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!
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.
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 know that I tend to push the Kindle versions of my books. For those of you who have Nooks, I want to show you some love, too. So, I’m running a little contest. Up for grabs are two Nook copies of Klandestine Maneuvers: Book Two of the Adventure Chronicles. If you haven’t read the first one, not to fear. It’s already free.
Check out the contest below. It runs from 12 AM on 2/10/15 to 12 AM on 2/17/15.
UPDATE: For the record, my relationship with my wife is strong. We love each other and continue to do things to show that love for one another. In no way do I mean anything negative about Vickie in this. She is an amazing wife and I don’t know what I would do without her in my life.
I am divorced. I see that as the single, greatest failure of my life. Not just as a preacher . . . but as a person. It’s taken me a long time to see my own faults in our marriage. I was depressed over the loss of our house in St. Peters and over the death of my father. I was distant from the woman who should have been the most important person in the world to me. I was a terrible father who was impatient with my daughter and did not give her enough affection.
I can see God’s provision through the seven years since we divorced. I am remarried to a Godly woman. Is our marriage perfect? No. But we try. We will have been married for three years on February 24th. The honeymoon phase has gone. The “love feeling” has gone. How do we move forward? We look to Jesus.
Marriage is a view of Christ’s relationship with the Church. As humans, we will disappoint Him. We sin again and again. But He still loves us. Why? Because He CHOOSES to do so. He promises us that He will never leave or forsake us, no matter how much we fail.
We, as spouses, must view our marriages similarly. We will do things to bother each other. We will fail to do all of the laundry, or pick up our socks. We will say the wrong things or get impatien with a spouse who is over-affectionate. We say things to each other that tear each other down. We may have to learn to speak a whole new love language to feel loved by our spouses. But we must continue on. We made a covenant with each other and the Lord that we mustn’t break.
So, before having the affair . . . before simply leaving your spouse to have a short-lived “peace” . . . consider dropping to your knees and begging the God who would never leave you to give you a love for your spouse like the one that He has for you. An active love.
I just wanted to drop in and let everyone know that I’m still alive. I’ve been trying to do something marketing related at least once a day for a month. I started on January 18, so that the thirty-one days will be up before my wedding anniversary.
I’m doing a download push for Invasion of the Ninja from February 2 through February 7. Beyond that, the other two volumes will go back to their regular prices. Klandestine Maneuvers will be going to 1.99 and Gateway to Thera will be 2.99. So grab them while you can still get the on the cheap.
We had a guest speaker in Sunday School last Sunday who talked about how he worked through the Bible. It made me look back over my history with God’s Word.
The first time that I willingly read the Bible was when I was in “Introduction to Old Testament Literature” at Three Rivers Community College. I was twenty. Taught by the incredibly entertaining Carol Lewis, it was intended to be a literature course. Fortunately, the professor was a conservative Christian, so I wasn’t poisoned by a professor who wanted to use her position to warp our view of the Holy Scriptures.
The next semester, I took “Introduction to New Testament Literature.” Also intended as a literature course, it was taught by the amazing Judy Scott, also a Christian. She even had the pastor of her church come in and give a lecture about Paul the Apostle.
For these classes, I was told that we had to use a version of the Bible that was written in more modern English. I chose the New International Version and the copy that I bought at Hastings, in Poplar Bluff, MO, stayed with me throughout my time at SMSU in Springfield, MO.
I started willingly going to church when I was twenty-one, during my time in the New Testament class. I was converted to Christ during my time at the First Assembly of God in Ellsinore, MO. I can remember our pastor, Phil Tanner, challenging us to read one chapter of the Bible every day, along with praying every day. I took this to heart and really started reading it for more than classroom study.
And the Word changed me.
I had spent most of my life as a liberal. I believed in abortion on demand, homosexuality. Prayer didn’t belong in schools.
But the Holy Spirit changed that, using the Word of God. I realized that a woman’s “right to choose” shouldn’t trump the life of the precious being that was growing inside of her. I realized that God set up the definition of love and marriage and that He, in His infinite wisdom, had created Man and Woman for each other.
I finished my first read-through of the Bible when I was twenty-three. I just started over immediately after that. I didn’t read it straight through, however. The first time I read it, I started with Revelation. I’ve heard it said that you should start with the Gospel of John. I’d agree.
With the release of the new version of the NIV to include gender-inclusive pronouns (when the original manuscripts were NOT gender-inclusive), I switched to the New King James Version. I still have my copy of that version, the MacArthur Study Bible. I find the commentary helpful, but I discovered that two very important verses contradict each other. Without going into detail, compare Galatians 3:16 with Genesis 12:7. These two should both refer to the promise of Abraham’s offspring in the singular, as it refers to Christ. If they do not agree with one another, I won’t use that version of the Bible for study.
My Minister’s Bible is a Holman Christian Standard. As of now, my preferred version for study is the English Standard Version. I love the beautiful language. My ESV Study Bible, which weighs about forty pounds (I’m exaggerating, though not much), looks worn. I have so many bibles on my Kindle, but I always go back to my Study Bible.