I had a discussion with my eldest son the other day. Someone had asked me if I wanted to submit a story to one of their anthologies. Usually I am pretty open to submitting my work to all different kinds of publishers, but this particular genre was horror. “It is hard to convey a good message of faith in a horror story,” my son said. I have to disagree. People are placed in terrible situations every day, and usually it is these exact circumstances that make their moral fortitude shine through. It is really easy to put good people in bad situations in stories because the good guy is always trying to help in those situations. So yes, I think you can really convey good morals through the horror genre. That being said, I don’t think there are a lot of writers trying to. Most of them take you to a place you don’t want to be, make you consider things you probably rarely think about, and then LEAVE you there. I guess that’s why I have a little trepidation over writing in that particular genre. I don’t like leaving my readers like that. I want my readers to come away from my stories thinking, but I want them be thinking about how good a certain character acted or reacted. I grew up wanting to be those heroes in the stories, and that’s what I want my readers to want. I haven’t decided on whether or not I am going to submit yet. Only because I am not sure if I can pull off a horror story that leaves my reader in a place I don’t mind leaving them, but I will be sure and let you all know if I do. Then you can be the judge.
Firstly I would like to apologize for missing last week’s blog post. I went on vacation last week and as a result of preparation and travel time I ended up taking a sort of electronic hiatus. It was actually late Tuesday night when I realized I hadn’t posted. Anyway, I do apologize to my avid followers (both my mom and my aunt).
I’ve lost a lot of interest in television now-a-days. There aren’t a whole lot of shows that display any creativity in their script writing. I realized this during a conversation I had with my wife (yes, we talk on occasions). For years now I have been able to ‘guess’ who was the murderer in detective shows, or tell the people watching with me what is about to happen in certain situations (which really annoys them by the way). And it has nothing to do with the information presented in the case, or any psychic abilities on my part. It is the method in which the information is displayed. It is more or less a formula that people use to write the scripts for these dramas. Some people have more success than others at using that formula, but few vary from it. What’s sad is the fact that once you see it, you can’t un-see it. If you learn the ebb and flows of it, you learn not to look where they want you to, but to look at what they are trying to hide in plain sight. The shows that I have seen lately have been extremely lacking in any diverse ways of scripting. This enables me, and anyone else with an eye for plots and such to discern where the story is going. Lately I have found this to be true in the media as well. A cry goes up against the confederate flag and suddenly the media is flooded with people choosing sides and stating their opinions. Someone shouts gay marriages and how the Christians are persecuting them, and again people start picking sides and getting into heated debates. These issues are only as big as you make them. The confederate flag is a HISTORIC symbol. That means it is there to remind us of something that happened in the past. And as for the gay marriage issue, each person’s sin will be judged by God, whether it is telling a little white lie or full blown murder there is no different degrees of sin. Sin is sin. So why is there such a big controversy over these issues? Why is the media and people in influential positions fanning the flames of ‘hate speech’ and ‘unjust persecution’? I think maybe it is because they have become ‘directors’ on the set of America Today. They are following a very simple formula and trying to make you look in all the wrong places. I think maybe it is time for the American people to start paying more attention to what our government officials are really doing instead of the random person pointing fingers and shouting names. Perhaps we need to look in the opposite direction of these so called issues and try to discern what is really going on before it becomes too late.
For those of you who do not know, I am an author. I love stories in whatever format they may come in. Movies, plays, audio books, paperback books, e-books. You name it, I like it. I like to think of life as one big story that God is spinning out. He sets the stage and works the cameras, and cues all of the extras. He does all of it that we, as the hero/heroine of the story do not see. The behind the scenes stuff that goes into the making of an epic tale. There are times in my life when I doubt myself. I second guess what I’m doing and yes, (Heaven Forbid!) I even question why He has me taking certain paths. When I come to those times in my own story I sometimes stumble. Then I think to myself “If I don’t do anything, how good of a story is that going to make my life?” I won’t God to use my life to tell the greatest tale it can be. So when I have those doubts and questions, I say a silent prayer and ask Him to guide my actions, and then forge ahead. I may not always choose the best course, but at least I am writing my story. How well are you writing yours?
Well, I finally got roped into it. This week’s post is part of a blog tour, thanks to my friend, Kathryn Lang. She asked me to write this blog to let people know a little bit more about me and my writing. The funny thing is, she is asking me to share a little piece of my life with everyone who reads it, which is basically what I have already been doing each week with my regular blog. I originally started Heavy Metal Cowboy (the blog) to share things about my writing and what I was working on, etc. It has become more of an inspirational/pep talk blog since then. Mostly it has been just things I wonder about and things that I’ve learned along life’s journey. So when I changed the look of my blog, I also tacked “Musings Of A Wandering Paladin” on to the name, because it was an apt description of what I wanted it to contain. Author is one of the many hats that I hang upon my hat rack, along with illustrator, instigator of creative concepts and boilerman to help pay those pesky things called bills that seem to be a side effect of life. Anyway, when I agreed to do the blog tour, I was given four questions to answer. Well, here goes nothing.
1.) What am I currently working on?
At the moment I am actually working on two different books, along with a few side projects that may or may not tie into those in the future. The first is an actual full length book of my “Hammertown” series. It is a fantasy story set in the world of Alongrid, a world primarily ran by steam. Think 1940’s style setting populated by dwarves, elves and gnomes (with elves being the Nazis) and then throw a human detective in to make things interesting. As Kathryn puts it “Sam Spade meets Lord of the Rings”. I get a kick out of that. It is actually going to be the second book in the series. The first was “Alongrid Knights”, a selection of short stories set in the Hammertown world. Interested? Check out my website for a link to a free preview. The second book I am working on is more along the lines of traditional fantasy, but I can’t share the details yet.
2.) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’ve read a lot of books. A LOT of books. So I managed to learn the usual plots and basically how a story is normally told, as is usually the case with people who read a lot. This, coupled with an overactive imagination allows me to think ‘outside the box’ and lets me keep things interesting for those who are tired of the same stuff over and over again.
3.) Why do I write what I do?
When I started writing, I had a distinct agenda. I wanted to write stories from a Christian Worldview. Stories that parents didn’t have to worry about their children reading because it was written by someone with the same fundamentals that most Christians share. My first book was well received, which prompted me to write the second. That one too was well received, so I finished up the series with the third book. At this point I took a step back and looked at all I had done. It was entertainment for Christians. That’s all well and good, but how does that further His Kingdom? We are supposed to introduce Him to those who don’t know Him in such a way that they will want to seek Him out. So I thought to myself, what makes me want to be a good person? What prompts me to try to follow the good path? Heroes. My heroes from those stories I used to read all the time. Those heroes who stood for the morals, courtesy and common decency. But how does that further His Kingdom? It introduces those people that are looking to be entertained to good values. It is a bread crumb. A bread crumb that will show someone looking for more the true glory of God.
What about the Christian part of it? I’ve come to realize that I am an integral part of my stories, and since I am a Christian, my own values and beliefs ‘bleed’ through during the telling of the story.
4.) How does my writing process work?
Sporadically. I do tend to take it in spells. Luckily it usually manages to stick in the general vicinity of one main idea until I get it on paper. Some of my writer friends work from an outline and have everything all planned out ahead of time. I’ve never been able to work like that. I usually have a starting point and an ending in mind when I begin, but everything between tends to form as I go. Sometimes I have to go back and make corrections to my story so that things actually work out nice and neat in the end, but not very often
Thanks to THE Kathryn Lang for the nomination. I shall continue the trend by nominating a few of my fellow authors to carry on. I nominate Robert Krog, Herika Raymer and David Blalock. I do hope they will continue the tradition, as I look forward to seeing their answers to these thought provoking questions.
If you’re interested in seeing some of my written works, or you would like to check out some of my artwork, visit my website at http://www.heavymetalcowboy.com.
Recently I came to the conclusion that I had a problem. (Shocking, I know.) My problem is that I am relying solely on my everyday job to generate the income I need to support my family. (Yet another shocking revelation!) There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself, except for the fact that I don’t want to make a career out of my everyday job. It’s a good job, don’t get me wrong, and I thank God I have one. A lot of folks out there wish they had a good job. But since I published my first book in 2009, all I have wanted to do is make my writing career, my main career. The job that supports me and my family. I have made great strides in that direction (I now have 2 books published and 2 more soon to be), but I am still not even close to where I want to be. Thus enters my problem. I have been treating my writing as a secondary career. It has taken backseat to my everyday job. This hinders my ability to move forward with it. I know I can’t (in good conscious) quit my job and expect to live off of my writing royalties (yet), but I can treat it with the same dedication that I do my everyday job. I go in, I punch the clock, put my time in, punch out and go home. So, I’ve come to the conclusion I need to work harder at making my writing work. It may require me to sacrifice some of my free (haha) time, but it is something I enjoy, so it’s not that big of a sacrifice.
I have moved my posting days to Tuesday, but I recently did a guest post on my friend,Penelope Anne Bartotto. Check it out here;
And be sure to download your FREE ebook at:
Until next time…
First of all I want to apologize for my Blog Posting schedule. I know I have been varying between posting on Mondays and Tuesdays. That is mostly thanks to the new schedule I have at work. The way it is working out, Tuesdays seems to be the best time for me to post. So from now on, I am going to try to make all of my posts on Tuesdays.
Secondly I wanted to announce something new that I have in the works as an author. (Yes, I am still writing on Book 3 of the Heavy Metal Cowboy Series. It is coming along quite well right now.) But I will be have a guest post on http://www.libraryendofuniverse.blogspot.com/ on November 12th for Book Review Mama, who was kind enough to do a review on “Clockwork Spells & Magical Bells”, a steampunk anthology that I had the pleasure to be involved in along with other very talented writers. Check out the anthology here: http://www.facebook.com/ClockworkSpellsMagicalBells?ref=ts&fref=ts
When I do my guest post for her, I will reveal a link for a free download of a short story. The world it takes place in is based on my story “Survival” in that anthology. I have truly enjoyed writing in that world, and have a book I am planning to write that is set there. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I will try to post a reminder as we get a little closer to the blog postdate. Book Review Mama will be reviewing CSMB all next month, so check out the amazing talent she is showcasing there.
And finally, I wanted to thank everyone from the Friendship Baptist Disaster Relief for the amazing work they have been doing in and around our lives as they have helped us to cope and prepare to move forward with our lives. Thank you all so much, and may God Bless you all abundantly for the work that you have done. I have had the privilege to work alongside some truly amazing brethren as they have donated time and materials to our family. I cannot thank you all enough.
That’s it for my update. And remember I am moving my post days to Tuesdays as of next week. Thank you all for reading and for your continued support in all of my endeavors.