast before we pass beyond the point of redemption? Is there a point of no return? Are we werewolves lashing out at the moonlight forever doomed to slash and tear at the world around us? Or, is there a sliver bullet that does not kill but redeems? The answers may surprise you.


If you are in the Orlando, Florida area, I will be signing copies of the book at First Baptist Orlando on Saturday, October 27 from 5 PM to 8 PM (after the evening service) and again on Sunday morning, October 28 from 9 AM to Noon (after the morning services). Come by and see me. I promise I won’t bite!


Oh, and if you are in Shreveport, I’m holding a book launch on Friday night October 19, 2012 at the coffee shop, the Well, at Brookwood Baptist Church from 6 to 8 PM. We’ll be giving away an iPad3, a Kindle HD, and a Kindle Backlit in a drawing for those who purchase a book. Come by and see us!

“The Telling” a Book Review Day 3

There is something that Mike Duran is very, very good at. Like in his “The Resurrection” Mike Duran has the ability to take the “Christian point of view” and tweak it ever so slightly to make it, well, slightly oblique. In “The Resurrection” Mike Duran chose to push the boundaries of our Biblical understanding of spirits and ghosts and create the “Cellophane Man”, a frightening ghostly figure that haunted the life of the main character. Mike even included an additional addendum at the end of the book discussing the theological underpinnings of such a possible creature as a ghost.

In “The Telling”, Mike Duran goes one better. He turns the concept of the fallen angels on its head, bringing in “dark angels” with decidedly un-Biblical powers in addition to those every Christian would anticipate. And here lies a challenge that is at the heart of all Christian Speculative Fiction. How far does an author go to present a story that appeals to the secular audience and yet conveys the “truth” of Christianity I mentioned on Day 1? Or, should a Christian author write a story that can ONLY be enjoyed by Christians? Mike has talked about this challenge on his blog at length and the reader can visit his blog for more information on this “controversy” in Christian fiction.

In “The Telling”, Mike Duran pushes the accepted abilities and identities of the fallen angels slightly beyond the literal scriptural description. Some Christians may find this troublesome. In “The Telling” we hardly ever hear the name of Jesus or mention of God and these “dark angels” seem to be able to possess anyone, regardless of their walk with God. I say “seem to be able”. For, if you pay very close attention, Mike never crosses the line. There are moments when the reader believes that the darkness will triumph only to fall to the presence of Good.

What I like most about this book is its ability to appeal to unbelievers. I suggest any reader purchase a copy and pass it off to their skeptical friends and family. It reads like a fast paced supernatural thriller that is not connected to Christianity. In fact, there is a North American Indian character that one could suspect represents the worldview of animism as we see in ancient North American Indian religions. But, the overarching reality of this story is that God is present. Good triumphs over evil. Satan’s minions will flee when confronted with a Christ follower. In the end, the story is one of redemption and love. And that, my friends, is what all of us should celebrate.

I highly recommend “The Telling”. Powerful, creepy, scary, edgy, and filled with wonderful characters and fascinating locales.


Once again, I want to remind everyone that I am giving away a limited number of my book, “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” in anticipation of the launch of my second book, “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” on October 16, 2012. If you would like to receive a FREE copy with NO obligation, just fill out the form below.


FREE Writing Conference this Friday!

This Friday at 915 A.M. join me for the “Christian Writing Conference” by Athanatos Christian Ministries “No Compromise for the King: In Pursuit of Excellence”. This conference is FREE but requires registration. I will be speaking on “Apologetics as a Foundation for Speculative Christian Fiction”. This is an adaptation of a presentation I gave back in April. In addition to the discussion of several Christian Speculative Fiction books that utilize apologetics, I will discuss the necessity of a firm foundation in the Christian faith for fiction that conveys the Christian worldview.



In addition to my discussion I would like to share a few thoughts as you prepare for the free conference on Friday.


Every story conveys a worldview.

Best selling books such as “The Shack” succeed because the author takes a slightly different angle on historical, traditional Christianity. I do not want to offend the author or readers who have enjoyed that book. However, the “doctrine” presented in “The Shack” smacks more of New Age religion than classical Christianity. I couldn’t help but wonder if the story could have used a shot of doctrinal truth. As an apologist, I cannot express how many times I have fielded questions that come directly from “The Shack”. Again, the book succeeds in bringing readers into a fascinating story and does expose the readers to some ideas from the Christian faith.

American Christians aren’t really Christian.

I would like to consider George Barna’s book, “Seven Faith Tribes of America”. In that book, Barna relates that 67% of Americans claim to be Christians. But, when Barna asked these same Americans specifically what they believe, it turns out their belief system consisted of picking and choosing bits and pieces of Christianity that fit their lifestyle. They created a “boutique” religion that does not resemble traditional Christianity. Only 16% or 1 out of 6 Americans practice what Barna describes as “committed” Christianity.

Imagination can alter our perception of Christ.

Bearing this in mind, it would seem there is a need for writers to make certain that the basic tenets of Christianity are represented in any work that labels itself “Christian” fiction. To do otherwise is to swerve dangerously close to the heresies of the “gnostic” Gospels which also strove to re-create Christianity and re-define Jesus in terms that would match their “version” of Christ. Matt Mikalatos touched on this tendency for us to create Jesus in our own imaginary image in his book, “My Imaginary Jesus”.

May the Force be with you.

Let’s face it. Today’s fiction landscape is littered with dozens of “mash up” philosophies. Spirituality is the “religion” of our time. Anything that smacks of the spiritual is fair game for inclusion in one’s own personal worldview. With relativism running rampant, one man’s religion is just as valid as another’s. What we as Christian authors must do is to avoid falling into a blurring of the lines that separate Christianity from these philosophies. I see Christian speculative fiction works embracing concepts such as dualism, that is, that good and evil are opposite and EQUAL forces in the universe. The Force took care of that one. And yet, as Christians we know that Satan is nowhere nearly equal to the power of God. Yes, he perpetrates evil. But, Satan is far from an equal but opposite force. There are numerous other examples of this blurred theology. The masters such as J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis managed to practice “world building” and still preserve sound foundational ideas that are uniquely Christian. We can only hope to come close to their successes!

Authors should think critically.

One aspect of apologetics that has benefitted me personally in my writing is the development of “critical thinking”. Tough questions asked by my atheist partners are the force that spurred me into seeking answers that went beyond “the Bible says it and that settles it” or “God worked miraculously in my life and He can work in yours”. By entering into the field of apologetics, I was confronted with the necessity to use sound thinking, rational discourse, and reason in answering these questions. One need look no further than Jesus’ sessions with the Pharisees or the rich young ruler. He was the Master of answering a question with a question; of divining the true intention behind the question; of turning the tables on his opponents and leaving them open mouthed and confused instead of the other way around. This ability to utilize “critical thinking skills” has become indispensable in writing a novel. By looking at plot lines from all the different angles, a novelist can creatively lead his reader down one garden path and still have the outcome, though unexpected, be totally satisfying and ultimately logical.

We should be interesting and draw people to us.

I have also noticed that as authors, we tend to be poor speakers. We would rather spend time on the written word; honing it; polishing it; editing it until it is perfect. But, place us in a live interview situation and you would think we suffered from expressive aphasia! Becoming an apologist has also allowed me to hone those speaking skills. The ability to formulate a convincing “argument” on the spot is a powerful way to gain attention from those around us. William Lane Craig in his excellent apologetic primer “On Guard” talks about this principle. He says that apologetics will ultimately make us “more interesting”. Why would we want to be more interesting? To sell more books! To gain attention for our works! To have opportunities to tell our stories! And, this leads to furthering the Kingdom, our ultimate goal.

Are YOU being asked the tough questions?

A few years back, one of the employees at the hospital at which I work committed a murder suicide of his three year old son and his wife. Everyone was devastated as the news reached our department on that horrific Tuesday morning. I knew exactly what would be happening to me. I knew that within hours, employees in my department would be knocking on my office door to ask me “the question”. They seem to have the sense that I had answers to some of life’s hard questions. I never announced that I did. But, in our casual conversations, they sensed the way I think; the way I analyze; the way that I try and point everyone back to Jesus Christ. So, when bad things happen that puzzle and confound us, they turn to the nearest person that seems to have real and truthful answers. Sure enough, the next few days saw me trying my best to answer these tough questions.

This is exactly what we do as authors. We pose questions people never thought of asking and then answer those questions in creative and compelling manners. Jesus did the same thing with His parables. We should do no less.

I challenge those of you who want to write Christian fiction to consider rounding our your foundation by studying apologetics. Look at the tab at the top of this page labeled “Apologetics”. If you go to this section, you can download a document of resources that will lead you to numerous websites and books that will become a firm foundation for sound apologetics.

Fiction is something that we make up. But, our fiction must always point to the Truth of the Gospel. How can we lead someone to Truth unless we know that Truth intimately and fully?

Weekend Roundup!

Now, this is a week to remember!

It started out with two incredible days at the International Christian Retail Show. I was able to meet Mr. Strang himself, the founder of Charisma Media and to see my mockup of “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” at the Charisma Booth. I met Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee, Charles Martin, Os Guinness to drop a few BIG names as well as singer and songwriter Matthew West. I learned that the future of publishing, at least in Christian retail outlets, is NOT dismal but is HOPEFUL. And, of course, the BIG development is the one I cannot speak of yet that has to do with future books by yours truly. Here is a picture with my Charisma editor, Deborah at the ICRS:

Saturday, my good friend and financial adviser, Kevin Murphy of Ameriprise held a brunch featuring my book, “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye”. Sherry and I were expecting maybe a dozen people to show up but the room was full with around 50 attendees! I was stunned.

Kevin asked me to speak and answer questions. I talked about the development of my writing career to date and the process of writing “The 13th Demon”. And, I brought along a copy of that old reliable book I had co-authored, “Conquering Depression”. I was stunned when over half of those there wanted a copy of that book! Kevin took names and agreed to purchase copies and send them to those who signed up. I am continually amazed at how this little known book continues to change lives everywhere I go!

Last Sunday, Mark Sutton and I spent six hours working on a plan for a future upgrade to “Conquering Depression” and the developments of the week at the ICRS impacted the future of that book!

And, just now, I finished putting the final touches and making the final changes to the galley proofs of “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon”! That book is now on its way to the printer with the cover and back design in place and the book endorsements tucked onto the first page. I am now making plans for the book launch.

For now, the book launch is planned for Friday, October 19th at the Well, the coffee shop of Brookwood Baptist Church in Shreveport. Like last year, we will have refreshments, giveaways and I hope we have another huge crowd. I have also scheduled a book signing at First Baptist Church Orlando for October 27 and 28. If you know of a book store that might be interested in having me for a book signing, just contact me and let me know. Get me the contact information and I’ll turn it over to Charisma. God is SO good. He is in charge and His plans are so much grander and more satisfying than we can ever imagine!

Here are some pictures from this weekend.

International Christian Retailers Show Weekend

This weekend I am flying down to Orlando. Again.

I visit Orlando, Florida about six times a year. First, there is Walt Disney World which I visit about four times a year. Second, there is my co-author, best friend, and former pastor Mark Sutton who is now involved in his own ministry to Haiti (link). Third, my publisher, Charisma Media is in Sanford, Florida just north of Orlando and I like to visit them once or twice a year. It’s good to put a face to the name and it is good to get a feel of the organization for which you write. And, the people at Charisma are outstanding!

But, this trip is special. I will be attending the International Christian Retail Show. What is that? Here is a description from their website:

The International Christian Retail Show is where the Christian resources industry meets – and there are a lot of reasons why. There is no other time or place where so many people, products, services, media, authors, artists, and craftspeople are gathered together in one place.

To say this gathering is awe inspiring, daunting, and,  yes, exhausting is an understatement. Exhibit after exhibit from all kinds of publishers, retailers, marketers fill the Orange County Exhibit Center and it will take three days to see everything. But, what I really love about this gathering is the chance to see and hear new media. Concerts and film showings will go on the entire time. My wife and I were fortunate to attend the 2008 gathering and we were stunned to hear a concert one evening that featured Jeremy Camp, The Annie Moses Band, Nicole Mullen, Natalie Grant, and others. All in one concert!!! I can’t wait to see what is in store this year.

So, join me each day beginning Sunday for a report from the exhibit floor of the International Christian Retail Show and I’ll tell YOU what to expect in the music and book stores this fall!


If you happen to get your hands on the ICRS magazine for July look on page 72! Awesome ad!

If you want to get in touch with me, I’ll be on the exhibit floor Monday and Tuesday. Just use the contact button to send me an email, a test message, or give me a call.

Get one of my cards:


See you there!!!!

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