“Eugenics and Other Evils”

 G.K. Chesterton was a prolific writer and giant of religious thought around the turn of the 20th century, and his works on theology and philosophy, while from a Catholic perspective, continue to ring true today – even for us Evangelicals.

While I have primarily read his fiction (the semi-fantastical The Man Who Was Thursday; the thought-provoking Father Brown series), I found Eugenics and Other Evils full of his characteristically fanciful turns of phrase and complex, allegorical illustrations. While I didn’t always follow his argument (and while I didn’t always agree with it when I did), his unique perspective (observing the Eugenics movement when it was in an earlier and more intellectual stage of its life-cycle) is worth reading.

As he says, “Eugenics itself is a thing no more to be bargained about than poisoning.” Continue reading

“God’s Not Dead”

Movie For Christians, Not the Unchurched

 A Christian freshman sits down in his Intro to Philosophy class, to find the professor insisting that every student write “God is dead” on a piece of paper and sign their own name.

This one student decides this act violates his conscience, and refuses.

The professor challenges him to prove to the class that God actually exists – or lose 1/3 of his semester grade right off the bat.

While “Christian” films have gotten their share of grief over the years for sappy plotting or lazy writing, my personal reaction to this film was mostly positive. Continue reading

ZOMBIE-First Impressions

Book 2 of the White Mesa Chronicles is now available! Read the first chapter here, then find it at your favorite online retailer!

Smashwords (all ebook formats; #DRM-free)

Amazon (Kindle, DRM-free, or paperback – buy the hard copy, and get the Kindle version FREE via Kindle Matchbook!)

Barnes & Noble (epub)

Kobo (epub)

ZOMBIE cover

Ten to eight in the morning, the scavenge team started from White Mesa. Tommy sat in the truck bed, watching the settlement where he’d been born and raised roll past. The fields rippled with new growth, and he knew every farmhouse by name.

They passed the electrified fence, then the border fence that separated White Mesa from the wild lands beyond. Tommy shifted to stay out of the way as the team-members straightened into watch positions.

Captain Gibbs – ranking officer of Team Alpha and the team lead for the scavenge mission – looked at Tommy over the back of the seat. Continue reading

Cover Reveal: ZOMBIE

The day is near! “White Mesa Chronicles” Book 2 launches sometime this month!

White Mesa operative Tommy Thaxton is used to dealing with the city gangs. But the New Republic is not a gang.

With a protected fence-line, plenty of food, and a welcoming atmosphere, the New Republic almost seems like a sister community to White Mesa…with a few crucial differences.

The zombies, for instance. They seem to be all over in the New Republic. And by the time Tommy finally finds out why, it might be too late…

ZOMBIE proto cover

Snazzy, huh? Doesn’t he just look like a mindless, over-worked zombie-slave?

You might notice something is missing, though: a quippy tag-line! So while I madly thrash the first five chapters of the manuscript into publishing shape, you can vote on the perfect pithy quote to place on the cover and draw readers in 😃

Maybe imitating the Haitians wasn’t the best way to reestablish Western society.

Mindless slave workers that turn into animalistic monsters? What could go wrong?

Digging ditches through asphalt on nothing but potatoes does something to you…even if you’re a buff spy.

Uncomplaining slave workers, or animalistic attack-machines? It all depends on your perspective…and the medicine.

What do you think? Vote below!

(P.S. If you haven’t read Book 1: Soldier yet, you can grab it at your favorite online retailer or join the mailing list for a free e-copy!)

“Hazardous Duty” by Christy Barritt

A Cautionary Tale for Writers

 Surfing Amazon one day for “Christian mystery” (or some similar keyword) I came across this book about a crime scene cleaner who finds evidence that the police missed – and it was free! I downloaded it, eager to start reading, and went to load it onto my e-reading device.

BLAM!

File is locked with DRM (digital rights management), meaning I couldn’t read it on my Nook (it’s a Kindle/.mobi file), nor on my dad’s Kindle (device registered to him, book registered to me).

Almost a year later, I did finally get to start reading (because AT&T got me a smartphone, long story short)…but needless to say it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Gabby St. Claire is a professional crime scene cleaner, and an interesting enough character. The perky go-getter type, with an interest in chemistry and forensics, she uncovers evidence in one of the houses she’s cleaning that seems to shed light on a murder investigation.

She then immediately jumps to a conclusion, and pursues that conclusion through the rest of the book. Most sleuths pursue a mystery: she pursued her conclusion…and guys. Continue reading

“Not By Sight” by Kate Breslin

Not-By-Sight Cover Wealthy young suffragette Grace Mabry is determined to do her part for Great Britain, not only to help her nation win World War I, but also to end the fighting so her twin brother can return from the front lines.

To this end, she slips into a prestigious costume ball and hands a white feather of cowardice to Jack Benningham – well-known conscientious objector and profligate nobleman.

Unknown to her (and his family), Jack is secretly a spy-catcher for the British government, using his reputation as a devil-may-care pleasure-seeker to root out traitors to his country.

This gripping premise unwound into a TOTALLY different book than I was expecting. But once I got over my initial shock, I reconciled myself to this story as worth reading. Continue reading

“Grim Fandango: Remastered”

There’s something rotten in the Land of the Dead. Manny Calavera, travel agent to the recently deceased, is desperate for a big commission so he can pay off his dues to the “powers that be” and start his own “four year journey of the soul.”

When he tampers with the system to steal a client from his rival, he falls into an adventure that will have him pointing-and-clicking all over this hilarious Mexican-inspired landscape. Continue reading

“The Mysterious Affair at Styles”

 The very first of Agatha Christie’s detective stories, Mysterious Affair at Styles was a breath of fresh air – air scented with ancient country mansions, rich but foolish old ladies, a rogues gallery of extended family, poison, wills, minute yet vital clues, and, of course, an intelligent detective to bring it all together. Continue reading

6 Things I Learned From Beta-readers

Beta-readers are the people who read your manuscript before it’s published to give you advice about how to make it better.

Sort of like “beta players” in the gaming industry are the lucky dogs who get to see Destiny 2 before the rest of us players who test the game while it’s still in “beta” and not ready to be released for the masses.

So what have they taught me?

  1. I have a coy writing style, frequently sacrificing “communicative” for “cute”.
  2. When you tack a beginning onto the front of your book…people can tell that you just tacked a beginning onto the front of your book.
  3. Layman beta-reader: “I like it.”
    Author beta-reader: *3 pages later…*
  4. Not everyone has lived in my pretend world for years the way I have.
  5. REWRITE REWRITE REWRITE and don’t stress it, ’cause you won’t please everyone.
  6. High-quality beta-readers = worth their weight in gold.

Thank you for reading this week’s stand-in blog post; now I’m off to rework that tacky beginning 😉