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Archive for May, 2014|Monthly archive page

Using Personality Type in Character Development

In Uncategorized on May 31, 2014 at 8:58 am

Great information to assist with thinking about character personalities.

The New Authors Fellowship

Some authors (like myself) are character-driven. Others (like my “fanfic” collaborator Jason Ward of Barbados—imagine that, my fiction actually inspires fan fiction) are plot-driven. Character-driven authors can create colorful characters at the drop of a hat; it’s plotting which challenges them. Plot-driven authors can create interesting plots easily; it’s creating interesting characters which challenges them. Thus Jason and I have a mutually beneficial partnership.

Ever since I saw Jeff Gerke’s method of character creation for plot-driven authors like himself, I’ve been thinking about what lies behind the two preferences in writing. Among other devices, Jeff draws upon the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) and the model of cognitive dynamics which lies behind it to create and enrich characters. It occurs to me that two elements of cognitive preference likely dictate whether one is a character-driven author or a plot-driven author.

Of the sixteen codes in the Myers-Briggs grid, half have F…

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Biblical compassion vs. human concern: don’t get it twisted.

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on May 29, 2014 at 8:00 am

Yesterday I read an article where the headline was “Christian Doctor On Why He Performs Abortions: ‘I Came To A Deeper Understanding Of My Spirituality’”  After reading the article, I wish the beloved doctor had come to a deeper understanding of the person of Christ.

Compassion is so important in a Christian’s life and as an outward expression of our faith. It’s a cardinal truth of the christian faith that we are to to show compassion to the poor. We are chided in the Bible in the parable of the good Samaritan to not turn away from the suffering of those around us. It’s an easy thing to do these days, when we are so desensitized by the violence of our 24 hour media, and the busyness in our lives that make it easy to look past others and focus solely on self.

In the article the Dr. Willie J. Parker after not performing abortions has come into an epiphany that he should instead do the abortions.  To quote Dr. Parker, “In listening to a sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, I came to a deeper understanding of my spirituality, which places a higher value on compassion,” Parker recounted in an interview with the New Jersey Star-Ledger. “King said what made the good Samaritan ‘good’ is that instead of focusing on would happen to him by stopping to help the traveler, he was more concerned about what would happen to the traveler if he didn’t stop to help. I became more concerned about what would happen to these women if I, as an obstetrician, did not help them.”

I applaud his attempt and desire to show compassion. The poor, those not self-sufficient need all the supports, family, friends, and the community can muster to help them. However, Dr. Parker’s attempt to provide support to women who are facing the decision to terminate their pregnancy is not an example of biblical compassion nor lifts up the legacy of Rev. King who he references but does actually the opposite.

For example, the doctor eludes to the late Dr. King as a impetus for rethinking his position. But Dr. King would have been opposed to abortion. And I quote, “The Negro cannot win if he is willing to sacrifice the futures of his children for immediate personal comfort and safety. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968

In 1939, Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood outlined her plan to eliminate the Black community: “The most successful, educational appeal to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their rebellious members.”  Many point to Rev. King’s acceptance of an award by her as his tacit approval of abortion.  But this is not so. Planned parenthood at the time was not pro abortion at the time but was an advocate for birth control (which Rev. King did support).  They did not advocate support for abortion formally until well after Dr. King’s receipt of her award.

Abortion is an inherently racist practice; as it was primarily conceived in this country as a viable means to “exterminate the negro” population, and funded and empowered via legislation and policy to do so. http://www.abort73.com/abortion/abortion_and_race/ It disproportionately impacts minorities and again was designed to do so by Ms. Sanger.  Whose organization Planned Parenthood is on the front lines of providing abortions in this country.

I find it mind boggling that Dr. Parker would think that the Jesus who chided the disciples with the words “suffer the little children to come unto me.” Would think the same savior of mankind who came that we might have life would approve of what is an inherently evil practice to eliminate persons and especially those within his own community.

At best Mr. Parker has expressed a heartfelt concern for the plight of the women he must see.  But it is not biblical compassion.

True biblical compassion would have been to set up funding and support for the mothers and their children. THAT would have been compassion. Using the good Samaritan as an example; Dr. Parker could have ponied up funds out of his own pocket to lodge and provide the means whereby they could become self sufficient. THAT would have been compassion. Take the personal time out, and sacrifice the personal resources necessary to see to it that the babies were given to adoptive parents.  THAT would have been biblical compassion.

This form of ‘compassion’ flies in the face of empowerment and more importantly, in the name of Christ. For its compassion that comes at the expense of another who has no voice, no say so, and whose end is death. That is the opposite of assistance.  But alas there is a way that seems right unto men, but the end thereof leads to death.

What shall we say to these things? I hope that the black community specifically, and all Christians in general can survive at best what is such a misguided attempt to show compassion. Because despite the Thinkprogress.org’s attempt to pass off a veiled attempt at a Christian’s endorsement of such a heinous practice. It is never “progress” when a society feels comfortable in killing its children.

D

 

 

 

All Twitter followers are not created equal.

In Misc, On Marketing on May 27, 2014 at 4:40 pm

One of the things I am coming to understand more of.  Or more accurately remembering, is that social media is about 1 on 1 contact.  It’s about developing relationships with people.  And yes although you can advertise on social media, that’s not its primary purpose.  It’s simply about connecting with people one person at a time.

I think when you are starting a business you can forget that.  It’s one thing to create a product or service it’s quite another to have that product and or service discovered in the market place.  Enter Twitter.

I’ve been looking more at the people who follow me and have gleaned something after staring at who makes up my ‘followers’.  I’ve determined that I needed to pare down who was on my list.  For example, I just had a individual follow me who has almost 7 thousand followers!  Wow I’m impressed.  I looked at who he follows, and again almost 7 thousand people.  Now that’s quite a lot of people to keep track of, and I doubt this person has ‘relationships’ with all these people.  They follow him, he follows them.  Quid Pro Quo.  But then I looked at the number of tweets he tweeted.   9.  Yep the actual number 9.  Not Ninety.  Not Nine hundred, but 9.  So I ask myself.  ‘Is this someone I want to follow?’  I mean he obviously doesn’t put out content.  Not with just 9 tweets.  He’s not being social.  He’s collecting numbers.  Maybe he’s famous enough that he deserves those numbers, I don’t know.  But can I expect him to retweet something, let alone read something that I post.  I highly doubt it.  I’m probably just another notch in the followers game that can be Twitter.

And that I do not want to become.  So I’m doing a purge.  Really looking at who I am following.  Are they sociable?  Are they just an internet placeholder in the twitter verse?  Because, I don’t want someone to unfollow me because I never interact with anyone, or haven’t post in over a year.  Yep there are some haven’t said a thing on Twitter in over a year.

Then we have the ‘promoter.’  The promoter is the person who follows me in the hopes that I will ask them how I can get thousands of twitter followers yet they themselves have virtually none.  I mean come on, at least have a follower list that remotely is impressive enough to want me to say, “Wow yeah I’d like those number.”  but nope.  I’m followed by what I now see are just Twitter bots or spam.  Oh well.

So I’m purging the list.  Id’ rather have 100 great followers, than 1000 who barely know I exist.  So hence I am now using unfollowersme.com and I must admit.  It’s been eye opening.  I’d suggest you try it if you’re a Twitter user.

What about you?  What lessons have you learned in your experience of being on Twitter?  What observations come to mind?  Any pointers to share?

Comment below!  I actually do comment back!  🙂

 

D

 

 

Top 5 Things Wrong With Christian Music, Movies, and Books

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm

An excellent commentary on how Christians view the arts. Agree or Disagree. It’s definitely thought provoking.

Fencing With Ink

It’s that time of year when Christians ruin Christmas carols by adding in a bridge that completely clashes with the rest of the song, adds nothing of any real value, and basically tries to spice up linguistic gourmet with lyrical pop tarts. Seriously, how do you screw up “Joy to the World?” And who would dare think that “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” needed to be more Godly? Why are we ruining our own songs?!

And it’s not just music. Christian media in general is absolute garbage most of the time. I won’t say all, because there is some truly phenomenal stuff out there, but most of the mainstream Christian music, movies, and books are predictable and uninspired. I’ve diagnosed 5 reasons why. 

5. The Stores

All sources: Google All sources: Google

This one is slightly legitimate. Christian stores only sell to one kind of client, and that particular client is often…

View original post 986 more words

How do you handle trolling behavior?

In On writing, Personal on May 20, 2014 at 3:16 pm

When I started out in writing I just wanted to tell a great story about a biblical event.  I thought it would simply be so cool to just tell what I thought was a fascinating story from the Bible.  Enter the troller

trolling

One of the things that I’ve tried to do was build alliances with others.  Find others in my field and pick their brains, learn from them, and maybe even give back something useful to them.  I had hoped I had found such a person in this woman whom I met on LinkedIn.  A creative writing major who loved writing and was a professed Christian; I dialogued with her for several weeks.  We even had one phone call.  I gave her an unedited draft of about 2 maybe 3 chapters of my novel.  She gave me some good feedback.  Later she engaged in some Facebook behavior that was simply problematic for me.  Behavior which I asked her to discontinue and talked with her at length about before I discontinued communication.  It was after this (I think I honestly knew before) that I had stumbled upon a very opinionated, person who by her own admission enjoyed arguing with people

 

Eventually she made a remark, about a friend of mine that I really did not care for, and I decided… that was it, the relationship needed to end.  I blocked them on Facebook, discontinued email communication and explained to them why I was doing it.  This occurred back in the summer of 2013.  All was silent until Feb of this year when my book was released.  After the reviews came in, this person decided to make comments on seven of them.  As of the 18th of May the troller has placed 2 more additional comments. Now keep in mind she has no book review herself.  She’s just piggybacking on others reviews. (She seems to be checking in occasionally to see what’s being said, and choosing after months to still make comments.) She selectively finds the weakest reviews and emphasizes in her comments the least favorable elements of that review.

So after thinking about all this I have to confess that I’m amazed (and concerned on some levels) that a person can be so infatuated with you that they feel the internal need to do such a thing.  I mean what motivates such behavior?  I didn’t spurn this woman romantically that was not an issue.  At least not for me.  (No telling what this woman was thinking.)  So I see these comments on my amazon page.  Go take a look here.  Tell me…what would you do?

Questions

1. When and if should an author (or anyone I suppose) respond to trolling behavior?

2. Has this ever happened to you?

3. What makes a person behave towards someone whom they have never met personally.

 

Hey help an author out by buying my book and leaving a review.  I figure the best way to shut a troller up is by success!

click here to check out the reviews.

 

 

 

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Meditations on Footwashing: A weekly series

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion, Personal on May 18, 2014 at 9:00 am

Foot_washing

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book, “Let thy feet be Washed: meditations on foot washing.”

Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus knew that His hour was come, that He should He should depart out of this world unto the Father having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him. Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into His hands.

John 13-1-3a

Who are you?

It’s a simple enough question is it not?

Who are you?

It’s a question that seeks information regarding ones identity; it is also a question, that will solicit different responses depending of course to whom it is asked. However, the one common denominator no matter who is asked and what seems to be universal to all men; will be to answer with ones name.

One of the biggest plagues confronting the church today is her identity.

Who are you?

Jesus stated in the gospel of John” … that by this (i.e. love) shall all men know that ye are my disciple. “John 13:35

 

Instead, people know us by our denominational affiliation, our adherence to creeds and doctrines; weather or not we utilize instruments in praise and worship, or by what formula we use to baptize believers? We are conservative, liberal, Christian, atheist, Muslim, agnostic, Catholic, American, African-American, Latino, and a host of other descriptors.

This issue of identity has been a struggle for some especially those within the black community as the struggle over which descriptor best answers the question of, “who are you”?

 

Likewise, the church has struggled in its answer of who she is. Are we Catholic, Unitarian, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Anglican, Baptist, and a host of other denominational names.

The question of identity is of such importance that we will assist children at a young age in learning how to pronounce their name. Many a parent will smile with glee when a child can not just say “mommy” or “daddy” but can with recognition respond, and recite their own name.

So the question remains.

Who are you?

Currently there is a multicultural emphasis in American that is seeking to assist us in understanding our individual identity. This emphasis would seek to instruct us that we do not have one identity but several.

“They” say that our identity consists of our gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, class, and political affiliation? The “multiculturalists”, would seek to explain our identity against the backdrop of oppression, victimization, and the privileged vs. the non privileged.

 

Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus knew that His hour was come, that He should He should depart out of this world unto the Father having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him. Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into His hands. That He had come from God and went to God. He riseth from supper and laid aside His garment, and took a towel and girded Himself.

What we do, who we affiliate with and a multitude of other actions can be derived from answering this simple question.

Who are you?

Who we are addresses the issue of our identity. Identity or rather the question who am I; is one of the most fundamental questions anyone can ever ask themselves.

The Merriam Webster’s online dictionary gives several definitions for the word identity.

1 a: sameness of essential or generic character in different instances b: sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing : oneness

2 a: the distinguishing character or personality of an individual: individuality b: the relation established by psychological identification

3: the condition of being the same with something described or asserted <establish the identity of stolen goods>

4: an equation that is satisfied for all values of the symbols

Other synonyms for identity help us

character, distinctiveness, existence, identification, ipseity, name, parentage, particularity, personality, seity, self, selfdom, selfhood, selfness, status, uniqueness

Identity. (n.d.). Roget’s New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1). Retrieved October 16, 2007, from Thesaurus.com website: http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/Identity

For the purposes of this work I want to use definition two. In other words Jesus knew who he was in character, personality parentage, status and uniqueness. He knew who he was related and connected with. This information helped him, stabilized him and can help and stabilize us as well. When the answers to these questions are in error or not known, abuse of ones self and others is destined to occur. (Hosea 4:6, John 8:32, 2 Tim 2:25)

Statistics of the world bear this out. Erik Homburger Erikson (June 15, 1902May 12, 1994) was a Germandevelopmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on social development of human beings, and for coining the phrase identity crisis. He believed that the identity crisis is the most important conflict human beings encounter when they go through eight developmental stages in life.

Scripture at least affirms the power that an identity crisis can have.

The answer to this question becomes even more important when you are experiencing life altering events; when the circumstances of life come against us. When the Devil attacks it is important that one not develop amnesia during such a time.

The issue of who we are is not only something that we as Christians have to deal with but its something that also Jesus himself had to resolve.

Yes Jesus too had to deal with identity issues. It is one thing for parents and well wishers to know who you are and what they might want for you. It’s an entire thing all together for you to know that for yourself.

Let us examine the scripture and see what insight we might glean from them.

Here in the book of the Gospel according to John we are at a unique time where Jesus is in the beginning stages of what’s referred to as His “passion.” He’s at the table eating with his disciples and he finalizes the last things in preparation to be crucified. The Scripture says that this preparation occurred prior to the feast of the Passover.

And it is here at this crucial point in the life of Jesus, that some things were revealed to Him.

It is clear from the scripture that knowledge or an conscious awareness or resignation of reality had come into the mind of Jesus Christ.

This new sum of information is made clear in verse 3, that, “He knows that the Father has given all things into His hands.”

Here we come to a crucial turning point in the ministry of Jesus. A turning point where the Son of God acquires or at least articulates the revelation and fact that all things have been given into His hands.

Now often we read the Bible too quickly so I would admonish you to allow this to sink in and germinate in your spirit and imagination.

Jesus realizes that there is nothing that is with holden from him.

There is nothing he can’t possess.

There is no power capable of stopping any and or all desires he would set his mind to.

He has been given authority from God the father and the power to accomplish whatever his heart desires.

He becomes the boss, the head honcho the big cheese.

Has this sunk in yet?

Now keep all this in mind because not only does he realize this. He boldly proclaims this to those that are within earshot. He communicates this truth to his disciples, and wants them to understand the nature of this power.

Before I go on let me ask you a question.

What would you do if you had the ability to do anything you want?

What would you change?

Who would you impact?

Think of the authority are your disposal; to change any and all things; to have the means at your disposal to carry out your hearts desire; weather for good or for evil. Nothing was withheld from you. “All things had been given into your hands”. He had something to offer the world and he was ready to deliver it!

This is where Jesus was in his ministry on earth. The pinnacle of what most of us would consider success. He had it all!

And it’s at this point in time, that with the understanding of this revelation, this ascertainment of illumination; that He does something that totally shocks the disciples that are around Him.

 

He washes the disciple’s feet.

 

Here’s some food for thought.

1) Do you know the meaning of your name? If not find out what it means, and why were you given that name.

2) What is your family history? Go back at least three generations, and learn about the lives of your parents and grand parents. What were some of their most notable accomplishments, some of their weaknesses’, strengths, who were their contemporaries? What was going on in the world at the time and how did they interact with those events?

3) What is your personality profile? Take a temperament test such as the MBTI (Meyers Briggs Temperament Indicator) and discover more about yourself, and how God has “hardwired” you. There are many free tests one can take on the internet.
4) What are your Career interests, extracurricular activities, subjects of interests?

5) Who has influence in your life? This is one of the most powerful questions one could ever ask. To help you answer that question; ask yourself this. Whom would you not want to disappoint? Whom do you go to for advice and counsel? Who holds your secrets? Whose untimely death would leave you crushed? This person or persons whoever they are; are probably key people in your life that you’ve invested a portion of your self esteem. If they think negative about you. You think negative about you.

 

If you found this blog post enjoyable please stay tuned for more on this subject in the weeks ahead.  I also want to encourage yo to enjoy my fiction writing.  If you have ever wondered about the fall of Lucifer and how he became who we know today as Satan.  I want to invite you to take the time to check out my novel.

 

 

 

 

Interview with Christian blogger: Peter Younghusband

In Author Interviews on May 15, 2014 at 7:00 am

Peter-Younghusband

Today I’d like to do a something a little different.  On occasion I run into authors and in doing so like to do interviews about them. This time I’ve run into a blogger by the name of Peter Younghusband.  His blog is dedicated solely to Christian fiction.  Bloggers provide an important function in that they help to promote authors through their blog to their readers and sometimes provide reviews.  I met Peter while browsing through Amazon’s Shelfari.  When I saw his profile what impressed me was the sheer volume of novels he had read.  One need only visit his blog or check out his presence on Shelfari or Goodreads to see what I mean.  Today’s blog is going to be a bit long, but there is much to takeaway from Peter’s experience, and those that enjoy blogging, reading christian fiction and or authors will take something away from today’s interview.

Peter gave me a generous review when I solicited him about my own work sevral months ago, and after exchanging emails, and dialogue I just felt that he was someone that people should hear more about.  If you enjoy Christian speculative fiction.  Peter simply put is a man who can recommend a book.  Having said that welcome Peter.  Lets get started!

So tell us about your blog.  Why did you write it and who is it targeted towards?

My blog is called Peter Younghusband’s Christian Fiction Review. Address is www.christianfictionreviewguru.blogspot.com.au.
I started it when an author, Steve Goodwin (http://www.stevegoodwin.org/) contacted to say thanks for a very comprehensive review of his first book. He had investigated my other reviews on Amazon and suggested that I should start a blog as he believed my reviews, being longer and more comprehensive would encourage authors and readers alike. It is targeted towards anyone who enjoys the genres of:

spiritual warfare involving angels and demons,

edgy speculative Christian fiction

horror from a Biblical point of view

Christian special ops, military

supernatural themes

Nephilim related (Genesis 6:4)

Christian mystery​/thriller

Christian science fiction or fantasy

Christian time travel

Christian Steampunk

​​What were some of the biggest challenges in getting it off the ground?

​Getting used to HTML! My initial introduction to setting up the blog from was from Steve Goodwin whom I mentioned above who is also a software programmer and he was talking me through this set up over Facebook chat. I got so frustrated that I told him to forget it. It was only talking to another Christian at work about books, reviewing and blogging that he encouraged me to give it another go. So I did and this time round, I understand the HTML and got it off the ground.

 What advice would you give new bloggers?​

​Do you homework first. Read about the format you are thinking about, whether Google Blogger or WordPress or any other format. Do you want to use a free service or paid? Check out their features. This will help you decide what is best for your blog. Don’

t give up. Seek advice from friends, colleagues that may know about blogging and the different formats or programs such as Google blogger or WordPress, search the Net, buy a book on blogging (and /or HTML), ask other bloggers. Blogging does not have to be rocket science! Keep your content relevant and appropriate.

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

I was brought up Catholic. Very sheltered upbringing due to having much older parents than my peers. When I started my Registered Nurse training at 19 years, I did not cope with life being away from home. The other male and female student nurses were involved in smoking, drinking, partying, swearing, recreational drugs all of which I had no exposure to growing up. It was not long before I was engaged in some of those activities just to fit in and it went against every part of me. I was not happy. We had a student join our second year and he was the only one whom I felt comfortable and safe with. He started witnessing to me about God and getting out of this destructive lifestyle. I spent my holidays that year on his parents farm and by the time I returned I had accepted Jesus and been born again. However, there was no follow up from a church when I started my studies again and I fell  back to my old ways. Another Christian nurse I worked with invited me to his church and at the altar call I rededicated my life to God. I stayed at this church and when I left the hospital a few years later to start my career as an Occupational Health Nurse, I met my wife who was my boss at the time! That  was in 1987 and we have been married since and now have two daughters, 22 and 19 respectively. We now attend a Presbyterian Church.

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

My first favourite author was Roger Elwood whose book Dwellers (1990, now out of print) which introduced me to the subject of the Nephilim mentioned in Genesis 6:4. This also introduced me reading Christian fiction. HIs other books, Angelwalk, Fallen Angel and Darien introduced me to angels and demons.  I then read the first two novels of Frakn Peretti that introduced me to spiritual warfare. Other favourite authors are Sigmund Brouwer, Jess Hanna, Steve Goodwin, Tim Downs, Alton Gansky, Ted Dekker, Bill Myers, Randy Alcorn, Jerry B Jenkins, Guy Stanton III, Ian Acheson, Graham Carter. Mike Dellosso, Mark Carver, David Alderman, Joseph Max Lewis, Dante Forstson, Cary Green, Clifton Voshen, Gary Rodenius, Timothy Tron, Bryan M Litfin, John Lyman, Robin Parrish, Joanna Penn, Tom Pawlik, Martin Roth, Joel C Rosenberg, Michael J Webb, James Somers,

Oh, and I have come across this new author who happens to have the same name as yourself!! LOL

I have already mentioned some of the genres I love to read and these authors all write in these.

Are there any other ventures similar to your blog you might be looking at?

I have been invited to be on an author’s Radio show to discuss my blog and anything Christian fiction! I would not mind doing the same in the future. Interviewing authors and reviewers. It has also been suggested that I try video reviewing, but I would need to invest in the appropriate equipment for this; the same for the radio show. But food for thought for the future.

When did you start blogging?

As I mentioned above, it was my second attempt that got the blog up an running and this was in October 2013.

What’s some of the best experiences you have had in your blogging experience?

When a new author who does not have any reviews or very few contacts me and states my review was a great encouragement and confirmed to them that they had made the right decision to become an author. Or that they say that my review captured what they wanted the reader to get out of the story. When they ask you for your permission to use your review on their website or in any promotional activities for their book. Also, when they ask you to become a beta reader for future books. One author states that my blog is the place for him to go to for his next novel to read.  Having an author request a review from a recommendation from an author you have reviewed. Word of mouth is a great advertiser!!

Also, when fellow readers buy the book you have reviewed based mainly on your review and they also state that if they want to find a good book, they will come to the blog and ​c​heck out the blog archives​.

Any negative experiences you would like to avoid?​

Having to write a review that is not positive or uplifting, but does reflect the problems with the book/author and you have to be honest, and deciding what is the best action: publish to the blog for all the world to see knowing this could upset the author, especially if it is a new author, or contact the author out of the public eye. Despite most authors wanting you to be honest and will be ok receiving negative feedback even on a blog or elsewhere, it is never easy. This is most unavoidable. An honest reviewer is an author’s greatest asset.

 What books have most influenced your life most?

Apart from the Bible, fiction genres of spiritual warfare or any Christian fiction no matter what genre, that educates, uplifts, and honors God. Some examples are Methusela’s Table by Gary Rodenius and Bruecke To Heaven by Timothy Tron, The Warrior Kind series by Guy Stanton III, the Chiveis Trilogy by Bryan M Litfin, The Road To Hell and Adverse Possession by Jess Hanna. All debut authors and all have had a huge impact on me.

What book are you reading now?

The Seal of the King by Ralph Smith, debut author, first in a trilogy. Christian fantasy, spiritual warfare. This was free on Amazon on March 29 and I was very much attracted to this based on it being fantasy, spiritual warfare and majority of reviews 4/5 or 5/5 stars. Later that day I received contact from the author requesting me to review his book! He had google searched “Christian fiction review” and my blog name came up! We were both surprised at how this came to happen on the same day and realised it was not a coincidence! I had about 5 books in the queue to review before getting to this. Ralph has been very patient!

Are there any new bloggers/authors that have grasped your interest? 

Yourself, and Dante Fortson as both bloggers and authors. Gary Rodenius and Timothy Tron as new authors.

Have you thought about writing a novel yourself?

I have thought about writing a novel and it has been suggested by family, friends, fellow readers and some of the authors I have chatted with. I have not ruled this out  and I guess it needs to be in God’s timing. I know now is not the right time but I know it would be good to think about what I would like to do.

Do you have any advice for other bloggers and writers?

Keep your blog uncluttered. I have seen a few that are so cluttered with adverts, banners from other sites they belong to or support and other widgets/gadgets or backgrounds that it can be hard to navigate the site and see what you have come to see. I find this very frustrating and I usually don’t stay long, return or subscribe/follow. Keep everything you add appropriate and relevant to the purpose of your blog.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Writers spend months researching writing, developing their characters, plot and everything else necessary to complete the novel ready for us to read and enjoy, be informed, educated or inspired. The only feedback they receive to show whether they have achieved their aims and successfully executed their talent and passion is reader feedback. Readers are a writers best asset in this regard. I would encourage every reader to write a review to show how much they enjoyed or did not enjoy the writer’s work. It can be our way to say thanks for a great novel and affirmation of a great or promising talent or that the author needs to improve their craft. Honesty is the key here. If you want some guidelines on how to write a review go here. A review also encourages readers to choose quality books, increase their exposure to new genres, new authors and promotes an author and their work to readers who may not be convinced of its description on the back of the book or on a book website such as Amazon.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your blog to life

Even before I started the blog, if I felt it necessary, I would research the author by going to their website either their author or book website, their Amazon author page, their blog or any other internet site connected with them as author. I would read the previous reviews of their books. I would contact the author for further information on events or concepts that intrigue me or are causing me to stumble reading the book and enjoying it or I just want more information. See the last two posts in my blog for examples of this, Methuselah’s Table and Bruecke To Heaven.

That is me; I am not saying or suggesting that anyone else needs to do this to be a reviewer. Most reviewers just stay within the confines of the content of the book for their review and that is fine and on a basic level all an author requires and wants.

Are you part of any associations, blogging or otherwise?  If not any plans to be?

I am on the Judging Panel for ​The Crossover Alliance Anthology​;a collection of short written pieces that represent edgy Christian speculative fiction. The Crossover Alliance exists to bring attention to literary works that merge Christian themes, speculative fiction, and real-world content​​.​I subscribe to and/or follow the following blogs:

Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers: 

A group of readers and writers who enjoy edgy fiction, and in particular edgy Christian fiction.

http://edgychristianfictionlovers.ning.com/

John 3: 16 Network Marketing 

http://john316mn.blogspot.com.au/

Steve Goodwin: Author, Programmer

http://www.stevegoodwin.org/

Australiasian Christian Writers:

http://australasianchristianwriters.blogspot.com.au/

Around the World of Inspired Fiction

http://christianfictionreaders.blogspot.com.au/

Mike Dellosso: Wide Eyed Fiction

http://mikedellosso.com/what-mike-says/

David N Alderman: Author of Edgy Christian Speculative Fiction

http://davidnalderman.blogspot.com.au/

Mark Carver: 

http://www.markcarverbooks.com/

​Well, there you have it, Donovan! ​Thanks for this experience! I appreciate it.

It’s been my pleasure Peter, thanks for coming by and sharing with my readers!

 

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Book Review: Dragon Slayer: Beginnings by Carey Green

In Book Reviews on May 7, 2014 at 8:00 am

Dragon Slayer

Book Review for Dragon Slayer

I received an electronic copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Well done! looking forward to the next book in the series.

My first Impression of the book was great. The book has dragons for Pete’s sake! I assumed, and rightly, so that it was a coming of age book where at some point a hero confronts one of the most powerful of mythical creatures, a dragon. What makes this story especially nice is the Christian worldview that permeates its pages. It is refreshing to read fiction that acknowledges the existence of God in general and Jesus in particular and looks at how the characters lives are influenced by their faith.

Characters

There are multiple characters within the book. The central figure is the young man Hon of which the story revolves around. But surrounding him is a cast of both likable characters and a chief antagonist who help bring the story to life. I enjoyed the author’s portrayal of the characters in the books. The interchange between the antagonist (Simon) and the two kings is simply superbly written, and believable.

World Building

The world in Cary’s book is filled with kings, rival kingdoms, markets and soldiers. All the standard fair that one would expect in such a book of fantasy. However, the book lacks a lot of history of the world that the characters inhabit. We know little of how the kingdoms came to be. A world map although not required to understand the story would have been an extra benefit. 

What was conflicting for me was the use of the scriptures and Jesus in the story. (Hear me out) In the world of this story Jesus is a historical figure. The scriptures also historical in that they are actually alluded to exist and are referenced in the book. Yet the book also contains ‘real’ dragons within its world. I found this hard to reconcile. To merge both the historical figure of Jesus and the actual Bible with a mythical beast even in a fictional setting was hard to get past for me. It had the effect of taking me out of the story. As a reader I am already asked to suspend belief and for a moment live in the authors world. A world where both Jesus and Dragons are considered historical was hard to for me to get past.

When the references to Jesus and the scriptures come; it removed me from the fictional world the author had created and brought be jarringly into the real world. My belief was suspended for a period as I read, but then I felt I was plopped back into reality when Jesus was mentioned. I couldn’t figure out how to reconcile that somewhere after the death and resurrection of Jesus there were dragons. In my mind it made me try to locate the time frame of the story and its possible location, which again had the effect of taking me out of the authors story. 

It took me a while to get back on board with the tale as I was wondering if I was going to get that “location” my mind was looking for. For me this became the weakest point in the novel, but I totally understand why some might enjoy the merging, or simply not care that a writer has done this. It’s also ironic on some levels since its a christian fictional story.

Essentially, the book ceased to become allegorical for me because instead of an Aslan, which to me would have been consistent with this fantasy world where dragons exist. The author chose to use the real historical Jesus. Imagine The Chronicles of Narnia where Jesus is the character instead of Aslan and you will begin to get why I am saying what I am saying. It does fit…but then again it doesn’t. 

Eventually, I just came to accept that this was the fictional world I was being asked to accept (that a literal dragon and a literal Jesus could exist,) and I moved on. Like I said. For some readers this will simply not be an issue for them. I hope the author in the subsequent books delves more into the lore/history of the kingdoms and the origins of the dragons in the story. I would love to see if this “issue” gets tackled in subsequent works. 

Writing style

The writing style was wonderfully done. The author did a great job of vividly capturing the life of the people he described, and their highs and lows. It was an easy read. There were minor grammar or formatting errors but I emphasize that they were minor and did not detract from the book. I would say the overall style was written for someone in middle school or higher. I enjoyed the authors descriptions and the dialogue in the book.

Editing/Formatting

There were minor editing or formatting issues. Nothing that drew me out of the story. Overall, the book was formatted well.

Cover design

The cover doesn’t do the book justice. Although there is absolutely nothing, wrong with it. I would have liked to see something that captures more the image of a dragon being slayed. I like my fantasy covers to ‘pop’ more. 🙂

Christian World View

The author shines here. His biblical counseling background becomes evident and I found myself taking away various precious gems that one can use in helping others work through grief or challenges when life is difficult to understand. There is clearly a biblical affirmation that God exists, he is in control, we have to choose how to respond to him and our suffering, and there is a positive affirmation of both scripture and the person of Jesus. You will not wonder if this is a Christian work of fiction. Although, I personally believe unbelievers can enjoy this speculative work. Some might feel the work a bit preachy. I give this area 5 stars.

Overall the book is a great introduction to this new fiction author and I am looking forward in continuing to read the stories he puts forth in subsequent works. I would recommend this well written book, especially to anyone who enjoys Christian fiction and its appropriate for younger children as well. 

Characters 5
World Building 4
Writing style 5
Editing/Formatting 4
Cover 3
Christian Worldview 5

I give it an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars

You can find Mr. Green’s novel here

 

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Donovan M. Neal

How to develop a novel character by answering 17 easy questions.

In Its resource Monday!, On writing on May 5, 2014 at 8:00 am

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The power behind any novel is not just if it has an awesome plot.  But if it has characters that move the reader.  Character development is something that is learned.  It’s something that you can get better at.  But it starts with having a great template to work from.  Here is the template that I use in developing my characters.  I don’t profess that any of this is original.  Just that its pieced together from others who I’ve come to respect.  I figure perhaps this might work for other aspiring writers as well.

Now here’s the thing.  When you start a character you might not know all this.  If you are a pantzer who writes by the seat of their pants.  Then you might find these questions get answered organically as you write.  But whatever you do answer the questions at some point.

Answer these 17 questions and you will be on your way to have a great character for your work!

 

  1. What is the character’s name?
  2. A one-sentence summary of the character’s story line?
  3. The character’s motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?)
  4. The character’s goal (what does he/she want concretely?)
  5. What event launches the characters toward their first dilemma?
  6. The character’s conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?)
  7. What event strips the character of hope?
  8. What even pushes the characters to change?
  9. The character’s epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change?)
  10. What even shows the characters as their changed selves?
  11. A one-paragraph summary of the character’s story line?
  12. What is their role in story?
  13. What is their occupation?
  14. What is there physical description?
  15. What is their personality?
  16. What are their Habits/Mannerisms?
  17. What is their Background?

 

Donovan M. Neal

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