Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The D Word

Funny Wedding Photos - Prepping Him for the Rest of Their Lives

Today is my five year wedding anniversary. Someone told me that the element of this landmark occasion is wood. Wood? Really? I think I'll head down to the local Toys R Us today and buy my honey a set of Lincoln Logs. Those are made of real wood, right?

It's our five year anniversary, for crying out loud! Five years of blissful marriage. And when I say blissful, I don't mean we haven't had our difficulties, but I mean that we've stopped to work our way through those difficulties together. We haven't gotten into anything so nasty that one of us throws the 'd' word at the other. You know the 'd' word. It's so commonplace nowadays that I wonder if someone somewhere is already working on a way to allow us to buy it out of a snack machine with that package of Doritos that never comes out of the rings. Divorce. Eck, I think I just threw up in my mouth trying to say it.

Divorce - hold on...okay, almost gagged there - runs too rampant in our family. Last count, among close family ties, we had thirteen divorces. That's ridiculous. Has this country really started taking marriage so lightly that divorce is as common as a break up in junior high? "Well, Mom, she's got a pimple now. I can't be seen with that!" or "Dad, he just didn't notice me in the dress I wore to school yesterday, so to heck with him." It sounds silly, but so do a lot of the reasons I hear people are getting separated nowadays.

I wonder if - and this is a stretch - we communicated more. Would that work, people? I know that communication is one of the keys to our strong marriage. Men, if you actually talked to your wives instead of speaking in curse words and monkey gestures, maybe they would understand what it is you're trying to say to them. And women, maybe if instead of throwing a temper tantrum and giving husbands that evil eye - YES, you know what evil eye I'm talking about because I'm getting it right now - you told your husband what's bothering you. Would that be so hard? When we're dating, we tell each other what's on our minds. We give each other limitless 'pennies for our thoughts', but it seems when some marriages get past the first year, if they make it that far, everyone clams up and decay slowly settles in.

And then everyone is in court, fighting over the house, the kids, the ugly little chihuahua that both parties only want because they think the other wants it. A house divided will not stand. Children are not to be used as pawns in your emotionally juvenile tug-of-war. And you can easily drop that little chihuahua off at the pound - I heard they take all sorts of ugly animals nowadays. Let's slide everything off the table and get back to basics, back to the reasons we married in the first place: love, friendship, companionship.

My wife and I have taken long and sometimes painful strides to right the wrong in our family patterns. 'Generational curses' is a phrase thrown around in most Christian circles to describe this not-so-uncommon phenomenon where the same pattern occurs over a number of generations, forever trapping the next generation in an endless cycle of destructive habits, unethical beliefs, and immoral deeds.

Everyone in our generation is so used to having an easy way out of things nowadays. Pull the escape hatch and you're out of whatever it is that you're too lazy to work on. Well, there's no Plan B for this couple. I'm happy to say I'm in this for the long haul. Staying committed - to anything really - builds character and morale ground, something that seems to be going extinct nowadays. How sad, really. Does everyone just forget why they married their better half? I sure haven't.

I married her because I love her. Notice how I used the present tense of the word love?

Five years. That's something to celebrate! Not with measly old wood though. And I just don't want to hear anyone using - you know - that 'd' word on our special day. :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Under Construction

Over the past seven years, I've been learning web design from the school of hard knocks. I've never taken any classes on website creation, nor have I received any formal training. It's been an ever evolving practice and I have to admit I still feel like I'm behind the learning curve when it comes to creating an interactive and information website, especially with my limited resources.

To build my website, (, I've been using Avanquest Software's WebEasy Professional. I have version 8 - their latest - and I've been somewhat satisfied with it all these years. They continue to update their product and make it easier for me to create a website from scratch with drag and drop features without having to know hardly any html coding. There are some drawbacks to using it - it is limited in the applications you can add to your website - but it's great for me since I don't plan on making it my life's purpose to do web design for anyone other than me.

Lately I've taken to revamping my website design. Taking tips from other authors, I realized that a good author website needs to incorporate a theme that has something to do with the author and his/her genre. For example, I'm not going to have romantic frilly themes on a website portraying science fiction or fantasy, nor am I going to have space robots and time travel on a website portraying western writing. My latest website overhaul incorporated a spacey theme that I think was indication that I'm heading in the right direction, but I still feel I'm short of the goal.

For this reason, I've decided to overhaul the design again, this time incorporating me as an author, my love of writing, and the content I write - scifi/fantasy. To start, I've been making nifty background panels created with actual text from my novels...

So far, I've created four of these panels, all of them different, to lay down as the background of the website. I think they will do nicely to portray me as a writer and the fact that it incorporates my actual writing is a plus.

Along with the panels, I am creating a new logo...

It's pretty much just a combination of my name, and a flame inside of an ink splatter. It will be placed at the heading of each web page and incorporates my passion - the flame - coming out of writing - the ink splatter. I've had the symbol on my website for a while now, but I think with the new background panels, it will be more striking and more visible.

Another element I'm going to add to the new design is some scifi and fantasy icons. I thought it would look neat to have some photographs from Nasa and the Hubble space telescope...

I might incorporate some 'notes' on time travel and maybe have a few fantasy themed tidbits from my books. Throw in a coffee mug and maybe some stray Post-It notes and paperclips and I'll have a great all around writer's theme.

It's sure to be a fun project. It will take some time to build, especially since I'm still learning - as I always will be - but I think it will definitely be worth it when I'm all done, and I have a great looking, informative website that's easy on the eyes.

I'll update everyone when the site is ready for viewing - my goal is to finish it in a few weeks.

Photo Credit - NASA, ESA, and A. Nota (STScI/ESA)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Projects Galore

Whew! Been so busy lately, I think it's time to update everyone on the projects I'm currently working on. I used to have a monthly email newsletter that I sent out, but it was costing me money each month and I'd really rather use my blog to convey the same information. You can subscribe to my blog if you'd like and get it delivered straight to your inbox through the subscription box on the left side of my blog page.

Last month I handed off Black Earth: The Broken Daisy - the sequel to Black Earth: End of the Innocence - to my editor, Lana Gates. Looks like if things go as planned, I should be ready to release The Broken Daisy sometime in September. Once I get the edits back I have to go through them all and then do another run through of the book myself before it's ready for publishing. At that point, I will need to finish up the cover design, format the manuscript (which I hate, hate, hate doing) and then order a proof copy to make sure everything came out right. A bit of a process, but it's all worth it once that paperback is in hand.

While I'm waiting for The Broken Daisy to be edited, I have gone back to the drawing board and am re-editing the first two books in my Expired Reality series: Endangered Memories and Lost Birth. Expired Reality is where all of my writing began really. It's more young adult than Black Earth is, but it falls into the same edgy Christian scifi/fantasy category that Black Earth does - maybe just rated PG-13 instead of R, if we're giving my titles movie ratings.

When I originally wrote the first and second book in the Expired Reality series, I didn't know as much about writing as I do now. So, I'm going back to rewrite them  - not the story persay, but really just give it a good grammar and style overhaul - and re-release them. It's also important that I do this because Expired Reality ties in with my Black Earth series - it takes place 100 years after the events of the Black Earth series. And, like Stephen King did with his Dark Tower series, I felt it necessary to go back and polish everything up to bring it all to the same standard of writing.

As soon as I finish the rewrites to the first two Expired Reality books, I will be completing the third book in the series, and then I'll release all three of them around the same time - hopefully Winter 2010. More than likely though, it won't be until after the new year that the series is released, only because I am taking my time to make sure it's all up to par.

In the meantime, I have some extra side projects I want to work on. Some short stories from both series, some writing that - for the first time ever - may not fall into either of my two series. I also have a non-fiction project I want to start working on that details the incredible journey of faith that my wife and I have been on over the last eleven  months. A new website design is currently in the works as well, and there will be some giveaways as the release of each project gets closer.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dimensional Characters

When I was first writing stories at the age of eleven, my characters were two-dimensional beings, mere skeletons with stereotypical cores. Fast forward. Now I'm thirty-one, and I've learned that characters can't be two-dimensional and bring a story to life. It's not possible. A character is a living, breathing person/ life form, just in another world. So just like any other living being, they have a history, they have attributes and qualities that make them good, bad or in between. They even have weaknesses and strengths, love interests, goals and purpose.

I think it's for that reason alone - that characters are living, breathing life forms- that most of us who write fiction sometimes find it hard to control the very characters we have created. I've heard funny stories from other authors before about their character's unruly behavior. We want to kill a character off, but they walk right on through our little death scene unscathed. On the flip side, we try to save our favorite character from death, and they manage to incur unspeakable horrors that bring them to the end of their existence on the page. Time and again, characters will live out their destinies the way they are meant to.

And that's the beauty of these 'imaginary' beings, I think. They do what they want. I guess our job as writers is simply to tell their story - a story that has already been created, but hasn't been recorded yet. Our characters sometimes give us the opportunity to guide them, to add our own little details about where they came from, the past they are fleeing or the future they are pursuing, but really, they have already decided most of that. It is more an act of discovery than creation on our part.

When I became wiser to character creation years ago, I found the act of discovering and shaping my characters to be one of the most enjoyable elements of writing. Now, when one visits my humble apartment, they see the bookshelf I have in my office, adorned with binders that hold my character's files. Inside each binder is a character profile, complete with the character's birth date, history and family tree. The fun part is inputting the additional details, the little things that really round your characters out.

I think it's important, especially in character driven fiction, to sit back and ask your character questions as if you were interviewing them: What is your favorite dish? What music do you listen to, and what is your favorite band? Do you have a hobby? Who do you absolutely hate? Who do you secretly have a crush on? Do you have any tattoos or scars? What are your vices? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? It's like going to coffee with an acquaintance to get to know them better, to build the friendship between you. We don't get to know other people without asking questions, so how can we hope to get to know our characters better without doing the same? By asking these - and many other - questions of my characters, I get the answers that help me understand who they are, even if I don't necessarily use the answers directly in my writing.

The creative process is a neverending plethora of elements that can be added to enhance your plot and your character's lives, but sometimes you have dig for them, dig into the character of Only then will you see what shapes them and gives them motivation to do what they do.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Free Ebook

I've come to the conclusion that not many people know what my latest novel, Black Earth: End of the Innocence, is all about. I know a lot of information can get lost online, so I figured I'd give a bit of info here and even make the book available for free in ebook format so some of you can get acquainted with it.

Black Earth, as best as I can describe it, is an edgy, Christian scifi/fantasy novel with some traces of horror thrown in. I plan on having the Black Earth series run about 4 or 5 novels and I'll maybe end up doing some short stories to tie in with it in the near future as well. I plan to release the second book in the series this coming September.

The first novel, End of the Innocence, takes place on the night of a high school graduation. The stars begin to fall from the sky and our hero, Nathan Pierce, makes it his mission (with help from his older sister, Daisy) to find his missing parents in Phoenix - a city which has been hit by one of these fallen stars. On the way there, he comes to realize that maybe these stars aren't really stars at all. In the meantime, others around the United States are dealing with the destruction these falling objects are causing and in the process, many lives will be lost and many lives will be changed.

For a limited time, I'm giving the ebook away for free on Smashwords. Just head over to, add the book to your cart, and enter in promo code QL33T when you check out and you'll receive it for free. It's a very limited time that I'm offering this - expires June 27th - so go and grab it while you can. When you do read the book, I would love to hear what you think. And if you want you can even post a review/blurb about it on Smashwords.

The following is the prologue to Black Earth: End of the Innocence, just a tidbit to whet your appetite for some great sci fi/fantasy. :)

Falling...                         Copyright © 2009 David N. Alderman

Her shimmering white hair flowed in waves behind her, as if the strands were banners that were moving with the rhythm of the dark wind. It was too much for one person to handle, immortal or human. The air felt dead around her, the chilly night whipping at her with intense prejudice, as if its single desire was for her to die, and die horribly at that. The feeling of hopelessness was now threatening to consume her whole being, and so she would allow it, if she could. But nothing would be able to consume her this night. Nothing seemed able to rescue her from this internal agony.

She peered over the edge of the skyscraper, taking in the busy city below. Vehicles of different shapes and sizes were milling around the grid of streets. They all looked like blurry, chunky dots in her tear-filled eyes. She wiped the liquid drops from the corners of her pupils as they transformed into crimson flower petals and were swept away with the wind to start the long trek down toward the hapless beings below. She cupped her fragile, trembling hands over her face and took a deep breath. The smell of roses filled her senses with a sudden beauty that made her heart smile slightly.

So, it has all come to this, she thought. This is the end. The end of this beautiful planet. The end of everyone’s life on it. Hopefully the end of my own life. She glanced down at her wrists, the red scars fresh in her skin, the incident mostly fresh in her mind. Trying to kill herself with the razors hadn’t worked. She rubbed her neck, which was still slightly sore from trying to hang herself. Even throwing herself in front of that semi hadn’t worked. She glanced down at her bare knee and scanned the bruise for a moment, not surprised that it was almost completely healed.

A violent gust of wind swept through, chilling the skin underneath her short, white dress. She wrapped her arms around herself, shaking her head. I can’t do this! “I can’t do it!” She sobbed, falling to her knees there on the roof of the tallest building in Phoenix as flower petals swept across the space in front of her with manic intensity.

Her mind flashed back to clips of her evil mother, Evanescence, or the Great Witch, as she had heard some call her. She was a breed of evil that the world, this world anyway, had never seen. She had given birth to Pearl, but that was where the connection to the two ended, at least in Pearl’s mind. Pearl had been born at the ripe age of eighteen. Nobody else on Earth had been born at such an age, and she quickly reminded herself that this was indeed Earth. This wasn’t Heaven and it wasn’t Hell…yet, anyway. It was about to be hell on Earth, and she didn’t want to be here for that. She didn’t want to see the slaughter, the fire and brimstone, the end of the world. The end of this world.

The visions she had in her mind of the ways those on Earth were going to perish were gruesome and morbid, and had prompted her to try and end her life, unsuccessfully. She didn’t know if she could be killed by another, but even if she could, she didn’t want to put that guilt on anyone else. Neither did she want to die by her mother’s own enchanted hands. She knew the witch would torture her, listen to her own daughter squeal with erratic horror just before ripping her tender heart out.

This is why Pearl had to do what she was setting out to do. She had to escape this horrible planet. She wanted to be with her father. She wanted to go home.

She wiped the blur from her eyes and peered off the edge of the building again. The end was so near. What better time to meet her creator? Before the whole planet became swallowed in darkness, she could go be with the one who had actually formed her, despite what her mother tried to make her believe.

She stepped up to the edge, the wind threatening to knock her off balance. She certainly didn’t want to tumble down the side of the building. That would be painful. She wanted a quick, easy way out. A way out of my responsibilities? Perhaps. But staying here was not an option at the moment. Not with what she knew was about to occur on this poor planet. This poor, defenseless planet. They don’t stand a chance.

She heard a loud bell ring in the distance. She listened for a moment, keeping her balance on the ledge, until she was able to count eight chimes in all. She then closed her eyes and tipped her body forward.

For a long moment, she felt herself caught in a gust of air, as if she was flying. The feeling was spectacular, but then the tremendous pull of gravity yanked at her dress, at her skin, at her very soul, and beckoned her toward the streets below. As she fell, she smiled at the thought of being in Heaven tonight.

Her face swept through some of the rose petals she had cried earlier as their floral scent added a beautiful irony to her coming death. The sounds of the streets grew louder and louder. Someone shouted something about her falling through the air. Then the noise ceased altogether…

To be continued in Black Earth: End of the Innocence....

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gaming Jackpot!

Last week was my birthday, and if there's anything I love more than getting books, it's getting video games. I'll admit that I'm a kid at heart - that will hopefully never change - and I absolutely love picking up a new game and seeing what great adventures, stories and characters are out there. It is truly my belief that a video game, if done right, is merely a great story accompanied by reader interaction, visuals and sound effects. Great stuff!

My wife took me to Bookmans and I nabbed a few games with some store credit she had: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, Resident Evil 4, and Goldeneye: Rogue Agent, all for the Playstation 2. I nabbed Dragon Quest on the referral of my good friend, Paeter, because I have been looking for some good RPGs (role-playing games) on the systems I already own. Goldeneye: Rogue Agent was one I grabbed because I had played it on my brother's Gamecube years ago and decided I would try out the game in its entirety. And Resident Evil 4 has just been on my list for a while now.

Along with those, I was able to use some other birthday funds to grab a game I have been wanting for a great long while now - Muramasa: The Demon Blade, for Wii. Out of all of the games, I just recently ended up returning Resident Evil 4 simply because the controls were too frustrating for me. I'm going to keep my eyes open for that game on the Wii though because I don't think there's anything wrong with the game itself, it was just the way the controls were set up on the PS2. In its place, I picked up The Conduit for Wii and Dark Cloud 2 for the PS2.

Most of these games I've been able to play for a couple hours already so I decided to give my thoughts on each one. The only one I haven't tried yet is Dark Cloud 2, but I plan on playing that one this weekend at some point. I won't give my thoughts on The Conduit yet because I haven't played that one too terribly long.

Dragon Quest VIII is an absolute blast. The game is easy to get into, I didn't find myself pressing the start button to try and skip my way through every cutscene. The exploration in the game is crazy awesome and the battles haven't become boring yet in the least, which brings me to my favorite part of the game: variety. I've played RPGs that made me yawn and close my eyes in the middle of battles because the same creatures pop up over and over again (games that come to mind are Magna Carta: Tears of Blood and Xenosaga).

One of the cool things about this game is the day and night cycle. Daylight will turn into a starry night and, depending on if it's day or night, the characters in towns and interactions with certain things will be different. Very nice. The cell-shade animation is easy on the eyes (reminds me of Rogue Galaxy's graphics). So far I love this game.

Goldeneye: Rogue Agent is what it is. I like the game because I love FPS (first person shooters) but this game lacks a little in the variety department. It's nice to be able to wield duel weapons and it did take me a little while to learn how to multitask with the PS2 controller to make each one do its thang. The enemies are uninspired and the upgrades you get to your Goldeneye aren't all that impressive or really needed all that much either. They might be more useful in the harder game modes, but I'm not sure. Another mark against it is that it feels very short. I think I'm coming up on the last couple levels already (unless there are others I can unlock) and I haven't been playing the game that long.

A plus to this game is the fact that you can earn little achievements for using environmental traps to kill the bad guys or taking well-placed head shots to your enemies. Those things add some variety to the game, but I'll have to play through the whole game first before I decide if this is one that will stay in my collection or not.

What I did play of Resident Evil 4 was nice. A gritty horror that scares the crap out of me when I turn my character around and there is a zombified villager hurling his pitchfork at me. Creepy! The only complaint (which I stated earlier) was the controls on the PS2. That is why I returned the game and hope to find it on the Wii sometime soon.

My absolute favorite of all of these so far is Muramasa: The Demon Blade. The visuals in this game are absolutely gorgeous. The animation is fluid, the storyline is well done. I was a bit thrown off at first when I found out the characters speak in Japanese, but with English subtext, I got over this in the first ten minutes of the game.

There are many secrets, many enemies and many roads you can take in your journey which leaves room for replay. A complaint in this area though is that there is no easy way to go from one city to another. You can find a traveling cart of sorts to take you from A to B, but they are spread out and only go to certain locations (from what I have seen so far). You can also find a consumable item that will teleport you to the last save point you were at, but that only helps to a certain point. There is a bit of backtracking, but with the random enemy encounters, it doesn't bother me enough to stop playing the game.

In the game you can cook with recipes you find throughout your journey. Things you cook will restore life and spirit points and give you added benefits throughout the game. You can forge different swords (which I think is one of the strongest reasons I like the game besides the visuals) and use the swords to destroy the mayhem you come across.

The game is played out by two different characters. Each character's path is unique and you can switch between the two. From what I've read, each path has different bosses and swords, so it lends to a lot of fun customization and items retrieval.

With all these games, I'll just have to be vigilante in keeping an eye on my time management to make sure I stick to my writing and marketing goals. I still play Half Life 2: Deathmatch on the side and dabble in Guild Wars when I get a chance - I am still waiting for the sequel to come out.

Good thing you can never have too many good games.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Declaration Of Faith

For months I've blogged here and there on the journey my wife and I have been walking out, a journey that God set us on what feels like forever ago. Using a wrongful firing as an open doorway for me to make writing my full time career, God called us both out of our comfort zones and led us in the direction we've been walking now for almost a year. The lessons we are learning about God and faith are invaluable and will serve as markers for our children someday, not to mention the changes they have sparked in my me and my wife.

That's not to say this path has been easy or even enjoyable all the time. I think my wife and I are so close to the the fulfillment of the promises that God made us that it's easy for me to forget what the promises were to begin with. The end is so very far from the beginning. At the start of this path, God sat down and spoke to us about what the end of the path would hold for us - a living off my writing and widespread influence from my fictional stories. That was a promise. It was a promise that we have been holding onto for so long now, that sometimes I wonder what I'm even doing. Sandstorms come by and blind me to the directions I'm supposed to go in. The storms rage on and try to lure me into worry, doubt and constant anxiety, most of which concerns our finances.

I wrote in another blog that we are living off $1080 a month and we have over $1700 in expenses. But for ten and a half months now God continues to cover all of our bills. My eyes widen each month when I see miracle money come through and take care of things. We always have food in the cupboard, are always able to pay our $840 rent - every month. There is always gas in our tanks and minutes on our phones. This is living by faith.

There are those around us that tell me to get a 'real' job. There are those that tell my wife to get a better paying job. There are those who tell me I'm crazy, and that's fine. Maybe I am. But maybe I am just that someone God is looking for - someone crazy enough to look past the natural and rely on the supernatural to get by. I'm not living this life for kicks. I'm not living it because I love to struggle and strain. I'm not masochistic in any sense of the word. I live this life to obtain the promises of God. I live this life to prove to others that God is capable of miraculous things, if we would only just look for them and believe that they can happen. I live this life to be an example.

Yes, it's been uncomfortable not having extra money to go to a movie or eat out, even at a fast food restaurant. Yes, I doubt sometimes and I even wonder where we're going. I lose focus of the promises, I lose focus of the goal and the purpose God set forth in the beginning. When we are hours from a bill being due, I find myself questioning if God will come through. He does. He always has. There is nothing He hasn't taken care of for us.

Living a life based on necessity for a while instead of living a life based on want is the most challenging path I have ever walked. And it's okay. Because I know that the night is darkest before dawn. I know that whatever I sow into this journey I will reap either along the way or at the very end. And when I am on my knees, my will broken, my carnal self struggling with questions of the Heavenly realms, I feel God's presence and it makes it all worthwhile.

So close, He whispers. You are so close. Don't give up. Be strong, be courageous. Even though the fog is thickest now, even though parts of me want to quit, I won't. I can't. The fulfillment of these promises are right around the corner. So I will hang on, I will hold tightly to the anchor God has set up, stand on the solid foundation while all the storm rages around us. Beyond the pounding rain, beyond the hazy fog, beyond the dark waters, I know the fulfillment of the promise is there. In these last hours though, I will have to put all of my doubts aside and walk by faith to obtain those promises. It will take everything of me but I know at the end, I will be who God always planned me to be at that moment.

I will be a person changed by faith.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Birthday Goodies

With tomorrow being my - gasp! - 31st birthday, I plan on doing what I do every year on my birthday and travel around town to nab all my freebies. Yes, there are loads of birthday freebies out there for the taking, you just have to know where to look. And when I say freebie, I'm not talking about a scoop of ice cream with a candle in it and a half dozen restraunt staff singing 'Happy Birthday' out of tune.

The last I checked, I know here in Gilbert, Arizona, the following are goodies you can snag on your birthday. I'm sure there are others out there, but these are the main ones I am going to be heading for on my special day:

Free Grand Slam breakfast from Denny's - walk in and show your ID

Free dozen donuts from Krispy Kreme - walk in and show your ID

Free ice cream Creation from Coldstone Creamery - register online to become a member of the Birthday Club and you can access a coupon near your birthday to get your free ice cream.

Free $10 credit at Joe's Real BBQ - walk in and show your ID

Free item at Sonic Drive In - register online to become a member. You'll get a coupon emailed to you close to your birthday (I have yet to receive mine this year though...hmmm). I believe last year I got a choice between a free slushy, ice cream or tater tots. I don't really remember though.

Free ice cream at Baskin-Robbins - register online to become a member and you'll receive a coupon in your email for a free ice cream.

Free medium beverage at Dunkin Donuts - register online for their DD Perks club and you'll get a coupon mailed to you the month of your birthday. Mine's on its way!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A New Writing Desk!

Recently, my dad decided to get himself an apartment. In the process, he realized he didn't have room for a desk he's had for over twelve years and so I, seeing an opportunity, requested to have said desk. My dad, as stubborn as he is, said I could 'borrow' it maybe for a year or two until he's able to get back into a house. Borrow has so many interpretations though. ;)

The desk....

is what I would consider to be an upgrade to what I already had...

It took three of us to haul that beast up the stairs to my second floor apartment. Maneuvering it through the hallway and into my office should have required us to have passed a Mensa exam. When we finally got the desk settled in, my wife and I realized how many scrapes and dents had occurred in the walls - nothing some good ol' putty can't fix.

Now the desk is mine - not to borrow, because I'm not sure anyone could get the desk out of the office. Besides, a bit of stain and it will be good as new, and will hopefully be able to be passed down to my future children.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Declaration Of Genre

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. I know, I know, it's a dangerous thing, but I couldn't help myself. I've really been pondering this fence I've been sitting on lately - the fence of what niche and/or genre my writing falls into.

For a very long while, I had the great idea that I would market my work as science fiction/fantasy, even though my writing has Christian themes in it. I figured I would skip trying to market in the Christian fiction category because it seems so small, so rare - aside of course from big names like Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker or Tosca Lee.

Well, lately I've felt led to the thought process that maybe that plan isn't really God's will for my career. I recently joined a group called the Lost Genre Guild - a group of authors who specialize in the genres that my writing falls into. And seeing this group of people made me realize that there is a dire need for great Christian fiction. And I'm not really talking about regular Christian fiction either. I'm really referring to edgy Christian fiction - edgy, in my opinion, being more than just your regular PG or PG-13 rated novel.

Most of my work as of late could be classified under the R rating. Mixed in with a heaping of science fiction and fantasy are themes of redemption in the midst of real characters who deal with death, demons, rape, time travel and apocalyptic plots. My own mother has voiced her disappointment in my writing, but that's not saying much considering she raised me to believe that Stephen King was evil. I am nowadays a huge fan of his and am thoroughly enjoying his Dark Tower series.

I don't write about questionable topics to shock, I write to be real, to bring to life characters that everyone can relate to in some shape or form, and to bring to light the evil that we are all facing everyday - the seen and the unseen. I do respect the Christian authors who write science fiction and fantasy and can keep their subject matter appropriate for all ages, but I am definitely not led down that same path. And I think that's a great thing, because everyone has different preferences.

I write what I would like to read - edgy Christian fiction. Not every other line in my manuscripts have a sermon to preach, but the overall themes I try to convey in my fiction is redemption, and good overcoming evil. Pure and simple. I mix in some horror (because writing about demons wouldn't be the same if they weren't tearing things to shreds or scaring the heck out of humans) and add a dash of romance to finish things off. All in all, those who read my work get a healthy dose of something I believe has taken me years to compile and create - something that isn't seen a lot of out there.

And that's where my work comes in. A lost genre? Maybe. Probably just one that has fallen through the cracks and needs to be pointed out to a world that is searching for answers, a world that wants something to relate to. For the longest time I hid my work in the general sci fi/fantasy genre because I only really wanted non-Christians to pick it up. But I've come to realize that it isn't just non-Christians who need to hear stories of hope in a dark world. Everyone needs to hear of hope. And I as a Christian have always kept an eye out for edgy Christian novels. Ted Dekker comes to mind as the closest example I can think of. I love Tosca Lee's unique approach to stories as well.

So from here on out I'm an edgy Christian fiction author. Edgy in the strictest sense of the word. And I will help to bring focus to this beautiful genre because I think it is one that can benefit so many people - both with entertainment value and with themes of the straight and narrow path.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Black Earth Finally Available In Ebook Format!

Whew. That was a mess. I've been struggling for months now trying to get Black Earth: End of the Innocence into ebook format and have been failing miserably. I remember in the good ol' days when you simply had to convert your Word document into a PDF in order to distribute it as an ebook that people could read on their computers. That's still the case of course, but now there are reading devices like the Nook, the Kindle and other various types that use different formats like Epub, Mobi and LRF. I was ready to pull my hair out trying to find tutorials online to instruct me on how to format my manuscript for these devices.

Luckily, I came across a website called Smashwords. Smashwords takes my manuscript and pushes it through their Meatgrinder technology and out comes my ebook in all of the formats mentioned above (and more). They provide a manual for you to follow that explains step by step how to strip your Microsoft Word document of all formatting anomalies, and then they assist you in obtaining an ISBN# for your Epub editions and even allow you to create your own coupon codes to promote sales. Smashwords was indeed a lifesaver.

So now Black Earth: End of the Innocence is available in ebook. So if you own a Nook, a Kindle, or one of the other popular devices, head on over to my page on Smashwords and grab yourself a copy. If you use coupon code LD49R during checkout anytime between now and my birthday (June 12th) you can get it for only $4 instead of the retail price of $7. :)