Donald Miller on Writing

Must be link week here at Spoiled for the Ordinary…

Breakpoint has an excerpt from Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, talking about the process of writing. We may think we need to “live life” to write, but if that’s all we do we’ll never do the hard business of getting writing done. He also talks about making life uncomfortable for your characters in order to get them to change.

So be sure to check out “How to Make Yourself Write a Better Story” and tell them Jason sent you. They won’t know who I am, but tell ’em anyway.

Donald Miller on Writing

Must be link week here at Spoiled for the Ordinary…

Breakpoint has an excerpt from Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, talking about the process of writing. We may think we need to “live life” to write, but if that’s all we do we’ll never do the hard business of getting writing done. He also talks about making life uncomfortable for your characters in order to get them to change.

So be sure to check out “How to Make Yourself Write a Better Story” and tell them Jason sent you. They won’t know who I am, but tell ’em anyway.

Technology-Induced ADHD

I’ve wondered for a while if surfing the internet wasn’t giving me ADHD.

A new article from Wired Magazine may prove me right.

It suggests the constant attention shift required by the Web “shatters focus” and “rewires the brain.” I notice that I have a lot smaller attention span, which isn’t a good thing. I also stream music in the background through the day at work, so quiet, focused time isn’t something I am used to anymore. Not a good thing for my prayer life I can tell you.

Anyway, I wanted to let you all know of the dangers before I….

Technology-Induced ADHD

I’ve wondered for a while if surfing the internet wasn’t giving me ADHD.

A new article from Wired Magazine may prove me right.

It suggests the constant attention shift required by the Web “shatters focus” and “rewires the brain.” I notice that I have a lot smaller attention span, which isn’t a good thing. I also stream music in the background through the day at work, so quiet, focused time isn’t something I am used to anymore. Not a good thing for my prayer life I can tell you.

Anyway, I wanted to let you all know of the dangers before I….

CFBA Tour – Maid to Match

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Maid to Match
Bethany House (June 1, 2010)

by
Deeanne Gist

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

After a short career in elementary education, Deeanne Gist retired to raise her four children. Over the course of the next fifteen years, she ran a home accessory and antique business, became a member of the press, wrote freelance journalism for national publications such as People, Parents, Parenting, Family Fun, Houston Chronicle and Orlando Sentinel, and acted as CFO for her husband’s small engineering firm–all from the comforts of home.

Squeezed betwixt-and-between all this, she read romance novels by the truckload and even wrote a couple of her own. While those unpublished manuscripts rested on the shelf, she founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products that would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility and provide character building activities.

After a few short months of running her publishing company, Gist quickly discovered being a “corporate executive” was not where her gifts and talents lie. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing.

Eight months later, she sold A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers. Since that debut, her very original, very fun romances have rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere. Add to this two consecutive Christy Awards, two RITA nominations, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you’ve got one recipe for success.

Her 2010 books, Beguiled and Maid To Match are now available for order.

Gist lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-seven years and their two border collies. They have four grown children. Visit her blog to find out the most up-to-the-minute news about Dee.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Falling in love could cost her everything.

From the day she arrived at the Biltmore, Tillie Reese is dazzled, by the riches of the Vanderbilts and by Mack Danvers, a mountain man turned footman. When Tillie is enlisted to help tame Mack’s rugged behavior by tutoring him in proper servant etiquette, the resulting sparks threaten Tillie’s efforts to be chosen as Edith Vanderbilt’s lady’s maid, After all, the one rule of the house is no romance below stairs.

But the stakes rise even higher when Mack and Tillie become entangles in a cover-up at the town orphanage. They could both lose their jobs, their aspirations…their hearts.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Maid to Match, go HERE.

Join this SPECIAL GETAWAY (Click on the Button):

CFBA Tour – Maid to Match

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Maid to Match
Bethany House (June 1, 2010)

by
Deeanne Gist

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

After a short career in elementary education, Deeanne Gist retired to raise her four children. Over the course of the next fifteen years, she ran a home accessory and antique business, became a member of the press, wrote freelance journalism for national publications such as People, Parents, Parenting, Family Fun, Houston Chronicle and Orlando Sentinel, and acted as CFO for her husband’s small engineering firm–all from the comforts of home.

Squeezed betwixt-and-between all this, she read romance novels by the truckload and even wrote a couple of her own. While those unpublished manuscripts rested on the shelf, she founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products that would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility and provide character building activities.

After a few short months of running her publishing company, Gist quickly discovered being a “corporate executive” was not where her gifts and talents lie. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing.

Eight months later, she sold A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers. Since that debut, her very original, very fun romances have rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere. Add to this two consecutive Christy Awards, two RITA nominations, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you’ve got one recipe for success.

Her 2010 books, Beguiled and Maid To Match are now available for order.

Gist lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-seven years and their two border collies. They have four grown children. Visit her blog to find out the most up-to-the-minute news about Dee.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Falling in love could cost her everything.

From the day she arrived at the Biltmore, Tillie Reese is dazzled, by the riches of the Vanderbilts and by Mack Danvers, a mountain man turned footman. When Tillie is enlisted to help tame Mack’s rugged behavior by tutoring him in proper servant etiquette, the resulting sparks threaten Tillie’s efforts to be chosen as Edith Vanderbilt’s lady’s maid, After all, the one rule of the house is no romance below stairs.

But the stakes rise even higher when Mack and Tillie become entangles in a cover-up at the town orphanage. They could both lose their jobs, their aspirations…their hearts.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Maid to Match, go HERE.

Join this SPECIAL GETAWAY (Click on the Button):

CSFF Tour – Review of Imaginary Jesus

What, pray tell, is Imaginary Jesus?

First of all, you’ll have to check out my introductory post from yesterday. It is considered a novel by its publisher. It has a memoir-feel about it, if a memoir can have time travel and a talking donkey, along with a huge supporting cast of fake Jesuses.

I wonder a little bit how the Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy blog tour came to review it. It counts as “speculative” due to the bizarre unusual premise and the time travel aspect, I suppose. Suffice to say, it isn’t our usual fare of swords, magic, or space travel.

First, the writing. It is hard to discuss characters, as the main character is the author, Matt Mikalatos, and a plethora of Jesuses. Not your traditional novel in this aspect (I sense a theme here…). The writing is funny, quick to read, and generally quite clever. There is a patch toward the end that just gets frentic and confusing, but overall this book moves fast and fun. Again, it is a very non-traditional novel, but you can’t call it “creative non-fiction” either.

So, what about the message/theme/theology of a book that starts off with “Jesus” getting punched in the face? The whole premise is that Matt is confronted with the idea that the construct he believes is Jesus is an imaginary Jesus. This Jesus is a mash-up of ideas that makes Matt confortable. He feels chastened mildly by his Jesus, but usually this construct keeps him happy enough.

Matt has a visit by the apostle Peter who exposes this fraud, and the two chase off after the runaway Jesus. Matt is forced to confront this imaingary Jesus before he can meet the real Jesus. He takes a trip to the first century and gets a glipse of the Rabbi from Galilee. He then returns to modern day Portland, where he encounters many fake Jesuses (very creative here: Perpetually Angry Jesus, Testosterone Jesus [the Jesus of men’s retreats], and New Age Jesus are among the copies).

Finally, after confronting some tragedy in his own past, Matt pushes through all the distractions and cultural assumptions and meets the Master.

If one is to read this book, you have to realize that it is full of whimsy and satire. As someone else said in the tour, Matt never makes fun of Jesus – he is always highly respectful of the true Jesus. It distinguishes from the other Jesuses running around. It may be a little disconcerting seeing how he plays off of modern American church culture to construct these fakes, but if the reader keeps his eyes open, they should see the critique is on us Christians and how we all can create our own ideas of Jesus.

One could say it is the fun (and more theologically correct) version of The Shack. Sometimes the humor is thick enough to be distracting, but overall the message is potent. Is such humor appropriate to communicate a serious message? Mike Duran discussed this idea this week. I think the humor disarms us to allow the message to get past our defenses.

Final impressions: this is a book that takes chances. Hard to consider it a novel, but it doesn’t really fit anything else. It is an entertaining, quick read, especially if one has a sense of humor. There are some good challenges to how comfortable we get with our own Imaginary Jesuses, rather than fully seeking the Holy One of Israel, the King of Kings. George Barna even gets in on the action, having an appearance in the book and discussing our American habit of redefining Jesus.

Don’t let the back copy or cover scare you off. If you want a challenge to look at Jesus clearly, this book has a humorous poke at our sacred cows. And if you want other opinions from the CSFF crew, Becky Miller always keeps a running tab.

Special thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for supplying me with a review copy of Imaginary Jesus.

CSFF Tour – Review of Imaginary Jesus

What, pray tell, is Imaginary Jesus?

First of all, you’ll have to check out my introductory post from yesterday. It is considered a novel by its publisher. It has a memoir-feel about it, if a memoir can have time travel and a talking donkey, along with a huge supporting cast of fake Jesuses.

I wonder a little bit how the Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy blog tour came to review it. It counts as “speculative” due to the bizarre unusual premise and the time travel aspect, I suppose. Suffice to say, it isn’t our usual fare of swords, magic, or space travel.

First, the writing. It is hard to discuss characters, as the main character is the author, Matt Mikalatos, and a plethora of Jesuses. Not your traditional novel in this aspect (I sense a theme here…). The writing is funny, quick to read, and generally quite clever. There is a patch toward the end that just gets frentic and confusing, but overall this book moves fast and fun. Again, it is a very non-traditional novel, but you can’t call it “creative non-fiction” either.

So, what about the message/theme/theology of a book that starts off with “Jesus” getting punched in the face? The whole premise is that Matt is confronted with the idea that the construct he believes is Jesus is an imaginary Jesus. This Jesus is a mash-up of ideas that makes Matt confortable. He feels chastened mildly by his Jesus, but usually this construct keeps him happy enough.

Matt has a visit by the apostle Peter who exposes this fraud, and the two chase off after the runaway Jesus. Matt is forced to confront this imaingary Jesus before he can meet the real Jesus. He takes a trip to the first century and gets a glipse of the Rabbi from Galilee. He then returns to modern day Portland, where he encounters many fake Jesuses (very creative here: Perpetually Angry Jesus, Testosterone Jesus [the Jesus of men’s retreats], and New Age Jesus are among the copies).

Finally, after confronting some tragedy in his own past, Matt pushes through all the distractions and cultural assumptions and meets the Master.

If one is to read this book, you have to realize that it is full of whimsy and satire. As someone else said in the tour, Matt never makes fun of Jesus – he is always highly respectful of the true Jesus. It distinguishes from the other Jesuses running around. It may be a little disconcerting seeing how he plays off of modern American church culture to construct these fakes, but if the reader keeps his eyes open, they should see the critique is on us Christians and how we all can create our own ideas of Jesus.

One could say it is the fun (and more theologically correct) version of The Shack. Sometimes the humor is thick enough to be distracting, but overall the message is potent. Is such humor appropriate to communicate a serious message? Mike Duran discussed this idea this week. I think the humor disarms us to allow the message to get past our defenses.

Final impressions: this is a book that takes chances. Hard to consider it a novel, but it doesn’t really fit anything else. It is an entertaining, quick read, especially if one has a sense of humor. There are some good challenges to how comfortable we get with our own Imaginary Jesuses, rather than fully seeking the Holy One of Israel, the King of Kings. George Barna even gets in on the action, having an appearance in the book and discussing our American habit of redefining Jesus.

Don’t let the back copy or cover scare you off. If you want a challenge to look at Jesus clearly, this book has a humorous poke at our sacred cows. And if you want other opinions from the CSFF crew, Becky Miller always keeps a running tab.

Special thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for supplying me with a review copy of Imaginary Jesus.

“Imagine,” If You Will… (CSFF Blog Tour)

Prepare yourself. You are about to enter a blog post where anything can happen. Anything you can imagine may pop up.

A talking donkey?

Check.

A romp through space and time and Portland, Oregon?

Yup.

Jesus getting punched in the face?

Say what???

Welcome to the June edition of the Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy Blog Tour, a lively place to find some people talking passionately about speculative fiction with a Christian bent. I can promise you that this is the most interesting book we have ever talked about.

Imaginary Jesus.

This is the first book from Matt Mikalatos. I’ve interacted with Matt since the old faith*in*fiction blog days and have followed him off and on at his blog “Burning Hearts Revolution” since. His humor kept it very entertaining, as he talked about his girls’ adventures in soccer, traveling for ministry, or off-the-wall observations of life.

The last phrase is a good description of Imaginary Jesus.

It is an unusual novel, as it has a lot of autobiographical elements of Matt’s life woven through the book. In fact, he is the main character. The book starts with him hanging out at a Portland coffee shop with who he thinks is Jesus. At least, it is “his” Jesus.

When a burly fisherman type comes in and joins Matt, he is startled when the stranger accuses Jesus of not being real. This is where Jesus gets pounded in the nose.

Matt protests, but the stranger introduces himself as the apostle Peter, and he informs Matt, “I knew Jesus. That is not the real Jesus.”

From there the book takes the reader on a wild ride to discover the real Jesus. It involves time travel, talking donkeys, comic book shops, dinner with the President, and a “Houdini Dog.”

If that doesn’t pique your interest for my review tomorrow, then I may have to ask Matt to send you the Frog of Hate (TM).

If you require a little more instant gratification, check out the book’s website or my tour comrades below!

Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Valerie Comer
R. L. Copple
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Leighton
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher

“Imagine,” If You Will… (CSFF Blog Tour)

Prepare yourself. You are about to enter a blog post where anything can happen. Anything you can imagine may pop up.

A talking donkey?

Check.

A romp through space and time and Portland, Oregon?

Yup.

Jesus getting punched in the face?

Say what???

Welcome to the June edition of the Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy Blog Tour, a lively place to find some people talking passionately about speculative fiction with a Christian bent. I can promise you that this is the most interesting book we have ever talked about.

Imaginary Jesus.

This is the first book from Matt Mikalatos. I’ve interacted with Matt since the old faith*in*fiction blog days and have followed him off and on at his blog “Burning Hearts Revolution” since. His humor kept it very entertaining, as he talked about his girls’ adventures in soccer, traveling for ministry, or off-the-wall observations of life.

The last phrase is a good description of Imaginary Jesus.

It is an unusual novel, as it has a lot of autobiographical elements of Matt’s life woven through the book. In fact, he is the main character. The book starts with him hanging out at a Portland coffee shop with who he thinks is Jesus. At least, it is “his” Jesus.

When a burly fisherman type comes in and joins Matt, he is startled when the stranger accuses Jesus of not being real. This is where Jesus gets pounded in the nose.

Matt protests, but the stranger introduces himself as the apostle Peter, and he informs Matt, “I knew Jesus. That is not the real Jesus.”

From there the book takes the reader on a wild ride to discover the real Jesus. It involves time travel, talking donkeys, comic book shops, dinner with the President, and a “Houdini Dog.”

If that doesn’t pique your interest for my review tomorrow, then I may have to ask Matt to send you the Frog of Hate (TM).

If you require a little more instant gratification, check out the book’s website or my tour comrades below!

Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Valerie Comer
R. L. Copple
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Leighton
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher