Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday?

I'm up early on this Friday after Thanksgiving. Why? Because my wife and seventeen-year-old daughter got up at four a.m. to go to Wal-mart for a big sale. They said something about jeans for eight dollars and took off into the darkness.

Okay, when you have seven children, it's important to take advantage of great bargains. I get that. But I wonder why stores can't offer these sales in the daytime when normal people are functioning at normal capacity and able to make normal buying decisions.

Hmmm. I think I just answered my own question.

Anyway, since I couldn't go back to sleep, I've been researching this Black Friday phenomenon. It seems that the label started because of traffic jams in Philadelphia, and it became more popular when some economists came up with the idea that this is when retailers begin to show a profit (in the black instead of in the red). I'm not sure if these reasons are true or not, but they make some sense.

From my position, I think the name comes from what it looks like outside at this time in the morning. I can't see a thing. But I guess the label isn't important. At least it has me up early and using this blog post to get my brain in gear.

So, in celebration of Black Friday, I'll have a sale! From now until the end of the year, I am putting the first book in each series (Raising Dragons, Eye of the Oracle, and Beyond the Reflection's Edge) on sale for $7.50 plus shipping. Now you can introduce my series to friends and relatives on your gift list for a great price.

If you want to take advantage of these offers, go to my shopping page at or Click Here.

I am also now taking pre-orders for The Bones of Makaidos, scheduled to come out in April of 2009. You can see how to order that book on the shopping page.

Just for fun, feel free to share your Black Friday experiences.

Happy Black Friday! (Now that I've finished this post, I think I can go back to sleep.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Drinking Dirty Water

In family devotions this morning, we were reading in Jeremiah and found some tidbits that relate to the current situation we have in our nation as well as in the church at large.

"Has a nation changed gods When they were not gods? But My people have changed their glory For that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this, And shudder, be very desolate," declares the LORD. "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water." (Jeremiah 2:11-13)
This charge is true in many churches today. Professing Christians reinvent God to suit their own tastes, a god who has no expectations, a god who requires no repentance from sin, a god who will save them no matter how sinful they continue to be.

Witness the overwhelming success of The Shack. That book redefines God as a less-than-holy, do-anything-you-want-and-I'll-save-you kind of deity that is far removed from the God of the Bible.

And it's even more common to hear people claim that we have a blind god, that somehow God doesn't see them sin, because when He looks down from heaven, He sees Jesus instead of a sinner. Nonsense. Jeremiah has something to say to these people, as well:

"Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal and walk after other gods that you have not known, then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, 'We are delivered!'--that you may do all these abominations?" (Jeremiah 7:8-10)
God is not blind. He sees what everyone does, and he sees real Christians as holy and pure, because we are holy and pure in reality.

As Jeremiah continued in chapter two, I found this interesting:

"Is Israel a slave? Or is he a homeborn servant? Why has he become a prey? The young lions have roared at him, They have roared loudly. And they have made his land a waste; His cities have been destroyed, without inhabitant. Also the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes Have shaved the crown of your head. Have you not done this to yourself By your forsaking the LORD your God when He led you in the way? But now what are you doing on the road to Egypt, To drink the waters of the Nile? Or what are you doing on the road to Assyria, To drink the waters of the Euphrates? (Jeremiah 2:14-18)
Why did Israel want to go back and drink from the waters of slavery? It simply doesn't make sense. Yet, we see it in the church today, people who time and again revisit their sinful past.

Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:35-26)
Why would a professing Christian want to go back and drink the waters of slavery? They guzzle the filthy sewage of sin, and not only commit sin, but claim that we all sin, thereby making themselves feel better about drinking the dirty water.

Fellowship in the mire of sin doesn't help their case. It's still filthy sewage. But they ignore the taste, they endure the nausea, and they reinterpret the warnings of Scripture so they can keep imbibing in the swill that holds them in bondage:

For if we sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:26-29)
And our nation is also drinking dirty water. Over two hundred years ago, we won a war that helped us break free from the shackles of tyranny. Since that time, we have sacrificed blood and lives to keep us free from facism, socialism, and communism. We swept out that dirty water and preserved the fresh water of liberty.

So what are we doing now? Apparently electing a president who holds to every ideal the dirty water stands for. This nation has forgotten what it was like to live under tyranny. It has forgotten the sacrifices we made to keep us from living under the boot of socialism. And now we have apparently turned on the nozzle to the sewage pipeline and are waiting to drink freely from the filthy water.

Why has this happened? I think Jeremiah provides the answer.

"Your own wickedness will correct you, And your apostasies will reprove you; Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter For you to forsake the LORD your God, and the dread of Me is not in you," declares the Lord GOD of hosts. "For long ago I broke your yoke And tore off your bonds; But you said, 'I will not serve!' For on every high hill And under every green tree You have lain down as a harlot. Yet I planted you a choice vine, A completely faithful seed. How then have you turned yourself before Me Into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine? Although you wash yourself with lye And use much soap, The stain of your iniquity is before Me," declares the Lord GOD. (Jeremiah 2:19-22)
As Jeremiah indicates, God is not blind to sin. He sees the stain of iniquity. And it's interesting to note how this nation will likely be corrected ... by its own wickedness. As this country turns to socialism, we will bring about our own downfall. We will once again learn what it means to suffer under the yoke of tyranny, and when we learn that lesson, maybe we'll be able to cast it off once again.


Then again, maybe not. When we cast the yoke off before, many in this nation held to a semblance of spiritual truth. It seems that this Shack church society has lost any concept of truth and how it is derived and maintained. They look to feelings and not to God as He is revealed in Scripture.

Without the faith of the bedrock people of the land, when the boot of socialism presses down on our necks we might crumble and be blown away. Why? Because there will be too few left who understand the principles of faith in a God who is holy, just, and filled with wrath against sin. Only He can keep us from buckling. Only He can restore us, both the nation and the church, to the great institutions we once were.

But we have to sweep out the dirty water. Just as we cannot abide with socialism in our republic, we cannot abide with sin in our church. We cannot be like those Jeremiah derided, those hypocrites who stand at the altar and shout, "We are delivered," while lifting up their sin-stained hands. We cannot pretend that we have a blind god who cannot see sin.

We desperately need a new standard in the church today, one that strikes down the old banner across our doors that says, "Sinners, saved by grace." No, our banner should read, "Saints by the grace of God and in practice." For that is what we are called to be, saints who drink only the water of life, the life of true liberty, for we refuse to be bound by those chains again.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Motiv8 Authors Series - Donita K. Paul

I first "met" Donita K. Paul through email correspondence in October of 2003. We both had a Christian fantasy book about dragons coming out in 2004, and since this genre was practically unheard of, we knew we had a potentially difficult road ahead. Because we're both Christians and believe in the importance of the genre, we wanted to make a mutual commitment: we weren't going to be competitors; we were going to be supporters.

I'm happy to report that God has blessed both series, and our commitment to support each other continues.

I met Donita in real life in September of 2004 when we both served as panelists at the Dragoncon fantasy/sci-fi convention in Atlanta. With all the craziness going on there, it was helpful to have another Christian author there with whom I could whisper, "Do you see that? What in the world was it?" :-)

And, of course, it was great to be with her again during the recent Motiv8 tour. She is a delightful lady and fun to be with. It has been a pleasure to have her as a supportive friend.

Many of you who read my blog are already aware of her fantasy series, the Dragonkeeper Chronicles, but in case you aren't, click here for a link that will take you to a page on Donita's site that provides a full explanation. I read and enjoyed Dragonspell, and three of my daughters have read all five in the series and eagerly awaited each installment. If you enjoy my books, I'm sure you'll enjoy hers.

Now for a contest. Up until 2005, Donita signed her emails to me with her middle name spelled out, so I know what the "K" stands for. The first person to post a comment with her correct middle name will win a poster for The Bones of Makaidos. Only one guess per person is allowed.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Obama is Still Stonewalling

As of this writing, Barrack Obama still has not produced proof that he is a natural-born citizen of the United States. There have been reports in the media that he has done so, but these are misleading at best.

The first source Obama supporters often point out is the posting of a Hawaiian birth certificate on his website. You can click here to see it.

This is not a long-form birth certification. During the stated time period, residents of Hawaii were allowed to register their births and obtain this kind of certificate even if they weren't born there.

Proof of U.S. birth would be in what is called a "vault" birth certificate, which names the hospital and delivering doctor, a document that Obama has refused to let anyone see. In fact, in multiple lawsuits across the nation, Obama's lawyers have fought, and are still fighting, efforts to have that document brought to light. That, by itself, proves that something is wrong.

The second "proof" Obama supporters point to is the fact that the Hawaii state health department released this statement: "Health Department Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said Friday she and the registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, have personally verified that the health department holds Obama's original birth certificate."

What they didn't say speaks volumes. Yes, the certificate exists, but where does it say he was born? They wouldn't release that information. Interesting. The most vital fact is completely left out.

Now, it's possible that Obama was really born in Hawaii. But there are many other questions regarding his eligibility for office related to his possible dual or multiple citizenship status, since he lived for a while in Indonesia and his father was Kenyan. I won't go into the possibilities, but if he ever had citizenship in another country, his constitutional qualification to be president is in serious jeopardy.

It looks like the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) might well get involved. (Click here for a blog that is following the case). Yet, no one in the mainstream media has investigated these things. This is the SCOTUS, not a lower court considering a trivial suit based on frivolous charges. Why won't the media even mention it? Something is truly odd. If this were happening to a conservative candidate, they would be all over it.

And if Obama's vault birth certificate proves he was born in the U.S., why won't he produce it and thereby end every lawsuit? Why have his lawyers sealed many of his other records, which could document his other possible citizenships?

(If you're interested, click here for an example of a lawsuit filed by Alan Keyes, a presidential candidate on the ballot in some states. It's a good read.)

There can be only one reason for this stonewalling. There is something in those records Obama doesn't want the American people to know. That sounds sinister to me.

For the sake of this country's future and the rule of law, it is crucial that Obama be forced to prove his eligibility for the highest office in the land. If you're interested in signing a petition that would demand this action, click here.

To those who want to comment on this post, if you're an Obama supporter and you're going to reiterate the same arguments I have already debunked, don't bother. I won't publish your comment. Also, no insulting comments will be published.

If, however, you provide evidence for Obama's constitutional qualifications that I haven't already talked about and you do so in a civil manner, I will consider it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Motiv8 Authors Series - Christopher Hopper

This week's Motiv8 tour author is Christopher Hopper, author of the White Lion Chronicles. To date, two books have been released, Rise of the Dibor and The Lion Vrie. I started the first book, and someday I'll have to finish it, but I felt like Christopher's style was similar to Stephen Lawhead. So if you like Mr. Lawhead's works, you will want to check out this series.

It was great traveling with Christopher. He is one of the friendliest, most genuine people I have ever met. His love of others was proven every day in his humble and giving ways. His love for the Lord is also obvious. He praises God with his lips and with his actions constantly.

He is also a very funny guy, as the photos attest.

Christopher is also a youth pastor in the Thousand Islands area of New York, so his books are an extension of his heart for youth. But his stories aren't just for young people. They are definitely geared for the older teens and adults.

So if you haven't read the White Lion Chronicles, pick up Rise of the Dibor and support this godly man as he serves God with all his heart.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Bones of Makaidos Update

As some of you know, I am in the middle of writing The Bones of Makaidos, so immersed, in fact, that I have taken a leave of absence from my message forum to concentrate on the task.

So, I thought some of you might want an update on my progress. It looks like I will be dividing the book into two major sections, similar to how I divided Eye of the Oracle into three sections. So far, I have worked only on the first part, and I have written about 83,000 words. Since I'm almost finished with a draft of that section, I'm guessing that the total word count for that part will end up being around 90,000 words. I have no idea yet if the second section will be shorter, longer, or about the same length.

The story is, if I do say so myself, super. I'm really excited about it. I have learned a lot about my characters and their histories, even why one of them was named as he or she was. I had not known it before. And I raised tidbits from earlier books that I didn't think would come up again. Loose ends are tying up in ways I never imagined, and the story is culminating in an amazing way.

I even learned today what an Oracle of Fire really is and why she is called that. I was surprised and delighted.

I expect to finish the first draft by the second week in December and all editing by the end of the year. Look for The Bones of Makaidos on bookstore shelves in April of 2009.

I plan for this to be the last book in the Oracles of Fire series. I don't know yet if I will ever revisit this story world that began with Raising Dragons, but any additions will not come in the near future. As soon as this is done, I have to begin work immediately on the Riders of the Apocalypse series as well as an adult fantasy novel for Zondervan.

If you will pray for me as I write, I would appreciate it very much.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Prayer for the United States - Part 2

I am distressed. I have been reading blog entries written by friends and fellow believers who claim that if we don't fully support "President Obama" we are in sin. If we don't believe that God has put Obama in as our leader, then we lack faith. If we don't obey all his commands, then we are in danger of damnation. And on and on. This lack of biblical understanding, knowledge of the Constitution, and common sense is maddening.

First, Obama is not the president. He is not even the president elect, contrary to the way he is labeled in every ignorant media outlet in existence. He will not be the president elect until the Electoral College meets and votes in December, and, I hope, not even then. And he will not be the president until, God forbid, he is installed on Inauguration Day.

Right now, we have no biblical mandate to support him as we would a president. And even if he becomes president, we are commanded to pray for him and to obey any command that is righteous, but not to "support" him in all ways.

What does this ambiguous "support" mean anyway? Does it mean that we cannot, as Samuel did to King Saul, boldly tell our political leader that he is in violation of God's law and that God has rejected him as president (king)? Does it mean that we cannot, as Nathan did to King David, tell the leader of the nation that he is in blatant violation of God's commands?

Were the German people who opposed Hitler in sin? The Russians who opposed Stalin? If we acted like these "supporters" wanted us to act, we would have stayed under English rule and the hand of a despotic king. And later, in the twentieth century, we would have had no reason to expect inside help from the citizens of Germany to help us battle Hitler, because they would be bound by this wayward principle to "support" that monster.

Jesus told the people to obey the laws that the scribes and Pharisees prescribed, but that didn't stop Him from saying (from Matthew 23):

"Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."

And finally, "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?"

I will follow the example of Jesus. I will obey righteous commands, but I will tell the world about the murderous beliefs of this hypocrite named Barack Obama, both now when he is neither the president nor the president elect, and later if he should become the president.

No one is above the law of God such that we should not boldly point out his sinful ways and oppose his forcing those ways upon our nation. This man has already indicated that he will make it easier to murder the most innocent ones in our land, the unborn, so he is clearly an enemy of God. Yes, I will pray for him, that he might repent of his wickedness and come to real faith, but I will not "support" a man who has promised easier access to the murder of the unborn.

I will not be like one of those who cowered under the Nazi regime and refused to speak out against Hitler while millions of Jews were murdered. I will be like Jesus and tell the truth in spite of what the religious leaders of the day believe. And I will pray that my fellow believers will see the light and not blindly follow the masses who support this so-called president elect who has murder in his heart and blood on his hands.

Motiv8 Authors Series - Sharon Hinck

I met Sharon Hinck at the 2003 Mount Hermon Christian Writers' conference. We talked for a while at a meal, and she told me about her fantasy series. I don't remember much about the content of her book proposal, but I'll never forget the passion she had for her story and the burning desire to share what was on her heart, a longing to fill her readers with an intimate understanding of God's love .

I guessed at the time that her book would eventually get published. With that kind of fire for her handiwork, it stood to reason that God had ignited the flames.

Now, that dream is a reality. The Sword of Lyric series is out and readers, especially adult women, have raved about it. I haven't read the books myself, but I have heard that manly men like it, too, right Wayne Batson? So guys, don't be afraid to pick it up. The woman in your life will be proud of you.

I have also had the great pleasure of touring with Sharon at length during the past two fantasy fiction tours. She is an absolute delight--loving, generous, funny, and always ready with a kind and encouraging word. I'm absolutely certain that she makes Jesus smile.

When you meet her, be sure to ask her about football. She loves to talk about the intricacies of the game, especially the players' motivating factors. (Very big wink)

Sharon has several other books that you'll want to check out, all of which have received glowing reviews. Click here for her website.

Thank you, Sharon, for showing us the heart of God.

If anyone wants to let us know your opinion about Sharon and/or her books, please make a comment.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Echoes from the Edge Book #3 Cover Revealed

Here is the cover for Nightmare's Edge, book #3 in the Echoes from the Edge series, scheduled for release on May 1, 2009.

Click here for a higher resolution image.

I'd like to hear what you think of it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Prayer for the United States

It is early in the morning on the day after this nation has apparently elected perhaps the most wicked presidential candidate in history. I wonder if this is the beginning of the end for this nation. Certainly I will pray otherwise, but I can't help but think that we will not survive this foolish decision and maintain a free republic.

The people, who as a nation continue to slaughter the innocents through abortion, have taken to their hearts this radically pro-abortion Senator, this friend of socialists and terrorists, this pretender who so easily manipulates those who wish to be manipulated. Many would say that this nation gets what it deserves, that God has sent us the means by which we will justly be destroyed, an evil corrupter who will unwittingly deliver God's righteous wrath. That may well be true.

Yet, I will pray for mercy, that maybe through seeing who this charlatan really is, our nation will finally wake up and fight for liberty for the born and the unborn, that we will break the chains of sin that wrap around this nation from coast to coast, that we will return to the faith of our fathers and become a nation of laws, morality, and divine guidance.

I hope you will pray with me.

God help us.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Motiv8 Authors Series - L. B. Graham

A week ago, I introduced you to Wayne Thomas Batson. Today, in an ongoing series, I will feature another author from the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction tour.

L.B Graham is the author of The Binding of the Blade, a five book epic fantasy series with P&R Publishing that began in 2004 and just recently culminated with the publication of All My Holy Mountain in 2008. The first book of the series, Beyond the Summerland, was a 2005 Christy finalist in the “Visionary” category.

Touring with L.B. was a lot of fun. He has a great sense of humor and a wide variety of interests, so listening to his part of the chatter that often flew about our travel van was always entertaining. He also introduced me to the Jack in the Box restaurant chain, which isn't in my geographic region. I tried his favorite breakfast sandwich, and I give it a hearty thumbs up.

L.B. was born in Baltimore, Maryland and grew up there before heading to Wheaton College outside Chicago in Wheaton, Illinois. From there he went to St. Louis to attend Covenant Seminary. Since 1996 he’s been teaching in St. Louis, the last 9 years at Westminster Christian Academy where he also serves as the Bible Department Chair.

With diverse writing interests, L.B. currently has a nonfiction book proposal under consideration, but he is also developing a new fantasy series which he hopes to begin proposing to publishers soon.

I will be watching L.B.'s writing career progress, and I hope it continues to be successful. I haven't read his books, but my eldest son has, and he enjoyed them very much.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Motiv8 Tour videos

Here are the remaining videos from the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour

Day three

Day four - part one:

Day four - part two:

Day four - part three:

Day five:

Day Six:

Day seven:

Day Eight: