I know some people like to post every event in their lives on Facebook. I’m a little more private. But, it has been ages since I posted on my webpage and I’d like to give everyone an update.
First, I had surgery in December in Dallas and I was expecting to bounce back in a couple of weeks. Nope! Not happening! It took be a good six weeks to feel normal again.
In the meantime, I am working on updating my other websites for “Hope Again” and “The Jonathan Steel Chronicles”. Also, I am working on a new website for “The Homecoming Tree”.
Mark Sutton and I are working on a new book idea. I was supposed to travel to Florida to spend three days with him but we had a family medical emergency.
Many of you know, if you have read my posts, that our daughter, Casey has epilepsy and today is her 32nd birthday. Last Wednesday, she fell and sustained a basilar skull fracture. No brain damage, thank God. She spent until Friday afternoon in ICU at Willis Knighton Pierremont and is at home doing well. We cancelled our trips and Sherry and I are keeping a close eye on her as she recovers. Thanks to everyone who showed up at the hospital to cheer Casey up and thanks for the many, many prayers for her recovery.
This coming Sunday, March 24th, I have been asked by my good friend Raymond Wilkerson to preach at the church he pastors, Open Road Fellowship Church in Haughton, Louisiana. I will be sharing the same message I presented at Brookwood Baptist Church in November entitled “The 5 Minute Atheist”. You can find out more about the church at this link,h
I’ve been getting quite a few emails about securing permanent copies of my books. Just so you know, you can do two things. You can find copies of most of my books on Amazon at my author page at this link.
Or you can go to steelchronicles.com and order copies from me directly.
Thanks for supporting my books and I look forward to putting out “The 8th Demon: A Wicked Numinosity” later this year.
Very few people have heard of Doc Savage. Back in the 1930’s with the Great Depression covering the land with a dusty veil of hopelessness, magazines with serial stories provided an escape from reality. Long before Adolf Hitler procured the concept for his strategy of producing his master race, the idea that humanity could improve itself through eugenics promised a glowing future. Eugene Sandow considered the father of bodybuilding was a popular figure around the turn of the century. And, the hopes that through heredity, the human condition could be improved to the level of this astounding physical specimen lay behind the formation of many heroic figures in fiction at the time. This idea would later be called the “trans-human” effort to produce a superior human being.
History tells us how well that effort turned out! The pursuit of the eugenically perfect “super man” led to the Nazi holocausts and the horrors of World War II. But, long before the descent into darkness, the ability to perfect the human body fascinated the public. In response to Eugene Sandow’s popularity as the father of bodybuilding and this idea that perhaps the perfect human being could pull the world out of the Great Depression, a new fictional hero was born.
Publisher Henry W. Ralston and editor John L. Nanovic at Street and Smith Publications introduced the world to Doc Savage in March 1933. The series main writer, Lester Dent (under the pseudonym, Kenneth Robeson), wrote most of the 181 stories. Doc Savage’s real name was Clark Savage, Jr. and he was a physician, surgeon, scientist, adventurer, inventor, explorer, researcher, and a musician.
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!!!!
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.
James Bell Scott in his excellent book, “Plot & Structure” defines plot very simply: “The what happens is your plot”. What happens? In my editing of “The 12th Demon” I learned some powerful lessons about plot and today I wanted to talk about the three “C”s of plot.
Is you plot coherent? Is it believable? Does it make sense? In one scene in my upcoming book, I have a new character grab two men by the neck and use them like clubs to knock people out of his way. Now, that might work for the Hulk, but it is not a real life possibility. I had to change this part of my plot because it was not believable.
In “The 13th Demon” I originally had an angel appear and save the day. But, my editor suggested this was too much of a deus ex machina. What is this? Here is what our venerable Wikipedia has to say:
“god out of the machine” is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.
Such a device is not coherent, it does not make sense and is too far fetched to be believable. Make sure your plot stays believable in the context of your story. Plot movement should make sense based on what has happened just before. If I wanted to bring in an angel, I needed to hint early on that such an intervention was possible so the audience would then be anticipating such an event.
Does your plot hold together? Or, is it full of “plot holes”? In “The 12th Demon” I somehow had to get my main characters from Dallas, Texas to a foreign country. I couldn’t just drop them out of the air into the fray in, say, Transylvania. There had to be a reasonable string of actions leading to them arriving in the foreign country.
Also, there was an object/person very important to the final events in the book that I planted early on in the story. My editor heaped effusive praise on me for carefully planting this object early on so when it did appear it was not out of the blue but its journey through the story to the final events held together and made sense. That part of my story was cohesive.
For instance, Spock just happens to be on the very ice planet that Cadet Kirk is exiled to by the alternate time line Spock and there just happens to be a Federation Outpost with, wait for it, Lt. Montgomery Scott who just happens to have an old shuttle that just happens to have a transporter that can be configured to beam Kirk and Scott back onto . . . well you get it.
Continuity as it applies to characters. Because, characters can be used to advance the plot. In “The 12th Demon” I introduce an attorney whose function early on is to create a tension between Jonathan Steel and Josh Knight over the guardian issue. But, I also used this person in later plot developments. He became my “whipping boy”. Problem was, once I used him to advance plot I violated his basic character. In each subsequent scene he seemed to be a totally different person from the scene before. His character lacked continuity. I had to go back and recreate his character and make sure his use as a plot device showed continuity with his character.
So, there you have it. I learned these three “C”s in my editorial process. Make sure your plot is believable, that is COHERENT. Make sure your plot holds together without plot holes and is COHESIVE. And, finally, make sure your plot shows continuity particular with your characters.
Next, I’ll finish up with a discussion of those “characters”.