Thursday, February 28, 2008

...Or Later

Yes, the Web site is still in the works and still hope to have something up by mid-March. In the interests of making it a quality site, though, time is important. Darrell Jacobs, a Web programmer has been working it, but wants to enlist the help of a good Web designer. It's that left-brain/right-brain thing. The left brain is in gear; the right brain just needs to catch up!

Will keep you posted on the progress. Meanwhile, keep praying the literary agency I've approached regarding A Prophet's Tale will be receptive to the project. They've got their hands full with dozens and dozens of proposals coming in to each agent, each month. It takes awhile to sort through them all and determine what's the best fit for the reading public at any given time. Tough job; ya gotta love the industry to do it! Pray for them, also, would you. It's a Christian agency and they have a commission to get the Word out, too. You don't need the name of the agency to pray for those who promote good literature and God's Word.

Hopefully, I'll have more specifics for you in the future.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Coming Soon!

I've decided it's time to step into the big time and develop a Web site. I know, I know, "Bruce, you just live on the edge, don't you?" I mean, it's not like everyone else has one it?

My URL is (original, huh?) and I'm working with Darrell Jacobs, whom I met through my teaching at Northwest Vista College, to develop the site. There's nothing there yet, but, by golly, there will be soon! We're lookng toward the middle of March to get it established. Will keep you posted.

Meanwhile, I'm finishing a book proposal for A Prophet's Tale: The Journey Begun to submit for agency. I'll be sending it out this weekend, so pray there's a receptive agent at the other end, if you would please. The project is coming together nicely and I'm really excited about it.

Here's wishing everyone a great day in the Lord!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Project

I mentioned my project in the last post, so I suppose I should introduce it for the benefit of those who don't already know.

As I've already admitted to writing fiction, I can boil that down to historical fiction. My current book is Ben Amittai: First Call, which is based upon 2 Kngs 14:25 and centers on the minor prophet Jonah ben Amittai. It's a novella that introduces the full series on Jonah, A Prophet's Tale, the first volume of which I hope to have out this year.

First Call is a story about Jonah receiving his first call to prophecy. According to 2 Kngs 14:25--which carries the first mention of Jonah in the Bible--God promised to restore the land to Israel. Well, let's let God speak for himself:

23In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, began to reign in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years...25 He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher. 26For the LORD saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter, for there was none left, bond or free, and there was none to help Israel. 27 But the LORD had not said that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, so he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash. (2 Kings 14:23, 25-27 [ESV])

How Jonah delivered that message of restoration is the story line of Ben Amittai: First Call. He and his lifelong friend, Elihu ben Barak--a renown Israelite warrior--travel to Samaria to deliver the message. There is peril and intrigue along the way, as well as inner turmoil as an unsure Jonah deals with his call to prophecy. They arrive in Samaria just as an assassination attempt is made on the newly crowned Jeroboam. How they gain entry to the court and audience with the kings is...well, you'll just have to read it to find out. If you're interested, click the below picture to see where to get it.

Hope you'll take the trip with Jonah and Elihu. And I hope you enjoy it!

ACW Conference

Had a great time in Dallas this weekend at the American Christian Writers conference. Steve Laube, of the Steve Laube Agency, and authors Rene Gutteridge and Frank Ball provided the instruction on everything from the basics of writing, to the business side of the industry.

It was a small conference—only 60-70 folks—but we learned a lot and made some new friends (see pix below). I had a chance to meet with Steve Laube one-on-one to discuss my writing project and came away with some great advice.

I would say “and a great time was had by all”, but that, of course, would be in the passive voice, and we authors, well, we just don't do that...

Monday, February 11, 2008

But Why Fiction?

Good question! Perhaps it’s good to start with what is fiction is and where it fits in?

The foremost purpose of fiction is to entertain. It’s what makes us desire a story in the first place. If it doesn’t do that, it won’t be considered successful by the attracted reader, any message the author may have between the lines will be disregarded, and the author himself perhaps even distrusted. Well, that sounds pretty harsh, doesn’t it? Is entertainment really so important in today’s society? Uh huh.

Ours is a society hooked on entertainment. From the ubiquitous white iPod cords dangling from our ears, to interactive online gaming spanning the globe, to high definition video and audio components no self-respecting American household would now be caught without, entertainment has become much more a focus in our lives than a diversion. Our consumer industry strives to produce better and better labor-saving devices that allow us more and more leisure time to fill with—that’s right—entertainment. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34), and America pays her entertainers exponentially more than people in any other industry at the operating level. Is entertainment important? As my dear dad always says, “I hope to tell ya!”

Does that then mean we bow to the demands of society and just pump out stories to feed the need? No, I think it means we meet society where it is and provide the Christian perspective through well written prose (and poetry) that uplifts, convicts and informs us there’s something better than mere entertainment. C.S. Lewis put it beautifully—as he is wont to do—when he wrote “I believe that any Christian who is qualified to write a good popular book on any science may do much more by that than by any directly apologetic work. The difficulty we are up against is this. We can make people (often) attend to the Christian point of view for half an hour or so; but the moment they have gone away from our lecture or laid down our article, they are plunged back into a world where the opposite position is taken for granted. As long as that situation exists, widespread success is simply impossible. We must attack the enemy’s line of communication. What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects—with their Christianity latent.” [bold mine] (C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, Eerdmans, p. 93.)

Granted, here Lewis was talking about non-fiction, works of science. However, given his own literary history, I fully expect he reckoned the same to be true of fiction. The infusion of Christian values into good quality literature—fiction and non-fiction— is powerful in its subtlety. Does it perhaps sound a little subversive, even sneaky? I think it’s as an honest endeavor as that which produced the parables of Christ himself, the master storyteller.

And so I write fiction. I’ll defer to the risk-taking reading public to decide whether or not I am “qualified to write a good popular book.”

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Being Held To Account

Life is short, but not so short that it doesn't leave a footprint in time. What we do--however small--affects those around us. As John Donne put it so eloquently in Meditation XVII, "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main."

But there are those activities in which we may involve ourselves that reach farther and influence more widely than those closest to us. The good Dr. Donne continued in his thought to say, "If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were..." The loss of a single clod of earth diminishes the land, but a loss of a promontory is clearly much more noticeable. That doesn't make the promontory more important, or even significant, than the clod in the Grand Design; however, its presence--and therefore its loss--is noticed on a grander scale.

So it is with man. God values us equally, but commissions us differently. We're gifted (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; Ephesians 4:11) toward the fulfillment of that commission--not for our own glory, but for the edification of others (1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 4:12). We are exhorted to use those gifts to their fullest (Luke 12:48), yet always aware of our accountability in exercising them (1 Corinthians 3:12-15; James 3:1).

It is to write, as it is to teach, to preach, to serve in public office--indeed, to extend ourselves in any manner beyond our own circumstances in a way that influences common understanding. We must be always aware of our purpose and our accountability; we shirk them at our own peril. That should never dissuade us, however, from accepting the commission laid before us.

And so I write.