Thursday, April 27, 2006

Three down, unknown number to go...

Yes I am prescient.

Got a rejection letter today from an agent for Starfire. A nice, little non-form letter (as my other two have been as well).

One more notch on my writing ladder. :)

more thoughts tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

That Terrible "M" Word...

No, i'm not talking about "monkey" *shudder* I'm talkin' about "Market".

It's one of those words that comes up alot in writers circles. Do you "Write the story that is driving you?" or do you "Write for the market?"

Foot, meet dead horse! Start kicking. ;)

The current marketplace kind of glares over at sci-fi with a disdainful smirk and says "Thou dost not bring in the green!" and has a rather prickly relationship with fantasy that does bring in some green, but not the big bountiful heads of cabbage that things like suspense or chick lit seem to.

If you want to write sci-fi or fantasy that can slip into the current market write it either for Young Adults. Or make it a smaller portion of the story. (Near future sci-fi or jurrassic park type technothrillers are probably your best bet there. For fantasy either go heavy on the supernatural thriller or aim at the young adult market.)

Of course keep in mind that the market will probably change by the time you're done writing the "perfect" book for it. :)

My advice is write a story that engages you and carries you away with it. But be aware of the realities within the market.

My sci-fi trilogy, currently working on the second book, focuses on a main character who is Saurian (well actually all the characters are Saurian for the first two books). It's the start of a story that has been building within me since Jr. High. I love it. I love where I want to take it. The world feels almost as real to me as a foreign land I've never been to.

Of course this about the last thing the market wants to see right now (other than maybe a vampire western story). "Why would adults buy a book about alien dinosaurs?" :p

So I have to be realistic, and while I continue to push and prod at the market, seeing if I can find a crazy publisher willing to take a very big risk, I keep my expectations in line with where the market is. I know that most publishers in CBA are most likely going to be at best very leery of it.

So what does all this rambling mean? Do I have a point? I think so.

Basically it comes down to this. Especially if you are writing your first novel.

Write the story that is burning inside of you. I believe that will lead to your best writing (and the desire to make it better than your best). But also be aware of the market and align your expectations accordingly.

If you have multiple stories screaming to get out and one matches the market better than the other. Go with that one.

In the end you have to come to peace with this question for yourself. If being published is the ultimate goal for you, then yeah trying to aim for the market may slightly increase your chances (if you are really good at blasting womprats in a t-16 at warpspeed on the otherside of a wormhole).

But most people, that I have heard from, who suddenly find themselves riding high on that marketing wave, were writing those stories long before the market cared.

So for me. I'm stickin with my Saurians. With maybe some little detours to meet up with the inhabitants of Drennor, or to hang with a giant slug, a stickman and a bubble.

Eventually the market might just catch up with me. And if not? Well, then at least I'll have truly gone someplace no other human has been. God will be there with me, and teach me through the experience.

And in the end. That's enough for me.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Dude, You Need a Breathmint!

Ok, in the last "How to Speak Saurian" post, Camy left a request for a translation of "Dude, You Need a Breathmint!"

Now Saurian's aren't known for their pleasant breath and so I can see why she would want to say this. Unfortunately, Saurians do not have breathmints. They do however have similar things. For most in the Karn Empire there is a small insect known as a becta that, while in its larval form (called a pictr), secretes a tangy secretion, that smells and tastes something like cinnamon, that many of the smaller swotelakyoch (bloodbonds/clans) are fond of sucking on. Though it is too small for the larger Saurians to get much use out of.

The larger swotelakyoch of Saurians lean more toward a "mouthwash" of sorts made from pulverized bokesh fronds and blite seeds. This gives their breath something of an ashy scent. This is called bokel.

So what you could happily say (depending on size, naturally) would be either:

Saurn, joestach narta loktoe pictr. (or Male, go eat a pictr.)


Saurn, vane koetuh bokel. (Male, drink some bokel.)

And just as a fun bonus, here's an excerpt (slightly edited to be spoiler free) from my currently homeless novel where just such a line would be very handy...

Excerpt from Starfire
He looked toward the door. Struth stood in the doorway, a look of concern on his face. Somehow the medic’s presence seemed to ease the chill clinging to him.

“I’m here, Struth.”

Struth stepped lightly across the room. “Are you all right?”

Rathe shook his head.

“Let me take a look at you,” Struth said. He crouched next to where Rathe lay.

Struth looked into each of his eyes, then pulled a small light out of a slot in his left gauntlet, and said, “Open wide.” He shone the light down Rathe’s throat and eased his head between his spread jaws. “Say something.”

Rathe felt his tongue slap against Struth’s neck as he spoke. “You tase tewwible.”

Struth withdrew his head and glared at him. Rathe realized that after what he had done, that might not have been the best thing to say. Struth pressed his head against Rathe’s side.

“Take a few deep breaths,” Struth said. After a short pause, he pulled away. “You seem fine physically. Though it is obvious you threw up recently. What happened?”


So there ya go. :) Everyone go out and have a breathmint!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Explore the Cradleland

Ever wonder what life was like before the Flood? Author Doug Hirt did. And the Cradleland Chronicles show his vision of what that life might have been like.

You can venture into this world and the just launched This site features a glossary, maps, timeline. As well as an article by Doug explaining his vision for writing this series.

But perhaps even more exciting, starting next month they will be offering the unabridged audio edition of the first book Flight to Eden as a free podcast. Two chapters every Monday, Wednsday, and Friday.

So get on over there and explore the Cradleland!

The Allure of Fantasy - Part II

For those interested, has posted the second part of an article discussing the allure of fantasy to young people. This part focuses on how to discern what is good fantasy, and continues with quotes from Bryan Davis, Donita K. Paul, and R.K. Mortensen.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Missing Pictures

Just in case you're wondering where all the pictures have gone around here. I'm changing hosts for my main website ( But if things go ok you may not even have noticed by the time you read this post. ;)

Until then, just draw your own pictures and slap them in the blank boxes on the screen. :D

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Allure of Fantasy has posted the first part of an article on the allure of fantasy to young readers.

It includes quotes from Donita K. Paul author of the Dragonkeeper Chronicles, Bryan Davis author of the Dragons in our Midst series, and R.K. Mortensen author of the Landon Snow series.

It presents a good look at how fantasy is drawing in our youth, and how the genre can be used to help point them toward God.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Laugh Out Loud in Saurian

It is time once more for another session of How to Speak Saurian.

There were two requests from last week so I'll jump right in on that.

Becky wants to know how to say "LoL" in Saurian.

There isn't a technical straight across translation since there isn't a real instant-messaging system where this type of short-hand is used. So we'll go with the full on "Laugh out Loud".

Which translates to: Hoko kom moke. or for LoL! = HkM!
(short o, short o - short o - long o)

Next, Beth (being the sneaky lady she is) wants me to translate Lothlorien.

However, since Lothlorien is a Proper noun and a distinct place, the actual translation would remain: Lothlorien.

But, I'll be sneaky myself and point out that in Saurian, Lothlorien would indeed be spelled differently. So here is how you spell Lothlorien in Saurian:

So there you go. That's how you spell Lothlorien in Saurian. :)

Keep the phrases coming!

Left Behind: Eternal Forces Previews

Some of you may know that in addition to being a bit of a sci-fi/fantasy freak, I am also a gamer (which isn't that big of a stretch I guess). Of course the drawback to being a gamer, much like being a sci-fi/fantasy fan. Is the fact that not a whole lot of games necessarily match up with the Christian worldview. And those that have, tend to be pretty bad from a gameplay point of view. But there is one game coming out later this year that does look to show some promise. All thanks to two (possibly shudder inducing words: Left Behind.

Left Behind: Eternal Forces is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) Game based on the best-selling novels by Jerry Jenkins and Tim Lahay. For those of you unfamiliar with what an RTS is, it is a game in which the player builds and controls armies of units and send them out in conquest of the opposing army(ies).

My first reaction to hearing about Eternal Forces last year was one of shock and unbelief. Why in the world would anyone base an RTS game off of novels that revolved around a central cast and where it the heroes were all non-violent (more or less, from what I remember). It just seemed like someone thought "Hey RTS games are popular, lets make one of those!" To say I was instantly turned off would be pretty much accurate. Though I did have some morbid curiosity in the game.

However, this week a new round of previews have popped up at some of the major gaming sites, that are making me step back from my initial kneejerk reaction. It actually looks like the team developing this game may just be well on the road to making a fun RTS.

Based totally within a painstakingly accurate rendition of Manhattan, Eternal Forces, has the player waging war for the souls of the neutral units. Having a spiritual morale meter that must be maintained, for every unit in the game. You don't pump units out of a factory like in traditional RTS games, but instead go out into the city and convert them by raising their spiritual morale to an appropriate level. Certain actions can raise or lower a unit's spirit, and if it gets low enough they will revert to neutral, or even join with the forces of evil. So the main point in this game isn't to win a war of attrition by killing off your opponent, but instead "save" the opposition by converting the soldiers. In fact entering into wholesale slaughter is a bad idea since killing will lower the spiritual morale of your units meaning you might win the battle but lose your army.

So I have gone from revulsion, to cautious optimism in regards to this game. The fact that not only has it gained attention from the mainstream gaming media, but it also getting some favorable previews, means that it could help bring games based on a Christian worldview up to a more acceptable standard, much like where Christian fiction was a decade or so ago.

You can view some previews at:

I'll be keeping an eye on this and post any further thoughts as more details get revealed.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Muze Cheechae Ork Saurian

Yep, that's right! It's time for another session of How to Speak Saurian!

First we'll take care of last week's request by Shannon, for her favorite phrase "Whatever".

The direct translation of the words in "Whatever" are "What = Peejee" and "Ever = Tagan". (Long e, Long e - Short a, Short a)

However the "Whatever" of slang that Shannon refers to isn't really the direct meaning of those two words combined. It is basically a "Ok fine do/say what you want cause I don't care/I'm not getting through to you." Which from a Saurian stand point (we'll say specifically Karnian in culture, most likely a somewhat stubborn female of a younger age).

The proper slang would most likely be something more along the lines of "UlotPorl" Which litteraly reflects that the person thinks you have an "Empty Voice".

So there you go Shannon, "UlotPorl"
(Emphasis on Short u, Short o, Emphasis on P, or as in pork. And don't pause between).

So there you go.

Anybody out there have something non-insulting they wish they knew how to say in Saurian? Just leave your phrase in the comment section and I'll translate it next time.

Monday, April 03, 2006

It's high kickin', ya glean it?

Book Review: Outriders

Outriders, by Kathryn Mackel, is one of those books that will grab your imagination and take it for a wild ride through a familiar, yet alien land. With full characters that make you care, and excitement that can get your pulse racing.

Generations after warfare and pollution poisoned the planet and destroyed civilization, one group of survivors remembers their heritage, their birthright. From their sanctuary, the Ark, sunk deep below the arctic ice they train their young to be outriders who do the impossible. To return to the surface world and save the original creation and spread the forgotten Truth. But these young people face more than a poisoned world.

So called sorcerers, wielding the last remnant of science that helped destroy mankind, create abominations by transmogrifying animals and humans to suit the whims of their warlord masters. Only by holding to the Truth that they know, can the outriders hope to overcome the mogs and the greater evil that festers in this poisoned world.

Kathryn Mackel has created a tale full of biblical symbolism and imagery, one of haunting beauty and terrible destruction. All of her characters come through as full people, who each struggle with their own human natures (or fully give in to them) while seeking to fulfill their mission. You come to care for each of the main Characters as soon as you meet them, even when it is clear they are being hard headed and foolish.

One thing I thought Kathryn did extremely well was the "jangle" of the rookie outriders. It came off as totally believable and fluid, but not impossible to understand. However, some of the action scenes felt a bit muddled, and the world-building didn't always hold up for me, but that was easily forgiven in the scope of the journey each character took.

If you like strong action and adventure founded strongly in Christ, then this book won't let you down. Give it a chance and don't dismiss it simply because the setting seems so wild. And even if you don't like it, get it for a young man in your life, a son, nephew, grandson or just some kid in the youth group. They'll love it.

As for me, the sequel can't come out soon enough.
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