Signing a Contract

It’s a few days from my birthday, but an amazing present came early.

I am so excited to announce that I’ve signed a 3 book contract with Little Lamb Books for my YA superhero series!

This came about in an unexpected way. I participated in #FaithPitch on Twitter, an online pitching opportunity in July. I’ve done this before and had a few nibbles, but no real bites with either my adult suspense or my YA.

I got tagged by Little Lamb Books, and I had noticed them from the same thing the year before. I could see they had developed and grown their author list. The timing was crazy busy with a lot of family stuff going on, but in a couple weeks I was able to get their requested submission together.

After I sent that off, I was asked to call Rachel, the founder and publisher. Of course, it would just be a little get to know you session.

How could I expect to get an offer that day?

That was crazy enough, but it was also cool how God orchestrated things. Listening to Rachel, I really felt a match with her vision. She brought up things that my wife and I talked about regarding ways to promote the book.

So with a little discussion and negotiation, we ended up at this point today.

Right now the first book has the tentative title of Launch. Finalizing titles and working on edits will be the first steps. We’re looking at a 2018 release date.

I’ll be posting more updates along the road. The first details will come to my author newsletter, and you can sign up here. You can read about Rachel’s side of the journey at the Little Lamb Books announcement.

Overall, it’s the beginning of an exciting journey. I can’t wait to show you the world of Launch. It promises to be a wild ride. DSC_0689 (2)

Why Do We Need Heroes?

My Greatest Hits day 3 – my most read post:

And are there any heroes for us today?

Why do we have an innate attraction to the ideas of heroes? We ask people who their heroes are. Kids and adults both delight at the stories of superheroes, people with extraordinary powers who seem to save the world again and again. We always like it when a regular person makes good: the local hero who saves someone. Every story needs a hero, doesn’t it?

Our collective imagination seems drawn to the idea of people who have a greater power or call. A look at the top box office of all time for the US and worldwide shows the list dominated by familiar names: Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Spiderman, Jack Sparrow. All of these stories feature larger than life figures who overcome overwhelming odds to triumph.

I’ve always day-dreamed of some cataclysm happening in my regular life, only to find that I could fly, had super something-or-other in order to save those in peril. It’s in the fabric of who I am. I grew up on Star Wars and Super Friends, and this summer I couldn’t wait until the latest Spiderman movie came out. Recently I’ve gotten back into enjoying comic books, which shows different aspects of heroes from when I was growing up. Nowadays these heroes struggle against inner darkness or temptation and deal with more real life scenarios over the classic comics when Superman never doubted what was right and was always there to save Lois Lane.

I know that some people prefer down to earth heroes in their entertainment – the cop, the spunky Nancy Drew type, people who don’t have a special ability. Others may even prefer the “anti-hero”, the character that may otherwise be very unlikable in a story, but is portrayed from a sympathetic viewpoint. However, in general we are drawn to those who are greater than us in both their abilities and trials. I could go on, reaching back to mythology and stories of Hercules, Achilles, and so on, but I think this point is coming across.

Having made the argument that this desire is there, now we may ask “Why is it there?”

Could it be, perhaps, that it speaks to who we are? Does it draw from our deepest heart and unconscious needs?

I would argue that heroes are so compelling because we need a hero. We realize, whether directly or subconsciously, that we cannot overcome all that we encounter on our own. Try as we might, we are not able to complete our own salvation. We may fight valiantly, but our struggle is ultimately doomed against the supreme villain.

In the end, this attraction to heroes points us to the one who fought evil without ever turning to temptation. He went toe-to-toe with our greatest foe on our behalf. He sacrificed himself in defending truth, justice, and mercy. And when all seemed lost, he rose in even greater power and strength for the ultimate victory.

Jesus is my hero.

The book that inspired this post – Fearless by Robin Parrish – may not be an overtly Christian novel. This is fine with me, as I don’t require every story to have an overt religious element in order to be a good story. I think Robin taps into this intrinsic need for a hero with his story. I can’t allegorize what he’s written, partly because that’s not his intention, and I don’t know how the story will work out. It still speaks of this great human conflict, the desire to rise up over the insurmountable odds. The heart of the gospel speaks to this, and that’s what makes heroes a powerful story element, especially to a Christian writer.

Movie Review – Green Lantern

OK, freaks and geeks, it is the summer of the super hero!

We’ve already seen Marvel take two shots with Thor and X-men: First Class (enjoyed the first one, haven’t seen the latter). Now it is DC Comics turn with the introduction of Green Lantern as a movie franchise.

If you’re not familiar with this character, there is an intergalactic peace-keeping force called the Green Lanterns, using the energy of willpower (manifested by the color green, naturally?) to watch over the universe. There are 3600 Lanterns divided by sectors.

On a small planet in sector 2814, there is a test pilot named Hal Jordan. He is a daredevil flyboy who works as a test pilot. When the Lantern Abin Sur crashes onto Earth, the ring is commissioned to find a replacement. Hal is chosen, and he’s inducted into the corps.

Green Lantern hasn’t gotten good reviews from the critics (scoring poorly according to Rotten Tomatoes). Well, the critics are the critics, and not necessarily the intended audience. As an all-around geek and fan of comic books, I found Lantern to be an enjoyable summer movie and launching point for this character.

The movie does a good job of establishing Hal Jordan and his childhood friend, on and off again flame Carol Ferris. The Corps are thinly drawn. We don’t get a good picture of why Abin Sur is considered so great. His close friend Sinestro is played well, but the writers don’t give him the best background to set up his character either.

The plot of the movie moves along well without much down time. The slower parts set up the conflict between Hal and Carol, one of the main antagonists Hector Hammond, and Sinestro’s quest for power. Some of the dialogue is wooden and forced, but the action scenes are better. Some of the previews made the CGI effects seem pretty cheesy, but they turned out well in the finished product. Even the maligned, fully-CGI rendered uniform of Green Lantern came across better than I thought it would. The comic book world openly scoffed when the first images came out. Perhaps the artists adjusted it based on the criticism, but it worked except for the face mask. Then again, looking at a comic book picture of Green Lantern, the mask looks a little silly there now!

I thought the movie was quite enjoyable. I liked Iron Man and The Dark Knight better, but it was on par with Thor. I hope people will see the movie and make up their own mind instead of going by the critics. I would like to see more movies in a series. Perhaps it could turn out like Spiderman 2. Many people didn’t think the first movie was all that special, but #2 is considered one of the best superhero movies ever.

We’ll see if it will be “brightest day” or “blackest night” for Green Lantern. I’m leaning toward the light.

Movie Review – Green Lantern

OK, freaks and geeks, it is the summer of the super hero!

We’ve already seen Marvel take two shots with Thor and X-men: First Class (enjoyed the first one, haven’t seen the latter). Now it is DC Comics turn with the introduction of Green Lantern as a movie franchise.

If you’re not familiar with this character, there is an intergalactic peace-keeping force called the Green Lanterns, using the energy of willpower (manifested by the color green, naturally?) to watch over the universe. There are 3600 Lanterns divided by sectors.

On a small planet in sector 2814, there is a test pilot named Hal Jordan. He is a daredevil flyboy who works as a test pilot. When the Lantern Abin Sur crashes onto Earth, the ring is commissioned to find a replacement. Hal is chosen, and he’s inducted into the corps.

Green Lantern hasn’t gotten good reviews from the critics (scoring poorly according to Rotten Tomatoes). Well, the critics are the critics, and not necessarily the intended audience. As an all-around geek and fan of comic books, I found Lantern to be an enjoyable summer movie and launching point for this character.

The movie does a good job of establishing Hal Jordan and his childhood friend, on and off again flame Carol Ferris. The Corps are thinly drawn. We don’t get a good picture of why Abin Sur is considered so great. His close friend Sinestro is played well, but the writers don’t give him the best background to set up his character either.

The plot of the movie moves along well without much down time. The slower parts set up the conflict between Hal and Carol, one of the main antagonists Hector Hammond, and Sinestro’s quest for power. Some of the dialogue is wooden and forced, but the action scenes are better. Some of the previews made the CGI effects seem pretty cheesy, but they turned out well in the finished product. Even the maligned, fully-CGI rendered uniform of Green Lantern came across better than I thought it would. The comic book world openly scoffed when the first images came out. Perhaps the artists adjusted it based on the criticism, but it worked except for the face mask. Then again, looking at a comic book picture of Green Lantern, the mask looks a little silly there now!

I thought the movie was quite enjoyable. I liked Iron Man and The Dark Knight better, but it was on par with Thor. I hope people will see the movie and make up their own mind instead of going by the critics. I would like to see more movies in a series. Perhaps it could turn out like Spiderman 2. Many people didn’t think the first movie was all that special, but #2 is considered one of the best superhero movies ever.

We’ll see if it will be “brightest day” or “blackest night” for Green Lantern. I’m leaning toward the light.