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Writing Tip #1: Yes, Say “NO”!

9781490813882_COVER.inddIt’s been a while since I posted on my own website. I’ve been busy over at that other site,  promoting our new book, “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression”. I just received a letter from my warehouse and I need to move many more of my copies of “The 11th Demon: The Ark of Chaos” if I want to put out the next book by the spring. So, here is the deal. I’ve now officially published four books since 2011 and for the next few posts I want to share with my readers some tips I learned about the process of finally getting that book on the shelves. These tips came to me over the past 20 years and they apply not only to publishing but to any creative endeavor.

Read the rest of this entry

And Now, For a Word From Our Sponsor

I’m taking a short break from discussing the essential teachings of Jesus of Nazareth for this message from your sponsor.

This holiday season if you are looking for an action packed thriller for the man on your gift list who likes books by Ted Dekker or Frank Peretti, then check out my two books in the Jonathan Steel Chronicles. The first book is “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” and is followed immediately by the second book, “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon”.

Jonathan Steel is a Christian version of Jason Bourne afflicted with amnesia yet having skills like an assassin or a mercenary. His one memory is of the day he became a Christian and this memory sits at odds with his nature. He wants to recover his lost life and find out why he seems to be at such odds with himself. In the stories, Steel comes up against some very evil human beings in league with demons from a “Council of Darkness”. The council is charged with carrying out the plans of Lucifer to destroy humanity and claim their souls. Steel ends up being the man in the Council’s path

Note that the numbers of the demons are in descending order. They get more powerful the closer we get to the number ONE demon. The 13th demon is the first book; the 12th demon the second, etc. You can check out the review page for discussions of my books.

Also, if you have a teenager who likes Twilight or Hunger Games, they will like these books. One of the major characters is a teenager named Josh who ends up fighting demons alongside Steel, much to Steel’s dismay. Let’s just say they don’t get along very well.

Each book also features strong female characters and a hint of romance. My sisters LOVE Jonathan Steel and want to read more of the book, so if you like thriller type romance novels, this book is for you.


Now, if you or someone you love is suffering from depression this holiday season, check out Conquering Depression: A 30 Day Plan for Finding Happiness”. This book has had an amazing history and continues to help people literally around the world. My co-author, Mark Sutton and I still get emails weekly from people who say the book “saved my life”. It is an easy to read introduction to begin the process of conquering depression in your life. Each chapter is a “day” in the 30 day plan. You take it in small, gradual doses and the LifeFilter cards in the back are there to give you a daily tool. We highly recommend the book and it continues to help those who suffer from depression or who have friends or family who suffer from depression.


Now, that’s it! No more commercials. Come back in the next two days for more posts leading up to Christmas.

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”.








“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 Coming of Vampire Majick!

We are fascinated with the undead.


Why are we so fixated on vampires and werewolves and zombies? What is it about our culture that makes these icons of horror pop up all over the movie screens and the television screens?

My fascination with vampires began when I was 8. Every day I would come home from school and hunker down in front of the television with a bologna sandwich and a glass of chocolate milk to watch the 3:30 Dialing for Dollars Movie. The movie was always a badly edited down version of some horror or science fiction movie. And, in the middle of the movie, a man would show up with a wheel of fortune and a hopper full of phone numbers. He’d spin the wheel and give the viewer the “count, the amount, and the direction”. If he called your home number and you could successfully give him all three, you won the money.

But, I wasn’t interested in the money. I was interested in the show. It was a cold October afternoon when I first watched Bela Lugosi as Dracula. His eyes were so mesmerizing. Now, I can appreciate the lighting and the camera angle that gave him such a hauntingly hypnotic look. But at the time, I hid behind the chair. I did not dare to look into his eyes! And, those fangs! Yikes!

That evening after supper, I went out into the front yard to play in the fading sunlight. I stood in our front yard and gazed down the long strip of our 62 acres of land toward the setting sun. It was one of those brutally brilliant sunsets filled with bloody orange and crimson. The cold chill settled into my bones and I was transfixed by the sight of that sunset. A voice whispered across the yard. I turned away from the sunlight. No one was there. The voice returned now, more strident and demanding. This time it came from the highway that ran in front of our house.

I squinted in the darkening light and there across the highway at the edge of a dense woods stood a dark figure at the edge of shadows. His face was pale and glowing from a stray ray of the setting sun. He was dressed in a long black coat and his dark hair was plastered back from his forehead.

I was paralyzed with fear, rooted to the ground by this wraithlike figure. He spoke again in a raspy voice and I could not understand him. My heart raced with fear and finally my feet tore themselves from the ground. I ran across the yard to my front door afraid that at any moment those taloned hands would grasp me and those fangs would sink into my neck.

After investigating, my father later told me the man was a hunter in the woods across the highway and had gotten lost. He was only asking for directions. Yeah, right! How subtle and deceptive are the vampires! I believed for a long time that man had hypnotized my father. And, it would be months before I would go out into the front yard at sunset. In fact, that night, I whittled a wooden stake out of some scrap wood and put a shaker of garlic salt by my bed. It was the only garlic we had in the house. I took a piece of paper and drew a huge cross on it and pinned it to my pajamas right over my heart before I went to bed.

I held the stake by my side along with one of my father’s hammers. I was prepared. My bedroom window looked out over the front yard and we had no curtains to screen me from the horrors of the front yard.

I did not encounter a vampire that night. I have to believe the stake and the garlic salt and the cross protected me. But, my fertile imagination grew that chance encounter in my mind into a full blown horror of vampires. When it came time for me to write the second book in “The Chronicles of Jonathan Steel” I chose my favorite fascination with the macabre, vampires.

On October 16, 2012 my second book will be released, “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon”. In my book, there is a historical thread that leads from 500 B. C. to the present. Along that thread, we see the bits and pieces of legend that combined in the 1800’s as the Dracula legend created by Bram Stoker. The vampire himself is Rudolph Wulf, a man in league with the “12th demon” and he has created a specially modified blood that gives his followers “vampire majick”. In the process they acquire a mark, the symbol of the “wolf dragon”. What is the wolf dragon? Well, pick up a copy of the book and you’ll find out.

If you live in the Shreveport, Louisiana area, I will be holding a book launch at Brookwood Baptist Church’s coffee shop, the Well on October 19th from 6 to 8 PM. BBC is located at the corner of I-49 and Bert Kouns. I will be giving away an iPad3, a Kindle HD, and the new Kindle backlit reader in a drawing of those who purchase a copy of “The 12th Demon”. I will be signing copies of my first book, “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye”. And, my co-author, Mark Sutton and I will be signing copies of our book, “Conquering Depression”. Coffee and snacks are on the house. We will be speaking on publishing and answering questions, so come by and join us.


And, leave the vampire in the parking lot!

FREE copy of “The 13th Demon”!

On October 16, 2012 the vampires arrive!

“The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” will be available on that date. But, you may not know much about Jonathan Steel or his encounter with “The 13th Demon”. So, I am going to put some of my promotional copies of “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” to good use. I have a limited amount of copies and I will send you a copy for FREE! No strings attached. I will NOT use your contact information for anything but to mail you a signed copy of “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye”.

All you have to do is to fill out this form and send me your mailing address. I will send you a copy of the book as long as my copies last. All I ask is that if you like the first book, on October 16th buy the second book! I’d love to see “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” hit the best seller list and prove that Christian fiction is for real. This book is an alternate view of vampires and is different from any previously published view that I am aware of. It is an inspirational answer to the Twilight series, the vampire diaries, and so on.

So, let me hear from you and see if you can get your hands on a FREE copy of the first book in the Jonathan Steel Chronicles.

“Night of the Living Dead Christian”, the Awful Truth. Day 2 Review

The Interludes, Part 1 (Part 2 of the Book Review)

As humorous and hilarious as the chapters were in “Night of the Living Dead Christian” the Interludes were powerful and moving. It is in the Interludes that Matt Mikalatos brings home the goods. Here is an excerpt from one of the first interludes with the “werewolf” Luther Martin about his father, a pastor.


“My father’s inflexibility, his unpleasable nature, and the paucity of sincere affection all haunted my youth. But as Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote, “A man knows when he is growing old because he beings to look like his father.” I can look back now, and insights about my father’s nature and intention become clear to me. He did not intend to teach me theology at the expense of a relationship with himself, or for that matter, with God, though that is what he did. He did not meant to drive my brother out of the house or out of the church, but that is what he did. He did not mean to take his anger and grief about my brother’s prodigal lifestyle and use them to turn the screws on my own theological education, but that is what he did.”

Further on Luther says, “My entire life reflected on him, it seemed, and when I first learned the story of my poor brother, Marty, standing up in the middle of a service and declaring himself an atheist before walking out the door, never to return, I immediately envied him, understood him, and pitied him for his flamboyant dramatic streak.”

Matt goes on to uncover one of the most powerful truths about those who have chosen to be atheists in this revelation from Luther:

 “You ask me why I hate my father. I can only say that hate, loathing, disgust, all these words would be too strong to explain my feelings for my father. I have felt these things and moved beyond them to a sincere and placid lack of thought about him.”

Recently I had the opportunity to hear Frank Turek speak on his apologetic ministry. I was stunned when he said that when a person rejects God so many times and crosses that threshold into an area where God removes His forgiveness, then to that person God no longer exists. It’s not like God is still there hovering hoping for the person to change their mind. No, God removes His presence. God leaves the person alone which is exactly what that person wants! The person truly becomes an atheist because for him, God no longer exists!

I never thought of it that way but this idea comports itself with Romans 1. And, here, in this ditzy, crazy, monster filled book, Matt Mikalatos nails it! Dinesh D’Souza in his latest book, “Godforsaken”, says that atheists are really “wounded theists” hurt by someone, most likely their father. They look at God through the lens of the pain that was dealt to them in the name of God by their fathers.

Some readers may find the humor and rapid fire story of “Night of the Living Dead Christian” too much. But, it is worth the roller coaster ride just to pause and soak up the Interludes. Here, Matt reveals a powerful truth by “showing” not “telling”. The truth that we are often hurt by those who love us the most and in that hurt, we look at a loving God through fractured, splintered lenses. We see God as we see our flawed fathers and mothers and brothers and pastors and friends and sisters. We see God as someone we would just as soon have a “sincere and placid lack of thought about him.” Read those quotes again and then read the book.

Do you know someone who has walked out the door and away from God? If so, why not extend to them a loving hand; a helpful heart; an understanding that Matt extends to a lonely, hurt werewolf whose idea of God is that of a hateful, disgusting father. Sometimes when these questions arise, it’s not answers they seek. It’s understanding and connection and empathy. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the ending of this book, not in detail to spoil it, but in substance to understand the most powerful Interlude.

Werewolves and Zombies and Vampires, Oh My! “Night of the Living Dead Christian” by Matt Mikalatos

I just put the finishing touches on the final edit for my next book due in October, “The 12th Demon: Vampire Majick” but the vampires in my book are NOTHING like the vampire in “Night of the Living Dead Christian” by Matt Mikalatos. I really enjoyed reading Matt’s fantastic “Imaginary Jesus” now renamed “My Imaginary Jesus” I guess to emphasize the difference between an imaginary Jesus and Matt’s psychologically challenged perception of “his” imaginary Jesus. I think it is much ado about nothing. But, these subtleties are important to someone in the publishing industry. And that is why I was so surprised to see this book with this intriguing title.

I mean to imply that most people who call themselves Christians are dead is pretty risky. Would you buy the book if you thought it implied that you were a zombie? I mean I KNOW I’m not a zombie. I don’t brainlessly follow the pastor of my church. I don’t eat brains, either, for that matter. I detest “sweetbreads” as they are sometimes called. But, I must admit after reading “Night of the Living Dead Christian” there may be a little bit of zombie in me. And, a little bit of vampire. And, a little bit of werewolf.

 And, that is the point of the book. Matt Mikalatos brilliantly takes these archetypes and projects them on the sad, lacking, failing Christian that typifies most, if not all of US! Mad scientists, androids, monster killers, vampires, zombies, and werewolves roam the pages of this book with abandon. With glee. With bloodthirsty zeal!

Zombies. They mindlessly track you down, slowly, inexorably until they overpower you and put earphones in your ears and a study Bible in your hands and pull you into the praise and worship service to listen catatonically to the pastor. This is an eerie depiction of mindless drones following and NOT thinking. As an apologist, I champion the thinking Christian and this comparison to a zombie is right on target. I was finishing up this book Sunday morning in our church’s coffee shop and I looked up and right there, not twenty feet away from me were at least a dozen zombies all dressed alike, all moving alike, all funneling into the sanctuary in their identical dresses and suits and . . . Need I say more? Zombies are the undead; the walking dead; the praying dead; the tithing dead; the dead dead! Read the book to see where these zombies came from and how they came to be.

Vampires. Wow, the violence depicted in the transformation of this woman into a “vampire” was shocking and out of the blue. But, it happens. It happens a lot and more than we in our churches want to acknowledge. The vampire sucks the life out of someone until that someone can’t exist unless they suck the life out of someone else. I can tell you that I’ve met my share of “emotional black holes” in the life of a church. These people are so needy and so smothering and a “good” Christian is going to try and help and end up getting their life sucked right out of them. This happened to me in 1995. After four years of running a drama ministry, I “died” and became a vampire sucking the life out of everything I touched until God drove a stake through my heart, laid me on my back and offered me a new life. Wow! Great comparison, Matt.

Werewolves. This is the heart of this book, a magnificent portrayal of the angry, restless beast that most of us try to keep at bay. My favorite parts of the book are the internal musings of the werewolf. Here is what he says in his moment of greatest despair:

“And here is the final evidence that we have invented God for ourselves. Who could love us other than we ourselves? No one. We have invented a being to love us despite our depravities.”

And, the “death” of the werewolf is one of the most moving scenes I’ve read in months. Don’t miss this book. It is strange; it is hilarious; but it is ultimately right on the money. Matt Mikalatos includes many facts and concepts bolstered by recent studies that should terrify the most stalwart Christian. Take a look in the mirror after you finish this book. You will be terrified by what you see!

Great job!!! Now, if I could just get one of those Clockwork Jesuses? Or is it Jesi?


Book link –
Author’s Web site  –

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

Participants’ Links:  Gillian Adams Julie Bihn Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Keanan Brand Beckie Burnham Morgan L. Busse Theresa Dunlap Amber French Greene Nikole Hahn Ryan Heart Janeen Ippolito Becky Jesse Jason Joyner Carol Keen Leighton Shannon McDermott Rebecca LuElla Miller Nissa Joan Nienhuis John W. Otte Crista Richey Sarah Sawyer Chawna Schroeder Rachel Starr Thomson Steve Trower Fred Warren Shane Werlinger  Nicole White Dave Wilson

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