Book Ideas

I’m currently reading Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. I love Bradbury and every time I read something by him that I’ve never read before, I am regretting not reading it sooner. I bought this book at a church sale a few years ago, and this is the first Bradbury I’ve read that I have thought to myself, “Maybe I’m not old enough to really enjoy this yet.”

It’s a weird thought; knowing that I haven’t experienced enough of life to truly appreciate a book yet. It’s a horror novel for sure, but like all great literature, it’s more about human struggle than anything else. In this case, the one that stands out most for me is the conflict of Will Halloway’s dad. He is an older man, and deeply regrets the fact that he’s not a kid anymore. Watching his son sneak out and do all the things that he did as a kid is unsettling for him and casts him into a deep melancholy. As a parent, I know I am relating a tiny bit to him, but I’m not as old as him, and my kids are not as old as Will. But with the little life experience that I have, I know enough to know that this feeling is coming. I think of my dad playing catch with me out in the yard when I was a kid, walking through the woods with me, finding abandoned barns and making up silly ghost stories to scare me. All of these things must have been fun for him, but at a level where he knew that I was the one having the most. It’s sad to think about in a way.

It’s also life. It moves forward whether or not we are ready for it to. It’s an awesome premise for a book, and one of the marks of a true master to relate a deep life truth all while telling an immensely entertaining story.

As a side note, I’m not sure if I want to see the movie that’s coming out.

Awaken Update

Tomorrow, Awaken will be available for $0.99. That’s a $2 price reduction, and it will stay that way for a while. I have some new things coming out over the next couple months, so take this as a gift to you, or as a “I have new stuff coming out so my old stuff has been reduced in price,” type gesture. Whichever makes you feel better about yourself and more complete as a person.

You can still download it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime.

And get ready for some new things from me!

Guest Post by J.L. Hill

Hey everyone. Today we have a guest post by author J.L. Hill. I’m excited to have him on here because, like me, he writes Science Fiction, plus other stuff. It’s really encouraging to see that other authors have interests like me, and I was excited to have him agree to contribute. I hope you enjoy what he has to say! At the end, I will put up some links where you can learn more about him.

Transitions

By James L Hill (aka J L Hill)

The transition from a writer to an author has been a slow process. I started writing as a kid, each week my friends and I would buy the latest comics, and after reading them we’d trace the pictures and make up our own stories. I always tried to see if I could come up with would happen in the next issue. I wanted to see if my version would be as good as Stan Lee’s.

I loved to write. Not just the storytelling aspect of it, there is something about the physical experience of putting ink on paper that is very satisfying. When giving a writing assignment in school, the word count never bothered me. It was a challenge to reach it, and often exceed it. I found writing poetry and songs to be mind expanding.

When I decided to try my hand at writing professionally, I wrote sci-fi short stories at first, looking to get published in Asimov Science Fiction and Analog Science Fiction & Fact magazines. Two of the magazines I read religiously. I thought I should build a name for myself and short stories take less time to write than a full length novel. Although I received positive feedback, getting published in the magazine world is no easier than finding a book publisher.

I jumped into my first novel when the Soviet Union and United States began their Salt Treaty Talks. My wife asked what I thought about nuclear disarmament and the prospects for nuclear war, that discussion launched Pegasus: A Journey To New Eden. It is a psychological science fiction thriller that takes place in the near future. Publishers rejected the ideas that the Soviet Union would collapse from within and companies would become global powers dominating nations.

I looked into self publishing, but at that time vanity press was all about paying for your own books and selling them door to door or on the street corner. No thanks. Jump ahead a couple of decades, along comes the internet explosion, social media, and print on demand, making a foray into self publishing more accessible.

At this time I write in two genres, science fiction (my first love) and crime fiction, which allows me to explore the even darker aspects of humanity. My most recent novel, Killer With A Heart, is the first book in a series about ‘Bulletproof’ Morris ‘Mojo’ Johnson. The street gang warlord joins with a junior mobster, Nicky ‘Nails’ Rocci, the teenagers’ plans inadvertently spark a mafia war in the streets of New York. This is an adult crime series with three more books in the wings. I’m writing book two, Killer With Three Heads and should be in print by the end of the year.

Writing has always been my life and even though I took a break from trying to get published, I never quit writing. I am still interested in getting a traditional publisher; however, I will not let that hold me back. When my books are finished, I will put them in print by any means available. The publishing industry is like the Wild West, rules are being broken every day and there is always a new fast gun in town. So to any new author out there I give this advice, do your homework, be doubly sure who you are dealing with, and put out your best work.

Here are some links for clicking on:

Website: http://www.jlhill-books.com
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jlhill57
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamshi57
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/jlhill

Killer With A Heart

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Killer-Heart-J-L-Hill/dp/1479795496
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/killer-with-a-heart-j-l-hill/1115086350?ean=9781479795499
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuYxL9ab38g

Pegasus: A Journey To New Eden

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Pegasus-Journey-James-L-Hill/dp/1483640620
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pegasus-james-l-hill/1115489952?ean=9781483640624

The Best Conversation Ever

Several months ago, I had the best conversation ever. It was with a former coworker, the only other Christian that I was aware of at the factory at that time. We routinely talked about the Bible, applying Christianity to our lives and our families, and basically how tough things were and how amazing they would become.

He is the same age as me, has two of his own kids (both boys), and one older step-son. Almost the same as my family life.

Anyway, one day while we were working, he said to me, “you know which band I feel really guilty about liking?”

In my head I was saying, “Please say Tool. Please say Tool.”

He didn’t say Tool. He said, “A Perfect Circle.”

Which is basically Tool. They have the same lead singer and the songs are very similar in style. But the point was made. Maynard James Keenan is a brilliant songwriter and a very gifted performer. I saw APC play in 2004 and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

But I knew what he was getting at, despite the minor difference. Maynard is decidedly anti-Christian and is very vocal about it. Read the lyrics to APC’s “Judith” if you want more details–a song he wrote about his mother’s religious beliefs. Listening to the song’s words as a Christian is painful, quite honestly.

I admired Tool for years before I became a Christian. I remember when Aenima came out in 1996 and how cool it was, hanging out in my friend’s basement and moving the inside of the album around so I could watch California sink into the ocean over and over again. I was 14. Many of their songs are about pushing your limits and going beyond your humanity. I was reminded of this when “Lateralus” came on my radio earlier today. The lyrics are amazing:

Black then white are… all I see, in my infancy,
red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me.
Let’s me see, there is so much more
and beckons me to look through to these infinite possibilities. (“Lateralus,” Tool. Lateralus. 2001)

I remember listening to this album in April of 2001, shortly after midnight on the day it came out. It was amazing, the lyrics were so powerful throughout the album, even though I was half-drunk and playing video games.

My friend explained his reasoning for liking the band(s) so much. “I don’t like what he says. But I really like how he came to his conclusions. He’s one of the few people that you can tell has put a ton of thought into what he says. I don’t like his conclusion, but I respect the effort he put into getting there.”

This prompted me to say, “Well, what about all of the people at church? They are doing the right thing, does it really matter how they got there?”

“Yes,” he said. “It does. If they haven’t put thought into it, they are not there for the right reasons.”

Wow.

There are two directions this post can go now, and I’m going to take the one I didn’t want to. The one that teaches a lesson.

God wants us to put thought into His word. That’s why we have the Bible. Paul instructs us to test the word in our daily lives. We need to in order to truly be faithful during tough times. If we just accept it and move on, we are not doing our part. At the first sign of trouble, if our faith is not strong, our faith proves to not really be faith. The people at church, the ones that don’t really have anything else better to do on a Sunday morning, but are just there because they’ve always been there, might not have the tools to survive a crisis and remain Christians. It’s sad, but it’s true. Jesus says the same thing in Matthew 13 with his parable of the seeds being sown in different terrain. Seeds are great, but if they don’t have a good place to be planted, they’ll wither away or be eaten before they come to bear fruit.

So, Jeremy, if you are reading this, please know that I’ve put a lot of thought into our conversation. It was a great discussion, and I think I’m finally starting to grasp the point you were making, albeit six months later. Thank you.

What’s Going On?

What is going on?

I’ve been busy, but not a ton of new writing. Mostly taking little chunks out of a few major projects. The Dante Devotional is moving along–I’m almost done writing up Purgatorio. It’s been a very long process, mostly because I’ve taken several breaks along the way. But I have about a week’s worth of work left on the second canticle. And then, of course, all of Paradiso. It will be good, I think. I’ve never written anything as purely Biblical as this, so I’ve been proceeding slowly and spending a lot of time thinking and reading and less time writing it. But that’s what I need to do before I can write it. Write it well, at least.

I’ve been working on putting together some writing lesson-type lectures, too. They are going to be geared toward Christian writers, but I think anyone will find them useful. This is a long term project, but will hopefully come together sooner rather than later. I will record them eventually and put them online somewhere.

I did finish a short story. More news on that later. But it might be the best short story I’ve ever written. It’s called “The Clockmaker.” It took me forever, and it’s only about 8 pages long. And by forever, I mean over a year. Apparently, I’m only a fast fiction writer.

Hello (because I can never think of blog titles…)

Hi, blog readers. I have been busy, but you couldn’t know that because I haven’t been blogging about how busy I’ve been. In fact, there’s a chance that I’ve been too busy.

Here are some things you might like to know:

1.) Awaken is cheaper now. I was able to lower the price from $3.99 down to $2.99 now that all my promotional stuff is done for the next couple months.

2.) I will have a guest blog published on Gillian Felix’s website on June 12th. I will post a direct link once I have it, but for now, you can visit her site here.

3.) I’ve narrowed down (tentatively) what my next book release will be down to two books, neither of which I thought it would be. It will either be Solvers–which I am working on with a mystery guest author. It’s a detective novel about an extremely unprofessional private detective. It’s more of a comedic venture, so luckily my mystery guest author is a lot funnier than I am. The other is a dark fantasy/ horror book about a clockmaker that makes a clock for a demon.

That is all for now. I bid you adieu!