Wednesday, June 27, 2012

On the Outside Looking In

   "Then Belshazzar gave orders, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a necklace of gold around his neck, and issued a proclamation concerning him that he now had authority as the third ruler in the kingdom." -Daniel 5:29

For my last blog post before I leave for my mission trip to Slovakia, I wanted to write Part II of Daniel because as I was running this morning, something came to my mind...

What Matters Most

When my son Nathan was little, I would take him to the park in the summer evenings as the sun went down. He would play in the sand with his toys as I would sit nearby on a bench reading a magazine or book. It was a nice time to get out of the house and relax before his dad came home from work and we all sat down for dinner.

One evening as he played, I looked over and saw a family was setting up for a special event in the park. Many of the people were dressed up and carrying gifts. 

Then I saw a group of teenage boys walking toward the play area where I sat. These young men were dressed up to the nines! They wore silk shirts and dress slacks that were creased with shiny black shoes. Some had gold chains around their necks. Their hair was nicely groomed. I was impressed to see a group of teen boys so dressed up for a special event. They walked by me and then stood near Nathan and some other little boys playing in the sand a few feet away. 

Then, it happened. 

I sat in horror as these teens spoke using the "F" word as a noun, verb, and adjective just a few feet away from these little kids! What the heck?

Well, being a mom, I put my magazine down and waved these young men over. Of course, they were pleased to see a thirty-something year old female waving to them. I guess they thought I was interested in them

Boy were they in for a surprise.

I met them half way and talked to them. I told them about how impressed I was with how nicely they were dressed. They beamed and one even said, "Darn right!" as he adjusted his collar. I told them I was impressed with their clothes and hair and jewelry. They smiled and nodded. 

"But then you opened your mouths, " I said. "And I heard you saying the "F" word just a few feet away from my son and all these other little kids."

Their smiles disappeared. 

"Come on guys," I said. "You know better than that. What could you be thinking?"

They looked down at the sidewalk.

"Please watch your language near these little kids, okay?" I went back to my bench. 

Looking back, I wish I had told them that being "cool" is more than what you look like on the outside. It's what's on the inside that matters. Being "cool" means you are aware of what's around you...and you care. It's more than nice clothes, hair, or jewelry. 

Being "cool" means confidence, yes, but it also means having a brain between your ears and using it.

As I watched the teen boys walk away, I doubt very much they stopped using the "F" word. But I hope to this day (14 years later...) that they remember some woman telling them to watch their language around little kids.

Dare to Be Like Daniel...Again

I thought of Daniel again on my morning run. He was clothed in purple with gold chains around his neck. I'm sure he looked "cool". But Daniel was wise for his age. His example to us is so sure, so exemplary, so commendable that it is no wonder thousands of years later we study him in the Bible.

Daniel made such an outward and inward impression on the pagan kings of his time that these men feared his God. They feared and respected Daniel. 

As a result, God's people were spared.

I often think about those young men I saw that summer evening in the park all those years ago. So young, so handsome, so mistaken.

I hope they learned something that night. I hope my words made them stop and think before they spoke. If not, that's okay. I learned something that night. I learned that we see what's on the outside, but we need to look deeper into what's on the inside. 

Your turn: What does being "cool" mean to you? Do you tend to go only by what a person looks like on the outside? Or do you wait until that person speaks before you make up your mind? What would people say about you?


Monday, June 25, 2012


I won't be able to blog much this week since I will be leaving for a mission trip, so I thought I would blog today about, well, blogging!

History of Blogging

Blogs, or "web logs", started around 1999. For me, anyway. 

That's when I began to surf the internet. The first blog I read? George Lucas' blog about STAR WARS: The Phantom Menace, of course. 

On his blog, he posted journal entries from the set and daily videos about what was filmed that day. I thought it was the best thing ever!

Still do.  Now days, most directors of big film projects have a blog where fans can keep up with filming.

But I truly feel blogging took on a whole different role back in 1997 when the news blog, The Drudge Report, broke the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton affair. No other news station or big time magazine broke the story. 

Nope, Matt Drudge broke the story on his blog. After that, the liberal news media was forced to break the story. Now his blog receives over 1 billion hits a year. Yep, you read that right....1 billion hits. 

He has the most visited news blog ever.

Perhaps the news story that change blogging forever occurred on September 11, 2001.

I remember well logging onto the computer and visiting many blogs that day to read the response of people all over the world. 

Another big news blog, Instapundit, had posts about the attacks on our country. This blog is written by University of Tennessee Law Professor, Glenn Reynolds. I found it to be most helpful to me since I was new to the internet at that time. Instapundit provides links to other blogs all over the world where I read posts from people displaying their condolences for America. I saw posts from Hong Kong where people lit candles for us, Australia where people posted photographs of their reactions to the attacks, and Great Britain where people held the American flag and wept. 

I was moved.

Now I read Instapundit daily for news and interesting articles. Professor Reynolds has even written a book, An Army of Davids,  about the blogging phenomenon and how bloggers have influenced news media unlike anything else in recent history.

Military Blogs

I feel one of the most important phenomenon in blogging happened during the Iraq War. 

Thousands of our young soldiers and Marines in harm's way did something that no other military were able to do in any other war:

Record instantly their feelings and experiences in combat.

I began to read Milblogs (short for Military blogs) in 2004 right after the Fallujah incident that changed the war completely. After that, milbloggers blogged regularly about their combat experiences, the heat, how they missed home, and what it was like to be in war. 

I was able to communicate with many of these milbloggers and thank them for their service. Some of them were killed. Others went on to write books about their blog posts. All of us were left changed by these blogs. 

I remember thinking that writing down their feelings in war time and posting them for the world to read must be therapeutic in some ways. 

One thing is for certain, Milblogs are a powerful way for Americans to read about the horrors of war and what it does to our soldiers and Marines. Some milblogs lean Left while others lean Right, but both are fascinating reads. 

Pajamas Media

Back during the 2004 Presidential election, blogs played an important part in the coverage of the election. Many bloggers, both Left & Right leaning, took to the internet to post their facts and opinions about each Presidential candidate. I enjoyed reading all their posts.

Some blogs were written by former newspaper journalists who left professional journalism because of the Liberal bent. Still, these blogs contained news editorials with quality research.

These bloggers were made fun of by "real" journalists who insisted bloggers were just men sitting at the computer in their pajamas writing editorials. 

This comment started the news/pop culture blog Pajamas Media

This blog provides well written articles about news and other interesting topics of the day. I subscribe to the blog (it's free...) and receive email notifications about their posts daily. I highly recommend it!

Now pretty much everyone and everything has a blog. From movie stars, to writers, to cooks, to school teachers, to dogs & cats. Everyone blogs!


Well, that's blogging in a nutshell. 

Why blog? It's a great way to get your name out there especially if you are trying to sell something...anything!

I blog because I am a writer and posting provides me a way to practice writing, a chance to help others with writing tips, and a chance for me to sell my product:

My book!

I suggest you try blogging if you haven't. You will meet some wonderful bloggers out there who have something to say...and sell!

Give it a try!

You never know. You might hit onto something BIG and be the next Matt Drudge or Glenn Reynolds!

But most importantly...just write!

Your turn: When did you first start reading blogs and why? How have blogs made a difference in how you perceive media?


Friday, June 22, 2012

7 Things I Have Learned So Far

After reading a few lists from published authors about what they have learned so far on their writing journey , I thought I'd share some of what I have learned so far on this interesting journey...

1.  Writing isn't as easy as everyone thinks it is...
In fact, It's pretty hard. Writing my first book was much easier because I didn't know what I didn't know about the craft. Now that I have attended a few conferences, met with an agent, read blogs and books on writing, I feel overwhelmed. Writing is a craft that can be learned. Be encouraged!

2. The publishing industry is changing...and that's a good thing!
Don't be afraid to explore all the avenues of publishing these days. Traditional publishing, like traditional education, is being forced to deal with the digital realm. But this is great news to writers! Try your hand at self-publishing in addition to traditional because this increases your chances of being seen.

3. Listen to your editor.
This is hard at times, but a must do for anyone who wants to learn to write. The revising process is where you learn more about your story than at any other time. A good editor will show you the gaps and holes in your plot, the lack of development in your characters, and provide you with some ideas on how to solve those problems. If your editor is not providing you constructive criticism, run for the hills! Find yourself a better editor.

4. Believe in your story.
I know I am not the best writer in town, but when it comes to The Dragon Forest trilogy, I know I have a good story. I believe in my characters. Peter is as real to me as my own son. The Lord gave me this story and I have no problem telling others about it. Make sure you have confidence in your story. You should be able to pitch your story to others in a few sentences, it should be that familiar to you.

5. Be teachable.
I am one of those freaky persons who LOVES to learn. I have no trouble reading books on writing because I love learning new things. When we refuse to learn because we think we already know it all...that's when we begin to fail. Always be willing to read or listen to others about the writing craft. Attend conferences and takes notes, listen, and ask questions. Always be a learner in life.

6. Celebrate with other writers.
It can be easy to sit and grumble when you read about a first time author hitting it big with their first book. But don't sit and grumble! Instead, celebrate with them and be encouraged. When I read about J.K. Rowling's journey, I was amazed. Her story is not an  "overnight success" story in the least. She struggled through life and endured rejection just like the rest of us. So, learn to be genuinely happy for others in this writing journey! That way when YOU hit it big...there will be people around to celebrate with YOU!

7. You are not in this alone.
It's easy to fall into the habit of secluding yourself into your writing "cave" and exclude all others because you have to write, after all. But DON'T do this! You will need the support of a loving family around you to get you through the hard times of rejection (and you will be rejected from time to time...) and revising and waiting. I remember when I ran my first marathon and crossed the finish line, I looked around at all the people who had family there to hug them and laugh with them. I had no one there waiting for me. I didn't like that feeling. You don't want to get that first contract and look around only to find no one there to celebrate with you. So, take time to thank the supportive people in your life! You are not in this alone.

Well, that's my advice so far. I hope to have more advice when my second, third, and fourth books are published! Hey, a girl can dream, right??

I urge you to read more "7 things I've learned..." lists that are out there for encouragement. Keep the faith! Stay strong!

...but most importantly, just write!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dare to be Like Daniel

Dare to Stand Alone

There are few men in the Bible who have left behind an excellent example for believers to follow other than Christ.

Daniel is perhaps one of the best examples. I urge all Christians to read his story.

As a direct result of Daniel's example, many pagan kings in some of the most violent lands bowed down to worship the One True God.

How many of us can leave behind such a legacy?


Integrity to me means a person will live the way that he or she speaks. Walk the walk as well as talk the talk. It is easy to say one thing, but very hard to back it up at times.

Daniel lived a life of integrity even as a teenager taken into capitivity by pagans. He held fast to his beliefs among those who worshipped false gods...even when it meant he could be executed.

"But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials..." 
-Daniel 1:8-9 

Daniel lived by what he believed. He feared His God more than he fear the kings of man. How many of us can say the same thing?

As I get ready to leave one job for a new job (teaching..yay!!) I have the chance to look back on my Christian witness among people of many backgrounds. I wonder if I did a good job of providing an example of Christian integrity or not? I was told by one co-worker that I had not lived up to my Christian standards.

It stings to hear such words, but I also took them to heart. I had failed in her eyes. I learned my lesson.

Bear Much Fruit

Perhaps her words were part of my pruning that Jesus spoke of in John 15.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit."  -John 15:1-2

I believe her words were part of the pruning process. It hurts to be cut like that, but it also helps. As a result, in my next job, I will do my best to live a life of integrity as Daniel did. I will do my best to live as I believe. I will seek the Lord who will provide me the ability to live as I believe and give me the strength to achieve His will.

Sigh. Failure is never easy, but we can always learn from our failures and come out stronger in the end.

As John MacArthur wrote in his devotional, Strength for Today (1997):

"Daniels' life was one of enormous influence, which began when he was a youth who chose commitment over compromise. He was faithul with little, and the Lord gave him much. Perhaps few Christians will have the breadth of influence Daniel enjoyed, but every Christian should have his commitment. Remember, the choices you make for Christ today directly impact the influence you will have for Him tomorrow" (-June 11).

Dare to be like Daniel today. Dare to stand alone. Be diligent to guard your integrity. Never compromise and your influence for Christ will increase daily.

Your Turn:  How has Daniel's story influenced your walk with Christ? What other person of the Bible has had an influence on you?


Monday, June 18, 2012

Tone in Writing

As I am preparing to teach writing this fall, I went through many of my writing craft books and discovered a textbook from my English & Composition course I took in college back in 1986. I remember I kept the book because it was a great resource.

Who knew that 26 yrs later I would need it again as a teacher?

I thought I'd share some insights I have gained from reading through this book.


Tone in Writing

So what is meant by "tone" in writing?

Well, to begin with, it depends on what it is you are writing.

A formal paper should have a formal tone. A journalistic piece of informational writing should have no tone at all if it is to be read as "unbiased". And a narrative should have whatever tone the author wants to convey.

See? Isn't that easy?

If writing were easy, everyone would be doing it.


According to Hairston (1982), tone is the "frame of mind and mood that the piece conveys to the reader" (p.243).

Tone is analogous to the writer's voice in that it is the speaker's tone of voice. For instance, if the writer wants to seem confident, they must select words that are not apologetic or hesitant, but straight to the point. A writer must always address the audience in an appropriate manner.

A more casual piece of writing might consist of more contractions like don't, can't, won't, etc. to convey a more conversational tone to the reader.  But a more formal piece of writing might contain fewer contractions or none at all. Most academic institutions prefer no contractions in their students' academic papers. A formal tone creates a great distance between the reader and the writer. This type of writing consists of longer sentences, higher-level vocabulary, and third person.

A narrative piece can be formal, casual, or conciliatory all at once if that is what the writer wants.

Creative Writing

Because creative writing allows the writer to be just that—creative with tone and voice—most people are drawn to creative writing more than any other. It allows for freedom from constraints of formal writing!

With an informal tone, the writer can put less distance between themselves and the reader. A story can draw in the reader with just a few choice words, pace, rhythm, and tone. It's that power that appeals to the writer.

Look how much fun C.S. Lewis had with his Narnia books! He not only had a more informal tone when dealing with his younger characters, but he switched to a more formal tone with Aslan in order to convey reverence and awe. By creating his own world, Lewis also created his own method of conveying tone and voice.

In Kathryn Stockett's The Help, she is able to convey a more informal tone and voice throughout her book, yet she is also able to create distance between the reader and certain characters while creating intimacy with other characters. Her tone throughout the book is often casual, yet when dealing with the social issues of that historical period, she is able to convey a seriousness to the reader to remind them of the dangers at hand.


Now that you've had a glimpse into what tone is in writing, have fun with it! Change up the tone in your story as you change up your characters. But always keep your audience in mind. By remembering the audience, the writer is able to decide on the tone of a writing piece.

But remember to keep writing!


Friday, June 15, 2012

VBS- That's What It's All About!

Vacation Bible School!!

What a Week!

I didn't have time to blog this week because of Vacation Bible School at our church. So, I thought I'd blog about our week here...

When I signed up to teach at VBS a couple of months ago, I wasn't too sure what to expect. I have taught at VBS before, but it's easy to forget how much energy and work goes into that one week in June.


I am exhausted!  Mostly because I am also working fulltime, so teaching after work makes for a very long day.  Dealing with 17 kids after work makes for a very long night.


What's It All About?

And being exhausted can easily make one cranky. I had to pray hard all this week NOT to be cranky with my kids in my class.

God is good in that He helped me out. He gave me a group of great kids who made me smile each night with their silliness and with how they recited their Bible verses.

But He also showed all of us teachers and volunteers what VBS is all about:

God revealing Himself to all these wonderful children.

During the week, two kids in the middle grade classroom asked to talk more about Jesus, their sin, and salvation. Both sought the Lord. Both found Him there at VBS.

Praise God!!

My son, acting as the Bad Guy in our VBS play!

Fun watching the play at VBS

Thank You For Giving to the Lord

Thank you to all our teachers, volunteers, and parents. I know a lot of hard work goes into this week.

As our VBS week is coming to an end. I won't lie and say I'm not happy about that.

I am!

But a part of me is a bit sad. I will miss seeing those kids running around the church, singing the silly songs, and laughing together.

I thank the Lord that He is so gracious to give us a glimpse of what it will be like in glory when all we do is worship Him, sing songs, laugh, and learn more about His ways.


I am off to teach at another VBS...only this one will be in Slovakia!  And I will have interpreters in my classroom to help me communicate with my kids. I will also be teaching art as well as Bible lessons.

Am I crazy or what??

I will be prepared, though. This week has helped me to remember just how much work goes into each day, but also how much fun there is to he had by all.

Thank You, Lord, for this chance to make a difference in a child's life. I pray that we will see a child...just out the Lord, pray to Him, and be forever changed.

That's what VBS is all about!


Monday, June 11, 2012

Plot Structure


This post is about the plot of Prometheus, the new movie released this weekend. If you haven't seen the movie, you may not want to read this post just yet. 

When Bad Plot Structure Happens to a Good Movie Series

My hubby and I went to see the new Ridley Scott film, Prometheus. We are both BIG fans of Ridley Scott and we both enjoyed the Alien movies (the first and second films, anyway).


The plot of the movie was not very good. Why was it not very good?

It lacked a solid plot structure.

Three Act Structure

Most movies released from Hollywood or any movie studio typically follow the Three Act Structure.

They follow this structure because it's been tested and it works. It works rather well, actually.

But every once in awhile I sit and watch a film that does not follow this structure and I am usually very disappointed in the film.

And this is what happened with the much anticipated film, Prometheus.

The film is supposedly the prequel to the first of the Alien movies. However, there seems to be two plots going on at the same time and neither plot is any good or well developed, for that matter. 

What Went Wrong

So, the audience is led to believe that the story is about a group of space explorers searching for the origins of life. They discover an archaeological find that links to other archaeological finds and therefore justifies the spending of a trillion dollars to go and explore in outer space for this "alien species" out there somewhere. 

This leads our protagonists to a mysterious moon, a mysterious underground civilization, and a mysterious hologram that shows a desperate attempt by the inhabitants to escape from something that is chasing them. What is that something chasing them? Your guess is as good as mine since we are never told. 

Okay. Interesting enough.

But then the second story begins and that is one of the mysterious "goo" that seems to contain very dangerous DNA of a strange alien species that can overtake a living organism and kill it rather instantly. Is this the origin of the Alien creatures from the 1979 movie we all love??

I'm not sure because there is no explanation or allusion to the "perfect organism" we were introduced to in the original Alien film.

Darn!  That's what I was hoping for.

Who is the antagonist? This guy here? The mysterious "goo"? The old guy?? There
are too many to choose from or care about...

One Big Mess

Because the film has two stories going on at the same time, there is no solid plot structure. There are two pivot points early on...then some minor points throughout...then another big pivot point that isn't very captivating...then a very GROSS surgical scene that is improbable if not impossible to believe could ever happen...and on and on and on.

When I gaze at my watch several times during a movie, that's not a good sign. I am bored and can't wait for the movie to end. I gazed at my watch several times during this movie. 


The Crisis point of the film happens and you think you know where it's going, but then it takes yet another turn that is a let down until it reaches the Climax scene and then, the resolution.

But because there are two stories going on at the same time, the Crisis and Climax scenes do not leave the viewer satisfied. They leave you very unsatisfied. 

The mystery of the goo is never completely resolved. And frankly, I left not caring much about it.

We were really hoping for a prequel to Alien. Instead, Prometheus
doesn't deserve to even been spoken in the same sentence as this great sci-fi classic.

The Importance of Good Plot Structure

So, in the end this movie is a big glob of a mess that could have been so good, so well structured, had it been written by screenwriters who didn't want to tell two stories at the same time.

We were introduced to protagonists we didn't care about, given too many antagonists to care about, and a plot structure that had more holes than the Titanic.

All in all, what I learned from watching Prometheus, is how important it is to follow a solid plot structure. Don't try to tell so many stories at the same time. Give your audience solid characters to care about. And give us a fantastic antagonist to fear.

The first Alien movie did all this. I cared about each character. I rooted for them all. I was scared to death of the antagonist...the Alien and "The Company" at the same time...and the setting. Well, the setting goes down into Hollywood history as one of the best sci-fi settings of all time.

Needless to say, we were very disappointed in Prometheus. It is with a saddened heart that I write that I cannot recommend it. We had been looking forward to seeing this film for many months.

At least I learned something from it! A take away is always a good thing.

Your Turn:  Did you see Prometheus this weekend? What did you think?


Friday, June 8, 2012


A Writer's Retreat

Some of my writer friends have posted about the writer's retreats they have taken recently. It sounds so nice to be able to pack up and leave to some secluded place and just write....


I must admit I will have to try this soon!

I wouldn't mind a cabin in the woods....where I could take long walks in quiet coolness and just think.

I once lived 20 minutes from the Atlantic ocean. I failed to take advantage of it! I should have been on that beach everyday. Sigh. 

I think a writer's retreat to the ocean would be a great idea!

Yep. I can see myself sitting right there.

Not much for the snow, but I could definitely see myself here:

I would love to visit New England in fall...and refresh!

Your turn:  Where would you go for a writer's retreat? 


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Power of Inspiration

I must have been about 10 yrs old when my mom gave me this book to read.

I flipped through it at first and noticed there were pictures of some drawings in the book. The drawings were of horses. My favorite!

So, I sat down and read the book about a young woman who became a quadriplegic after a diving accident.

Her name is Joni.

The Power of Inspiration

I suppose my mom gave me this book to read because she knew how much I loved to draw. But I have a feeling the main reason she gave me this book was because the author was an artist...but not your ordinary artist.

Joni draws with her mouth.

In ink.

As a kid, I was in awe of this! I was also a little jealous about how well she could draw horses with her mouth! But I was mostly amazed at her faith in God even after tragedy had befallen her.

I think it was my mom's way of reminding me not to give always remember to be thankful for my talent...and to keep drawing no matter what.

Now Joni Eareckson Tada is a world famous artist, writer, singer, and motivational speaker. She is also a philanthropist who helps provide much needed wheelchairs for the disabled all over the world. 

Even after all these years she inspires me to never quit. She moves me with her love of Christ...yes even after being in a wheelchair all these years, she continues to bless His name and sings songs of praise to Him. 

Still Me

I remember hearing her speak on the radio about how friends asked her to meet with actor Christopher Reeve after a horseback riding accident had left him a quadriplegic.

She spoke about how he was so distraught and wanted to die. He asked her if, after the accident, there was ever a time when she wanted to end her life. 

She had to think about it for a few seconds. Then she said, "Yes. One time. It was after I came home from the hospital. Each night, my mother had to roll me over in bed each hour on the hour every night or I would suffocate."  Joni went on to say that seeing her exhausted mother come into her room every hour just to turn her broken body over made her feel so guilty that she wanted to end her life. But guess what? She couldn't move her arms or use her hands. She couldn't even end her own life! She had no control over her life. She was completely in God's hands. 

She did try and encourage Christopher Reeve to trust in God and use what happen to him for good. An avowed atheist, Christopher Reeve, in his own book Still Me, said he began to have faith that his accident did have a purpose, but he wasn't entirely certain. 

Never Quit

Recently, Joni released a new set of greeting cards made from her latest color drawing of flowers. On her blog, she wrote about how after the accident, her greatest fear was that she would never be able to draw her beloved horses again. She tenderly spoke about how grateful she was to the Lord that He didn't take that comforting ability away from her. In His mercy, throughout the storm, He left her with the ability to draw and paint...even if it meant with her mouth. 

I remember trying to copy some of Joni's drawings from her book when I was a kid. Even with my hands, I wasn't as good as she was with the pencil between her teeth! She is amazing.

Joni still inspires me to keep going no matter what. 

She inspires me to use my talents and gifts to serve the Lord.

She inspires me to give to others. 

Joni inspires me to love the Lord and bless His name through the storm because He is there. He never left her side. He is still there with her even now. He has used her in a mighty mighty way. 

Your turn: How has the Lord used someone to inspire you to keep going even through the storm? 


Monday, June 4, 2012

Author Meet and Greet!

Today I have the privilege of introducing author C. Kevin Thompson.

Kevin is the author of The Serpent's Grasp published by OakTara. We not only share the same publisher, but an education background and a childhood that wasn't filled with books. 

So...let's meet Kevin:

Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself….
I’m 29, GQ Cover-handsome, and drive a Rolls-Royce (my other car is a Maserati). Now, that’s fiction! Fantasy fiction at that! In the real world, I’m an assistant principal at a local high school by day and a writer by anytime I can steal at night, on weekends, over holidays, you name it. I would love to have my Plan “B” become Plan “A,” so if anyone reading this would like to help a brother out, here’s my website: I don’t care where you purchase my book (soon to be books), I just appreciate you helping this brother out, so THANK YOU in advance.

 I’m married, been so for 31 years this coming August to my wonderful wife and writing supporter, Cindy. We have three daughters. Yes, I got out-voted on many a movie night and watched a boat load of chick flicks. We have three grandchildren, two boys and a girl, and two more on the way in November and January. We enjoy them immensely and wish we had had them first. Just kidding. We live in Central Florida where I was born and raised (Cindy is a northern transplant…Thank God for transplants J).

Congratulations on 31 years married and your grandchildren. What a joy!
So, did you read a lot as a child?
No. I actually hated reading. I only read things I had to read for school and hated it, every word. It wasn’t until I was 13 when my mother took a friend of mine and me to Daytona Beach for a weekend. It was raining the Friday night we arrived, so we went and watched Jaws, the big summer blockbuster that had just come out (Okay, movie buffs and math geeks, now you can start doing the math to find out how old I am). Later that evening, I saw the book in a store, picked it up, and started thumbing through it. My mom asked if I wanted it. I said, “Sure.” So, she bought it. That book turned me on to reading. I had finally found a genre I liked. Wanting to be a marine biologist at the time, it was right up my alley. By the way, for all you reading teachers out there, that’s the key. Most students today hate reading like I did because they haven’t found anything that interests them yet. As a teacher, you have to get inside their heads (scary thought) and find out what they want to do (at this stage of their maturation process…and it will probably change) when they get out of school. Once you narrow the topics, target those areas of reading.

That's good to know since I will teach writing this fall to 7th and 8th grade students. What books do you read now? What is your favorite genre?
What books do I read now? Wow, that’s a tough one. I’m all over the map. I read books that author friends ask me to read and review which takes me into areas I sometimes never travel. I also research a great deal, which really takes me into forays in which I never pictured myself involved. I just finished a book about bioweapons and what the Russians have been doing since the 1980s. Scary stuff. I also have five or six books going at once; fiction and non-fiction. Right now, I’m reading:

  • The Last Jihad by Joel Rosenberg
  • The Gabon Virus by Paul McCusker & Walt Larimore
  • Putin’s Labyrinth by Steven Levine
  • Lab 257 by Michael Carroll
  • Unleash the Writer Within by Cecil Murphey
  • Plot versus Character by Jeff Gerke
  • And I was just sent a book to review which I’ll start soon: Saving America: A Christian Perspective of the Tea party Movement by Jonathan Wakefield

You know, after looking at that list, I never thought of myself as having ADHD, but maybe there’s something to it, because…..squirrel!

As for my favorite genre, thrillers & mysteries. I like books that keep you guessing. I’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and would love to write stories for the Conan Doyle Trust. However, it seems to be overdone these days (that’s a three-pipe dilemma in its own right, and I was never one for the 7% solution). My first novel (never before published, by the way) was a take-off of SH (Stand by for shameless plug…and announcer’s voice:) “and could be available very soon after a few edits for any agent or publisher to peruse for possible future publication.”

I tend to read four or five books at the same time ranging from fiction to non-fiction to writing craft books, so I can relate! What made you get into writing?
I’m a conundrum. As I stated earlier, I hated to read growing up, but I liked to write. Go figure. I’m not sure anything “made” me get into writing other that I just have that creative vibe in my body that shakes out all sorts of story ideas. I’ll be reading something, and my mind will start piecing ideas together until I say, “Hey, I could write about that.” I have a little book in which I write those ideas down so I don’t forget. The book I’m working on now was the amalgamation of two stories in my little book that were intended to be separate. However, the beginning of one book idea is now going to be the end of Book 1 that launches the reader into Book 2…obviously, it will be a series.

When did you know for sure you wanted to be a writer?
Mid-1990s. In the early ‘90’s, I wrote several articles and was published in different publications. Then, I turned my efforts toward fiction. When I finished A Case of Déjà Vu. (That’s the Sherlock Holmes take-off, BTW.) I learned a short time after that most writers who aspire to become writers never finish that “Great American novel” they “always wanted to write.” The completion of Déjà Vu really inspired me to keep writing. The one I’m working on now is actually my fifth novel, three of which have never been sold. One of those I’ve never attempted to sell because it was a gift for one of my daughters.

What is your writing process? Are you a planner or a panster or both?
What’s a “panster”? I’m a high school principal. If you say it fast, it sounds like a practical joke one guy would play on another. I’m not a “planner” either, at least not like some people who map out chapters like meals they are going to cook for the week, complete with recipes right down to the pinch of salt. I write with the beginning and the ending in mind. I know how I want it to start; I know how I want it to end. So, as I write, I launch from the beginning, heading for the ending, keeping it always in front of me, and enjoy the journey. I’m amazed at how the story steers me into areas I never would have considered by “mapping it out.”

I also pick a theme I wish to stress throughout the book/series as well. The Serpent’s Grasp deals with the issue of Truth. Dr. Evelyn Sims, the main protagonist, says this very well in a quote from her article in the Journal of Marine Paleontology entitled, “Biospheres and Bios-Fears: Keeping an Open Mind in a World and Time of Scientific Discovery,” she states:

One question keeps haunting me as a scientist.  One query’s answer eludes me.  I ask and ask, search and search, research and research, and not one scientist can give me a definitive answer.  I posed the question when researching the Scopes Monkey Trial as a graduate student.  I inquired when ‘Little Lucy’ was unearthed.  I have combed the halls of academia, scoured the journals of science, and questioned leading experts searching for the answer to this question:  Of what or whom is evolution afraid?  If time is on the side of truth, then there is nothing to fear if it is truly truth we seek.”

The book I’m working on now deals with the issue of True Peace. What is true peace? What does it look like? Can it be acquired? A great question for a former Black Ops turned FBI agent who has devoted his life to serving his country, huh?

Tell us how your book was published. Has it been what you expected it would be?
Has it been what I expected? Yes and No. More of the latter. I actually chronicled this story how my book was published on my blog @ It is a six-part series explaining how it happened to me.

Why do you continue to write?
Because I love it. It’s my therapy. Others work in the yard, pulling weeds and planting flowers. Me? I need therapy after yard work…physical, emotional, and psychological therapy. Writing, though, I could write every day for hours on end if I could. And it’s developing into a ministry, too. I want to reach people with my writing. Like I said before, I’ve always wanted to write and wish now I had pursued it when I was a teenager. Who knows where I’d be today. Now, though, as my stories become more developed and complex, I write for my Lord and Savior, Jesus. I want to honor God in everything I do, including my writing.

I know what you mean. I came to writing late in life and wish I had started earlier! But God's timing is perfect. I find it to be very therapeutic. Do you have any other books contracted for publishing?
My publisher, Oaktara Publishers, is very interested in the next one I’m working on. The tentative title is 30 Days Hath Revenge and is the first book of a series. We had a long discussion at the last writer’s conference I attended, and I was asked if I could have the manuscript completed by June 30/July 1. Since I still work a Plan “A” job right now, I informed the editor that I was planning on having it done by August 1 at the latest before school starts again. We’ll see if we can’t speed that along a little. They are pushing it because they want a Fall 2012 release. I’m praying right now about seeking a literary agent, too. I had an agent show great interest in my present project at this last writer’s conference, and also have another agent who has already told me send it to him when I’m done.

How does faith play a part in your writing?
It plays an enormous role. As I’ve stated before, my books deal with themes. Those themes are like umbrellas that spread out over the entire novel. However, under the umbrella, there are other aspects of the faith tackled as they arise from the lives of the characters. I try not to force faith issues into my stories. When they are forced, they stick out like a life-size Waldo in a book-size puzzle. I try to keep it real, but I also want to help the reader face the same issues in their own lives. Like in The Serpent’s Grasp, for example, the science in the book is irrefutable. Even scientists in no way sympathetic to Christianity have come out and agreed with the science I used to formulate the book. So, as my editor stated to me, “I loved your book because it’s smart fiction that gets the reader asking, ‘What if?’” If you can get a reader asking questions, like What if what Evelyn Sims says is true? or What if Dr. Landover’s conclusions about evolution are correct?, then the Holy Spirit can do the rest. 

Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
Romans 12:1-2. The Apostle Paul says it all in these two verses. In view of what God has done for us, i.e., read chapters 1-11, now do this, “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices….”

If you could interview any author alive or dead, which author would that be?
Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol is one of my all-time favorites. His ability to describe, like this scene below, fascinates me, and I can only hope I can write with such depth someday:

They left the busy scene, and went into an obscure part of the town, where Scrooge had never penetrated before, although he recognised its situation, and its bad repute. The ways were foul and narrow; the shops and houses wretched; the people half-naked, drunken, slipshod, ugly. Alleys and archways, like so many cesspools, disgorged their offences of smell, and dirt, and life, upon the straggling streets; and the whole quarter reeked with crime, with filth, and misery.

This is a masterful description of what life was like in those days on the “poor” side of town in 18th century England. I used to read this story to my students, and we would always stop and have a history and vocabulary lesson on this paragraph. Why would alleys and archways smell like so many cesspools?  If you know your history, then…you know. And what does “disgorge” mean? You get the picture.

As for the entire story, I love the concept, love the message, and love how Dickens wrote for the hearts of men and to scourge society when the poor and destitute were wronged. I also scream when all the movies leave out the part about Jesus. Yes, Virginia, there is a part about Jesus in this Christmas book. HINT: It begins, “Oh, cold, cold, rigid dreadful Death…” 

I'll have to share that passage from A Christmas Carol with my students this fall when we discuss descriptive writing! Thank you so much, Kevin, for answering a few questions about yourself. I look forward to reading your book!

You can connect with C. Kevin Thompson on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

His book is available at and also at our publisher's web site: