CHURCH?

Most people who know me know that I was converted to Christ, at the age of twenty-one, in a small Assembly of God church in Southern Missouri. For years, I was a blatantly Charismatic Christian. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I started to come around to a Reformed point of view. The misuse of the Charismatic Gifts (in which I DO still believe), was one part of what lead me away from actively Charismatic churches. The other thing was probably the lack of solid theology in the sermons.

Now I’m going to say that I have had a few really good theologian ministers in those churches. Phil Tanner, who led me and my father to Christ, was a good theologian. Christian Salzillo, a youth pastor from Springfield, MO, who left to minister in Georgia, was an on-fire theologian. In fact, the pastors at Parkcrest Assembly in Springfield, for the most part, where good ministers. But that church and Ellsinore Assembly of God, in Ellsionore, MO, seemed to be the exception, rather than the rule.

I also have some really good friends who are still Charismatic Christians. Basically, if you’re on my friends’ list on Facebook and you are a Christian, I know that you are my brother or sister and this blog entry is not about you.

I am an active critic of Joel Osteen. I do not believe that the man is a true minister of the Gospel. He acts as a self-help guru who seasons his messages with just enough Scripture to make people think that they’ve watched church. “Sin” isn’t preached, even though the Good News is that Jesus’s Sacrifice saved us from our sin.

I just had the pleasure (or displeasure, as the case may be) of seeing Osteen’s good friend, David Crank, speaking on television. The sad thing is that the sermon that he was preaching was different than his normal, Prosperity Gospel-laden fare. It COULD have been a good sermon about learning to be thankful in all things. But, he didn’t preach a sermon. He did a half-hour comedy routine. You see, he is not a self-help guru like his friend. He is a stand-up comedian who peppers his routines with just enough Scripture so that his audience can say that they’ve gone to church. He also used his friend’s book title during the routine, telling you that you needed to get to (his) church so that you can “Have your best life now!” I agree with John MacArthur on his response to this book title. “You can’t have your best life now unless you’re going to Hell.”

We need true ministers in the pulpit. Men who are not afraid to preach ALL of the Bible. Men who are not afraid to warn us of sin and Hell. Men who understand that we sometimes have to hear the uncomfortable truth that we are being saved from something and who understand that we are not in church to be entertained. A joke in your sermon? Good. A stand-up routine? If I wanted that, I’d buy a Tim Hawkins video. He’s much better at it.

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To Outline or Not to Outline?

To start, I am about a fourth of the way through my first draft of Book Five. My editor has Book Four and is hoping to have the first round of edits finished by June 15. So, having a deadline to have Book Four in print by the middle of August should be doable. God willing.

I should be finished with the first draft of Book Five by the time my editor finishes with Book Four. Of course, the next edits that I’m going to ask Karen to work on is the Seigi anthology. My biggest issue, for now, is Book Six. I have so many things that I need to accomplish with that particular book. It will be an important point in not only the Adventure Chronicles series, but in my written universe, overall. The problem was the order of things in the book. So, I did something that I’ve never done before.

I wrote an outline.

I’ve always been a seat of my pants author. I have an idea of where I want to go and I do it. But so much is riding on Book Six . . ..

The cool thing is that outlining it helped me to put things in it that I didn’t even think of when I was brainstorming.

picofoutline

Please don’t make fun of my handwriting. Heh.

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PUBLICATION SCHEDULE

Sorry about the long period of time since my last post. I’ve been working on getting The Quest for Yoshi ready for publication. It is now with my editor. I have the cover art for “A Family Squabble” back from Nathan Bonner. That short story, which takes place between Gateway to Thera and Quest for Yoshi, will hopefully be available for free on Smashwords by the end of next week.

JL MacDonald, the editor of the Metahumans series, has put out the final call for the short stories for the next release and given us a deadline in July. I’m already finished with the story, so I’m ahead of the curve. She’s then given us the themes for the following two anthologies and they sound awesome.

The deadline has made me think about my own plans for my writing. I’ve never really worked with a deadline on my own publications. But I’ve decided to create a tentative one, the Lord willing:

Quest for Yoshi should be released by the middle of August (2015)

-The untitled Seigi short story collection should be finished by the end of the year

Buster’s Legacy: Book Five of the Adventure Chronicles should be released by April of 2016

Full Circle: Book Six of the Adventure Chronicles, which will also act as a backdoor origin story for Seigi, should be released by July of 2016

The Possession: Book Seven of the Adventure Chronicles should be released by the end of 2016

-The as of yet untitled first Seigi novel should be ready by April of 2017

-The as of yet untitled Book Eight of the Adventure Chronicles should be ready by July of 2017

-The as of yet untitled second Seigi novel should be ready by the end of 2017

The Prophecy Fulfilled: Book Nine of the Adventure Chronicles should be ready by April of 2018

I will be writing the stories for the Metahumans series in here, too. TW Johnson and I have also been discussing a rather large project that may still be some time off, as well. There is obviously a great deal of room for change here. But it feels really good to have my plan put out in black and white.

On another note, my Evangelical short story, The Ultimate Failure, has been a freebie on Smashwords for some time now. It is now available for free on the Kindle. If you want a quick, uplifting read, check it out.

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2015 Cape Comic-Con

This past weekend, I attended the tenth anniversary of the Cape Comic-Con in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I did better in sales this year, which is always good. I also picked up some comics from Helock Comics, as well as two graphic novel collections: Indavo by Nathan Bonner and Mike and the Ninja by Brian Rhoads. Both men are extrememly talented and their work is greatly entertaining.

I GOT TO MEET MISTY BREW!!! When I was twelve, I watched the first “Friday the 13th” film on the KBSI Creature Feature. I remember the hostess telling us that Jason was her ex-boyfriend and he showed up on set. That was in 1986. After the show went off the air, she disappeared until just recently, when she came out with a web-series. Her persona is that of a vampire, which is interesting because SHE DOESN’T SEEM TO HAVE AGED in the last twenty-eight years. Helping at her table was Timexx Seabaugh. He’s seriously one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.

Of course, I got to see Jamie Hickson and the talented creators behind Helock Comics. I was disappointed to not get to see Andy Borders, who didn’t have a table this year due to his new baby.

Nathan Bonner drew me a commission of the first portrait of Yoshika “Yoshi” Funakoshi. It rocks.

Finally, I got to see the ever faithful members of the Costumers for Christ. I was able to talk with them more this weekend and I really had a heart-to-heart with Scott Bayles.

All in all, a really good weekend. I can’t wait for next year.

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The Second Edition of LILY’S REDEMPTION is Released in Paperback

The first book published under the GCD Publishing banner is still the best seller. Lily’s Redemption, which tackles issues like pornography and forgiveness, is the most overtly evangelical story that I’ve ever written. And the ebooks still sell well, all things considered. Having used the printer’s cover creator, I’ve never really been pleased with the first cover. Now, with the second edition released, it shares the cover with the ebooks, createtd by the always talented Tim Johnson. The price has also been lowered to $8.95 for the paperback. However, for those of you who are going to be at the Cape Comic-Con on 4/18 or 4/19, I’ll have a limited number of copies for only $5.00 each!

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The Creation of Yoshi Funakoshi

I started reading fantasy fiction in 1990, with the first Dragonlance novel, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, which I borrowed from my buddy, Evan. I was surprised to enjoy the book and quickly borrowed the second book, Dragons of Winter Night. I loved the characterization in the books but found myself fascinated by the dynamic of Laurana and Kitiara. Laurana was a noble elf-maiden, in love with Tanis Half-Elven. Kitiara was a warrior woman, dark-hearted and sensual.

Later, when I became fascinated with the “Street Fighter” video game series, Chun Li quickly became my favorite character from that game.

What can I say? I like tough women. When I was in college, I was given an assignment to write an essay about three dates that I’d been on in my life. I was nineteen at that time and had never been on a date before. So, being the creative writer that I am, I wrote an essay about my experiences with Kitiara, Chun Li and my favorite female super hero, the Black Cat. I got an “A” on it.

In high school, I wrote the short story that would eventually grow into Invasion of the Ninja. Yoshi didn’t appear in it. It wasn’t until I began fleshing it out into a longer work, after I’d become interested in a tough warrior woman, that I created Yoshi. At first, she was merely a female clone of Jamie. When I did the first rewrite back in 2000-2002, I decided to try to make her something more. I created the backstory of the clan war and of Yoshi’s rebellious childhood. I created her reason for focusing so strongly on the sword and for being better with it than Jamie or any member of either clan. I created a better character than any I’d tried to write before.

For those of you who were upset by the ending of Book Three, just be sure to check out the next one, coming later this year.

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My Take on METAHUMANS VS. ROBOTS

A few years back, Coscom Entertainment published a unique anthology about super heroes fighting zombies.  The sequel was about super heroes and werewolves.  I read Metahumans vs. Zombies and Metahumans vs. Lycanthropes and reviewed them both on Amazon and on this blog.  I was disappointed when A.P. Fuchs, the editor and publisher of Coscom, retired last year, leaving the series in limbo.  He passed the series over to J.L. MacDonald, creator of Nightcat, to continue through her publishing company, Lion’s Share Press.  I had been playing around with a character who would be tied into my Adventure Chronicles series but would continue beyond its conclusion.  So, adapting her into a super hero, I wrote a story and submitted it.  I find myself in somewhat of a dilemma, now.  I love all of the stories in the book.  And I can’t review it because I’m a contributing author.  Ugh.

But I can discuss the books on here.  So, here are my takes on the stories, in the order of appearance in the anthology:

1. “The Battery” by Sean N. Koury-I’ve gotten to know Sean online and his humor comes through in this story about a cyborg, named Bounty Hunter, who can travel to alternate earths.  My favorite part of this is when Bounty Hunter tells a child that he has been to the dimension where Batman lives and it keeps having cosmic events that rewrite history (alluding to the reboots that DC Comics keeps having).

2.  “Steam” by Steven J. Semones-A very well-written western/super hero story.  Mixed in with alien robots.

3.  “A Whole Other Animal” by Greg Mitchell-Light Sphere does battle with a robot who has been infected with lycanthropy.  Yes, a robot/werewolf.  It’s an entertaining story.  The big thing was that Light Sphere’s secret identity is Rick Castle.  Due to that being the name of the primary protagonist in my favorite weekly television program, I pictured Light Sphere being played by Nathan Fillion during the duration of the story.

4.  “I Always Wanted a Giant Robot” by Scott Story-This one plays very noir to me, with the whole story being told by the hero, Johnny Saturn, to a friend over drinks.

5.  “Othveria:  Mystery Metal” by T.W. Johnson-We’ve met Melfaxus in Johnson’s Othveria: Crisis.  Here, we get to see his heroic arch-foe, Metaegus.  Uniquely written in the present tense, the story reads like a Japanese monster show.

6.  “The Science of Evil” by Keith Gouveia-The hero, Midnight Angel, is the daughter of Satan and has to fight demons that come through a natural portal from hell that appears in her abdomen.  An interesting premise, although the villain that she fought in this story was a robot that was created by the government to help her.

7. “Eye Robot” by J.L. MacDonald-Truthfully, the story that I was waiting for.  Nightcat has to battle flying robots who are being mistaken for UFOs.

8.  “Duomo Arigatou” by yours truly-The first story that I’ve written about Seigi, a former assassin from the Waruiyatsu ninja clan who has become a Christian and vowed to spend the rest of her life fighting evil.

9.  “The Black Knights of Stonebridge” by Jim Robb-I had wondered how Robb would write a story about his medieval super hero, the Crusader, that would put him up agaist a robot.  Not only did he succeed, but he wrote an amazing story, to boot.

10.  “Robots Attack!” by Frank Dirscherl-The grandfather of indie metahumans in prose fiction, the Wraith, is back and has to fight an android that looks like a friend.

11.  “Razor Wave” by Gina Ranalli-A story about a team of metahumans having to battle a former hero.  A very emotional story..

12.  “Rage Agaist the Retcon” by Lorne Dixon-A WWII hero who has survived all these years (but aged normally). He had the most emotional ending in the Lycanthropes anthology and his story here is just as entertaining.

I truly enjoyed all of the stories in the anthology and strongly recommend the book to anybody who loves super hero fiction.  It’s available in Ebook and Paperback.

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