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Archive for April, 2014|Monthly archive page

The Author With The Biggest Mailing List Wins

In Uncategorized on April 30, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Need to sell books? Better learn to capture emails!

David Gaughran

new-mailchimp-logoWhat happens when a reader finishes your e-books? What’s the first thing they see? What’s the first thing they do ? Back-matter is extremely important. Presuming you have done your job as a writer well, it’s a golden opportunity to draw readers into your world.

The basic components of effective back-matter are fairly straightforward: blurbs for and/or links to your other books, links to whatever social media presence you have, a short note requesting reviews, and, most important of all, a link to your New Release Mailing List.

If you don’t have a mailing list already, you need to set one up immediately. It’s one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. Without an effective method for collecting readers’ emails (which I’ll get to), every time you have a sales spike, every time you go on a free run, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to…

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Author Interview: Philip Dodd

In Author Interviews, On writing on April 30, 2014 at 8:00 am

Phillip Dodd

 

Today I am pleased to introduce to my audience the author of the Christian Fiction novel, Angel War.  I was pleased to meet him on Goodreads, and as his work deals with the same subject matter as my own I wanted to get to know him and appreciate his own take on the fall of Lucifer story.  Phillip has a degree in English literature from Newcastle University, and has been writing songs, stories and poems since he was twelve. Angel War is his first published novel. He was thirty four when he first began to write it in 1986 and sixty when he completed the final version of it in September, 2012. It took him twenty six years to write.

So lets get started shall we?

Tell us about your book Phillip. Why did you write it and who is it targeted towards?

My book, Angel War, was inspired by Chapter Six of the Book of Revelation, which speaks of the war in heaven, fought between Michael and his angels and the dragon and his angels. The Bible only says that the war happened, but not why, so I decided to write my own version of the events of the war and its aftermath. My story is essentially the biography of Azel, the Prince of the White Castle of the Angels of Light, the one who begins the war in heaven and who later becomes known on Earth as Lucifer, the Devil, Satan. When I first read Chapter Six of the Book of Revelation, when I was a fifteen year old schoolboy,  I was astounded by the idea of there being a war in heaven, which led me to an interest in angels in The Bible, literature, painting and sculpture, and finally to begin to write, in 1986, when I was thirty four, what became Angel War.  My book could be called a work of fantasy fiction, rooted in The Bible. I think it would appeal to Bible readers and those who like to read fantasy fiction.

 

What were some of the biggest challenges in writing the book?

Though my book is a work of fantasy fiction, it is presented as a history, the history of the angels of the angel lands and how it came to affect human history on Earth. So the biggest challenge I had in the writing of my story was to make that history consistent and convincing. It was also a great task for me to create on the page my own versions of such people from The Bible as Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Judas, Peter, John, Mary and Joseph, Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

 

What advice would you give other novelists?

When you have finally finished your story, understand that it is only the first draft, a base to build upon. When you have finished your final draft, you will know, for you will feel satisfied that there is nothing else you can do to improve what you have written. Study The Writers and Artists Yearbook and as many sites about publishing on the internet that you think will be helpful to you. Do not read narrowly. You may feel safe with your favorite authors and kind of book, but there are worlds elsewhere in other kinds of books. Learn from the masters. Classic novels have lasted for a reason, mostly because they are good tales, well written.

 

Tell us about your journey of faith. How did you become a Christian?

Looking back, I have happy memories of singing hymns and carols at junior school. I thought most about Jesus and The Bible at Christmas and Easter time, and when I went to Sunday school. Through my love of literature, I came to know more about Jesus from many different angles through the works of different writers. What truly drew me to Christianity is the story at its heart, the life of Jesus on Earth, which could not be more moving. That story has always been there in my life, so I have always been a Christian. It means more to me now, of course, now that I am sixty two, and I understand it more.

 

Who are some of your favorite authors and or books to read?

My favourite novelists are Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, Virginia Woolf, Mervyn Peake, J.R.R. Tolkien, Arthur C. Clarke, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Franz Kafka, Dostoevsky and Hermann Hesse. Mythology is one of my interests, so I like The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer, Gilgamesh, The Elder Edda and Beowulf. Poetry is another one of my interests. My favourite poets are William Shakespeare, John Keats, William Wordsworth, John Donne, T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

 

Now that you’ve written your book, what other projects if any are you working on?

Recently, I completed the final version of my light-hearted science fiction story for older children and adults, called Klubbe the Turkle and the Golden Star Coracle. I hope to publish it in 2015. One day, I would like to publish a collection of my poems. At the moment, I am only writing verses, but I hope to write another story sometime in the future.

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The basic theme of my novel is the battle between good and evil. If it has a message it is that whereas good is natural, evil is not natural and that it will be utterly defeated one day, as The Bible promises

 

When did you start writing?

When I was twelve, in 1964, I wrote on a scrap of paper the lyrics of my first song. It was the first thing I had written that was not for school. From then on, I have never stopped writing songs, poems and stories.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I write simple, straightforward prose. I try to make it flow with no snag in its path and to sound close to poetry when I can.

 

How did you come up with the title?
I wanted the word angel in the title, as my book is concerned mostly with angels and their history, and I wanted the word war, too, so I reduced it down to those two words, put together, to form Angel War.

 

How much of the book is realistic?

In the final chapters of the book, there are references to events in human history, like the sinking of the Titanic, and the tension between America and the Soviet Union during the Cold War in the 1980’s,  but seen in a new way, as events happening because of the war between the Dragon on his Citadel throne and the Father in Heaven, so the events are described realistically, but not as they are written of in human history books.

 

What books have influenced your life most?

The King James Version of the Holy Bible was the main inspiration for my book and it is the one that has influenced my life most. Since it was first published, it has had a greater influence on the history of English literature than some might think.

 

What books are you reading now?

At the moment, I am reading quite a few poetry books, some of them written by fellow members of the Poetry group on Goodreads, such as The Tenderness of Mountains by Lisa Marie Gabriel and A Rough Deliverance by Nancy Bevilaqua. After enjoying reading his collection of poems about his life working on river boats in America, called The Candle On The Reef, I will soon be reading a book of religious poems by Robert R. Whitford, called The Word, The Breath, The Saving Grace. Recently, I enjoyed reading the final, unfinished novel by Charles Dickens, called The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

 

Angel warWho designed the cover?

For the front cover of my book, I chose a print, called The Woman and the Dragon by Gustave Dore, one of his Bible illustrations, and for the back cover I chose another one of his prints, called The Fall of Babylon.

 

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Having to discard chapters that I was proud of in order to make my story as short as possible was the hardest part of writing my book.

 

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

When I was writing my book, I learned that characters truly do have a life of their own. Often a character would say or do something that I did not plan or predict. That is one of the great mysteries and pleasures of writing fiction. When you are actually inside your story, while you are writing it, things happen that can seem magical.

 

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological and logistical) in bringing it to life?

Because my book is rooted in The Bible, I found myself rereading parts of The Bible and looking at books about The Bible, to get certain facts right in my story. That was a challenge, but an interesting, worthwhile and enjoyable one. The most challenging character to create in my story was its main one, Prince Azel, who later becomes known as the Dragon, Lucifer, the Devil, Satan. It was psychologically hard to get him right, even disturbing at times, to make him believable as a character, particularly when he speaks and writes his true thoughts, but I was pleased in the end with what I managed to get down on paper. I did my best. My book took me twenty six years to write. Often the writing of it was a struggle, but it was well worth the strain.

I want to thank Phillip for taking the time to be with us today and you can find Phillip’s book Angel War on Amazon

 

D

 

 

 

Music for the next novel has been selected!

In On writing, The Third Heaven: The Birth of God on April 23, 2014 at 11:21 pm

 

In the next novel, Heaven has been decimated by war. Michael’s mind reels with visions of the future revealed to him by El, and Lucifer’s plan to force God’s surrender comes to a head.

The Third Heaven:The Birth of God is the sweeping tale that explores the powerful aftermath and consequences of Lucifer’s fall from Heaven.

For in order to save humankind, and heal the rift to his kingdom. God will make the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of his beloved creation.

What would YOU do for love?

Those that know me, know I love to write to epic music. The music takes my spirit to where I want the words to echo. Each book has its own music, its own song, that gives the reader the sense of what emotions will be invoked in the book. I have now found that piece that exhibits that emotion in me for this next novel.

It’s a powerful piece that evokes childlike wonder, awe, power, and flows into sweeping choral melodies that transports the listener into the realm where angels live and move to bring about the will of God.  Angels who will lay down everything to see God’s vision come to pass.  Angels…whose innocence was lost due to war.  And a God who will stop at nothing to bringing restoration to his beloved creation.  A piece that will haunt you to ask….what would you do for love?

Introducing the new theme song for my next novel. Adam Balazs Vox Humana.

Epic music at its best.

Enjoy!

Donovan Neal visits The G-ZONE to discus

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2014 at 10:53 am

Donovan Neal visits The G-ZONE to discuss “The Third Heaven”,Today @2PM EST! http://bit.ly/1gnnIPM http://ow.ly/i/5gteu

We have always thought Hell was created

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2014 at 2:50 pm

We have always thought Hell was created for man…we were so wrong. Get your copy today! http://amzn.to/1l06xDM

Ramblings and such.

In Misc, Personal on April 14, 2014 at 10:54 am

01 A a GZ 1

I’ve been struggling lately with some postings and have been very busy too.  Best practice they say is to at least 3 posts weekly.  I’m more of a post when the muse hits, but today I thought I’d just talk about what’s going on with me a bit.

Today I took the time to submit my novel for to Amazon’s ACX to create an audiobook.  We’ll see what happens.  Like all things Amazon, it was an easy process for book setup.

I’ve been struggling on how to direct my blogging.  My struggle is really coming up with content for so many areas.  (Blog, social media and writing)  Finding time to actually write the next novel.  Increasing my platform especially via twitter and google plus.  Twitter is amazing!   I’ve quite a few non-fiction works that I started but need to complete, so I’m looking at bring them back and publishing them,

I’ve had a story idea for a year now.  I’ve been wondering about how realistic it would be for me to work on two separate novels simultaneously.

I’m at the computer so much my neck/shoulders muscles have started to hurt.  Been doing some exercises to keep things in order.  But yikes talk about pain!

I like the control of doing things as an authorpreneur, yet I must admit, it would be nice if I had another me who could spend more time doing networking with people online.

If all goes as planned, I hope to have the next book out in time for Christmas.  I’m still going through some financial challenges so that impacts my ability to pour myself entirely into my work as I would like.  But I’m optimistic that in time things will work out and asking for you to keep me in your prayers.

I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas so it’s loaded with all kinds of books now.  I’ve been reading The Shack by William P Young.  I’m almost done with it.  It’s a good book, a quick read actually too.  I would recommend it.

Had a great service yesterday and it made me think about a variety of things specifically I was asked to reflect on the cross.  I was reminded that we have in our culture powerful symbols and icons.  The Nike Swoosh, The Golden Arches of McDonalds.  There are a multitude of logos and brands that with one look you instantly recognize the company associated or action associated with it.

But think about the cross.  We wear it over our necks as gold jewelry, have it dangle from our ears as earrings, will drape it on t-shirts, and have it dangled as a belly ring.

But the cross was a form of torture, it was an instrument of capital punishment used by the roman empire. A form of punishment so severs and terrifying that you thought twice about committing a crime that might result in crucifixion.  Imagine if we draped an electric chair in gold, and draped it about our necks.  Or worse silver studded nooses.  If I had 14k gold earrings of an electric chair dangling from my ears what would you think?  Kinda weird huh? But the cross is such a powerful symbol because its been transformed from a symbol of torture and capital punishment to a symbol of hope.

It is the perfect embodiment of God’s justice and love.   As we prepare to celebrate God’s solution to man’s sin.  Let us remember that the cross is more than a piece of fancy jewelry to be worn.  But the real consequence of our rebellion against God, who took our deserved punishment, and in our stead and voluntarily paid the price for our sins.

As I ramble, I’m again asking for your prayers and well wishes, as I am beginning to do some readings and more radio interviews.  Speaking of which I have a blog talk radio interview on Wednesday April 16th at 2pm eastern.  I hope you can tune in as host Giovanni Gelati and I talk on the G-Zone about my novel. Check the link out for Wednesdays interview here.  ihttp://bit.ly/1gnnIPM

Finally I’ve developed a seminar I’m looking at doing as well.  On independent Publishing.  There is so much that new authors don’t know.  I’ve made some mistakes and I’ve made some home runs.  I’m hoping I can help other authors duplicate and expand on my own successes, and help them avoid problems in getting their books out.  I’m constantly amazed when I talk to new authors about what they  don’t know.

I’ve got tons more stuff to share, but ‘its time to make the donuts’ so I’ve gotta log off, but hey I always enjoy hearing from you. Please leave me comment and I’ll put your name in a hat to receive a free copy of my novel!

Here’s some music to uplift you!

D.

 

 

Noah: A Christrian based critical review

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on April 5, 2014 at 12:23 am

 

This past evening I went to finally see the movie Noah.  I waited a week to kinda get a feel of what the Christian communities take on the movie was.  As an author of Christian fiction I am very aware of how our community values the Biblical text, and any liberties that artists take with it.  So I was interested in this for many reasons.

I judge biblically based movies and literature not just how on “accurate” they are in conveying the letter of scripture.  But also it’s spirit.  The Passion of the Christ is considered (and arguably so) a marquee film in terms of its depiction of the last days of Christ.  But there’s nothing to indicate that Jesus made a table as depicted in the movie.  (That’s called creative license) Nor is there any scripture that shows Jesus literally stomping on a snake.  (Yes, I get the allusion from scripture about Satan’s head.)  It is still not literately accurate despite the truth it conveys.  So I approach the movie Noah recognizing that it was not scripture, nor can it take anything away from scripture.  My question was, was it well made and did it capture the powerful epic collapse of mankind that I was hoping to see.

Let’s start with a few issues people have with the movie.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

It was made by an atheist

This may indeed be true, all indications seem to be that director is atheistic in his beliefs.  This does not bother me.  What bothers me is that it took an atheist to make a movie on this scale about Noah in the first place.  As far as I am concerned the Christian community should had done it.  It bothers me that I have to see an atheist tell my theistic story.  Where are the Christian directors and financiers who could of done this?  The story of Noah is NOT just  a Christian’s story.  It is a story about mankind.  Christians do not have exclusive rights to the Noah narrative.  The objective viewer despite the director’s personal beliefs has to conclude the essential story elements of the Bible ARE there to see.  God sent a flood to wipe out mankind due to man’s sin.  The atheist director got that right.  Mel Gibson who people have lauded for making the Passion of the Christ has had some very “unchristlike” behavior in his life during and after the making of the blockbuster the passion of the Christ.  Is he “qualified” in making a movie about Christ?  If God can use a heathen King to free his people he can use this guy.  That should not be an issue by itself to not see the movie.

There is an undercurrent that permeates the statement that “it was made by an atheist.”  Part of the undercurrent is that this somehow disqualifies him from making a theatrical movie about a story so dear to many people of various faiths. Christians, Jews, and Muslims.  The fact that we as a community have not dismissed the movie in its entirety (unlike others such as, the last temptation of Christ) shows that he possesses some degree of wisdom in not totally moving away from the source material no matter what his theistic position.  He still desires to make money off the movie.  He could not do that if it was totally off…think about it.

But don’t assume from my objectivity in this area that I liked the movie.  I did not.  But stay with me I’ll tell you why in a few.

 The stone monsters

Yeah that was a bit much for me.  The director took poetic license here.  His view of the watchers comes from extra biblical literature that the Nephilim were fallen angels.  The actual biblical text seems to indicate that the Nephilim were the offspring of fallen angels that mated with women.  The giants are referred to as men in the actual Bible.  However, the directors choice to use creative license here does not bother me.  ONLY because I am literate enough in the background of this piece of scripture to know this comes from extra biblical sources, AND it doesn’t take away from the crucial truth of the text.  That God sent a flood to destroy mankind  As long as people realize this, and do not propagate doctrinal teaching off of it.  I’m fine with it.  This movie is NOT scripture.  It doesn’t profess to be. He’s not adding to scripture.  He’s taking poetic license with a piece of scripture that changes nothing about the nature of God and who Jesus is which is the central issue of Christianity.  I didn’t like it..but it was tolerable.

I could go on but let me get to the heart of the matter.  I didn’t like the movie and here is why.

My overall problem with the movie, even though it does convey the spirit of the biblical text is that in my opinion it assassinates the character of Noah at the altar of creative license.

I was actually ok with the way Noah was depicted UNTIL the issue of him coming to the conclusion that God wanted to destroy all of mankind which included his own family.  At this juncture the director lost me.

Noah’s resulting actions make sense in light of this belief he articulates in the movie.  But it’s such a deviation from scripture I found it unpalatable.  I’m all for creative license.  I was fine with the Watchers.  The director chose to ignore the simple issue of Noah having a full compliment of adult people to repopulate the earth. He did solve the 8 people in the ark issue.

But by not adhering to the Biblical narrative he is forced to come up with alternative explanations that begin to run counter to the text.  The same thing can be said about Noah having to interpret the will of God.

This whole concept of him having to do this as opposed to being given expressed instructions from God is where the movie really tanked for me.  By the director, moving in this direction he left it open for Noah to possibly be wrong in his interpretation of the will of God or worse actually find himself in direct disobedience to God.  And boom that’s exactly what happened.

When Noah decides to not kill the small children, the director puts the astute Christian to understand that he has placed Noah in direct conflict with what Noah understands to be the revealed will of God.  (That God intended his family to die.) The director could of alleviated this story conflict by God affirming that Noah made the correct decision and misunderstood what God wanted, but by leaving the question unanswered he again leaves a bit too much to interpretative license for my tastes.

The other element that was left open to interpretation is that the fallen angels could be forgiven and return to Heaven.  If I understood the story in the movie some left heaven to help Adam, after he sinned. Their actions were contrary to God’s will yet they go down to help man anyway and God punishes them.  Then they complete their task which was unauthorized in the first place by helping Noah a descendant of Adam but are allowed back into heaven.  Huh?  I didn’t get it.

But I understood it because the director had to decide how we was going to get rid of these giants due to his deviation from the biblical text.  They couldn’t just drown in the flood, so he had to use a device to get rid of them since they seemingly would have survived the flood.  So just ‘poof’ he sent them back to Heaven all’s forgiven, problem solved.  He also used this creative device to help show how Noah made the ark. (i.e. the giants helped.)  As an author it was lazy story telling to me.

From a movie goers perspective I was disappointed, the bird scene following the trail of water was too CGI for me.  The watchers, story line I actually could get with on some level.  I also was disappointed in the CGI work.  I felt I was watching a stone version of Treebeard from the Lord of the Rings.

The environmental aspect people complain about didn’t bother me either.  I found it lacking however, in that it pits two biblical truths against one another for the sake of creative license and to create conflict in the story.  I.e. that God wanted man to steward his creation as opposed to him “taking dominion” over it.  Actually, both concepts are accurate.  It is not an either or but both, and.  God did give man dominion over creation, but to steward it not to exploit it.  This biblical message is missing from the movie in order to create conflict.

 What then should the church say to these things? 

The church is the entity that can assault the gates of Hell.  If we have so much fear that the influence of this movie will impact people to think that this story actually happened this way.  Then to me we should be most shamed of all people.  For it indicates that our light has not been powerful enough to impact people, and such a concern says more about us then the atheist director.  I am concerned about this affecting people as I am the Philippines staging a successful attack against China.  It is NOT going to happen.

Let’s face it.  If the only movies you can see as a Christian are those that are 100% accurate to the biblical text, then you will not see any.  I am sorry.  I enjoyed the Ten Commandments, I love the movie.  And I like Yule Brenner, but he is NOT indicative of the color of the Egyptian people of the day.  Yet we cherry pick which items need to be “biblically accurate.”  I have yet to see any major Christian themed motion picture that is.  We subjectively choose to omit things that are inconvenient truths for us.

Honestly, I am more concerned about a new Bible translation being accurate than any picture made by Hollywood.  Show me the passion there.

Overall Noah was a disappointment, I wish I had spent my money to watch Captain America.

2 out of 5 stars.

 

D

Look I love when people respond with comments! Leave a comment and your name goes into a hat. Link this blog and you get another drop of your name into the hate. Every month I’ll draw a name from the hat, and guess what? Whammo you dear reader get a free kindle version of my novel!  Go on ya know you want to say something!

Patriotism to the Kingdom of God

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on April 3, 2014 at 7:00 am

 

When I was a child I remember every morning having to put my hand over my heart and pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. Having had the opportunity to travel overseas, I am proud to be an American. I realized while in that foreign county that I was NOT in the USA anymore. I was a stranger in a strange land. The customs were different. And although some spoke my language, some did not. Some things in the country I visited were different, and other things were comfortably familiar. I held a passport on me that indicated I was a citizen of another country and was visiting. The country visited was NOT my home.

In my attempt to live out my life for Jesus, I am reminded of this same fact. That although I reside in the USA, I am a resident of the Kingdom of God. I am a stranger and a pilgrim traveling through this land. It ultimately is not my home. And as much as I appreciate the freedoms and luxuries that are available to me. I am pledged to a different government.

It disturbs  me when we lower Jesus to the level of our politics. I cringe when I see bumper stickers or memes that talk about ‘Jesus was a liberal.’ Or ‘Jesus was a democrat.’ Or when we discuss the republican party and equate that with evangelicals because there are a few planks of a political platform that some Christians feel that they can align themselves. It cheapens who Jesus is. It indicates to me that there is a clear sign that we do not see him as the King of Kings. The one who will rule with a “rod of Iron”.

The reality is that the foreign policy of my government is very clear.

And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
Dan 2:44,45

God is not here to take sides. He is here to take over.

When he is done, there will just be the Kingdom of God—period. Let that sink in. Now again I’m grateful that I reside in a temporal political system that allows me the opportunity to voice my opinion and influence decision making. But if decisions about the economy, marriage, war and peace, do not go my way I am not concerned. Because ultimately I am a foreigner here and my responsibility to my kingdom is clear.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: Matt 28:18

Ultimately, my purpose here is not to make legislation—it is to make disciples. When is the last time you sought to expand your government’s foreign policy?  Perhaps some of the concern that we Christians have with policy issues that run counter to us, should examine how much we are influencing culture through our failure to simply go and make disciples.

Ultimately, our purpose is not to make support or finance legislation—it is to make disciples. When’s the last time you sought to expand your governments foreign policy?

Something to think about.

 

D

Look I love when people respond with comments! Leave a comment and your name goes into a hat. Link this blog and you get another drop of your name into the hate. Every month I’ll draw a name from the hat, and guess what? Whammo you dear reader get a free kindle version of my novel!  Go one ya know you want to say something!