Opinions, please!

Hi everyone,

I need some opinions on these covers. They’re all variations on the same essential theme for my Jefferson’s Road books, based on what appears to be typical for political-thrillers that I found on Amazon. Tell me which one you like best, or none of the above.  Thanks!

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3 Option 4

Option 5 Option 6 Option 7 Option 8

Oh, and a couple things: The text is supposed to be the same on all of them, as are the sizes (not sure what happened between the first two and the third one, but I’ll fix it later, depending).



Still At It

Well, it’s been awhile since posting anything. We’ve been dealing with surgeries and their aftermath, as well as the ever so fun and stressful job stuff. And, of course, I’ve been writing. Kids are back in “home” school and I’m teaching three co-op classes this semester on top of everything else.

The WIPs are moving along, as you can see by the chart. I doubt I’ll have Nicholas done in time for Christmas this year, which is a bit of a bummer – ’cause it’s a Christmas book. No matter. It’ll give me a chance to push it out properly for next season.

I’ve been at a bit of an impasse with A More Perfect Union, which has, finally, resolved itself. I kinda know where the story needs to go, and where things need to be so I can wrap them up in the final book. It’s just a matter of getting there. I feel like I’ve lost some of the fun and poetry from the first volume, so I’m hoping to recover it before the series ends.

The other thing I’ve been contemplating of late is an attempt to ignite more interest in some of my other books. I’ve come to learn that Amazon rewards authors who publish more content more frequently. While I’m cranking away on these novels, I’m starting to seriously consider serializing some of them – publishing a collection of chapters once a week for a period of weeks – to take advantage of this peculiarity of the ‘zon. Some call it gaming the algorithms. I’m not so sure it is, as much as it is recognizing the nature of the medium in which we publish. I’ve got two books I may take down and then republish in a serial form, if only because they’re being rather roundly ignored – and I think they’re worth another look – if people could find them. I suppose if it doesn’t work, I haven’t really lost anything. It’s not like they’re selling right now as it is.

In the meantime, I’ve got two other WIP’s I’ve begun working on that aren’t in the bar chart on the side. One of these doesn’t have a satisfactory title just yet. The other one is part of a series I’m going to hold on to until I have at least three in it written. Part of a different marketing strategy, you see.

I have to remember this is like a 100 mile marathon, and just keep plodding along until enough content shows up to put me over the top. I just hope I’m still young enough by the time that happens to enjoy it. Oh well. I suppose this is what I get for waiting so long to pursue my passion. God knows, I tried when I was younger. Just couldn’t seem to pull it together enough to finish anything.

I have high hopes for my son, though. He’s started several projects, but the one he’s working on now has well over three hundred pages. I hope he finishes this one. Then the real fun begins!

Okay, ’nuff for now. I’m back to writing. Later!

Vacation Days 1, 2, and 3!

The fam and I are taking a little break. We drove down to Virginia on Saturday. Let my daughter drive for about an hour. White-knuckling the arm rests sure does take a lot out of ya. After we caught our breath and got our blood pressure back down to normal, the rest of the trip went off without a hitch.

The hotel we’re staying at is really nice. It’s a two bedroom suite in Herndon, VA, with its own kitchenette and three TV’s so everyone can pretty much watch what they want. It’s nice. Two bathrooms makes it easier, too.

On Sunday we took a trip over to Arlington to visit my father-in-law’s grave. I never met the man – he died before my wife and I connected – but it was still humbling. Just driving through the cemetery is a humbling experience. Endless fields of grave markers clearly demonstrate the cost of freedom.

Afterwards, we drove over and parked by the paddle boats near the Jefferson Memorial. Spent a little time reading some of the words etched in stone around that monument, and thinking how little our current government seems to be operating by the principles Jefferson espoused. I particularly liked this one:

I have sworn before the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

Consider that one in the context of political correctness! And then there’s this one:

Almighty God hath created the mind free. All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens . . . are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion . . . No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively.

I particularly like that one, especially in context of the Left’s fascination with all things Islamic these days. Does anyone really believe that Jefferson would have submitted to paying the jizya? Or that he would have supported the blasphemy laws found under Shariah?

And just in case people take the above quote to suggest atheism is better, consider this one:

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.

After seeing Jefferson and reading his quotes, honestly, the rest of the monuments we saw were a bit of a let down. FDR’s memorial is, frankly, tainted by his progressivism. Hurray for Social Security – ’cause that’s just done so many wonderful things for our country. People forget that churches, charities and religious institutions were getting the job done of feeding the poor during the Great Depression. It was governmental interference in the market that both caused the problem (the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act), as well as prolonged it. Not that I want to get into a lengthy debate here. Martin Luther King Jr.’s memorial was okay, except that he looked so grim-faced. And nowhere in the memorial are any of his immortal words from the “I have a dream” speech. Is it because we really do want to judge people by the color of their skin and not the content of their character? Or are any judgments on a person’s character due to the color of their skin? I think not. Given that our current President is half-black, half-white, would it be appropriate to say I don’t like the white half of him because it’s plagued by liberal cultural Marxism?

I’ll take tongue out of cheek now. 🙂

We also climbed the steps to the Lincoln Memorial. He didn’t have nearly as much as Jefferson had, but I did like this quote from his second inaugural:

Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray— that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.’

After that, we wandered around the World War II Memorial (still under construction) and the Washington Monument (still under repair), and then headed back–footsore and weary. Spent the rest of our evening ensconced in our room, cozy and warm, reading or enjoying some shows on TV.

This morning I woke to eight inches of snow on the ground and closings everywhere. Felt right at home. Fortunately, though, not all the museums are shut down, so I’m hoping we can hop over to Air and Space and maybe another one and not lose the day just ’cause these poor southerners don’t know how to handle a little precipitation.

Yeah, that tongue’s found its way back to my cheek again.

And I hope we’ll actually get a chance – probably in the next two days – to get up to the Old Post Office tower. I’ll leave you fans of Jefferson’s Road to guess why… 🙂

Just a dip on the weekend…

After a slight dip over the weekend, it looks like Jefferson’s Road is back out on top again. Here’s the rank:

This is essentially where we were on Friday, going into the weekend. I had suspected there’d be a drop off. Now we’re back to where we were. I don’t know whether or not we’ll keep on climbing, but I hope so! 🙂

We’ve given away almost three hundred copies since going free. I’m sure that’ll keep climbing as well, but it’s good to know the readership is growing.

I hope you guys like the series!

And So It Begins…

The Christmas sale is off and running. The early morning returns are showing the first few nibbles of interest. I’ll doubtless be checking this every hour or so through till Wednesday to see how things go. I hope those of you checking out the books for the first time enjoy them – especially all you new Kindle owners out there.

In the meantime, I’ve uploaded a new chapter to In The Widening Gyre which you can find here. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas if I don’t talk to you again before Tuesday.

This is utterly unrelated to writing, but it’s not the kind of thing that should be left unsaid.

God is an Amazing, mind-blowingly generous God.

Like many people, we’ve had our share of financial struggles these past few years (and while I’m hopeful that my writing might be our ticket to better things, it ain’t happened yet!), not to mention the various health scares since Wendy’s brush with cancer, but today we got blessed.

Mind you, I consider even the trials we face to be a blessing. I know God means them for our good, and that He is producing a weight of glory in us that far exceeds anything we might face on this earth–but the simple fact is, trials suck. They need a defense. It takes effort to see them as blessings, to find the good in them.

Today we got blessed in a way that needs no defense. It was just out and out good things.

Our neighbor is moving.

No, no. You read that wrong. We’re not blessed because our neighbor is moving. We like our neighbor. Really we do. Our neighbor moving has had the unexpected consequence of blessing us.

Wow. This really isn’t coming out right.

Here’s the thing: our neighbor has a large freezer full of really nice meat, chicken, fish, vegetables, and prepared foods and such that they purchased from Swann a while back… and they can’t take it with them when they move, ’cause they’ll just be on the road too long.

So they gave it all to us. We’re talking upwards of a month’s worth of groceries.

Our freezer was full before. Except that it was mostly jugs of ice we use to make the machine run more efficiently. We’ve been using it to store the bread God blesses us with thanks to the ministry partnership a co-op friend has with our local Panera Bread Company. We use the bagels in our church service and give away loaves to those church members who are in need–ourselves included.

But now both of our freezers are full (the one above the fridge and the big one on the back porch that held nothing but ice and bread till this afternoon).

I’m literally blown away by this generosity. I know it’s God’s favor toward us. Let’s face it. Sometimes, you have to take God’s favor toward you on faith, ’cause it just doesn’t seem like it. It’s not that you’re ungrateful, necessarily, it’s just that a lot feels like it’s going wrong.

Like Cancer. Or unemployment. Or ministering for seven years, and only having a handful of people in your church. Or writing seven novels and only selling a couple hundred copies. These aren’t complaints of mine. These are just the simple facts of life as we’ve known it since moving to Rochester.

We’ve been blessed, too. I have a wonderful job now with a great company that gives me the time to write and blog in the evenings (after the work is done and the guys I care for are asleep, of course!). We have a house by the lake with a library room like I’ve always dreamed of having. We even got to go to Disney! Cars that work and warm cats for cold nights. All manner of good things.

Those things kinda balance out the bad.

But tonight I felt the scales tip toward the good, and I’m reminded again that God really does like us (“You like me! You really like me!” – S. Field). Sometimes it’s good not to have to take God’s goodness on faith, because you can see it with your own eyes.

That’s where we’re at tonight. And I’m reasonably confident we’ll need this blessing to hold on to when Wendy faces yet another surgery for the benign tumor on her arm next week.

God is good. No matter what.

The Glass Shatters

And just like that, the glass ceiling shatters, raining down shards of glittering frustrations and dashed ambitions down upon the floor.

I now have a contract with Ellechor Publishing company for The Lost Scrolls. True, I haven’t signed it yet – that’ll happen this week after I have a lawyer friend take a look-see through it just to be sure everything’s all copastetic, but I’m pretty-well decided on the matter.

Nothing will happen for a few months after the signing. Then, in February we’ll start the editing process to be sure the manuscript is in tip-top shape before going to press. I have a few weeks to paw through the material myself and snip any dangling threads, tie up any loose dialogue or verbage, etc.

It isn’t slated to come out until March/April of 2012, timed to the summer reading season. We’re obviously too late to make it happen in time for 2011. No worries.

In the meantime, this means I can dust off any sequels and other Christian-market works I have and try to get them ready for the next go-around. Ellechor is asking for first right of refusal on any Christian action/adventure stories I develop from here on out for the foreseeable future. I’m down with that. Dance with the girl what bring ya, y’know?

My Jefferson’s Road series will remain untouched by this agreement, because it’s targeted to the general market. Which is fine with me. I’d rather keep JR to myself, for now.

But since I’ve made it as a published author, I’m ready to shatter the next ceiling, and become a successful published author (meaning the book has to sell well) or even a best selling author (meaning sell really well), all the way to multiple best-selling author and multiple best-selling author with film deals.

I know that’s a long way off yet. May, in fact, be the final result of a twenty-five year career at this (assuming I retire at 67, which won’t happen), but that’s okay. This first major milestone has been reached. Actually, I suppose it’s the second, since the first was actually finishing a novel.

Anyway, I’m delighted, excited, and looking forward to a long and prosperous future. God is good!