Sunday, October 23, 2011

First Story Published!

Been awhile since I posted, but now with some good news: my first story, co-written with Frank Creed, is now available in "Underground Rising: Tales from the Underground", an anthology set in author Frank Creed's Christian/cyberpunk future.  You can buy it here.  The description:

Walk the 2030s streets of the USA, alleys of Germany, and tunnels of New Zealand. Through twelve tales from the Underground, One State Neros enforce their global ban on Fundamentalism in the world's dark future. Armed with the hottest technology and faith, heroes choose right decisions for spiritual freedom in spite of the cost. Will the saints' mindware, a type of software loaded directly into the brain, provide enough of an advantage to survive the twenty-first century purge? Biblical cyberpunk at its best. Each of the anthology stories are based upon Frank Creed's UNDERGROUND-the award-winning novels Flashpoint: Book One of the Underground and War of Attrition: Book Two of the Underground.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day One of CSFFBT of "The Strange Man", by Greg Mitchell

There's a lot to like about Greg Mitchell's debut novel, The Strange Man. Most importantly is this: out of all the recent claims to the title "Christian horror" or novels in the CBA (Christian Bookseller Association) touted as horror, this is one of the few that can actually lay claim to being the real deal.

If you're a fan of 80's horror films or pulp horror fiction, you're going to seriously dig The Strange Man, because all the required elements are there.  Small, isolated town.  Townspeople with things to hide, mostly their own weaknesses and spiritual frailties.  

An ancient evil that has risen, hungry to feast on these weaknesses.  Some well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning country cops, and the requisite "crazy hermit living in a shack who tells all the right stories to no one who believes", who is also the first victim.  

And yeah, Mitchell couches The Strange Man himself in some evangelical terms - demon, even "fallen angel", I believe - but, this is a monster book, full of nasty little trolls (The Strange Man's entourage) reminiscent of those Jawa-reject things from the Phantasm movies.

There's a fair amount of cheese to go along with this wine, though that read to me as part of the "80's horror package", because let's be honest: some of the fun in watching those horror movies were the lame-but-funny one-liners, usually from the bumbling, slacker-hero.  Mitchell doesn't overdo it, though, providing us with some surprisingly genuine humor.

Dras (one of the main protagonists) is an interesting character, a really nice homage of the classic "slacker who might blow it all but also might become the hero" from classic 80's horror movies, but he's also used by Mitchell as indictment, ironically, of the "uber" horror fan.  

For Day Two of the Blog, I'll take a little closer look at Dras, while Day Three will offer perhaps a cold splash of reality as I (as much as I LOVE this story) critique the actual writing a bit. Until then, please take some time to visit the other links on the tour:

Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Kathy Brasby
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
Amber French
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Inae Kyo
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Andrea Schultz
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day One of CSFFBT of "The Resurrection", by Mike Duran

I enjoyed prolific blogger Mike Duran's debut novel.   I really did.   May not seem that way through the next few paragraphs, but bear with me and you'll see how MUCH I really liked it.

For the most part, The Resurrection sports the standard props you'd expect from a supernatural/religious thriller, be it published by a secular or Christian house.  There's the jaded pastor who's faith has been weakened by personal tragedy, and he now questions everything he's learned about God.

There's the simple, dedicated congregation member who has become an unwitting ...and maybe unwilling...tool of the Divine.  Then there's her husband, who abandoned church about a year ago because of his own past disappointments.

There's a conflicted church run by a board that, at the very least is materialistic and worldly, at the very worst corrupt.   A town infested by pagan influences, with the appropriately bizarre, strangely dressed and scowly Wiccan/Goth types running everything from weirdo art galleries to cleverly named taverns to magic shops.

There's even a moderately autistic child in the congregation who - as bestowed by her handicap - may or may not be gifted with foresight, though she plays a relatively minor role in the novel.

That having been said...The Resurrection is a solid, well-written, enjoyable thriller. There's no question about Duran's craft.  Don't mean to be a sour-puss, but historically that's something that isn't necessarily a given in the CBA (Christian Bookseller Association).  He never loses control of his story; takes a familiar plot and keeps it engaging.  The characters are believable, and the story moves well.

My favorite part about The Resurrection? Believe it or not, the loose ends left unexplained (being purposely vague here to avoid spoilers) at the end.  A major fault in the majority of the CBA novels I've read is the propensity or need to explain EVERYTHING so that by the novel's end, troubling and possibly even controversial issues are packaged doctrinally in way that's appealing and reassuring to general Christian audiences.

But there's no mystery.  No wonderment.   Very little "What if...."

Duran leaves a few things unexplained.  One major thing in particular, and it serves the work so very well.   Because it shows that for Duran, quality storytelling and suspense is a priority.  And it also speaks volumes for Realms and their publishing future that they would allow him that freedom.