A New Home

What do you do for an encore?

Welcome to the new Spoiled For The Ordinary 2.0. I’ve been hanging out at my old location since ’06, but it was time for an upgrade. So here I am on WordPress, ready to go.

I’ve grown so much since I started to blog. I guess it is time for this to do so as well.

I will continue to talk about issues of faith as well as the ins and outs of fiction. Oh, and I like to have some fun in between. That’s the focus of the blog: faith, fiction, and fun.

As I looked back to my first post, this line stuck out to me:

 I serve a big God, a God of adventure and life. I serve in His kingdom, and because of that reason alone, I have been “spoiled for the ordinary”.

That still sums up what I want to do here.

To celebrate, I want to give something away.

I’ve got a brand new copy of Captives, the first book in the YA dystopian series by awesome author Jill Williamson. She’s crafted a great story, and I want people to know about it.

All you have to do is leave a comment on any post from now until May 19th. I’ll choose a random winner to receive Captives.

Thanks for stopping by. Let’s not be satisfied with ordinary. Let’s do this.

And Now For Something Completely Different

As the Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy Tour concludes our May feature with the science fiction book Numb by John W. Otte, I have something to share.

This is the last time Spoiled For The Ordinary will be in the CSFF Tour.

Yep.

I’ve been involved since almost the beginning, but some things are showing their age, and it is time for something new.

Don’t take that wrong. The CSFF Tour is going strong and needs to continue.

I’m talking about my Blogger home.

I’ve been doing Spoiled since 2006. There have been ups and downs with my blogging, but I’ve stuck with it.

But it’s time for a new home.

Spoiled For The Ordinary 2.0 will be at www.jasoncjoyner.com/blog starting May 1st.

The focus will still be on Faith, Fiction, and Fun, but it’s time to move to a cleaner WordPress layout and my own domain name. Oooh, fancy pants.

I hope you’ll join me there.

Look for the first post on May 1st, and I’ll announce a giveaway at that time.

Thanks for the memories CSFF Tour. I’ll see you at my new home.

To Blog Or Not To Blog

I love a rollicking dialogue on the web.
Last week Rachelle Garnder posted about the need  for authors to have a platform, the hot topic of 2012. The first commenter was none other than James Scott Bell, author and writing teacher and a man on the forefront of the churning waters of the changing publishing seas.
He opined that writers should focus on writing to build their quality, publishing short stories and books. He suggested that blogging was the biggest time-suck for authors, especially unpublished ones. The return on blogging was perhaps there in 2007, but not in 2012.
Another well-known writing blogger, Jody Hedlund, answered with a post on this issue. She took a more measured approach to blogging, relating side benefits that can come from blogging: networking with other writers, finding a voice, and learning about the industry. She couldn’t point to her blog being a major reason behind her success, but felt it did play a role.
The irony of this discussion being played out on blogs is not lost on me.
Bell answered back on Jody’s blog, conceding that there are ancillary reasons for keeping up a blog. He held to his main point about a blog being a poor option in creaing a platform. He noted that Rachelle and Jody have created strong platforms through their blogs, but that is a rare position to create a new blog that really puts someone’s name out there.

I’d have to agree with Jim. I’ve been blogging since 2006. The advice at the time was to start blogging and build a base that would end up following you into publishing.

Well, I’ve been pretty consistent through the years. I wish I could say I’ve created a large tribe that would spread my message hither and yon. Alas, that’s not the case. I did have Anne Rice comment on a blog post once. Whoo-hoo!

So if I was only doing this to build a platform, it hasn’t played out very well.

The thing is, I also agree with Jody. Blogging has done a lot for me even if it isn’t counted by numbers.
Through blogging I’ve been introduced to several people online that have continued to encourage and challenge me in my writing life. It has kept me disciplined in writing regularly, even when my fiction writing sat idle for a couple of months at a time. I’ve reviewed a lot of books through here, so it has fed my reading habit. I would suggest it helped open some other doors, like writing a column for the local paper.
I’ve seen some friends develop a platform through their blogs. Mike Duran started around the same time. He’s managed to build a healthy community of commenters that make it an intelligent site to follow. Becky Miller is a go-to person in the realm of Christian speculative fiction since she works tirelessly to promote it. Jordyn Redwood found a niche by answering medical questions on her blog, which plays into her primary job as an ER nurse and her medical suspense. These folks have managed to build something special.
But the common thread here is that I’ve interacted with each of them through the years because I have a blog.
If I were talking to a brand new writer, I probably would point them to Jim’s advice about putting their effort into fiction that they can start to get out there. I’ve been doing this too long to quit, although I’ve tried to do a two posts a week schedule this year to stay consistant but not as pressured as when I tried to do 3-4 a week.

Most of my opinions are similar to the comment threads of the blog posts by Rachelle and Jody. If you’re interested in the discussion, check those out.

As someone who has done the blogging thing for a while, I couldn’t resist throwing out my experience. If I had to do it over again, I wish I had spent a little less time blogging and more time on writing, but I don’t think I’d say I wouldn’t blog at all.

What say you? What value does blogging have for a fiction author over other writers or professionals? Do you lean toward Jim or Jody?

A Missional Question

Today I’m participating in a challenge from Frank Viola:

The following exercise is from the synchroblog from Frank Viola’s post Gospel for the Middle

Fielding Melish and his wife Felicia have two children, ages 10 and 6. They live in a very remote part of Maine, USA. They are surrounded by extended family, none of whom are Christians. The nearest churches are one hour away, and by all evangelical standards, none of them are good. These churches are either highly legalistic, highly libertine, or just flat-out flaky.

One of Fielding’s cousins is a practicing Christian. They see each other once a year. Fielding’s cousin has shared Christ with Fielding many times over the years. Whenever they’ve talked about spiritual things, Fielding shows interest.

Felicia grew up in a Christian home. She’s received Christ, but she isn’t evangelistic and is overwhelmed with working long hours and raising two small children. She would love to find a church nearby for the spiritual support and instruction, but none exist.

Fielding has no college education. While he is capable of reading, he is not a reader. He doesn’t use the Web either. He’s a man who works with his hands, both for his career and for recreation. He’s an “outdoorsman.” He hunts, he builds, he does manual labor, etc. In his spare time, he helps his elderly parents with various building projects.

Fielding is not an atheist. Neither is he an agnostic. He believes in God. He believes Jesus is the Savior of the world who died for our sins and rose again from the dead. He hasn’t fully surrendered his life to Christ, but he is not sure what that looks like exactly. His children know a little about the Lord, mostly because of what their mother has taught them.

Recently Fielding asked this question:

When I’m with my cousin once a year, I want to learn more about God. But when I come back home, and I’m around everyone else, my mind is off of God, and I am back to working, raising my kids, and helping my parents. Someone needs to come up with a solution for people like me . . . people who are in the middle. (By “in the middle,” Fielding means someone who believes in Jesus, but who isn’t fully absorbed in the faith yet either. They simply don’t know enough nor do they have any spiritual support system around them.)

Relocating is not an option for Fielding and his wife. Even if they wanted to relocate, they don’t see a way they could do it financially.

Remember: Fielding and his wife don’t personally know any Christians. None of their extended family or coworkers are believers either. And the nearest churches (which are an hour away) aren’t recommended.

Question: If you were Fielding’s cousin, how would you instruct him and his wife the next time you saw them?

Jason:
 
This is a tricky one. By American standards, we would have trouble reaching Fielding and Felicia. We can’t easily pawn them off on someone else, and we can’t just hand them a book.
 
If I were the cousin I would suggest to Fielding that if he is going to read anything, he spend time in the Bible. He doesn’t have to read a lot at once, but he should read it with Felicia every day. They can talk about what they read and pray about it. I would encourage Fielding to look at God’s glory in creation. I would tell him that we are God’s building, and that He wants to build us together as His temple, not as a physical building, but a house made of people.
 
As the cousin I would need to take a more active role in reaching out in between visits, making sure I prayed for them and helped with questions and discipleship as much as possible.
 
I would explain to Fielding that God speaks to His people, and that every believer has the Holy Spirit. I would explain from John that the Spirit leads us into all truth and reveals the Son, and that they can grow in this way.
 
I recently read The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch, and he talks about how the church expanded in the first couple of centuries after Christ, and how the Chinese church grew exponentially after all foreigners were expelled and Christian leaders jailed or killed under Mao. Despite the lack all the things Americans consider essential to church growth, these churches thrived. I think if the cousin takes the time to offer support and helps Fielding and Felicia recognize that they have the basics – the Bible and the Spirit, that they can grow and thrive in their environment.
 
That’s my thoughts on this problem. What would you say in this situation? How would you help Fielding and Felicia in their walk?

Next Week’s Features

I’m doing something a little different next week. I’m on vacation, so I’m running some specials posts.

On Mission Monday I’m posting about the reason this blog is called, “Spoiled For The Ordinary.”

Writing Wednesday features a short story I wrote for fun. If I post about writing, I wanted to show that I actually do some! Enjoy “Batgirl.”

Finally I will replay my greatest hit on Free Friday. I’m running my most visited post – “Why We Need Heroes.”

I hope y’all enjoy if you’ve missed these before. I know I’ll enjoy myself!

Next Week’s Features

I’m doing something a little different next week. I’m on vacation, so I’m running some specials posts.

On Mission Monday I’m posting about the reason this blog is called, “Spoiled For The Ordinary.”

Writing Wednesday features a short story I wrote for fun. If I post about writing, I wanted to show that I actually do some! Enjoy “Batgirl.”

Finally I will replay my greatest hit on Free Friday. I’m running my most visited post – “Why We Need Heroes.”

I hope y’all enjoy if you’ve missed these before. I know I’ll enjoy myself!

I’m Not Here Today!

Today is normally Mission Monday at Spoiled For The Ordinary, but I have a different mission for you today.

I wrote a guest post for Redwood’s Medical Edge, a great blogging resource for writers by author and RN Jordyn Redwood. We connected a couple months ago in the blogosphere and it worked out that I could contribute an article on the difference between mid-level health care providers, like physician assistants and nurse practitioners. There can be a lot of added conflict if you use a mid-level in your story, but I’ll let you read the article over there for full effect. Thanks for hosting me Jordyn!

I’m Not Here Today!

Today is normally Mission Monday at Spoiled For The Ordinary, but I have a different mission for you today.

I wrote a guest post for Redwood’s Medical Edge, a great blogging resource for writers by author and RN Jordyn Redwood. We connected a couple months ago in the blogosphere and it worked out that I could contribute an article on the difference between mid-level health care providers, like physician assistants and nurse practitioners. There can be a lot of added conflict if you use a mid-level in your story, but I’ll let you read the article over there for full effect. Thanks for hosting me Jordyn!

2012

An announcement!

I’ve been blogging since 2006. I’ve posted regularly for quite a while, but in the last half of 2011, I started struggling. I didn’t always have inspiration for a post. I questioned whether I should continue with this blog, as I am working on a novel and wondered about splitting my writing time.

Friends encouraged me to continue, and I know that an author needs a presence online to help chances of publication in this brave new world of books and ebooks. Even with this, I limped to the end of the year.

Keepin’ it fresh, yo?
What do I do? How to keep it fresh after 5+ years of blogging?
Good ideas are worth stealing, and I’m going to borrow an idea from my writing and geekery friend Athena Grayson and her blog. She has themed days that keeps her going with a structure and regular posts. That’s what will happen here at Spoiled For The Ordinary.
1. Mission Mondays. I started this blog without much of an idea of a theme. Over time I wanted to bring out ideas and news about missions and being a world Christian. The time I spent in missions led to the title of this blog and a radical change in life for me. Now I will be deliberate with it and highlight different stories related to the mission of God’s Kingdom on Mondays.
2. Writing Wednesdays. The other major focus of this blog is on writing. I talk about my writing journey, Christian fiction issues, and publishing in general. Heaven knows writing blogs are a dime a dozen out there. Still, I’m interested in the process and will continue to add my own 2 cents to the never-ending flow of words – because writers never met a word they didn’t like (maybe “actually” is getting there, but I digress).
3. Free Fridays. Freedom!  I’m not limiting myself here. I can post random stuff. I’m not committing myself. There may or may not be content on Fridays. Because I am giving myself that freedom. Nuff said.
There will be breaks in this. I am a regular contributor to the Christian Sci-Fi and Fantasy tour, which routinely runs Mondays through Wednesdays. This will supercede things when I participate.
I hope this helps me keep motivated and lets readers know what to expect and when to find things. I’m excited for 2012, and I want to continue on this journey with all of you. Yes, you in the back as well. Okay, even you Mark.
Here we go…

2012

An announcement!

I’ve been blogging since 2006. I’ve posted regularly for quite a while, but in the last half of 2011, I started struggling. I didn’t always have inspiration for a post. I questioned whether I should continue with this blog, as I am working on a novel and wondered about splitting my writing time.

Friends encouraged me to continue, and I know that an author needs a presence online to help chances of publication in this brave new world of books and ebooks. Even with this, I limped to the end of the year.

Keepin’ it fresh, yo?
What do I do? How to keep it fresh after 5+ years of blogging?
Good ideas are worth stealing, and I’m going to borrow an idea from my writing and geekery friend Athena Grayson and her blog. She has themed days that keeps her going with a structure and regular posts. That’s what will happen here at Spoiled For The Ordinary.
1. Mission Mondays. I started this blog without much of an idea of a theme. Over time I wanted to bring out ideas and news about missions and being a world Christian. The time I spent in missions led to the title of this blog and a radical change in life for me. Now I will be deliberate with it and highlight different stories related to the mission of God’s Kingdom on Mondays.
2. Writing Wednesdays. The other major focus of this blog is on writing. I talk about my writing journey, Christian fiction issues, and publishing in general. Heaven knows writing blogs are a dime a dozen out there. Still, I’m interested in the process and will continue to add my own 2 cents to the never-ending flow of words – because writers never met a word they didn’t like (maybe “actually” is getting there, but I digress).
3. Free Fridays. Freedom!  I’m not limiting myself here. I can post random stuff. I’m not committing myself. There may or may not be content on Fridays. Because I am giving myself that freedom. Nuff said.
There will be breaks in this. I am a regular contributor to the Christian Sci-Fi and Fantasy tour, which routinely runs Mondays through Wednesdays. This will supercede things when I participate.
I hope this helps me keep motivated and lets readers know what to expect and when to find things. I’m excited for 2012, and I want to continue on this journey with all of you. Yes, you in the back as well. Okay, even you Mark.
Here we go…