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Of Demons, Deluges, and Disney

I am stranded in Orlando, Florida.

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I am stuck on Disney property.

Now, I love Disney. But, as my late father once said, “I may be thirsty but I don’t want to drink from a fire hydrant.” I’ve had a wonderful time here with my daughter, Casey (for her birthday) and my sister, Gwen and her daughter, Rhonda. But, my wife was supposed to fly down yesterday and my sister and daughter fly home and I will be lucky if flights resume tomorrow.

Which only goes to show that too much of a good time is just that. But, the cast members here are making the best of a bad situation — lots of rain and record low temperatures as wells as cancellations of flights necessitating extensions of room reservations. Today, for instance, it is drizzling rain and about 45 degrees. If you know Florida, you know that a cold rain in Florida is miserable!

On another note, I received a very nice email from a fan. Yes, a fan! I seem to have those. She loved “The 11th Demon” and wanted to know when “The 10th Demon” would be out! Those are wonderful words. But, let me clue you in on a little insight to the publishing industry. Books must sell. Publishing is a business. And, for number 10 to show up, I have to sell lots of number 11!

I will soon begin a marketing campaign, so hopefully more people will here about Jonathan Steel and his exploits. I have been asked to write a guest post for Speculative Faith, a website devoted to Christian Speculative Fiction and I will keep my readers posted. Maybe some word of mouth will boost my book sales. If not, then Jonathan Steel’s story may end with the 11th demon even though there are ten more books in the pipeline.

I’ll tell a sodden, shivering Micky Mouse you said hi!

Remember, you can order all three books at a discount at www.11thdemon.com .

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Good to be Alive!

I am in Orlando, Florida meeting with my co-author, Mark Sutton. We are working on building a platform to promote our book, “Conquering Depression”. While I am supposed to be excited, I am also somewhat sad because my wife could not be with me. She is staying at home to take care of her mother. And so, I sit alone in a hotel room looking out over the grounds of the Disney resort, Port Orleans: Riverside. I have been her for four days now and the loneliness is telling at night. During the day, I have had the opportunity to spend time with Mark and his wife, Donna. But, now, I face another lonely evening with just me and my laptop.

Odd that I should feel this way when working on a book about depression. For depression is the beast that hounds me, that breaths down my neck, that perches on my shoulders with steely claws waiting to dig into my muscles. If you suffer from depression, you know exactly what I mean!

But, just now, I listened to one of my favorite songs by Jason Gray, “Good to Be Alive”.

 

Hold on, Is this really the life I am living?
Cause I don’t feel like I deserve it
Every day that I wake, every breath that I take you’ve given
So, Right here, right now
While the sun is shining down

I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
Love, like I’m on borrowed time
It’s good to be alive
Yea, yea

Hold on, If the life that we’ve been given
Is made beautiful in the living
And the joy that we get brings joy to the heart of the giver
Then right here, right now
This is the song I’m singing out

I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
Love, like I’m on borrowed time
It’s good to be alive

I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
Love, like I’m on borrowed time
It’s good to be alive
Yea,

I won’t take it for granted
I won’t waste another second
All I want is to give you
A life well lived to say, “thank you”

I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
Love, like I’m on borrowed time
It’s good to be, it’s good to be alive

I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
Love, like I’m on borrowed time
It’s good to be alive

I won’t take it for granted
I won’t waste another second
All I want is to give you
A life well lived to say, “thank you”

 

In September, 2012 my son, Sean and I attended Hutchmoot 2012. During one of the most moving breakout sessions, Jason Gray shared his struggled with a depression so deep and so profound, he considered ending his life. His friend and colleague, Eric Peters also shared his struggle with depression. We were sitting in a room with about 35 people most of whom were in their 20s and I was shocked at how many of these young adults with their entire life ahead of them echoed these two singers’ struggles with depression.

Right now, I should be on top of the world. I am on the verge of a new contract for a new book series. But, at the same time, I have been released from a five book contract and I don’t know what the future holds for my fiction. It is a time of difficulty decisions and uncertainty while I wait patiently for my agent to give me advice regarding the future of these books and my career. It is so easy to forget the positive and dwell on the negative.

But, I must continue to remind myself the reason I write. Not only is it cathartic, but it is revelatory. God speaks to me as I write and the words that show up on this page are a reflection of God’s working in my life. They are an echo of the work that God has for me to do. In that respect, it is “good to be alive”. Because I want to live like there’s no tomorrow. I want to love like I’m on borrowed time. I won’t take my life for granted another second. I will not waste these moments that God has given me. I will wait upon the Lord for He knows the plans for my life. And, I am grateful that God has given me a tiny piece of His Story to write!

 

Live today for God!

One Solitary Life . . .

This past week, I had the unprecedented opportunity to once again enjoy Walt Disney World’s Candlelight Processional. In the mid-90’s I had the privilege of meeting Derick Johnson, the man who created the Voices of Liberty and was known as Disney’s “show formula” creator. He composed all of the music used in EPCOT’s annual Candlelight Processional. Mr. Johnson is a devout Christian and he viewed the Candlelight Processional as an opportunity to tell the story of our Savior to millions of visitors to Walt Disney World. The Candlelight Processional has been performed for almost twenty years three times a night between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day and always features a guest celebrity narrator. I have seen many celebrities over the years: Brian Dehenny, Cindy Williams, Joe Montagna, Jim Caveizel, and many others. Twice I’ve watched Marlee Matlin sign language the entire Christmas story and it was amazingly powerful. But, this year, Edward James Olmos blew them all away. I’ve watched this man as Admiral Adama on the new Battlestar Galactica and remember him from Blade Runner and Miami Vice. He opened the performance with a thank you to the Disney family for continuing the tradition of the Candlelight Processional and then dedicated the night’s performance to the men and women of our armed forces.

If you have never seen this performance, you simply must plan a trip to Disney World during the holidays, make a dinner reservation at one of the EPCOT restaurants with the Candlelight Processional and get a reserved seat. I will warn you. People wait two to three hours in the stand by line for a performance (it is free) and it is worth it. It is powerful. Worshipful. Praiseworthy. Now, I may violate copyright laws. This video below may be pulled. I hope not. Here is the pivotal moment in the performance when Edward James Olmos reads one of my favorite poems, “One Solitary Life” after reading the entire Christmas story throughout the musical presentation. Watch as he is so visibly moved by the story of the life of our Savior. Below the video, check out the text of “One Solitary Life” and reflect on the impact Jesus had on all of human history. Think, for just a second, what impact He can have on YOUR life in this Christmas season. For, we all have but one solitary life on this Earth and it is what we do with the life that counts in the eyes of God!

One Solitary Life

By Dr. James Allan Francis

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village.

He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty.

Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home.

He never wrote a book.

He never held an office.

He never had a family.

He never went to college.

He never put His foot inside a big city.

He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born.

He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness.

He had no credentials but Himself…

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves.

While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.

This essay was adapted from a sermon by Dr James Allan Francis in “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons” © 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp 123-124 titled “Arise Sir Knight!”).

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