I just approved the final proof for “The 10th Demon: Children of the Bloodstone”. I am so excited to announce the fourth book in the “Chronicles of Jonathan Steel”. My tentative plan is to have a book launch at Brookwood Baptist Church on Friday, November 13th from 630 to 8 PM pending the arrival of my books! So, keep in touch and I’ll keep you posted for details. In the meantime, look up for EVIL REIGNS FROM THE SKIES!
I’m old enough to say I totally geeked out over the X-Files television show back in the 90’s. In fact, I would put myself right up there with Spooky Mulder in saying, “I want to Believe!”. I grew up in the countryside outside of the tiny hamlet of Blanchard, Louisiana and my night skies were brilliant and clear. There were many nights I would take an old blanket out and place it on the ground, recline and just watch the stars go by. Many times, I would see meteorites falling to the Earth streaking across the sky in brief brilliance. I watched as satellites blinked and slowly made their way across the darkness. One night, in coordination with a broadcast on network television, I watched one of the Gemini spacecraft soar across the heavens, a tiny blinking white dot against the cosmos.
I yearned, I longed, I even prayed to see a UFO. Just once, I wanted a flying saucer to land on my front lawn. Back then, aliens were not quite as hostile in their fictional depiction. It was the age of Progress, a time enlightened by the success of the American space program. Our hope was the stars. Our future lay beyond the solar system. Star Trek promised a future Utopian society where racism, sexism, disease, hunger, and strife were a thing of the past. If we could only get out there! And, in our unyielding optimism, we knew that friendly, highly educated aliens were just waiting for us to mature to a level that could withstand the truth of their existence.
Well, I had almost given up.
And then this:
Hey, Bruce, just wanted to say congratulations for winning the CSFF Top Tour Blogger Award this month. Your posts on The Warden and the Wolf King were awesome. So glad you’re a part of CSFF. (Christian Science Fiction Fantasy Blogtour)
Now, back to my despair!
I can tell anyone reading this blog post that it is incredibly frustrating being a published author in today’s publishing environment. I have written three books in the series, “The Chronicles of Jonathan Steel”. After the second book came out, my publisher, Charisma, “released” me from a five book contract. But, I and already written the next two books in the series. I put a few feelers out to interested publishers and had my agent try and generate some interest in the third book. No response.
I have self published before and at the first annual Platform conference in Nashville, Michael Hyatt told me to self publish again. Take control of your own destiny, he suggested. I turned to Westbow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson where Michael Hyatt was once CEO. That book became available in December, 2014 about six weeks later than my third book would have come out through Charisma.
Unfortunately, the third book has not received as much attention than the first two. In fact, after months of writing this blog and promoting my book here and through Facebook and Twitter I had become very discouraged. I had all 13 books in the series mapped out. But, it seemed interest was dwindling in my book series.
At the same time, B&H Publishing approached me and my co-author, Mark Sutton during the ICRS, the largest Christian media trade show in the country. In July, 2012 I was asked by B&H to update our depression book, Conquering Depression. This development was a complete shock and a pleasant development. But, it would mean I would now be dividing my time between Jonathan Steel and a new book on depression.
The last two years have been tough but ultimately rewarding. “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression” will be released in September and soon, our website will debut. I am currently working feverishly on the website and social media and marketing and publicity and . . .
But, what about Jonathan Steel? The fourth book in the series is already written. In fact, the original manuscript was responsible for securing that five book series deal with Charisma. But, the original novel was 150,000 words long. My contract with Charisma specified a maximum book length of 75,000 words! What was I to do? It would mean seriously chopping down the fourth book to half of its length! I considered breaking the book into two parts, but the story just wouldn’t hold up. I went to work, painfully and carefully whittling down the manuscript. It was tough, let me tell you. As my books have come out, I have had the great fortune of working with an excellent editor and my writing has improved. This is a great lesson every aspiring novelist should pay attention to. Spend the time and money to get an editorial input on your manuscript. You will learn so much and your writing will improve or you will walk away in total frustration.
Now, with my former contract kaput, I have to decide what to do with the fourth book. Back in April, I made a decision to take the new, shorter edit and the old, longer manuscript and bring them together. The shorter work had so much more going for it, but the longer manuscript was meatier with more character development and lots of new backstory. A shocking development occurred in the narrative as I rewrote the book for the shorter version and I was excited about the potential.
But, again I became discouraged. Should I press on with the series? How could I afford another self-publishing package in the tens of thousands when the third book just wasn’t bringing in the funds to offset these expenses? But, as I started in on the third revision of the book, I got excited about some story changes based on hints and clues I placed in “The 11th Demon”. I really want to get this book out there.
And then, I decided to check out a relative’s new book on Amazon. I can’t reveal her real name, but her pen name is Lorraine Britt. I read some of the reviews of her book and wondered, “What about my books?” I had checked out only one review for “The 13th Demon” that called it an “honest effort” and I was afraid to go back and check for more reviews. But, I was pleasantly surprised! The reviews definitely reflect the improvement in my writing so that was a relief. And, as I read the reviews I had to keep pinching myself. People actually like my books? They want to read more books?
It is late on a Friday night and my discouragement had reached a new high (or low, depending on how you look at it). But, after reading the reviews, I have made a final decision. “The 10th Demon: Children of the Bloodstone” will be released in some form or fashion by November, 2014. I am strongly considering forming my own independent publishing endeavor. The reason? The fourth book will definitely lead to a spin off science fiction series called “The Node of God” if it succeeds. And, I have several other books planned. These are NOT in the genre of Christian Speculative Fiction and I am pretty discouraged with fiction publishing by traditional publishers right now. I may only have a small group of readers who like my characters and want to read my books, what Michael Hyatt calls a “tribe”. And, I imagine we are a strange tribe indeed to want to follow Jonathan Steel on his quest to rediscover his memory and his life. But, I have always lived on the edge of the strange, odd, and edgy.
If you’d like to see the fourth book finished, just drop me a comment. I need the encouragement. And for now, I will cling to this one thought: God is not done with me yet and I will never give in, never give up.
Check back soon for more information on my new website promoting “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression”.
The night sky was black velvet sprinkled with a million tiny diamonds. It was mid June and the air was thick with the fragrance of honeysuckle. Fireflies blinked lazily in the darkness. Crickets and frogs sang their choral arrangement to the heavens.
I was two hundred feet from the warm, yellow pool of light at the back door of my house, wrapped in inky darkness. At age ten, I was definitely creeped out by the dark, especially the kind of dark we had in the country. I could barely see my hands in front of my face as I emptied the trash into our trash bin.
The crickets stopped. The frogs fell silent. The night smothered me in deafening humidity and above me, the stars were eclipsed by something blacker than black; darker than dark moving above the tree limbs. I gasped for breath, paralyzed with fear as the thing moved silently across the heavens; heavy and ominous. My hair stood on end and I could hardly breath.
I dropped the trash can and fumbled in my pocket for the matches I had brought to burn the trash. The small box of matches exploded under my clumsy efforts and matches showered away into darkness. One was left barely hanging in the box. I grabbed it and stroked it against the side of the box. The blue sparks were swallowed by the night. Finally, the match burst into flame; brighter than the sun pushing the night away. I dropped it into paper wadded in the trash bin and the trash caught fire, light spilling all over me. I looked up. The stars were back. The crickets and frogs tuned up slowly and returned to their symphony. I ran to the back door, into the porch light, into the house and back to sanity.
I don’t know what I saw that night. For years, I tried to reason my way around the object that hovered above me. I knew that our house, although far away in the country often had airplanes fly over from the nearby Barksdale Air Force Base. Maybe it was an experimental aircraft. Maybe it was a weather balloon. All I know is it was an unidentified flying object; a UFO.
I am currently writing the fourth book in the Jonathan Steel Chronicles. It will be about UFOs, aliens, and alien abduction. Based on the information in one of my favorite books, “Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men” I hope to explore the mythology of UFOs and E.T.s.
I am announcing a special contest beginning today and ending in two weeks. I want to hear your stories. Have you ever seen a UFO? Have you ever had a “close encounter”? For the next two weeks, I would like for you to send me your story. Include your name and address and the top ten entries, as judged by me, will receive an autographed copy of “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye”.
I will publish the top ten stories in this blog in the month of July so look to the night sky and tell me about your special “encounter” with a UFO!!!! Send your stories via the contact tab.