Thursday, August 31, 2006


I spent most of the day driving yesterday. Staring at the road always gives me time to think, so I came up with some good story ideas for future books. The three best environments for ideas, for me, are: jogging, driving, and taking a shower. Something about these activities stimulates my brain. Maybe it's the solitude or fact that my brain has nothing else to think about. I'm not sure.

Anyone want to chime in? Where do you get your best writing ideas?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


What's with all the snake encounters I keep hearing about? I decided to check out a review of the "Snakes on a Plane" movie, and since it didn't seem fitting for viewing, I'm going to be skipping it. I did, however, have a snake encounter of my own.

My wife, three of my daughters, and I ventured down the Big Shoals trail in northern Florida yesterday. Since it follows the Suwannee River, I thought about the possibility of watching for snakes. I had injured my leg running, so it was hard for me to walk as quickly as they wanted to go, so I allowed my wife and one of my daughters to march ahead. The path seemed clear enough, so I thought it would be safe ... until I heard a rattling noise.

They had stepped right over the top of a rattlesnake! I saw it just in time to leap over it. I spun around and yelled at my other daughters to halt. After grabbing the longest stick within range, I guided the pygmy rattler well off to the side before I let my girls proceed.

Well, it was time for the old man to lead the way, but after a couple of miles, I was going pretty slowly, so my youngest said she was capable of watching for snakes, and she scrambled out in front. Again, it all looked clear, so I allowed it, but again, she walked within six inches of another rattler! I swept it away with my stick and decided it was time to head back, with me in the lead, no matter how long it took.

On the way back, I spotted a king snake--no danger in that, but still interesting to see three snakes on the path in just three miles. No telling how many there must have been out in the forest.

So what's the lesson? I guess it's pretty simple. Men, watch out for snakes. Guard your family. And thank God that He watches over your family if something keeps you from watching over them yourself.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

An advertisement for my daughter

My fifteen-year-old daughter, in an attempt to make some money for investment in her future, has started an embroidery business. Her first products are a T-shirt and a hoodie that carry an embroidered Dragons in our Midst logo.

To see the apparel, here is the link for credit card orders through PayPal:

Here is the link for an order form you can fill out and mail in:

She also hopes to have caps and polo shirts soon.

If you choose to buy anything from her, I thank you in advance for your support.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The God Who is There

I'm doing a Bible study with my three sons and two men from my church, and we're using Francis Schaeffer's The God Who is There as our launch pad for digging into the Scriptures. I read that book quite a few years ago, and it's good to get back into it. I recommend it highly for those who enjoy a look at the degradation of thinking in our culture--how modern man has forsaken rationality and either languished in despair or latched on to an irrational leap of faith in order to keep some semblance of hope.

Studying this book has helped me understand how most conservative evangelicals (by the way, I am a conservative evangelical) have embraced certain illogical doctrines. The acceptance of irrationality is pervasive enough to invade even the most Scripture-minded churches, as the Bible says:

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires." (2 Timothy 4:3)

They seem to be fulfilling Paul's prophecy:

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

The desire to hang on to doctrines that make church-goers comfortable in their sin has led them to maintain a form of godliness, teaching that one ought to be godly, though they have denied that anyone really has the power to be godly. It's a strange, irrational position to hold, yet, it seems, that most evangelicals hold it with tenacity, some even aggressively so.

I still passionately disagree with such illogical, unscriptural doctrines, but at least now I understand a little better how they have inflitrated the church.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

ACFW Book of the Year Finalist

Good news! I learned that two of my books, Circles of Seven and Tears of a Dragon, were selected as finalists in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year contest in the General Fiction category.

There are six finalists in my category. I'm not sure how many contestants there were. If there were only six, then this is no great feat, but I'm glad to be considered anyway.

The awards will be announced at the ACFW convention in Dallas on September 23.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Between Books

With Eye of the Oracle complete and Enoch's Ghost stewing in my brain, I am now in a "between books" period, so I am able to work on other projects, at least for a little while. One that has been itching to get done is a novel I wrote several years ago called I Know Why the Angels Dance. I love this story, but now that I look back on it, it needs quite a bit of housecleaning ... okay, major renovation.

It's interesting that I still see the writing as clear and emotionally moving. I thought, since I had learned quite a bit more about writing, that I would no longer like it. But it's really not bad at all. I tended, however, to overwrite, adding thoughts and details that kept the story from moving along. These details can still come through, but they need to be blended into the action more, a task that is much more difficult than simply dumping the information on the reader. Many readers will scan over a lengthy detail section and miss the depth, but if its intermixed with story movement, they'll pick it up and appreciate it more.

I hope I have time to get through enough chapters to create a proposal for publishing. This story is so moving, every female adult reader cried profusely--even some males. I hope I don't lose that power in the rewrite.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

No TV?

When we moved from Apopka to Winter Park, Florida, a little over a year ago, we made a lot of changes. Our decision to move was based on a desire to allow our youngest son to play in the Winter Park High School orchestra, and we had to make a lot of sacrifices to do it. One of those sacrifices was to refrain from installing cable TV. Since we also didn't have an antenna, we would be without television.

I don't miss it. I hardly ever missed it at all. There were times when I wanted to watch a sporting event, but those desires weren't as strong as I thought they might be. Sporting events come and go, and the world doesn't change just because I missed viewing them. Now my sports energies are devoted to working out with two of my sons, and we have a great time. Participation with those I love beats vegging out in front of a tube any day.

I do feel out of touch with our culture at times. I have never seen "American Idol" or "Survivor," and since people talk about these shows as if they were somehow important, I am definitely on the outside looking in. But I kind of like it that way. I get an interesting perspective on what people value. It's not always attractive, but it's a good education.

There is some value in viewing programmed entertainment. Some movies portray powerful images that represent serious issues that families can discuss. That's why we rent movies from time to time. But since these are planned, family times together, they become organized activities that promote discussion and togetherness rather than the habitual viewing that tends to waste time.

"No television" is working for us. My children don't seem to mind at all. And the best benefit is that we actually talk to each other in the evenings. That might be my favorite sport of all!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Speculative Faith

I wrote an entry in the speculative faith collaborative blog today: Click Here for my entry.

This site is an exciting addition to the growing Internet presence of people who believe speculative literature is a great way to explore the mysteries of faith and spirituality. For all the entries, Click Here for the website.

If you have any comments about my particular entry, please leave a comment there or here. I would appreciate feedback.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Monday, August 21, 2006

Amazed Again - And Trembling

As letters and e-mails continue to come in, I am amazed at how many young people are finding help and solace in the Dragons in our Midst books. Sometimes I just want to shout with joy! This is exactly what I got into writing for.

Recently, however, the responsibility of the author's chair has caused me to tremble. In the past week I have heard from three young readers whose parents are splitting up and a pre-teen who is suffering from abuse of the most despicable kind.

It was easy to write and hope my words encourage, challenge, and heal, but when reader feedback bleeds with cries for help, I can no longer sit back with my wireless keyboard, stare at my large, flat-panel monitor, and create my fantasy worlds.

The sting of hot, salty tears jerks me out of dragon daydreams and demands that I put on a warrior's armor. Trusting souls plead for rescue, and I cannot sit back and pretend that words alone will mend these dying hearts.

I will stand and draw my sword, though I know not where to charge.

God help me.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Scheduling Headaches

I've decided that the most difficult part of my business is scheduling out-of-town appearances. When I go to a region, I want to get as many appearances as possible, but coordinating them can be a nightmare. So far, for this fall, I am going to these regions:

Dallas, TX (September 21-24)
Owensboro, KY (September 26, 27)
Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, MI (Last week in September to first week in October)
Austin, TX (October 12-14)
Atlanta, GA (October 16-21)
Miami, FL (October 27-28)
Spokane, WA (November 1-3)
Seattle, WA (November 4-14)
And all over the Orlando, FL area throughout the fall

If you are in one of those locations and are interested in having me come to your school, homeschool group, church, or bookstore, post a message. I charge no fee.

My Atlanta dates are pretty full, but the others are open.