Come on over to the New Website:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's Ready! Come on over to

It has been a good run but now it is time to say goodbye to the Flaming Pen blog in favor of focusing on my new blog-centric website

I want to express my sincere thanks to you, my readers, for supporting me as my writing career continues to grow. And I do hope that all of you will transition over to the new website this coming Monday for new blog posts! Please update your links to my site so that you point to

This is an exciting time to be able to focus on Wholesome Fantasy & Science Fiction. Please join me on Monday, May 26th for my introductory posts on my New Blog. Here are the immediate advantages:
  1. Weekly Blog Posts every Monday morning!
  2. Everything in ONE PLACE (blog, books, etc.)
  3. Branding everything so my material is easier to find
  4. Free PDF books on content-ideas generated by Your Feedback
  5. Podcast episodes to-be-added in the near future

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Book Signing Scheduled in Akron, Ohio!

If you are planning to attend or know anyone who will be attending CHEO (Christian Home Educators of Ohio) June 20th & 21st, please look me up in the Exhibit Hall! I will have a corner booth so it should be easy to spot me.

It has been a long while since my last book signing and I've missed it. So pumped about this! 2,500 expected in attendance. Please visit the CHEO website

Hope to see some of my Ohio readers there and meet many new ones! All of my novels will be available for purchase and signing. This includes Swords of the Six, Offspring, Key of Living Fire, and this will be the first signing for my latest release Neverqueen!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dragons in Film: the ugly and the great!

It is hard to imagine a better rendition of a dragon than what I recently watched in The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug.

Cinema has always struggled with making realistic dragons. Personally I found the Eragon dragon to be a shock when I saw feathered instead of leather wings. It just was not... threatening. More like a giant bird.

An impressive attempt was made in the movie Dragonheart. Sean Connery voiced the dragon in an effective manner. However the movie was filled with a lot of humor as well that took some of that dragon threat away... And a later attempt to create a sequel made the dragon animation feel and look like a video game.

In the Hobbit the standard is finally raised. Smaug was crafted to perfection! This movie really was fantastic and the dragon is what made it so. Not only were the special effects believable, but the characterization of the dragon was spot-on. Smaug is the epitome of a greedy, spiteful creature whose pride (amazingly) manages to fill the screen more than his tremendous length.

Let's hope this will open the door for other fantasy films on the level of The Desolation of Smaug where the dragons are true monsters with intelligent minds!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Overanalysing fiction?

With great interest I have been watching the Noah movie buzz spread through the Christian community. Much of the reaction has been negative, centered around inconsistencies between the Biblical account and the movie's interpretation.

The push against the film has made me all the more curious to see it (which is the opposite reaction the gainsayers want to see, I'm sure).

Not having seen the movie yet, I just want to say that I am looking forward to trying it but I do not anticipate it being accurate to history. This is a Hollywood project, folks! Do you really think that is their intent? I think they saw it as an opportunity to make money. And why not? It has been a long time since Hollywood has generated something on this scale that gets people talking about biblical accounts, Christianity, and all that goes with it.

Let's not over-analyze fiction. Take it for what it is: an interpretation and artistic expression inspired by circumstances and/or events, etc. I have often--and I do mean often--come across readers who are reading too deeply into my own fiction for hidden meanings and such. Often they come up with ideas that have no bearing on the author's original intent.

In closing, let me say that, having not seen the movie, I may hate it. Who knows? But I enjoy an entertaining movie and I don't have to agree with the worldviews expressed in it in order to enjoy it. If it was claiming to be a historical documentary, that would be a different scenario. (-:

Your thoughts on this?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tell one character's story at a time?

The challenge I have when writing is to focus on one portion of the story at a time and one character's point-of-view at a time. I am not a great multi-tasker. I can do it, but I am at my strongest when I focus on one thing at a time, placing my greatest energies into accomplishing it.

While you're waiting check out Neverqueen!
When I wrote Swords of the Six, Offspring, and Key of Living Fire I told the stories from multiple characters' points of view. But in Neverqueen I focused mostly on Violet's story. The result was a focused story arc that I found easier to write.

Currently I am chipping away at In Search of Dragons. Ilfedo is the focal point in this story. He has left some of his grief behind and is greatly focused on preserving the heritage and future of his nation.

The great search for the dragon Venom-fier has begun!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

One Year Devotional for Fathers and Sons

I'm not sure exactly how this came to be, but the recent encouragement I received from several Christians has led me to start writing a book I did not intend. It is a 365-day devotional for fathers and sons and will deal with a wide array of subjects with encouragement from Scriptures.

The pitfalls of my own life, sins I fell into and unwise choices I made, have resulted in innumerable notes and short articles that I have only shared with a few immediate family members. Other choices I've made have benefited me and those around me greatly. I pray God gives me wisdom to create a string of devotions that will get fathers and sons talking to each other openly about the issues they face. As well, I hope it will be of great encouragement to these men.

A couple of title ideas are battling for supremacy on the forthcoming book. I would love to know which title stands out to you! I am putting this up on a poll on the blog's sidebar as well.

Title options are:
  1. The Countercultural Devotional: One Year for Fathers and Sons
  2. The Good Fight of Faith: One Year of Devotions for Fathers and Sons
By the way, if you have other title ideas or suggested changes, please voice them!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Not a hero? This is where our society has come; Winter Olympics

I know this is going to show how disconnected I am from mainstream media, but I just learned of the outcry concerning Russia and the controversy involving their stance against homosexuals.

I am not going to beat this dead horse. You all know by now that I firmly stand against the homosexual lifestyle, and I do not want to bash the LGBT. But it is an affront to God and to a godly society, and I must declare what is true.

Corporations and the media flood the internet with support for the LGBT. Let this be a reminder of how fallen our world is and of how holy God is. The LGBT are not heroes, folks.

The heroes are conservative men and women who stand for the truth of the Word of God and are willing to pay the price when they are alienated by society.

We should not resort to bashing the LGBT, but we do need to instruct our youth to look through the "smoke screen" and see the real problems that underlie the bitterness and conflict. Sin is present and strong as ever. The Devil is a real force in this world and he wants all LGBT to continue in their blindness on a path into Hell.

Christian, this should bring you to tears and put you in mind of how blessed you are to have Truth and Life.

Friday, January 31, 2014

What makes "The Pilgrim's Progress" resonate?

I must have read it three times when I was growing up and what an impression it left on me. John Bunyan's classic allegory for many years was the best-selling book next only to the Bible. Even today its popularity is evidenced by the many various revisions and editions it has populated.

But why does this allegory resonate so well with people?

I think it has to do with Christian's evolution (the main character in PProgress). Through a nearly fantasy-type setting we can relate to Christian's victories and his failings. We desire the same thing he did: victory over the Evil One and Eternal Life. We must struggle with faith in a physical world populated with individuals who deny God's very existence or scoff at the necessity of repentance and a following after good works.

This book is timeless and powerful, encouraging us to be the men and women of God-granted potential.

Question: Have you read The Pilgrim's Progress? Did it inspire you?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Shearing a dragon?

A while back I worked with this girl in sales who shared my passion for great fantasy stories. As I like to do with enthusiasts, I brainstormed and decided to create an original character in the Neverqueen series.

Raven is a hermit (or shall I say a hermittess, for she is a woman). She lives deep in the forests west of Turser's Mountains and she keeps a companion that is, perhaps, not unique to fantasy, but what she does with this companion is. Her companion is an old dragon.

Raven keeps the dragon in chains. She feeds him and even sees to it that he enjoys good conversations with her, but all the while she pulls off his thick scales one-by-one and sells them to passing traders.

What does the dragon think of this arrangement? Find out when you read the Neverqueen series.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

A new book on writing!

Editor Becky Miller is releasing a book on the writing craft and I thought I'd post a quick recommendation. Becky's edits were among the first that I received and learned from when I began The Sword of the Dragon series.

Follow this LINK to read Becky's post announcing her book.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Building "The Sword of the Dragon" brand: What's the advantage?

When I released the first The Sword of the Dragon novel I hoped to write the seven books and then expand with offshoot storylines in stand-alone novels and new series, much as Star Wars and Dungeons & Dragons have done.

We're looking at a fourth book in the main series to release later this year (titled In Search of Dragons) from AMG/Living Ink Publishers. I am maintaining control of many of the rights, therefore the Neverqueen series is releasing from my own imprint Flaming Pen Press. We will release Neverqueen 2: The Suffering Chalice in or before November 2014. I am excited for other books that I  am planning as well, including a novel detailing what happens to Specter after he secures the Key of Living Fire and vanished through the portal.

The advantage is that the story never has to end and as resources increase we can branch out into audiobooks, video games, and eventually other mediums.

I've placed a poll on the blog sidebar so that you can vote which title you'd like to see in audiobook format first.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Marcher Lord Press sold... to the Laube Agency?

As are many in the Christian speculative fiction market, I am quite stunned by the announcement that Jeff Gerke has sold Marcher Lord Press (MLP) to the Steve Laube Agency.

Looking around the web I see a lot of speculation and mostly disappointment surrounding this announcement.

Clearly the concern is that MLP will lose its edge, and I quite agree that this is a genuine concern. With Jeff at the helm the company has pressed into daring ground and, it can be argued, Jeff himself has become the MLP brand.

I am not a fan of vampire fiction, but I applauded Jeff's decision to publish Vampires In Space because it showed he was publishing the stories that appealed to him, not what was necessarily the most marketable and CBA acceptable fiction.

On a fantasy fiction note I was encouraged to see Jeff create Hinterlands and subsequently release A Throne Of Bones. While I did not find the writing of that particular title to be stellar I was excited that Jeff might pursue some books that could be the Christian answer to Terry Goodkind's The Sword of Truth series.

If I may be allowed, I will voice my concern:We geeks are sensitive creatures and we like consistency. We like the brave and the bold who venture "where no man has gone before." And that means venturing outside the style and scope of the CBA market.

If the new Marcher Lord, Steve Laube, is to succeed with this endeavor then he has to become a very approachable person. Jeff was that and feedback I received from those who interacted with Steve was that he does not have that general reputation. However, my agent (Amanda Luedeke) holds him in high regard and that counts for a lot in my book

This is not a swing at Steve; I believe he can make MLP succeed and I applaud the risk he is taking. But I will be interested to see if his approach to the brand takes the Jeff out of it. I will be interested to see whether the new Marcher Lord Press concerns itself more with what is acceptable to the CBA than what is desirable to its geek following. It is a tricky proposition and I am hoping it does not.

Steve Laube will be holding a discussion on his agency's blog regarding this acquisition on January 6th (a Monday) and I am extremely interested to see what he reveals for the company's direction.

Obviously this is a hot topic right now with many of us, so please comment if you are interested in discussing!


"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

In a world where morality is forsaken and Christ neglected, wholesome books are uncommon. The themes of my writing are love, self-sacrifice, and honor.

I see my generation turning from God to the gods of this world. I see homes torn apart in the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Children are murdered by the millions every year . . . without ever seeing the world outside their mothers' wombs. Through fiction I strive to encourage those who are willing, to stand against these things and be heroes and heroines; chivalrous, gentle, full of righteous indignation, and the fear and love of their Creator.