Quotable Quotes Continue...

As the CSFF blog tour goes on, we're seeing a continuing stream of LGG-related posting. Again, here are some snippets with links to more.

Karina Fabian in The Lost Genre Guild and What It Means for Readers: We want readers to know that exciting Christian sci-fi, fantasy and horror is out there, and we want to make it easy for you to find it.
Karina's also laid on a party called Meet the Members - in which you'll find pertinent information about some of the movers and shakers.

Nissa said: I find it exciting, as a Catholic convert who grew up Protestant, to find that the Lost Genre Guild is open to both Catholic and Protestant varieties of Christian faith.

About the booklist, Crista said: I found some “jewels” on the website that I am very anxious to read, and I look forward to future updates.

Phyllis Wheeler reviewed our blog archive from the days of the Guild's beginnings, and noted: Clearly there are plenty of people out there who love to use this set of tools to be creative and to convey some of God’s great truths.

Terri Main wrote about how joining the Guild has impacted on her writing life: I'm going to get personal, because the Lost Genre Guild literally changed my life and restored something I thought I had put away forever.

The Hobbiton Hill bloggers said: They've done a nice job enlarging the boundaries for Christian speculative fiction to include topics I hadn't thought of. How about space opera? Or cyberpunk? Their list of featured books include some recent offerings that are excellent...

D.G.D. Davidson wrote a post with the intriguing title: I woke up one morning and discovered that my genre was gone.

Cherryblossom said: These people have decided to rescue the lost genre and bring it to where it is accessible for people to read as easily as romance or historical.

Timothy Hicks talks about some Guild books he's got his hands on: Here at last I found other people who enjoyed a good fantasy, science fiction, or horror story. And they were Christian authors. I was hooked.

Andrea Graham has apparently had a GMTA moment and posted a round-up of other bloggers' posts, plus a silly picture of Frank.

Steve Rice never disappoints - this time it's a post covering recycled cardboard boxes, the horrifying underbelly of the Guild, a Mysterious Figure, a cat (what, just one?), and the Chicken Booksellers' Association.

Becky Miller makes an introduction to the Guild and goes into some detail on the question of genre definitions.

Rick Copple, who wasn't on this tour, has also arrived and says about the LGG: In the short time I’ve been on board with them, I feel that I’ve not only gained support for my writing and marketing, but a whole new set of friends that understand where I’m at, because most of them are there too!

That sums it up pretty well, Rick.
And somehow I don't think it's over yet!
Party on, dudes...
Yes, that's a quote from a sci-fi movie - who can tell me which one?


Blogger Buzz on the Lost Genre Guild

Here's some of the things people are saying about the Lost Genre Guild on the CSFF Blog Tour this week...

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the people who are involved in the Guild...Many of them have enjoyed a small measure of success in the world of publishing, having found publishers for their books, articles, and short stories. Others are newer to this crazy writing world we have immersed ourselves, and are in the process of finding their literary voice. That is why I see the purpose and value of the Guild...All in all, I cannot think of a reason why any writer would not be involved with the Lost Genre Guild.
~ Mike Lynch at http://mikelynchbooks.blogspot.com/2008/12/lost-genre-guild-review.html

Christians who are science fiction, fantasy, and horror fans don't often look on the shelves of their favorite Christian bookstores for the latest and best and the science fiction/fantasy section isn't usually bursting with identifiably Christian offerings either. Frank's site is another attempt to bridge that gap. He has some cool-looking and, in most cases, little known books in his editorial review section, Like many of the people you will meet during our tour, Frank Creed and the authors he represents are doing this as a labor of love.
~ Timothy Wise at http://emporiausa.net/Cafe%20Main%20Page.html

The Lost Genre Guild has taken the lead in addressing the vacuum of Christian speculative fiction on the shelves of Christian bookstores...The group was formed by founder Frank Creed to confront this issue by way of force. We are a large, strong group, and numbers grow daily.
~ Brandon Barr at http://www.christiansciencefiction.blogspot.com

...the Lost Genre Guild seeks to expand the allotted shelf space for this kind of fiction by exploring beyond the safe boundaries of what is currently called "Christian fiction"...
~ Keanan Brand at http://adventuresinfiction.blogspot.com

...the status quo hinders new writers. The Lost Genre Guild helps new writers get noticed and read, even though it isn't a publisher itself.
~ Steve Rice at http://ansric.blogspot.com

Timothy Hicks interviews Frank Creed at http://fantasythyme.blogspot.com

See also interviews with Terri Main, Grace Bridges and Karina Fabian at the Virtual Book Tour de Net.

And don't forget: Tonight at 7PM PST you can join the Lost Genre Chat at Second Life - here: http://slurl.com/secondlife/North%20Bound%20Marina/227/25/25. If you're not registered at SL already then come a bit early to do that, please!


Online Genre Events This Week

Today is the first day of the Christian Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog Tour, and this month it's featuring...us! So all of these people are going to comment on Lost Genre activities, one of which is this blog. Check out the links below to see what they say. We'll be back tomorrow with a collection of quotes from those who post today.

Brandon Barr Justin Boyer Keanan Brand Kathy Brasby Grace Bridges Valerie Comer Courtney Frank Creed Amy Cruson CSFF Blog Tour Stacey Dale D. G. D. Davidson Janey DeMeo Jeff Draper April Erwin Karina Fabian Andrea Graham Todd Michael Greene Katie Hart Timothy Hicks Joleen Howell Jason Isbell Cris Jesse Jason Joyner Kait Carol Keen Mike Lynch Magma Margaret Rachel Marks Rebecca LuElla Miller Nissa John W. Otte Steve Rice Crista Richey Mirtika Hanna Sandvig James Somers Robert Treskillard Steve Trower Speculative Faith Jason Waguespac Phyllis Wheeler Timothy Wise

Also tomorrow: Terri Main is hosting the next Lost Genre Chat in Second Life. Here's what she says...

We are going to restart our meetings in Second Life. Tomorrow [Tuesday December 30th] at 7 p.m. Pacific time also SLT we will be meeting at my place. The SLURL is


If you are an SL resident just click that or paste it in your browser and it will take you to a webpage that will open your SL software and drop you into my living room landing zone. I built a stage there to land on I hope it works.

If you are not an SL Member, you can join at http://www.secondlife.com . You do have to complete a "training course" on Orientation Island the first time you log in. So, if you are planning on joining add about a half hour to set up your avatar and complete the course.

We will be having a general discussion about Christian Speculative fiction. After the new year we will be having chats with authors and themed chats. Right now, we will be going on alternating weeks. But maybe we will be able to go to a weekly schedule if some others want to help out.


Websites relating to the Lost Genre

There are masses of websites out there dealing with genre subjects close to our hearts. Let's take a look at some of the headline acts:

This appears at first glance to be a guide for concerned Christian parents wondering if Harry Potter & Co. will lead their young 'uns into darkness. It's much more than that - you'll find recommendations on a large number of books both Christian and secular, reviewed by Christians and with a focus on the young adult age group.

A Christian commentary blog on fantasy literature and movies, plus frequent short stories to make you think.

"Where Believers Dare to Dream..." A portal connecting you to author sites, blogs, comics, ebooks, fans and zines that come under Christian sci-fi.

A vast and sprawling site including author interviews, writers' tools, a huge booklist, genre artworks, forums and more.

A team blog commenting on issues related to Christian speculative fiction and Christian views on secular movies and literature.

This site appears to be under construction, but it already contains extensive catalogues of authors and books. Worth keeping an eye on!

Christian Fandom
An interdenominational fellowship of fans interested in the courteous and accurate representation of Christian viewpoints in genre fiction fan communities.

Biblical spculative fiction at WikipediaWritten by a member of the Lost Genre Guild, this serves as a simple introduction to the topic.

Christian science fiction at Wikipedia
A short description from the secular viewpoint.

A History of Christian Fantasy at The Sword Review
With the release of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Narnia in the movie theaters, a lot of controversy has risen about the Christian fantasy genre. What are its roots? Why do we love it? Here is the truth about the genre.


Mindflights Updates

It's time to take a look at the latest stories published on Mindflights... Happy reading!

Santa Is My Homeboy by Rachel V. Olivier ~ Bud's been sentenced to community service, but it's his son's birthday as well as Christmas. What's a ghost to do?

The Void Test by Therese L. Arkenberg ~ To pass the test, she must face her fear...but how can she feel fear when she is in control?

Gaming Real Life by K.C. Shaw ~ Kich's gaming group is a little unusual. He's a troll, but he doesn't mind playing with an elf and dwarf too. Species isn't something he has to worry about when playing Office Politics, anyway--everyone's human in that game. But then his group leader finds a new game, called Real Life. That's when the trouble starts.

Demons Without, Demon Within by Scott M. Sandridge ~ Sometimes history isn't what it appears to be.

Mound of Mud by Fred Warren ~ Two outsiders discover the solution to a problem can sometimes take on a life of its own.


Member Interviews

Check out Karina Fabian's interview of Lost Genre Guild founder Frank Creed at Virtual Blog Tour de Net. "...Those lost genres that slip between the cracks are unused tools that could be bringing the Christian worldview to thirsty cultures across western civilization..."

Jake Chism interviews Sue Dent at The Christian Manifesto. Part one is here. "...I never thought I was doing anything evil but I’d no desire to disappoint my elders whose expressions seemed to infer otherwise. So, instead of talking about them, I secretly wrote about my two favorite horror icons..."

How about this one - Carole McDonnell gave an interview last year on the Fantasy Debut blog.

Here also is a somewhat older but no less interesting interview with author Theodore Beale at World Net Daily.


More New Releases

Robert Liparulo says: Gatekeepers (book three of the Dreamhouse Kings series) is now available at select bookstores. The official street date is January 6, but you can get it now. Check out http://www.dreamhousekings.com.

Bill McGrath's been busy! His second book Eretzel is now available. Join Prince Daniel of Asulon as he introduces some old-fashioned heroism to the exotic land of Eretzel, joined by giants, a dwarf, a cynical swordsman, and an ancient miracle-worker. But he faces mysterious and evil forces beyond imagining, even beyond death itself. Steve Rice says it's not for wimps!

Forsaken Kingdom: City of Prophecy by Peter J. Dudek released recently. From http://forsakenkingdom.net: Willerdon, a tired, exhausted town governor who fears for his family and his people sits paralyzed by his own lack of faith, unaware that his son sits on the very edge of the epic conflict of good and evil.


Audiobooks: a new kind of reading

Today we'll be highlighting some sites where you can listen to stories online. Have fun!

Bill McGrath says: The first chapter of the audio version of my fantasy novel Asulon is
now on YouTube. I've divided the 27 minute chapter into seven segments so they will be easy to download. Each segment is paired with a different illustration from the novel. The audio is done by veteran British actor James Brinkley.

You'll find the first segment of Asulon here:
The other parts can be found in the Related Videos list on that page.

Also check out The Spirit Blade Underground Podcast - A weekly 30 minute podcast including reviews and conversation about comics, sci-fi and fantasy in all their incarnations, along with a "non-churchy" but truth-centered Bible study.

Don't miss out on a listen to Chion by Irish author Darryl Sloan. It's worth it just for the accent :) And once you're finished with the section available on audio, you can download the e-book free to read the rest. Trust me - you'll want to!

And going back a year or two, but just as hot as ever: the Light at the Edge of Darkness podcast featuring ten short stories by Lost Genre Guild authors as recorded by Adam and Andrea Graham. Just click the Download button for each story.


New Books for Christmas Shopping!

Congratulations to Adam and Andrea Graham on reaching the one-year mark for their zine Laser and Sword! Newly released: the first Annual Edition containing all four issues is available here, or check Adam's storefront to see individual issues.
Stories include The Sword - Sword Comics owner Jesse Miller seeks to defeat terrorism by uniting the world's greatest superheros; Snyder - A juvenile delinquent living in the 78th Year of the Empire, loathes Earth’s dictator; and Mild Mannered Janitor Dave Johnson discovers an symbiotic alien and this superfan’s dreams of being a superhero come true with hilarious results.

David Gelber announces the release of his book ITP Future Hope. What's ITP, you ask? Interdimensional Transport Protocol, of course! Brash astropilot David Sanders travels through interdimensional space to a world he could never imagine and a destiny he could never expect.

Elena Bowman's The Telepaths of Theon, Book 2 of Sarah's Landing, is also now available. Joshua teleports to Earth to inform his Earth family of the desperate decision he must make to ensure their

And Rick Barry's new book Kiriath's Quest is released today! When King Jekoniah of Xandria is kidnapped by evil Grishnaki, Prince Kiriath resolves to undertake a secret mission into the Grishnaki's valley.


Dragons and Vampires

DragonEye, PI mystery by Karina Fabian, "Christmas Spirits" for sale - A nice little electronic "stocking stuffer" for the fantasy lover on your e-list. Buy it at www.dragoneyepi.net.

Forever Richard by Sue Dent - press release: Christian Readers Reach for more Vampires and Werewolves: Forever Richard Hits Bookstores January 2009

The League of Superheroes by Stephen L. Rice continues its blog tour with new reviews by Melissa Meeks, Karina Fabian, Bill McGrath, and David Brollier.


Reviews for Flashpoint, Wind Follower, League of Superheroes, Infinite Realities, Leaps of Faith

Lost Genre Guild members have been enjoying great response to their books. Here are some recent reviews:

Donita K. Paul recommended Flashpoint by Frank Creed. Read her review here.

The Broadsheet newsletter praised Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell in a detailed review here.

Stephen L. Rice's new book League of Superheroes is being enjoyed by many people including our own Frank Creed. Read the review here.
Don't forget: The CFRB is holding a blog tour this week for League of Superheroes and you can check out posts at these participating blogs:

The Green Man Review posted this article about Infinite Realities by Rick Copple.

On Leaps of Faith, edited by Karina and Rob Fabian, Geralyn Beauchamp said: "Action, adventure, some pretty cool science fiction gizmo-gazmos, romance, humor and my personal favorites, a futuristic order of nuns!... Full of twists, turns, surprises and some memorable characters, this anthology will be a keeper." Read the full review here.


New Websites by Brandon Barr, Terri Main, Steve Miller, Jeremy Robinson

Lost Genre members are busy putting up new sites. Here's some of them:

Brandon Barr unveiled his website http://www.brandonbarr.com to promote the Sky Chronicles series, co-written with Mike Lynch.

Terri Main published her book of exercises for writers and the site to go with it at http://www.creativecalisthenics.com

Steve Miller launched Holistic Editing services for writers.

Jeremy Robinson is a dad for the third time! Norah was born on Friday November 28th. Do check out Jeremy's latest video blog as he continues to develop his publishing company.


A Story About Books

E-zine Update
New at Mindflights: How Volumes Inc. Became A Religious Bookshop by Douglas Kolacki
Don't let the title put you off. This is a highly enjoyable escapade in which people literally escape into stories...

New issue of Raygun Revival! This issue is a feast for sci-fi readers, containing the usual variety of short fiction, serials and reviews.

Industry News
Jeff Gerke reports that Marcher Lord Press is doing well. Already two of the three first-batch books have broken even. This bodes well for the Lost Genre!

New Releases
Forever Friends anthology compiled by Shelagh Watkins contains at least one Lost Genre story, The Night of the Gift by Grace Bridges - a supernatural flight of fancy involving the return of Philip's transport.


Welcome to our world

Let's begin our new era of Lost Genre blogging by introducing the world of the Lost Genre Guild, that mysteriously-named group of writers. I'm Grace Bridges, and I'll be compiling this blog with occasional help from other Guild members. If you want to pitch in, just give me a yell!

Why Lost Genre?
We call it lost, but we want it to be found. Hence this blog and the other sites listed below.
It's "lost" because it falls in the gap. Many Christians (not you I hope) don't want weird in their fiction. And there are hard-core sci-fi and fantasy fans who don't want God in their fiction.

But we're that peculiar people who want both God and weird in our fiction. So read on...

The Lost Genre Guild homepage is the central hub for all this activity. Here you'll find a whole lot of interesting stuff. For readers, the yummiest tidbit is no doubt the Bookshelves section, containing a complete list of titles arranged by genre. These books were written or edited by Guild members. If you ever need something to read, this is the place to look.
Don't forget to check out the Catalogue, Resources and Media Room sections, and also the Guild Review for more information about member books.

Then there's the Yahoo group, where the writers of the Guild gather to discuss issues relevant to working in our genre. Not all members are authors; there are several supportive readers in there as well. Don't click that link if you're not a member, because it won't let you in. If you want to be let in, you need to go to the About LGG page on the main site and look for the section on Membership Enquiries. Yes, it's free.

We also have the recently inaugurated Lost Genre Guild Forum, open for discussion and a place to exchange critiques with other writers. Yeah, yeah, I know I said this news blog is mainly aimed at readers, but have you noticed? Readers of our genre often aspire to write it too. And those of us who write it should be reading it as well. It goes both ways.

There's also a Shoutlife group. You need to be logged into Shoutlife to use it, though you can view the page if you're not. We recommend you sign up for Shoutlife in any case. It's a good place to be.

Last and currently least on the list is this very blog, intended as a gathering-place for news from across the genre.

We'll be featuring members' own websites regularly as we continue our dive into the Lost Genre world. Let's see where it goes from here...


Submission Guidelines

Today I want to outline some of the items we'll be including in posts to this blog. Remember, anytime you have news of the Lost Genre, let us know: webmaster at lostgenreguild dot com.

To qualify as Lost Genre News, the works we promote must be Christian and also fall into the speculative genre - that is, science fiction, fantasy, horror, or any subgenre of these.

New Releases
The Lost Genre is growing every day, and we want to help the fans keep up with it. Not restricted to members of the Lost Genre Guild, we aim to cover everything that happens in our sphere of interest.

E-zine Updates
The non-paper equivalent of New Releases. There's more to discover!

Because we're just beginning to blog news, this section is not restricted to new sites. We'll be glad to feature any Lost Genre locations.

Author News
Now we get down to the nitty-gritty. Authors may submit their personal news as related to writing and publishing the Lost Genre. Finished a draft? Signed a contract? Have a cover or release date for your coming opus? Let's hear about it.

Industry News
Which publishers are courting the Lost Genre? Where's the next big thing going to happen?

If it didn't fit anywhere else, it might still fit. Contests, reviews, book trailers, author blogs, and the like.

Guest Bloggers...
...are most welcome. If you have something to say about an aspect of the Lost Genre, then say it (short 'n' sweet please, let's say 400 words max) and submit it. We'll be glad to feature guest bloggers up to once a week. Note: This should be aimed mainly at readers, not writers! Exceptions not excluded.

For Writers
We won't forget you! If there's a site to help out budding (or flowering or fruiting) writers, we'll list it here for you as it comes to light.

Let the fun begin!


...and, we're back!

It's not often a blog is born again. But this one is.

After a year of team blogging (which you can find in the archives) we let it fizzle out. Die a natural death, so to speak.

But the time has come for the Lost Genre Blog to return in a different form. Same address, new content.

What content, I hear you ask?


Where beforehand this blog contained essays by writers and for writers, henceforth it shall bear tidings of the world of the Lost Genre...for readers.

Lord willing, this will be a place for fans of Christian speculative fiction to find what they're looking for, and even what they weren't looking for but will definitely enjoy.

So...if you're a reader, kindly subscribe to this blog. If you're an author, please do likewise, and also send your news to webmaster at lostgenreguild dot com. Do you have an author newsletter? Let us know.

Look out in the next few days for a post containing submission guidelines and the kind of news we want.


Edgy Christian Fiction: What is this creature?

A week or so ago I was collecting people's thoughts about what "edgy" meant to them in terms of Christian fiction. This article that I wrote is a survey of the range of definitions people have on the subject.

The introduction is below and if you are interested you can read the entire text at either Associated Content or A Frank Review. I am interested in people's opinions about this topic and would welcome comments.

Edgy fiction: the buzz words of today's Christian publishing industry. How these buzz words are defined depends on who you ask. It can depend upon an author's or reader's chosen genre and it varies from market to market—including within the Christian fiction market. The edgy fiction badge can be worn with stubbornness or it may proclaim "I take risks." For some readers, the badge equates to a danger sign; others will interpret it as something new and refreshing, not the same old.

Searches on the internet provide a glimpse into the numerous meanings of edgy in the Christian market. Most comments accentuate the positive nature, however, there are others that complain "
Excuse me, but can we leave the envelope right where it is?" (Nov. 09, 2005)

Opponents of this trend feel edgy has reached its limits. Interestingly, some felt it had reached the boundary back in 2005. At that point, Christian publishing houses had successfully experimented with realism in plots, conflicts and characters, however it is possible that readers could not fathom any new approaches to edgy or gritty that wouldn't push the story into the 'abyss of secular fiction' — heaven forbid.

. . . . . . . . the rest of this article can be found at -->link
Associated Content<--link if you'd like to check it out. You'll notice I quote some of the LGG members who responded to my question about "what do you think edgy means?"


Villainously Complex

Very often, a positive comment a reviewer will have about a book is that the characters are "complex." That means that the characters are three-dimensional and surprise you occasionally. A tough cop who is afraid of public speaking or a fragile young woman who finds courage to stand on her own are characters we like because they have depth and are not pure stereotypes.

Among writers of Christian/Spiritual/Biblical speculative fiction we often think about the complexity of our heroes. Perhaps as a respect for literature and perhaps simply as a reaction against the too-good-to-be-real-sickly-sweet heroes and heroines of traditional Christian fiction we have taken pains to include weaknesses as well as strengths, show the character as being vulnerable and even sinful at times without condoning the sin simply acknowledging it as part of every Christian's struggle.

Unfortunately, in both Christian and secular speculative fiction, I don't always find the same care given to make the villains. There are, of course, exceptions. Darth Vader's journey from Anikan Skywalker, Jedi Knight to the general of the Dark Side has been chronicled over 6 movies and 30 years. Gollum and to a lesser extent Gandalf's mentor who are both seduced by the power of the ring have some of this complexity.

But those are exceptions rather than the rule. Most fantasy, horror or science fiction villains are portrayed as simply being evil without much since of where that evil came from. Likewise, they are all evil with no good side at all. It's almost the flip side of the too-good-to-be-real hero. Even if a villain does something good, usually we attribute evil motives to the behavior whereas, we will tend to excuse or at least empathize with the failings of our heroes.

I don't know why this is. Well drawn, three dimensional villains are as engaging to a reader as a three-dimensitonal hero. Perhaps in the Christian world that may be the problem. We may be afraid that if we understand the bad guy it is like excusing him. This is nonsense, of course. As a someone who went through high school being assaulted both physically and verbally in every way imaginable, I can understand the actions of high school shooters, yet I can't condone them. Most of us who are abused in the way they are barrel through, get therapy as adults, and don't go shooting people. But that doesn't mean we don't empathize with them. The only difference between me and a high school shooter was a choice I made. It was a choice influence by parental love and a relationship with Christ, but it was still a choice.

Wouldn't it be nice to see villains and heroes where the only difference between them is a series of choices? Instead of the inexplicably inherently evil villain, we have a villain we know is like us. That is the scariest villain of all.

Maybe that is why we don't write such villains. I don't want to admit that I could do the things this evil being does. Yet, I may be just one choice away from beginning the journey down that path. If I see a villain who enjoys coaching a little league team on the weekends after a hard week of running a crime syndicate, I call into question the whole inherently evil assumption, and I have to face the reality that at this moment I may be a generally good person who sins occassionally, but a few bad choices later, I could become an evil person who does good things occassionally, and I'm not totally sure where the line is dividing the two.

Still, such understandable villains are important as anti-role models warnings that our choices determine our destiny and that any one of us has the potential of becoming an angel or a demon.


Laser and Sword Goes Another Direction

(Boise, Idaho): Adam Graham, publisher of the publication formerly known as Laser and Sword Magazine announced a bold new direction for his magazine.

“Research indicates that Christian stories are more likely to sell if they’re historical romances,” said Graham. “Therefore, in consideration of Christian principle and making tons of money, I’m announcing we’re redoing all of our stories as Historical Romances.”

Graham, who says the publication will now be called, “Cannon and Sword Magazine” issued a list of proposed plot changes:

Instead of “Order of the Sword” being set in the modern day, it will be set in the 17th Century. Instead of his protagonists being Superheroes, they will instead being an international team of privateers protecting the high seas from cut-throat pirates. Instead of being betrayed by the Dark Mystic, a “Superhero” possessed by a demon, they’ll be betrayed by the ship’s magician, who is also a privateer.

”Why a privateer is a magician, I don’t know,” said Graham. “but let’s be clear he doesn’t have any magic powers. He’s an illusionist.”

The Story instead of focusing on the shipwrecked privateers will mostly focus on the Sword’s lovely wife trying to survive and wondering what happened to him.

“I’ve got a plan where a message in a bottle floats from the Bermuda triangle to Philadelphia where his wife opens it,” said Graham. “Hey, stop laughing, reporter! You may think it’s ridiculous, but it’s my plot point.”

Graham also said the story, “Rise of the Judge” would no longer be a futuristic story of a young man conscripted into a dystopic Imperial military, but will be redone as an 18th Century story of an American Colonialist forced to join the British Navy. Insiders expect Private A.L. Snyder to fall in love with an Indian princess and become city judge of a small town in Massachusetts by the end of the story.

“Tales of the Dim Knight” instead of being about a modern man who becomes a Super Hero, will be about a clumsy cowboy who finds an alien horse.

“I’m sure our old readers will be happy with this sci fi twist,” said Graham.

The Talking Alien Horse leads Cowboy Dave Johnson to become the “Masked Ranger’, a mysterious stranger who helps those in need and seeks to win the heart of local pastors daughter Naomi Bartlett.

“Bartlett is a great last name for a Western woman,” said Graham.

Graham picked April 1st because he said it was the most appropriate day to make this announcement.

“Readers can expect when the next issue of Laser and Sword-excuse me Cannon and Sword-comes out on April 6,” said Graham. “For it not to be action packed, seat of your pants thrills. We definitely won’t be featuring new and exciting heroes. Nor will our magazine be available at the easily affordable price of $1.25 per E-issue. Nor will you be able to download the first issue for free here.”


Renewing your sense of wonder

This week, God captured my attention.
My wife and I celebrated our wedding anniversary by taking an overnight trip to Helen, GA. For those not familiar with the area, it’s a small town tucked away in the north Georgia mountains (about a two-and-a-half hour drive for us). The entire town centers on this Bavarian theme, with all of the businesses (even the Wendy’s!) designed to externally resemble old Germany.
Although the architectural theme is very cool, the splendor and majesty of the mountain landscape took my breath away. The view from our hotel balcony was nothing short of amazing, particularly during sunrise. It was the sort of view that you cannot behold without praising and worshipping God for the beauty of His creation. As I looked out upon His handiwork, I couldn’t help being overwhelmed at just how skilled an artist He truly is. Consequentially, I found that God had revived something in me that, unfortunately, doesn’t get stirred enough: Wonder.
When was the last time you felt that? How often do we get so wrapped up in the breakneck pace of life that we miss out on that sense of wonder? I honestly believe that God intends for us to experience that on a regular basis. This is especially true for those of us who consider ourselves to be writers or any other kind of artist. How can we do justice to the creative gifts with which God has blessed us if we fail to appreciate the wonders of His creation?
Taking a trip to some tranquil setting certainly helps to filter out some of the distractions, but we can do it without the drive if we know where to look. Here are some ideas of ways that God can spark your sense of wonder:
· Read what the Word has to say about His creation. Psalm 104 is highly recommended.
· Find a few minutes to pause from your busy schedule and just look at God’s handiwork around you. Ask yourself the question, “Could this have happened by chance, or did there have to be a Creator?” Yes, we know the answer, but we take it for granted.
· Take some time to play with a child. The more imagination the child has, the better. Let their God-given sense of wonder rub off on you.
· We’re writers, right? OK then, write down what you see in nature. Be descriptive. Using our God-given ability in that way forces us to reflect on His workmanship and deepens our appreciation for it.Above all, praise God for how amazing and awesome His creation is!


We Got That Going for Us . . . Which is Nice.

How does the saying go . . . one person's garbage is another's treasure?
or perhaps "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is more apt?

Whatever . . . bad start, let's try it again in plain language:

Yesterday my publisher TWCP received an email that pointed to a new review on amazon of Light at the Edge of Darkness (an anthology of Biblical speculative fiction in which I have three stories).

The emailer said that he'd ordered a copy of Flashpoint and because amazon had a "special" offer buy Flashpoint and Light at the Edge of Darkness and save 4 bucks, he decided to check out Light.

Of course, he looked at the reviews. It was the most recent one (and Light's only 3/5 review to date) that caught his eye:

Beware of graphic violence!

I feel compelled to warn future readers that two stories had graphic violence in them. "Frozen Generation" describes fetal mutilation, and "Undeniable" describes physical torture. I had a nightmare after reading these stories, and I wish someone would have warned me. The rest of the stories are relatively tame and interesting.

The emailer explained:

"I knew I had to buy the book when I read the top "negative" review that said it gave the reader nightmares.”

Now, I must admit that I don't like the idea of giving nightmares to someone, but we have to remember that everyone's tastes are different. I get recurring nightmares where I have become a Harlequin Romance author! Brrrrr. I understand.

It is nice, however, when a negative turns out a positive response like this.

In the (almost) words of Carl Spackler (Bill Murray, Caddy Shack):

So . . . we got that going for us . . . which is nice.


Biblical Spec Fic and Reality

My grandchildren are homeschooled and recently started reading through the New Testament together. In the first chapter of Matthew they recognized some of the names in the genealogies because of time spent in the Old Testament. But then came the story of Mary, the angel, conception by the Holy Spirit, Joseph's desire as a righteous man to put her aside—and plenty of conversation among the kids and their parents. However, the conversation was within the context of Scripture and edifying all the way around.

After chapter one, the unveiling of truth continued on a new level for their young minds. Learning details about Herod and his desperate attempt to eliminate Jesus and the slaughter of the males under the age of two raised more questions about why this man would take these lives in his cruel quest to hold on to earthly power. They even learned about how Jesus' move to Nazareth fulfilled Scripture.

I could go on, but there's no need. The reason I bring this up is the fact that in just these first few chapters we see sexual relations discussed, angelic beings appearing, God's hand moving in the lives of people, Herod's attempt to thwart God's plan, the slaughter of innocents, and prophecy fulfilled. When fussy publishers choose to ignore Biblical Spec Fic because they think it too dark or worldly—I remind them. We live in the world. Just like Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Herod, the wise men…. Why not publish Christian Speculative Fiction that makes a difference because it connects with reality?


The Left Behind Series

I don't care if this article was published in 1999. Little has changed. Read through it carefully as it talks about sales figures and what not. Then look for this little gem buried in a paragraph near the bottom of the page.

"Like many bestsellers -- the sales are not due to the books' literary merits. The writing is no more than adequate and the characters are as flat as the pages on which they are written."

Oh my goodness! They're inferring that MANY bestsellers, outside their NICHE market, are best sellers because of something other than the books literary merits!!! It's a wonder Christian HORROR has such a bad stigma!!! These authors write for Tyndale. They write within the context of what the CBA will and won't allow. They have a conservative evangelical worldview and write for a conservative evangelical niche market. Sure. A lot of best sellers aren't quite up to the standards of say, some other best seller, but rest assured, the literary merit of these books had A LOT to do with where they're at.

The Left Behind Series doesn't represent Christain Horror. It represents Christian Horror from a conservative evangelical worldview which means it isn't designed to appeal to the broader market. I think it should be aptly marketed as CBA Christian Horror. I think there's an identity crisis going on! Yikes! LOL


Catholic Writers Conference Online Registration Open!

Thought folks might be interested!

Writers, editors, agents, and other publishing professionals from around the world are gearing up for the first annual Catholic Writers’ Conference Online, which will be held May 2-9, 2008, and is sponsored by the Catholic Writer’s Guild and Canticle magazine. The online conference is free of charge and open to writers of all levels for those who register by April 25.
Tim Drake, veteran journalist who will be presenting at the conference, says he thinks the conference is worthwhile for all faith-based writers. “I think writers of every stripe, from beginners to seasoned veterans, can always stand to learn something new. This conference provides an opportunity to learn a few tricks of the trade, without having to spend an arm and a leg to get there.”
Author and editor Carolyn Howard-Johnson, who with conference chair Karina Fabian will be conducting seminars designed to help authors put their “Best Book Forward,” concurs. “It's never too early to learn more about what we love…. When we put ourselves out there, the universe seems to bring us exactly what we need. When we close down on opportunity for whatever reason, we miss getting what we should.”
New seminar and chat topics are being added constantly, including seminars on character and dialogue development, virtual book tours, how to get grants and other money with your writing, trends in fiction, world building, and connecting with a secular audience. Presenters and chat hosts include Vinita Wright (Loyola Press), Maya Bohnhoff, Tim Powers, Mark Shea (Catholic Answers), Hope Clark (Funds for Writers), Sr. Madonna Radcliff (Pauline Books & Media), Bert Ghezzi (Word Among Us), and Brian Saint-Paul (Crisis/Inside Catholic).
“We’re very happy with the caliber of publishing professionals who have volunteered to participate in this first conference,” says event co-chair Heidi Hess Saxton, editor of Canticle magazine. “There is a nice mix of fiction and non-fiction as well as book and magazine publishing represented here. Something for everyone … and you can’t beat the price!” Although the conference is offered free of charge, donations are accepted; proceeds will go toward future conferences.
Hope Clark, author of “Funds for Writers” is also optimistic about the event’s success. “I see writers … unable to run from conference to conference, seated before a computer soaking up information, taking notes, excited about finding answers to questions they didn't even know they had. I see writers walking away from this conference excited again about being writers.”
Early registration is recommended, as some courses will have limited openings that will be filled on a first-come, first serve basis. To register or for more information, go to http://www.conference.catholicwritersguild.org.


Chip Mcgregor - Oops I did it again! :o

Added 3-11-2008: If you go to the link I posted you'll find my post didn't make the cut. Mr. Mcgregor's response was that he didn't like to argue in public. (he said this via e-mail) Not to mention he referred to my post as a "snotty e-mail." LOL Aww, but after it was all said and done, I was able to ask Mr. Mcgregor to straighten me out on why I shouldn't believe ECPA and CBA don't serve the Christian coservative evangelical market when they say themselves this is what their market is. (I even sent him a few links where he could see this for himself as I didn't make it up.) He promised to respond furhter but said he had to go speak. He's actually not an CBA or ECPA affiliated anything so maybe I was able to show him something he didn't know. I know I'll be interested to see anything to dispute the facts! :) __________________________________________________________________________________

I didn't see a new blog up so I'm putting this. If I'm stepping on someone's blogging toes, I apologize.

I posted this in response to something Chip Mcgregor posted last October. Okay, so I'm a little late but I still couldn't not respond. First I'll put the link to his blog, then I'll put my response. Why? I don't know. I just thought I do it. :)


My response:

This blog post was made in October of 2007. It is now March 2008. I just now found this to comment on. LOL
So much of this is mind-boggling to me so I'll just cut and paste a few things mentioned in this post that really blow my mind and explain why.

In ABA, publishers have long insisted all projects be represented by an agent.

ABA stands for American Booksellers Association. They represent SOME Independent booksellers. There aren't any publishers in the ABA. There are only Some Independent booksellers. The ABA doesn't even speak for the larger booksellers such as B&N and Borders etc . . . Therefore this statement is inaccurate but typically made by those involved with the "Christian" publishing industry. I suppose you could've said "in the general market" instead of "In ABA." :)

In point 2 you said the bigger booksellers never carried Christian books. Hmmmm . . . they've always carried Christian books. They just never broke them out from books written for the general market thus making them hard to find. But I suppose you could argue that they didn't always carry books published by CBA and ECPA affiliated publishers because this niche market of the Christian publishing industry settled on primarily having their books in their niche market bookstores, Christian bookstores paying to be affiliated with CBA and ECPA.

The Influence of ABA

Again with the ABA. To be accurate it should read; the influence of the general market. (no, secular doesn't work here) There are good Christian novels in the general market.)

HarperCollins owns Zondervan.

Note HarperCollins is not ABA affiliated because they're not an Indpendent publisher.

Random House owns Waterbrook and Multnomah

Same note as above. Random House is not ABA affiliated.

Simon & Schuster owns Howard

Same note as for others. Simon & Schuster is not ABA.

Hachette owns FaithWords

Don't know about Hachette but I'll bet they aren't an Indpendent publisher and therefore not ABA.

Penguin started Praise.

Not ABA. General market.

Harlequin started Steeple Hill.

Not ABA. General market.

And every old-line CBA publisher still in business is focused on selling books into the general market.

LOL They aren't very focused. To date not one of them have dropped their highly conservative evangelical guidelines that mark them as publishers serving a niche market of conservative evangelicals. Saying CBA affiliated publishers is focusing on the general market(btw congrats for not saying ABA this time. :)) is like saying Harlequin is focusing on the general romance market. :o

The business of publishing Christian books has completely changed in the past ten years. That's a trend that will continue

Perhaps it has changed but only in the sense that FINALLY people are starting to realize that CBA and ECPA affiliated publishers serve a niche market of the Christian Publishing industry and not the general market as a whole. And it is quite disconcerting to imply the buying up of these CBA and ECPA houses by bigger general market houses is a change. They haven't changed their set-up. They still only serve a niche market but rarely say so which only strengthens the belief that they are THE Christian market and that anyone published outside this market is a Christian writing for the "secular" market.

How sad. :(

Christian books used to be aimed at nice church people, who were all white, all basically middle-class and climbing, and all staunchly evangelical (charismatics, mainline denominational types, and people of color need not apply

To the best of my knowledge the only Christian books that target this demographic are those published by CBA or ECPA affiliated publishers as this is almost exactly the market CBA and ECPA claim to be after; conservative evangelicals. So nothing has really changed here. Traditional Christian publishers and authors have always targeted the Christian general market and have always produced mind blowing work. Ie. . .C.S. Lewis, Tokien.

That Christian bookstores would once more become Christian bookstores, instead of Christian Gift Centers and Religious Junk Bazaars. Say it with me: No more cutesy Christian crap!

Ooooh, you said crap. That would never go over in the CBA or ECPA. But this isn't a novel now, is it. :) BTW Christian Bookstores were set up to sell cutesy Christian crap! The books they sold initilally were simply Bibles and Sunday School items. They slowly began adding books. All beit, only books published by their own affiliations. :)

Okay, that's enough from me. Aren't you glad I came and set you straight. LOL
Go ahead. Blast away. Bottom line is, from what I can gather, the Christian market you're referring to in this blog post is the one created by CBA and ECPA affiliated publishers. Nothing wrong with that. Just know that they admittedly serve conservative evangelicals which makes them a niche market and not representitive of the Christian market as a whole. :)


Flash Fiction: Origin of Payday

Rather than one of my usual fire and brimstone sermons thought provoking devotionals, I thought I'd cross-post this freebie from Laser & Sword Magazine. As Adam's title suggests, this short tells the origin of Payday, a gun-toting psychopathic vigilante, and member of the Order of the Sword, a copyrighted feature in Laser & Sword Magazine. Sorry, I've been listening to our Superman Podcast too much.

The Origin of Payday
By Adam Graham

Marcus Weller rubbed moisturizer into his chiseled face. He looked in the mirror and blew his bleach blond reflection a kiss. Adonis himself would be jealous. His recent facial and half day at the spa had rejuvenated perfection.

He turned to his neatly made bed, where a freshly pressed suit lay folded for work on Monday. First, though, he had to do Yoga and cook dinner. He’d taped this fantastic show from the Food Channel, with a recipe he was just dying to try.

He picked up the newspaper. The headline read: “Payday Forger steals $22K.”

He’d have to have his tellers watch out for this guy and his phony checks. Marcus Weller had never been taken by a forger, and he wasn’t about to start now.


As the bank opened on Monday, Marcus gave himself a final once over at the drive thru window that ended with his shoes. Blast it, there was an imperfection in the shine. He fetched shoe polish from his brief case and briskly polished the offending blemish. “Out unpolished spot!”

A feminine hand touched his shoulder. Marcus stood and turned around. “Amber!” He shoved the shoe polish tin back into his brief case and placed his right hand in his pocket. Can’t let that engagement ring fall out. “Darling, you startled me.”

“Marcus,” said Amber. “He’s here.”

Marcus took a check she held out to him. A Bartley Brothers payroll check. It looked legit, all right. He whispered in Amber’s ear. “Which window?”


Marcus glanced at window three. The man standing there didn’t look muscular, not like you’d expect from a guy working at a furniture store. His shirt and his pants didn’t go together at all; Green and purple clashed, particularly when the green shirt had orange stripes. That much didn’t necessarily make him the Payday Forger, but the man could at least be arrested by the fashion police.

Marcus picked up the phone and began to dial the number for Bartley Brothers. As he waited on hold, he kept an eye on the suspected forger. Man had probably gone years since his last manicure. How could people live this way?

“Personnel office, this is Dreyer.”

“Yeah, this is Marcus Weller at 8th Street Bank. do you have a Dave Droller there?”

“Droller, how do you spell that?”


The customer said, “Hey, I don’t have all day, miss. I’ll have my $3,000 and be on my way.”

The personnel clerk responded. “No Droller here.”

Marcus turned to Amber and mouthed, “Stall him.”

The customer said, “Miss, I need my money.”

“We’re just verifying funds on the check. Have you thought about opening a checking account of your own?”

“I don’t want a checking account, I want my freakin’ money.”

“Sir, it’s a big paycheck. Most people don’t ask for that much in cash. We don’t usually keep that much on hand.”

Droller reached into his coat and pulled out a gun. “Okay, let me put it this way. Hey, pretty boy back there. You have two minutes to get me $3,000 in unmarked five dollar bills. No dye packs in the bag. I’m gonna check. I ain’t no fool.”

Marcus swallowed and raced back to the safe. He snatched up every stack of fives he could find and tossed them in a bag. He brought the bag out and, from several feet back, threw it at the robber.

Droller caught it with one hand. And unfortunately had brought a gun he could maneuver one-handed. “Always come with a back up plan, I always say.”

Two police officers entered the building. “Freeze, mister! Drop the gun! Now!”

Droller trained the gun on Amber’s heart. “One more step and she gets it.”

The lead officer said, “You don’t want to do this.”

“Who says I don’t? A lot of people get to experience things I haven’t, but how many people actually get to commit murder? Pull the trigger, watch them die. Coppers, I do want to do this, but if I can get out of here, maybe I won’t.”

The police officers took a step back. The forger pointed his gun at Amber. “Climb over the counter, lady. You’re my ticket out of here.”

Amber froze.

“Hey, you hable the Ingles?” asked the forger. “This ain’t like an invitation to your great uncle’s fifth wedding. It’s mandatory.”

Amber climbed over the counter and the criminal placed the arm holding the loot around her. “Now, we’re going to walk out of here, nice and calm.”

Marcus trembled? What was he supposed to do? He raised a fist. “Stop that!”

The criminal laughed. “Oh, pretty boy, who you kidding?” He pulled the gun away from Amber and fired two shots at Marcus. One of the officers got off two shots. It may have hit, Marcus didn’t know.

Marcus was hit like a train wreck and the world disappeared.


Three years later

Marcus Weller walked down the streets of Cleveland, his right big toe feeling cold concrete through the hole in his shoe and a thick, grisly dirt brown beard wrapping his face like a scarf. He lifted a bottle of cheap wine to his mouth and took a swig. He sat down in a corner, near a dingy brick building and drank. Once again the world disappeared.

When it reappeared, he was being kicked in the stomach. He stared up at six punks.

“Let’s waste the wino,” said one.

Another took a baseball bat to Marcus’ stomach. “Yeah, ain’t nobody gonna miss ‘im. This gonna impress Drecka fo’ sho’.”

Another slammed his foot down on Marcus’ pockmarked face. “Impress, nothin’. But if we gotta kill somebody to get in, I guess he’ll do. Even this guy was somebody once.”

Marcus didn’t care. Might as well be dead. Couldn’t save Amber. He was nothing.

Into the alley walked an old man dressed like an umpire with chest guard and mask. He readied a riffle on the wannabe gangstas. “Hey, punks, what’s your business?”

One swallowed. “Ain’t nothin’.”

“Looks like somethin’ to me. You tryin’ to get into Drecka’s gang and gonna kill the wino, eh? Tell you what, punks. I’m gonna count to ten. Those still in the alley other than me and the drunk will be open season. Those who are out will have a strike on ‘em. Willie you better clean up, ‘cause you won’t like it when the Umpire calls strike three.” He made a gesture with his thumb. “You’re out.”

“He ain’t worth killin,’” pronounced one of the gangers, before splitting.

“That’s fine,” said the Umpire. “Wouldn’t want you to wet your pants back here. All right. Now, time to count.”

By the time the Umpire reached five, Marcus and the Umpire were alone.

The Umpire grabbed Marcus by the arm and pulled him up. “Follow me. Alcohol won’t keep you warm out here tonight.”

The Umpire led him inside an old abandoned house on 38th street. After a few cups of coffee at a cracked orange fiberglass table, the umpire said, “So, why’d you decide to throw your life away?”

“Quite blunt about it, ain’t you?”

“And why shouldn’t I be?”

Marcus told about the robbery. “It turns out, when I went down, one shot hit the robber and one hit Amber. They lived through that, but he led her to the get away car. The police followed until he found a way to distract them, so they’d have to stop following.”

“What would stop cops from following a guy with a hostage.”

Marcus grimaced. “Throwing the hostage out of the car when you’re going 70 miles an hour. They might as well not have bothered. She died on impact. That scum got away.”

“And what about you?”

“Oh, I started drinking. Not Roy Rogers or the usual stuff. I got into hard scotch and tequila. I showed up late for work, got warnings. Showed up drunk for work, got fired. Got another job, lost that. Lost my apartment, lost my clothes. Still got Jack Daniels.”

“So you just gonna wander around until you drink yourself to death?”

“Why not?”

“I guess if you didn’t really love her.”

Marcus pushed away from the table and stood. “How dare you. Come on, I’ll fight you.”

“You can’t even stand up straight. No, you need something more to keep you alive. You know what does it for me: hatred. Hatred of all the scum that walks this street and harms the innocent. I make sure they stop-permanently.”

“You’re a vigilante.”

“It’s a livin’. Actually, some bounty hunting on the side pays the rent. I bring in my bounties alive. Usually, anyway.”

Marcus fell back into his chair. “What’s in it for me?”

Umpire shrugged. “Revenge. Amounting to something. Before, you were a pretty boy bank teller, now you’re a drunk. You’re a dime a dozen, Marcus. Men like me are gold. You fight with me, you learn from me, and you’ll bring him in, and a lot more like him.”


Dressed in all black, Marcus drew a fresh automatic from a leather overcoat chuck full of them and ran past the body of his mentor, lying sprawled in the alley. There’d be tears, but later. He knew what Umpire would have wanted. Vengeance: vengeance on the scum that had destroyed Umpire years after destroying Amber.

A bullet zinged out of the alley. The rat was frantic. He had to know he was cornered. Marcus waited for the sweetest sound he’d ever heard: click

Marcus stepped into the alley, gun drawn. He stared at the man who’d ruined his life, killed his love, and his mentor.

The murdering scum threw himself prostate on the ground. “Please don’t kill me.”

Yeah, like any mercy had come to Amber or to him. “You stepped into my bank with a pay check five years ago, wanted it cashed. I didn’t do it then, because you were a fraud. But, I got good news.” Marcus trained his gun on the murdering scum. “Today is your payday.”

If you’ve enjoyed this story, please check out the first edition of Laser & Sword Magazine which is available for a free download, and watch for the next edition of Laser and Sword on April 6th. You may repost this with our gratitude, but please leave this footer intact.


A Passion for Unearthly Slang

“Let’s go in here,” I said, though my mind was somewhere else.
“Okay,” said my friend, and we ascended the wide stairway to the cafe above the bargain store. I came to myself a little at the sight of red upholstery, dark polished wood and waiters in bowties. We took seats near the window, next to a table full of senior ladies sipping red wine. After ordering iced chocolate, we exchange pleasantries.

Then Ruth asks how my novel is doing. I feel my eyes light up and I begin to pour forth words to tell of my latest edits and the slang I’m inventing.

“Slang?” Her eyebrow goes up. I launch into a passionate explanation about my distant future world where my characters cannot possibly speak the Queen’s English. After that, I follow up by describing the exact chop-and-mingle process I use to create these words, complete with wild gesticulations.

At length I stop speaking, lower my hands, and tremble slightly while gripping my glass of chocolate. It’s now that I realise my heart rate is accelerated and something closely related to adrenaline is pumping through my veins. In the sudden silence I notice some of the grannies peering at me over their wine glasses. Did I talk that loud? Gulp.

“Fascinating.” Ruth shakes her head and grins, and I wonder whether she really wanted to hear so much about societal norms on the Planet Viva and all that linguistic detail about the deep structure of words. Too late now. Then I catch her eye and we share a giggle. She’s happy for me, knowing this story is my baby every bit as much as the child growing in her womb.

Her son Benjamin was born a week later, and Lord willing, I’ll be able to write The End under my last page before I leave the country next month...

(if you want to see Benjamin, he's here:


A poster asked the question below on AbsoluteWrite.com.

How is a Christian Writer's conference different from a regular writers conference?

I thought it was a good question so I responded.

Christian Writer's Conferences are usually run about the same as those that don't actually call themselves "Christian" Writer's conferences (where a writer who is a Christian will actually fare better IMO!)

The MAIN distinguishing feature is this; most of the editors, agents and publishers, I dare say nearly 75% of them if not more, are affiliated with CBA/ECPA.

Why should that matter?

Because the Christian Booksellers Association and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association are a niche market inside the Christian Publishing Industry as a whole. They have conservative evangelical content guidelines that are difficult to write inside of. Their guidelines are so conservative that the president of the ECPA once stated that some of their own members couldn't comply!

Writers who are Christians and write Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Horror(yes, this does exist) are often rejected hands down by ALL of the CBA/ECPA affiliated publishers, editors and agents because this type story doesn't fit the niche. Sadly, most never tell you why you're being rejected and seem content to let you think they're not a niche market.

Bascially, just do your homework. If you're going to a conference to pitch to an agent and you can manage to get some CBA/ECPA affiliated publisher to actually tell you what they will and won't accept AND you determine this is the kind of writing you want to do, then go for it! Picking up books written by CBA/ECPA affiliated authors will give you an idea if the publishers you talk to don't.

If you're simply going to glean some writing techniques and what not, you might do well. Just know that if the speaker is a CBA/ECPA affiliated publisher, author or editor the writing tips will be weighted in that direction.

I think it should be standard practice for a Writer's Conference to post information that let's authors know when over 75% of the editors, publishers and agents represented are from a niche market. CBA/ECPA is a very restrictive niche market. Where is the balance?

Where are the editors, publishers and agents from the rest of the Christian Publishing Industry?

The arguement that they might not exist doesn't justify not letting everyone know that the ones at your conference are mainly from a niche market.

Would every romance writer in the world got to a writer's conference put on by Harlequin?

Only if they knew they liked the kind of books this niche market put out.
Everyone knows Harlequin is a niche market. Very, very, very, few know that CBA/ECPA is a niche and even fewer know their guidelines.


Sheaf House and Marcher Lord Press

(When it rains blogs it pours!) - (Also, I acciDENTally posted this on Frank's blog too) oops!

That's right! In order to keep authors informed I now present you with two publishers which aren't exactly new.

Sheaf House as been around for a while as an e-book publisher but has in the past few years moved on into print. MLP(Marcher Lord Press) is new but Jeff Gerke is not. He's been around for a while working as an editor for several CBA affiliated publishers!

These two publishers seem to be operating the same way. They deny being traditional publishers and they admit to be filling gaps in Christian Publishing. I won't get into why the gaps are there, that's an entirely different issue. :)

So what's important to know about these two new efforts?

Glad you asked.

* They aren't affiliated with the Christian Booksellers Association.

* They both say they are not traditional publishers

Why is this important? Because if you're looking for a traditional publisher, this is not the route you want.

What makes a publisher tradtional?

Three very important things.

1. They pay an advance.

2. They pay STANDARD royalties. (There actually is a rule of thumb.)

3. They have a distributor who utilizes Baker & Taylor or Ingram in their wholesale capacity or they use Baker & Taylor or Ingram as their distributor.

Why are traditional publishers sought after?

* They CAN, with their set-up, give you the absolute best chance to get in the bookstores. (except for CBA affiliated bookstores as they primarily only take books by publishers affilated with the CBA/ECPA.)

*They CAN, with their distributor, ensure that your book will get the best chance it has to sell.
But most people aren't patient enough to go this route and it's understandable.

That's when publishers like Sheaf House and MLP step in. Just keep in mind, while they can get you sales on-line, they do not offer you the BEST chance at getting in a bookstore, CBA affiliated or otherwise. They don't have the level of distributorship to do this. Publishers who operate as these two do, often de-emphasize the importance of this but they are no substitute for a traditional publisher if that's what you're looking for.

I myself find Sheaf House particularly interesting because they claim to want to support speculative fiction. I would like to put one word out about that. I've seen their company as recently as today described as an CBA/ABA publisher.

First off, they are not a CBA affiliated publisher and secondly their is no such thing as an ABA publisher.

I'm not sure what the accurate name for their type of publishing is, perhaps small press but neither Sheaf House or MLP fit the criteria to call themselves traditional. Good thing is, neither one of them do. That, IMO, is what makes them a class act! :)

They are an alternative to traditional publishing but they can't offer you what traditional publishers can. And traditional publishers are not all bad. In fact, very few of them are.Here is the about me page to both publishers.

Notice that since both of these houses tend to cator to the Christian Publishing Industry they both use the terms CBA and ABA to talk about markets and publishers. This won't really be significant to anyone reading but it should be. CBA is a niche market of the Christian Publishing Industry and ABA isn't a market at all.

Links to these two publishers follow:



Another interesting thing about Sheaf House is that they just published Michelle Sutton a fine reviewer and an upstanding member of the ACFW!
Wonder if her book will be eligible for BOTY?
Hmmmmmm . . .

The Hound, the Lamp Post and the Seabird

Hi! I'm Sherry Thompson. I joined LGG just a few weeks ago, so this time I'll just introduce myself and describe how I started writing.

The Hound, the Lamp Post and the Seabird

In midsummer 1970, I was a discontented psychology grad student, halfway between a messy break-up with a long-term boyfriend and a semester in which I would take physiology with no biology since high school while teaching psych statistics. During the day, I worked fulltime at the university library and tried to make sense of the physiology text. I spent my nights fending off the Hound.

The Hound of Heaven was after me though, prodding me to make a decision about what I really believed. Glenn and I had both been agnostics. I had been exposed to Christian teachings via Sunday School from about 3rd to 9th grade and then virtually nothing. For a long time, my only response to the prodding was in bookstores where I picked up books with religious-sounding titles while on the eternal hunt for fantasy books. I had read The Hobbit years ago when I was a freshman and followed it with The Lord of the Rings. Glenn didn’t care much for fantasy and I was extremely busy, so I let my new interest drop until that summer.

Back in 1970, there was little fantasy to be had in spite of the popularity of Tolkien’s work. Lin Carter at Ballantine had reprinted a line of old titles by Lord Dunsany and Mervyn Peake. I found Lindsay’s Voyage to Arcturus in the university library. There was C. S .Lewis but, you see, Lewis was Christian and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get into that whole “mess” of making decisions about things that might change my life.

I reached the point where I really had no other fantasy to choose from in our local bookstore, so I picked up all seven volumes of The Chronicles of Narnia. (I hate having broken sets.) When I was checking out, either the cashier or a customer suggested that I begin with The Magician’s Nephew because that way I would be reading the books in chronological order. I read The Magician’s Nephew that night and was captivated by the idea of a lion singing a world into existence and by a world so bursting with life that a fragment of a lamp post buried in its soil sprang to life. A week later, I went to an evening meeting on campus and accepted Christ as my savior.

Over the following years, I read everything I could find by Lewis and followed that with everything I could find by the other Inkling, Charles Williams. I searched repeatedly for fantasy books I had missed earlier and I found a few from time to time but Tolkien was just beginning to have an impact on the publishing world and I lived in a small town with a small bookstore. Plus, this was the 1970’s B.A. (Before Amazon)

Eventually, I decided to write a fantasy story. I had written a bit before, many years earlier and mostly time travel stuff, but this would be my first attempt at an actual novel. The first step would be to “become organized” and make a list of everything that my novel should have in it.

The Daydream Novel List went rather like this:

a heroine (who would actually be me),
no elves or dragons (maybe for fear of competing with Tolkien?),
wizards, but not like Tolkien’s;
a jump from one world to another (based partially on Narnia but running back to my childhood daydreams of time travel),
the heroine would not instantly cooperate about her visit or her role (aside from Eustace, everyone visiting Narnia seemed to just follow along);
an artifact, for two reasons—1. to be mysterious here on Earth and 2. at the end to be proof that it had all been real (I disliked the insinuation that Dorothy had envisioned Oz while delirious);
heroes who rode horses and carried weapons (a leftover from my early exposure to TV serial westerns;
a really –different- setting,
a sequel with overlapping characters.

I didn’t begin with an story outline—I hated making outlines—but just plunged in with Cara finding the as yet unidentified “artifact”. Each day, my novel grew by approximately eight sheets in my 8x5 spiral notebook. Sorry about the culture shock! This was before personal computers. I had a typewriter but I couldn’t carry it around so I opted for the notebook.

After a while, perhaps a week or two, my inspiration dried up. I had taken enough English courses to realize that I didn’t know what my characters wanted or where I was heading with my plot. Plot? What plot? My list of Stuph was all on the surface. What was going on inside? Staring at the wall established the fact that the wall had cracks and the room needed painting.

Since I was still something of a new Christian, it took a while for the penny to drop and for me to pray for guidance. I asked for help and promptly went into wool-gathering mode

What did I want? What had I been looking for at the bookstore? What had I wanted when I finished The Lord of the Rings? God wanted my salvation. I wanted another good story, not necessarily LotR II but a complex fantasy world with people I could relate to. I positively –loved- The Chronicles of Narnia but technically Lewis had written it for children. What a shame he hadn’t held off on The Last Battle and written more stories bringing in older protagonists from Earth…


I “checked in” to see if I were on the right track, and felt I had the go-ahead. Along with it, came a flood of “new ideas”, which I should have considered critical from the beginning.

The Duh List.
The new list of necessary story elements included:

an actual reason for the protagonist’s presence on this other world (aka plot);
a varied cast of characters whom I must get to know intimately;
an agnostic teen or one struggling with doubts about his or her faith;
mistakes leading to regret and feelings of guilt; eventual reconciliation;
a world just as loved and saved by God as ours and Narnia—but in a different way; with a new representation for the Second Person of the Trinity;
the awe and delight of knowing God, shown as Lewis did it. Doing this meant a lot to me. In fact, this had become nearly the whole point of the exercise;
a deeply embedded yet subtle pattern in the setting and culture showing how this world’s reconciliation with God became possible.

And then a biggie, right out of the blue: An alternate history of the church beginning after the Incarnation, Christ’s Sacrifice and His return to Heaven where the abundant miracles of the Early Church would alter over time as needs changed. Enchanters would be called to wield these miraculous powers, each as granted from God. To the casual observer (or reader) it will look like magic but it wouldn’t be.

All of this subtly hidden in plain sight so as not to spook the person I used to be. No question: I was writing for all the other doubting or agnostic fantasy-readers like my old self who needed a subtle invitation to taste and see. If fellow Christians liked the book, that would be great but I needed to help those made nearly impervious to the call, by what Lewis named the Watchful Dragons.

I almost forgot one necessary element. Learning how to write. Sigh. I continue to work on the foundation for that one. I pray that my desire to share the joy of knowing God makes up for my abysmal execution of the message.

I used various plot ideas as testing grounds for my characters, jiggery-poking different elements until I knew what path I was supposed to follow. However, I was still missing a key element. I went to the beach on vacation and while I was there I searched vigilantly until I found it—a silver necklace shaped like a soaring seabird. My artifact, and the representation of Narenta’s Savior.

Under the Mercy,


Simon Morden: On ECPA/ CBA fiction

There have been several discussions at the Lost Genre Guild, on Shoutlife, on blogs, and in email about the limitations of Christian fiction published by the Evangelical Christian Publishing houses and sold by the CBA. Writers of sci-fi and fantasy, in particular, have been left out in the cold unless they've written, or are willing to write, within the guidelines of what is acceptable to the CBA. Now, we have found that many publishers are more than reluctant to let you know exactly what their guidelines are, and in fact, some even go so far as to say that they've no guidelines. However, I believe that the proof is in the pudding -- pick up one of these books and see for yourself.

Again and again, I refer back to a comprehensive essay written by Simon Morden. Do check it out sometime -- it is well worth the ten minutes it takes to read and days to ponder.

These excerpts are from a speech given at Greenbelt Arts Festival (2005), by Morden. In "
Sex, Death and Christian Fiction" Morden laments the lack of artistry and craft allowed in fiction sold via the niche market of Christian fiction. He is careful to point out at the beginning that his references to the Christian publishing industry are strictly about the ECPA and CBA.


"Christian writers, for the past 20-30 years, have been sold a lie: that there is one way to write, one message we need to communicate, that we’re only here for one reason. It’s led to the ghettoisation of Christian writers and a subsequent lack of artistic integrity and craft. We need to think very seriously both about how we got here and which direction we need to take next."

The publisher and the bookseller are no longer filters for artistic or commercial concerns. They become controllers of the content of the story. They are the gatekeepers, and their criteria for publication dictates what shall pass.

We, the writers, are faced with the proposition that if we do not write to their criteria, there is no chance of publication – no matter how good our writing is. We could send them the Chronicles of Narnia, and have it rejected on the grounds of smoking, drinking, violence and a nasty outbreak of Universalism in The Last Battle. We could send them Lord of the Rings and have it rejected on the grounds of – again, smoking, drinking and violence, the fact that God doesn’t get a mention and no one gets saved in the third act.


The word dangerous isn’t often associated with Christian writers or for that matter, Christian readers. It’s certainly not a word associated with CBA fiction. One of the reasons that CBA fiction exists is that it is a safe alternative to secular fiction. I should be able to read it without being tempted or scandalised. It is fiction which is pitched at adult audiences, but that my kids should be able to read. It is a place where Christian readers can escape to where they have nothing to fear and know before they start that everything will be all right in the end.

CBA authors and editors censor fiction not just because of its potential to offend, but because it offers vicarious experiences that may be seen as sinful. If we believe that sin occurs in the mind as well as in behaviour, any vicarious experience we read about might give rise to sinful feelings or thoughts. If I write a sex scene, which might be entirely necessary to the story, I have to find a way to write it that does not encourage lustful thoughts. A description of a murder must not encourage murderous thoughts, and so on.

There’s a problem here. A hallmark of good writing is that it changes the way people feel. Writers are supposed to offer vicarious experiences, the more intense the better. A book which does not engage a reader’s emotions is dull and lifeless. I don’t want to write a book like that anymore than I want to read one. And yet, CBA fiction censors the vicarious experience, quite deliberately.

The sum total of the effects that I’ve been outlining is to foster conditions where it is very difficult -- not impossible, but very difficult -- to write good fiction. The quality of prose is not the primary concern of the CBA. I’m not arguing that it isn’t a concern, just that it isn’t their first concern.

As a reader or a novelist, does anything Morden wrote jump out at you? At the Lost Genre Guild, many novelists have resigned themselves to finding Christian publishers outside of this group -- but only after a history of turndowns and rejections, then lamentations and valiant statements about changing the so-called CBA guidelines.

Morden ends his essay/ speech with this thought:

As authors, there’s very little we can do to influence the CBA. Pressure to change has to come from within the industry itself. I am aware of tensions beginning to build, but this is very much the hand on the tiller of a supertanker. It might turn, or not at all. Waiting for it to do so is a fools’ errand. But there’s plenty we can do to influence ourselves for the better.

--Simon Morden is the author of "Heart", "Another War" and the forthcoming "The Lost Art", as well as the short story collections "Thy Kingdom Come" and "Brilliant Things". He is editor of the British Science Fiction Association’s writers’ magazine, "Focus", and is a judge for the 2006 Arthur C Clarke Awards.