Friday, August 29, 2008

Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour - Promotional Video and Schedule

The Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour is drawing near, so it's time to get excited! Here's a promotional video to help us get pumped up.




Contestants, if you get this video posted on a blog, yours or someone else's, you'll get another thirty points. Of course, I would love for you to post it in a thousand places, but you'll get points for only three different places.

Also, here is the tentative schedule for the tour. It's not completely full yet, so watch this blog for updates:

Friday – October 3rd

Abbotsford, BC, Canada

Mennonite Educational Institute (Middle School)
4081B Clearbrook Road
Abbotsford BC
Canada V4X2M8

1pm – 3pm - Full school assembly
4:30pm – 6:00pm –Meet the Authors Dinner with 20 student reading contest winners
6:30pm – 8:30pm – Speaking Event with parents and students
8:30pm – Book Sales and Autograph session

Saturday – October 4th

Seattle, Washington

Harvest Logos Bookstore 3pm to 5pm
115 N. 85th St. #100
Seattle, WA 98103
206-781-8725

Salt Shaker Bookstore – 6:30 to 8:30pm
1456 Cole St.
Enumclaw, WA, 98022
360.825.7258

Sunday – October 5th

Portland, Oregon

Portland events to be announced

Medford, Oregon

Evangel Family Bookstore 6pm to 8pm
1600 N Riverside Ave # 1063
Medford, OR 97501
(541) 772-2849

Monday – October 6th

Sacramento, California

Trinity Christian School – 1:30pm to 2:30pm
5225 Hillsday Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95842
(916) 331-7377

Barnes & Noble - 6pm to 8pm
1725 Arden Way
Sacramento, CA 95815
916-565-0644

Tuesday – October 7

Fresno, California

Children’s Hospital Central California Charity event – 11:00 am

Berean Christian Stores – 6pm to 8pm
7512 N. Blackstone Ave
Fresno, CA 93720
559-431-0541

Wednesday – October 8th

Reedley, California

Reedley Downtown Association and Chamber of Commerce sponsored all City Downtown “Cultural Arts Night” on Reedley’s main street.

“G” Street will be blocked off with booths in the street. Reedley Exponent Newspaper is doing a full page article on the 8 authors and the event. They are inviting the local Artists, local Authors and our 8 Authors will be the featured special guests with a booth center stage. Live music and food booths.

Thursday – October 9

Los Angeles, California

Bethany Christian School – 1:00 pm to 2:30pm
93 N Baldwin Ave, Ste B
Sierra Madre, CA 91024

Bookstore event – 5pm to 7pm
Valley Book & Bible
6502 Van Nuys Blvd.
Van Nuys, CA 91401
800-421-8906

Friday – October 10

Sun Valley, California

Village Christian Schools 8:50am to 1:00pm
8930 Village Ave.
Sun Valley, CA 91352
(818) 767-8382

Calvary Chapel Church – 7pm to 9pm
7800 Edinger Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
(714) 891-9495

Saturday – October 11th

San Diego, California

Barnes & Noble – 2pm to 4pm
Mira Mesa MarketCenter
10775 Westview Parkway
San Diego, CA 92126
858-684-3166

Sunday – October 12th

To Be Announced

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Motiv8 Contest Bonus Points Available

In order to promote the soon-to-be-released Eternity's Edge, from now until the end of the contest, contestants who report purchases of Beyond the Reflection's Edge or Eternity's Edge will receive fifty points each whether the purchases are made on-line or from a store. This includes pre-orders for Eternity's Edge.

Please send me a scan, photo, or computer image of the purchase receipt. If it's a pre-order, I'm not sure what proof is available, so we would have to work that out. Of course, if you pre-order it from me, I will have proof. The purchase must be dated after August 27, 2008.

The official release date for Eternity's Edge is October 1, but I will likely have copies well before that, and some online stores might have it available early, as well.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Portland, Oregon, People - The tour needs your help

If you live in or near the Portland, Oregon, area, or know someone who does, maybe you can help the Motiv8 Christian Fantasy Tour. We had an event scheduled at a church for Sunday, October 5, but the church had to cancel.

So, now we need to book an event in that area. Do you know of a church, bookstore, homeschool group, youth group, etc, that might like to host an event for the tour on Sunday, October 5?

Please let me know. You can either post a comment here, or, even better, email me: bryan (at) dragonsinourmidst (dot) com. Replace the words in parentheses with the appropriate symbols.

Thank you!

Friday, August 22, 2008

New YA Series with Zondervan

I signed a contract with Zondervan for a four-book series for young adults. The tentative series title is "Riders of the Apocalypse." Sound like an end-times thriller? Well, it will be a thriller, but it won't be like any end-times story you've ever read before--nothing like Left Behind or The Last Disciple. Even if you don't like end-times stories, you might just like this series, because it might be better to call it an anti-end-times story.

As usual, it will contain strong fantasy elements, but it will stay in the real world, or "real" until the story totally bends the world out of shape. It should be fun. But you'll have to wait quite a while. The first book likely won't arrive until 2010.

As the time for the series draws closer, I will give more details.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Motiv8 Contest - First Assignment

This is your first assignment for the Motiv8 Tour contest. Pick an author from the group going on tour and write a note expressing why you like that author and his or her books. When I get them collected, I will send them to the authors. This will encourage the author and help you practice your own writing skills.

Rules:

The note has to be at least 100 words. It must be turned in to me by email, bryan (at) dragonsinourmidst (dot) com. Don't post it as a comment on this blog.

It has to be turned in by Saturday, August 23, by midnight. The first five I receive will get 50 points, and the rest will get 45 points.

To get points, the author you choose must not be me. You can write one to me if you want. I always appreciate encouraging words, but you won't get any points for it.

Write the note as if you were addressing the author. For example: Dear Mrs. Hinck, I really like your books, because ...

I'm pretty sure Donita Paul and Sharon Hinck appreciate "Mrs." rather than "Ms."

As a reminder, the authors are listed below.

Wayne Thomas Batson
L. B. Graham
Sharon Hinck
Christopher Hopper
Donita K. Paul
Eric Reinhold
Jonathan Rogers

I'll look forward to getting your notes!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Do Hard Things - a Review

I read the book Do Hard Things - A Teenage Rebellion against Low Expectations by Alex & Brett Harris with high hopes. Many people have said great things about this book, and for the first hundred pages, I could see why. Those pages were loaded with exactly what the book promises, a rebellion against mediocrity and a call to do great things for God's glory. That part was super.

With so much good stuff in this book, I had to do a lot of soul searching. I have given positive reviews to other books that had elements with which I disagreed, so why am I about to give a negative review to this one? The two young authors are obviously filled with a great desire to change the world for the better, to recruit thousands with the same mindset. So why would I want to do anything to hinder their efforts?

Because the errors the authors make are so grievous. The flaws literally destroy the very message they seem to be trying to deliver.

Knowing how many people love this book, I risk backlash by criticizing it. Yet, I think a warning is essential, and I hope that readers of this blog will understand my heart in this matter. I don't want to disparage these authors at all. This is as much a plea for them to reconsider their thinking as it is a warning that this book is not what it appears or purports to be.

The authors claim that they want to battle "low expectations." They claim that they believe in teenagers' abilities to do great, hard things for God. Yet, when it comes to one of the most important things they are commanded to do, in fact, one of the most important commands in all history, they reverse course and contradict their own premise.

From page 101:
Quote:
The students who have written to us recognized this and weren't about to hijack their futures just because they'd managed to exceed mediocre standards. They realized that God's standard is not for us to be the godliest person in a youth group filled with halfhearted Christians, but to "be holy" because He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). God's standard is not for us to be our teacher's best helper, but to be a "servant of all" (Mark 9:35)
This is great so far. The authors have established God's standards, something that we are clearly told to do, to be holy and be a servant. But what do these warriors against low expectations say next?
Quote:
God set His standards this high so that we won't make the mistake of aiming low. He made them unreachable so that we would never have an excuse to stop growing.
Unreachable? What happened to achieving high expectations? What happened to believing in doing "hard" things? Obeying God completely is not unreachable. In fact, the Bible contradicts these authors with perfect precision:

"And you shall again obey the LORD, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; If you obey the LORD your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul. For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach." (Deuteronomy 30:8-11 emphasis mine)

Unreachable? The Bible says it isn't unreachable. Yet, these authors deny that we can reach it. They say God gave the unreachable standard so that we wouldn't have an excuse to stop growing.

That's just plain wrong. God gave us these commands so that we would obey them. We can obey the commands, live holy lives, and still continue growing in wisdom and knowledge.

God expects us to obey His commands, period. If He says to be holy, that's exactly what He expects of us. If He says to be servants of all, then, again, that's what He expects. Fortunately, He has provided the grace and the means to be holy, not just "positionally," as some people claim, but in reality. He gives us the ability to be servants of all.

These authors call us to do great things--fight against slavery, work on political campaigns, feed the hungry, etc--all of them noble and good. But they pale in comparison to being holy. The authors claim that we can do these other things, none of which is guaranteed in the Bible to be "reachable," yet when it comes to holiness, something that the Bible says is reachable, the authors say we can't reach it.

I love the idea of calling upon teens to do these hard things. To the Harris brothers, I say, "Wonderful!" Yet, these are things any non-Christian can do. Only a Christian can be holy, and holiness is the quality that separates us from unbelievers. Without it, we are doomed, as the Bible says, "Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord." (Hebrews 12:14 emphasis mine)

The authors, therefore, are leading people to believe that we can't reach what is a manifestation of a saved person, holiness. Theirs is a false teaching.

And, unfortunately, it gets worse. On page 126:
Quote:
Even good, solid, sincere Christians are sinful and imperfect.
What happened to believing in our ability to do great things? What happened to destroying low expectations? These authors have maligned every Christian in the world by calling them sinful. Where is there such a teaching in the Bible, that all Christians are sinful? It doesn't exist. Sure, all have sinned, but Christians have left that life behind. We are not sinful anymore.

Jesus cleansed us from all sin (1 John 1:9). He killed the old man (Romans 6:6) and crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24). We are not sinful.

This book's teaching could work to keep readers trapped in chains of sin. Far from destroying "low expectations," these authors are confirming the lowest of expectations in the realm of the most essential truths. Jesus Christ came to set us free from sin (John 8:34-36), but these authors disagree. They say we can't reach what God has freely given.

Not only is the ability to be holy freely given, it's not even one of the "hard things" to do. Jesus said His yoke is easy, and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). Obedience comes naturally to a person who has been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. (1 John 3:9)

So, I believe this book to be harmful. It gives teens something to feel good about--high expectations and success in "hard things," some of which are worldly and will burn in the end. But it strikes teens to the ground regarding perhaps one of the most essential commands in history. They will feel good about doing hard things, but, as Jesus said, "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36) Doing hard things is great, even to the point of helping the entire world, but the effort is worthless if the valiant teenager loses his own soul.

I hope that these valiant young authors will reconsider their position. I hope someday they will produce a printing of this book that will eliminate these errors, because I would gladly recommend such a fine book. As it stands, I can't do so. The errors are too great.

Many, I'm sure, will disagree, and I will allow comments that disagree, but only civil ones that contribute to the topic.
*****
I'm editing this post to add this note.

I am getting several comments that don't relate to the topic of the blog post, so I have been rejecting some of them.

One in particular was very distressing. It expressed strong disagreement, though it provided not a shred of Scripture to back up the disagreement. Not only that, it made thinly-veiled accusations against my character.

Please, my friends, if you want to disagree with me about the doctrines of holiness, then feel free to do so. I understand. I am in a very small minority.

But, I beseech you, do so with Scripture and not with emotional arguments, experiential anecdotes, or personal attacks. It just doesn't help matters.

Also, if you want to discuss holiness, and your point doesn't relate to the book I reviewed or my issues with it, then please email me at bryan (at) dragonsinourmidst (dot) com. Replace the words in the parentheses with the appropriate symbols.

But feel free to post comments that do relate to this post.

Thank you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Let the Motiv8 Contest Begin!

We don't have as many contestants as I had hoped for, but maybe we can make up the quantity with quality. With that in mind, I will be awarding bonus points for especially good reviews, that is, compelling and well-written reviews for any of the authors' books. The bonus points will range from five to ten points. Of course, if you get a bonus and then use the same text for another review site, you won't get another bonus.

For the best review posted during the first month of the contest (August 14 to September 14), I will give an autographed poster of The Bones of Makaidos.

I will post the award winning reviews on the blog.

If you want to join the contest, please come aboard. I will need you to email me your contact information.

So, let's get started. Send me your point reports!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Bravehearted Gospel - A Review

A few weeks ago, I read a pre-publication version of The Bravehearted Gospel by Eric Ludy. I am pleased to say that this is a fine book, something that the church desperately needs. It challenges the church to restore the foundations of truth and righteousness, to really live according to faith and obedience.

The book uses the theme of restoring the "masculine" side of faith and practice, while balancing that with the "feminine" side. You'll have to read the book to see how these are defined. Eric does a fine job explaining the relevant issues.

The point is that, masculine versus feminine aside, we must obey God as He is revealed in the Bible rather than in the way He has been popularized in our culture. It's really a simple concept, but it has been lost in the modern church.

I have some quibbles with Eric's inclusive language. He often writes, "We do this ..." or "We do that ..." though Eric doesn't really do these things. I know, as a reader, that I don't do them, so these portions felt like accusations rather than explanations. I asked Eric about these issues, and he said these are attempts to reach the majority of the church, the members of the reading audience who are doing these things. I understand the attempt, but I prefer literal accuracy.

For example, from the book (unless the final version doesn't include this):
Christianity is the most explosive, most vibrant, most beautiful, most extraordinary news this Universe has ever encountered, and yet all of us Christians are trying to “make it more palatable.” We are downplaying God’s right to rule, overtake and possess the lives of each and every person on this terrestrial ball. (Boldface emphasis mine)
I, for one, am not trying to make the gospel more palatable, and I don't think Eric is doing this, either, so I can't understand why he has made such an all-encompassing accusation that everyone is doing this. Such language occurs multiple times in the book, and these parts seem to contradict the book's teaching that we can and should do otherwise. I hope this kind of language doesn't confuse people.

With that reservation in place, I recommend The Bravehearted Gospel. With most churches operating in an emasculated state, we need men and women who are willing to stand up, put on their spiritual armor, and fight for the truth of the gospel. In The Bravehearted Gospel, Eric Ludy eloquently and forcefully warns the church that it will never change the world with a feminized Christianity, which leads to fear, a de-emphasis of Scripture, and a lack of vigorous thinking. He tells us that God has given us the power to live holy lives, completely consecrated to Jesus, without giving any quarter to the flesh. This is the medicine the church of today needs. For many, it will carry a bitter taste, but it will provide healing to the soul and to the body of Christ.

In closing, here is an example of the great stuff that thrums throughout the book.

The Grace and Gospel of Jesus Christ has been drained of its potency. It’s been transformed into a message merely about the hugs and kisses of God while the muscle and power of God is left standing on the sidelines wholly forgotten.

But God is in the business of building saints. He is the Universe’s foremost expert on overhauling the human existence and making it actually work the way it was originally intended to work. And He does this overhaul with a tool known in the Bible as Grace. He saves us with it, He breaks us with it, He rebuilds us with it, and He fully equips us with it to turn this world upside down.

Grace is the Life of Jesus imparted and actually living, moving, working, and thundering within our very bodies to accomplish the errands of God on planet Earth.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tool for Authors

As you might have noticed, I recently added a series of widgets to my blog's sidebar that display all my books. When someone clicks on one of them, it shows several buying options. You can also put an associate ID in the link to get a kickback from any sales through that link.

If you email Fraser Kelton at the company: Adaptive Blue, they'll build a widget for free.

Here's the email if you're interested:
support (at) adaptiveblue (dot) com

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Movie Review - Batman, The Dark Knight

Because of wildly glowing reviews, including from people I trust, I went to see the new Batman movie with great anticipation. Not only was I disappointed, I was discouraged that so many people see this as a good movie. It's not. In fact, I found it to be the most disappointing movie I have seen in a long time.

***Spoilers ahead***

The main reason I disliked it so much was the fact that every hero became corrupted. Harvey Dent was portrayed as an unselfish, sacrificial hero, yet, when he lost his girlfriend, he became a psychopathic, murdering maniac who was ready to blow the head off a little boy who had nothing to do with his loss. That seemed so ridiculous, it was truly pathetic, story-wise.

Then, when Dent dies, Batman and Gordon try to cover up this madman by lying about who killed the five police officers whom Dent had killed. Batman and Gordon agreed to say that Batman did it.

What? Are you kidding? Save the reputation of the psychopath and destroy the reputation of the true hero? For what reason? So the Joker wouldn't "win." Lie to honor the dead false hero, who can't help you anymore, and destroy the true hero who can help? That's absurd. It's stupid. It's wrong.

Because of this lie, the Joker actually did win. Every "hero" proved to be corrupt, just as the Joker had hoped. Batman and Gordon would spread this lie to the masses to protect a madman, a truly corrupt act.

Also, the movie seemed to glorify brutality and darkness. Brutal, callous murders abounded, including killing methods that were truly gross.

And the movie had so many story holes! Didn't anyone of the hundreds on that ferry think, "Wait a minute! Maybe the Joker's lying. Maybe pushing the button will blow up our own ferry!" I thought of it. Why didn't anyone else think of it?

Also, didn't anyone think about disabling the bombs? "Hey, if this thing is detonated by a transmitter, there must be a receiver at the bomb. Sure, it's hard to defuse a bomb, but it's usually a lot easier to disable a receiver." Yet, no one gave that a thought.

And how did the Joker get hundreds of explosive charges into the hospital without anyone noticing? How did he go into the hospital dressed as a nurse when obviously, with that face, he didn't look like one? Why was Dent, the one person who was to be guarded the most carefully, left unguarded?

There were many more holes like that. But the most important reason I disliked the movie was the corruption of every hero. If not for the lie at the end, I could have gotten through it with a smile, because good would have triumphed over evil, and light over darkness. As it ended, however, that wasn't true. Evil triumphed. Darkness prevailed.

Book Review - Trion Rising

I recently read Trion Rising by Robert Elmer. The premise is simple, "What would it be like if Jesus had come to another planet?"

The planet turns out to be a world with multiple suns, though they shine only on one side of the planet. The other side is perpetually dark, yet the citizens there (the Owlings) hold to a spiritual light that those on the sunny side don't understand, so those on the sunny side persecute those in physical darkness.

This makes for an intriguing backdrop for a visit from the Messiah to the world of physical light.

Colorful characters, unique devices, and plenty of action and thought-provoking dilemmas make this a first-class read. I recommend it to readers twelve years old and up. This adult certainly enjoyed it.

This is the first in a series called The Shadowside Trilogy. The second book, The Owling, is scheduled for an October, 2008, release.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

New Contest for Motiv8 Tour!

In order to promote the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour (Click Here for tour information), I am starting a new contest. The prize? Books for life! The grand prize winner will receive one autographed copy of every new book I publish for as long as we both shall live.

From the previous contest, we already have three winners of the "Books for Life" prize. They are eligible again, meaning that they could end up with two copies of every book I publish. Also, if you won any books in the previous contest, you can just add on more books if you win something in this contest.

Since contestants will accumulate points in this contest, I will be able to award prizes to others who do well. The second place finisher will receive the next five books I publish. Third place will win the next three books, and all of the top ten finishers will receive a free copy of The Bones of Makaidos, book four in the Oracles of Fire series, when it comes out.

Here are the guidelines, which should be simpler than the previous contest. It took a great deal of time to process all the photos last time, so I won't be asking for those.

First, post a comment here to let me know you are participating. You will also have to send me an email with your real name and address to verify your participation. I will keep your personal information private. Please send the information to bryan (at) dragonsinourmidst (dot) com. Of course, replace "at" with the @ sign and "dot" with a period.

The contest will officially begin as soon as I get at least thirty participants, or on August 14, whichever comes first. It will end on October 13 (the end of the Motiv8 tour), so it will last two months. I will accept point reports until midnight on October 13.

Here is how you gain points:

1. Recommend any books written by any of the Fantasy Fiction Tour authors.

Bryan Davis, Wayne Thomas Batson, Sharon Hinck, Christopher Hopper, Donita K. Paul, L. B. Graham, Eric Reinhold, or Jonathan Rogers.

If some buys a book, send me a scanned photocopy of the receipt by email. The receipt must show the store name and the date, and the date must be on or later than today's date, August 7, 2008. Every book purchased is worth thirty points.

If you have a receipt from an online store, I have to be able to verify that it's real. Since I'm trying to promote buying at bookstores, books on online receipts will be worth only ten points each.

Buying a book for someone else counts. You can even buy every book that every author has written, and each one will count, even if you buy multiple copies of the books.

If you are unable to scan a receipt, you may mail a photocopy to me at P.O. Box 512, Middleton, TN 38052.

2. Write an online review of any books by any of the fantasy tour authors. Each review of my books is worth ten points, and reviews of books for the other authors are worth eight points each. The review must be on a public site such as Amazon.com or Christianbook.com, and the review must be positive. If you post a negative review, that doesn't help promote the books, right?

Reviews of Beyond the Reflection's Edge that were counted in the previous contest are not eligible, but old reviews that you have posted for my other books are eligible as well as Beyond the Reflection's Edge reviews that weren't counted in the previous contest. Reviews submitted to other contests, such as Wayne Batson's contest do count.

Reviews on blogs count, as long as they aren't just comments on a blog. I have learned that Goodreads is not public enough, so that won't count.

You may use the same text for reviews on multiple sites.

3. As the contest continues, at random times, I will post a something about one of the other fantasy authors, maybe a question about a blog post he or she made or something about one of their books that can be discovered from their blogs. I will announce the points available at the time. The first few to give me correct answers will get bonus points, so keep an eye on the blog.

4. I might also add new ways to get points, including a pop quiz from one of my books. As above, quick responses get bonus points.

5. Get someone else to participate in this contest. It's true that the new contestant will be in competition with you, but if you do well, you won't have to worry about that. When your referred contestant signs up through email, make sure he or she mentions you as the one who referred him or her. For each referral you will be awarded five points, but there will be a bonus. For every ten points your referred person accumulates, you will get another point. Does that sound like multi-level marketing? Yup!

If you get someone to participate, you won't get your five points until that person gets at least some points through reviews, photos, etc.


6. Get people to come to one of the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour events. Have that person tell me who sent him or her, and you will get thirty points for each person who comes because of your referral.

7. Put a Motiv8 fantasy tour banner on your website or blog. Click Here to get the code for banners. If you put a banner on your site and leave it through the end of the tour, you will get twenty points, but you must get the banner up by September 1.

8. Put an image of one of my book covers on your blog and leave it there for at least one month, and include a link to my author purchasing site: http://www.daviscrossing.com/shopping.htm

That will earn you twenty points.

The decisions of the judges will be final. If you have any questions, please post a comment.

I hope this competition stays loving and friendly. Although I hope you want to win the books, I also hope you want to share with others the benefit of reading the offerings of each author.