I am frustrated.
I haven’t been posting this summer because of family issues with my daughter’s health. But, she is doing very, very well and it is time for me to re-engage the creative side of my brain.
I haven’t been negligent of my writing. I am finishing up the final edit for “The 11th Demon: The Ark of Chaos” and it will be available hopefully by late October. It will not be available in the usual traditional sense but you will be able to purchase it through bookstores, Amazone, B&N, etc. Now that I am no longer beholden to my previous publisher, I have much more freedom to tell the story the way I want to.
For instance, my previous two books suffered from the word limit demon (pardon the pun). I had to constrain my story to fit 75000 words. That required cutting major story elements and, in some cases, entire characters to fit the required word limit. While I don’t plan on going all Harry Potter on my readers and make the next books 700+ words, I have extended the upcoming book from 75000 to 90000 words.
I am back in the world of self-publishing and it is much different from the first time I self-published back in 2006. Self-publishing has gained in reputation since then. To give you an example, I ran my dilemma by Michael Hyatt back in February. If you don’t know who Michael Hyatt is, go to his website. He was former CEO of Thomas Nelson and has launched his own brand teaching authors how to communicate and how to build a platform for their work. I met him at the first annual Platform conference. Michael took one look at my previous two books in the Jonathan Steel Chronicles and quickly, confidently without hesitation told me to self-publish. This came from a man who was once the CEO of one of the largest Christian publishers in the world!
For a while, I pursued traditional publishing for the third book and met with half-hearted response. I don’t want to disparage my previous traditional publisher, but I think today’s tp’s don’t know how to effectively market Christian speculative fiction. Michael Hyatt made the comment this is the fastest growing sub-genre in Christian publishing. I have discussed problems with this genre in previous posts, the least being that bookstores don’t know where to put these books — Christian publishing or secular publishing areas.
So, it is up to those of us who write such books to decide if we cave in to the poor sales and poor marketing and little recognition or do we press on and continue to write the books God has placed on our hearts and minds. Authors such as Greg Mitchell, Mike Duran, Mike Dellosso, Marc Schooley, Linda Rios Brook, and Conlan Brown write speculative fiction and their works are fantastic, awe inspiring, moving, and wildly imaginative. Their books should be flying off the shelves. Instead, like me, they are struggling with balancing day jobs and writing supernatural thrilling stories that are trying to break their way out of our brains onto the written page.
Here is my plea. Check out the Christian speculative fiction market. But some books. Buy lots of books. Support your favorite Christian speculative fiction author and I’m not just talking about the giants such as Ted Dekker or Frank Peretti or Tosca Lee. Look for us little guys and gals who are struggling and promise to give you a good story — a great read that is wildly imaginative, thrilling, and yet, ultimately redemptive.
Give us a chance!
Buy one of our books as summer comes to a close and then post a review on Amazon or on your blog or your website. Help us flood American readers with the kind of thrilling supernatural stories the world is craving but with a different twist — a Christian worldview. Do that, and we will go a long way to changing the world’s attitudes — changing the world’s perception of reality — and showing the world the light and love of Christ!
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.
I like little maps. I like little hand drawn maps. When I think of Middle Earth, I can see Tolkien’s hand drawn map of that far country. Mike Duran has a little hand drawn map in the front of his book, “The Telling”. I find it intriguing because I now want to see what is about to happen at each of these places. If something wasn’t going to happen in these places, then why put them there? Here are some of the most important places:
Marvale Manor — an old hotel that has been converted into as assisted living center. This is where Annie, the grandmother to Tamra, has noticed that people are NOT what they used to be. Something is up in Marvale Manor. And, that something started down in the maintenance area where a young man with a really bad headache has opened his mind and his heart to the darkness around him and is searching for his lost notebook.
Lanrel House — Not far from Marvale Manor, this is where the nursing home residents live. It is here that this young man goes to see his father. Which young man? Read the book to find out. For, his father is the key to everything that is transpiring in the town of Endurance.
Silverton — The town that once thrived after the discovery of silver in the mine overlying “Otto’s Rift”. Over a century ago, a terrible tragedy befell the entire population of region. It was the Madness of Endurance!
The Book Swap — a house open to anyone who wants to trade one used book for another. It is here that Annie hopes her granddaughter, Tamra, can persuade Zeph to lend her a certain book containing information that may be the key to the “madness” of Endurance.
The Vermont — once a theater that thrived, it is now shuttered and closed. But, inside this building is a secret that will prove to be the beginning of the salvation of Endurance.
Shiloh — A small church where as a young boy, Zeph practiced his “telling” to a willing and unsuspecting audience, often with surprising outcomes both good and bad.
The Black Pass — Tall black pillars on either side of the road that leads into Endurance and nearby is Dawson’s Rut, home of a roadside souvenir shop. Zeph Walker will see an ancient artifact that will seal his fate and reveal his destiny!
All of these interesting names reside inside the town of Endurance. But, the one place that is the most important to this story is Otto’s Rift. Here, forces of darkness are gathering, seeping out into the world of light and goodness, gathering their strength and increasing their numbers for a terrible onslaught on the world of man.
I will not reveal more of the plot for to do so is to ruin the story. Mike Duran has created a fascinating and very real landscape for his tale of impending doom. I highly recommend the book, “The Telling”. Follow the map to a suspenseful and frightening story.
Tomorrow, I’ll conclude with my thoughts on the spiritual side of Mike Duran’s story.
Remember, if you would like to receive a FREE copy of my first book, “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” fill out the form below. I still have a few books left and there is no obligation!
Back in April, I was invited to speak on the intersection of apologetics and Christian fiction. I’ve been invited to present again in August at the Athanatos Ministry’s Writing Conference and I’ll bring you more information on that later. I will be changing up this presentation for that conference so I thought I’d post the Vimeo feed of my presentation.
Here are the topics I cover:
What is Hutchmoot?
Walter Wangerin, Jr. on Story
C. S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce”
A Review of current novels that utilize apologetics:
“The Night of the Living Dead Christian” by Matt Mikalatos
“The Skin Map” by Stephen R. Lawhead
“The Resurrection” by Mike Duran
“The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” by Bruce Hennigan
“The God Hater” by Bill Myers