Archive for the ‘christian speculative fiction’ Tag

Annoucing Kindle Countdown Deal   1 comment

http://www.amazon.com/Willow-Branch-Book-Daermad-Cycle-ebook/dp/B00OL13YF2/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426403949&sr=1-1&keywords=the+willow+branch

It starts March 17. Check it out.

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The Willow Branch   Leave a comment

Front Cover UpdateNow on Kindle Select. http://www.amazon.com/Willow-Branch-Book-Daermad-Cycle-ebook/dp/B00OL13YF2/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1423955869&sr=1-1&keywords=the+willow+branch

Interview with Ted Minkinow   3 comments

Today, I am interviewing Ted Minkinow, author of The Apostasy. I had a little technical glitch earlier, so I’m doing it a second time.

 

 

Displaying image002.jpgThanks, Lela.  I am thankful to you for providing an opportunity to chat about The Apostasy and some work that hasn’t been released.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself, Ted. (Where are you from, where do you live, how do you keep a roof over your head, are your married, got kids, a dog … as much or as little as you want to say)

 

I’m married with five children (ages 9 to 15), and am an IT guy.  I grew up in a military family–was born in Munich, Germany while my dad served in the U.S. Army.  As a kid, I mostly grew up in Georgia and Alabama, and that’s where we waited on my father to complete two tours in Vietnam as a chopper pilot.  I attended the U.S. Air Force Academy for college and spent seven years on active duty and another sixteen years in the Alabama Air National Guard.  I was a fighter pilot, and  I’ve flown in a number of combat operations from Southwest Asia to Kosovo.  In civilian life, I’ve most recently been assigned to Germany and have lived in Singapore for the past year.

 

 

How did you come to be a writer?

 

Good question.  I’ve always loved reading and telling stories.  I completed my first short story in the 5th grade.  It was about a World War I German fighter pilot who was shot down and returned to haunt his friends.  So from about eleven years old forward I was hooked on writing. My first short published a couple decades ago.  But none of that answers your question because I didn’t consider myself a writer as I was scrawling the stories.

 

I tried to become a writer by learning as much as I could about the craft.  Everyone is filled with enough imagination to write stories.  That’s what I grew up thinking and that opinion remains.  To differentiate myself from every human on earth, I studied and I read.  I read the authors I enjoyed and worked to understand why I liked what the wrote.  I also read from authors whose work did not appeal to me.  And I parsed the reasons.  I studied book put out on the craft by successful writers and editors.  I even named my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Perkins, after the great editor Maxwell Perkins.

 

I harangued several of my friends into reading early versions of The Apostasy and entered the rough draft into the Sandhills Writers’ Conference Fiction Contest–Augusta, Georgia–where I was flabbergasted when they called out my name for third place.  All those hundreds of other folks around me looked like writers…I didn’t think I did.  Within a couple of months, I was fortunate enough to get a detailed critique from a NYT best-selling fiction writer (we had a very remote connection through school, I reached out to him, and he responded with great kindness).  That relationship led to a rework and my manuscript–The Apostasy–and it placed at the Maui Writers’ Conference Contest.  Another shock.  And because of that, I again was blessed to work with a former editor for one of the large houses.  He’d collaborated with a couple fiction icons and I soaked up all he said and everything he wrote to me.  After about six months, I ended up with The Apostasy as it is.

 

So do I consider myself a writer now?  Not sure.

 

 

Displaying image001.jpgYour book, The Apostasy, tells a dark tale of generational hatred on a spiritual level.  I would class it as Christian horror, somewhat in the vein of Ted Dekker. Tell us about it.

 

 

In the vein of Ted Dekker is a good start, though I think it’s a tinge more on the Gothic side than Dekker’s outstanding work.  The Apostasy is set in Northern Alabama during three eras: The War Between the States, the 1920’s, and the late 1990’s.  I know the area, the people, and the history, so all my characters felt comfortable. I didn’t consider the racial makeup as I was writing The Apostasy, though since it’s been out it’s been included on some African-American reading lists.

Most people have heard of generational sin.  I wanted to explore the opposite: generational goodness.  What would that look like and how well would it hold up when faced with attacks from the spiritual world?  I also wanted to dig into the complexities of southern society, where many of my friends grew up in families that formerly owned slaves.  So what about all that that, and how many of my white friends were blood relatives to the black families that lived mostly in their own area of town during the waning days of Jim Crow?  And while I was delving into that evil spiritual world where no human should venture, I found an ancient demon standing at the precipice of lunacy.  Leland Graves.

 

The thought of insanity among demons frightened more than just me, it also scared the evil masters of Leland Graves.  If Leland Graves went too far in his collection of souls, then he might just break the Great Unsigned Contract.  And should that happen, how fierce a retaliation could the demon world expect from heaven?  As far as demonic annihilation? Not wanting to find out, the demon masters banish Leland Graves to a spoiled creek in Northern Alabama…and not for the first time.  He’d spent time sequestered there from time to time over the millennia.

 

Hattie Jackson is the African-American matriarch that holds not only her family together, but is also the link that entwines small-town, Vienna, Alabama African-American and white societies.  And like so many deep-south towns today, those cables wrought during the slave era and great Civil War remain vibrant and humming just below the surface of what we see.

 

And thus we meet Tom Brunson, a young, medically-retired former fighter pilot.  He’s son-of-the-south, partially raised by absent parents and mostly raised by Hattie.  And Tom is who Hattie phones when she suffers heart palpitations on the night she senses Leland Graves’ return.  Tom falls for the emergency room doctor–beautiful, upper-crust from Birmingham, and African-American.

 

Leland Graves decides to benefit from exile.  He’ll replace that perfect soul that eluded a hundred and fifty years prior with Hattie’s.  He has a score to settle with her anyway.  And with that perfect soul, perhaps he can break with the masters and open his own operation.  That’s what his disintegrating mind thinks.

 

 

What’s the final takeaway you would like readers to get from the book?

 

I want readers to know that the love of family is a metaphor for a greater love that overcomes all travails, and that there are some attributes instilled in people that cannot be destroyed by evil or addiction.  Take courage and self-sacrifice, for instance.  I also wanted to provide a quick glimpse under the covers of what southern society is really like.  Folks up north don’t understand how the Civil War still impacts the south on many levels.

 

 

What are your plans for the future? Tell us about Bag of Bones, which is a series you’re working toward publication. Gaius the vampire finds himself in the middle of a huge and adventurous mystery.  Tell us about the series and when do you expect the first book to come out?

 

Now you’re delving into secret places.  But that’s OK, I like you.  Gaius Teutoberg is a 2000 year-old vampire…and a twenty-year-oldish dude who packs groceries for tips at the U.S. military commissary in Wiesbaden, Germany.  Again, I’m in familiar ground.

 

Gaius, Gare to his bagger buddies, just wants to live out his life in obscurity…and in drinking good German beer and chasing chicks (his words, not mine).  And I use the word live intentionally.  Vampirism is a condition, not a state of being.

 

But obscurity isn’t what Gaius gets from life.  In Bag of Bones, he’s forced by a demon into a scheme that includes breaking into the Aachen Cathedral and doing a bit of grave-robbing.  Seems his bagger pals are being held hostage on the canvas of a demonic painting of hell.  And if Gare doesn’t come through with the goods, that’s where his friends will remain for eternity.

 

So while Gare can’t ever seem to get so much as a second date, he’ll now have to somehow secure a national treasure from under the noses of the German people.  And the Polezei. Along the way he’ll deal with demon he calls No Face, a pygmy cannibal vampire, a hot-looking, chain-smoking angel, a roommate who’s the ghost of  a World War II German soldier executed by the Americans for being a spy, a Hungarian Warrior-woman vampire who’s in love with him, and a ghost dog who constantly leaves steaming, transparent piles of poop in his flat.

 

I spent seven months writing about Gare, his adventures, and his friends, and have completed the first three manuscripts (400+ pages each).  In the second of the series, Gare intentionally finds his way into hell on a rescue mission to spring that blonde angel from a demon prison.  In the third section of his autobiography, Gare travels to Singapore to face one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse.  Seems hell wants to kick off the end times a bit early.

 

When will they be coming out?  I’ve not established any milestones.

 

If The Apostasy is Southern Gothic, Gare’s story is light-hearted.  Gare comes across as a bit of a scoundrel, but in the end, all three of my test-readers–all women–confess they’ve fallen in love with him.  One of those ladies is my wife.  Darn it.

 

And I’m not done with Hattie, Cassandra–the young African-American doctor, and Tom–the ex-fighter pilot.  In 903A Romar House, we find them in Gulf Shores, Alabama, recovering from their ordeal with Leland Graves.  Several of my readers have asked for more detail on Tom and Cassandra’s relationship.  We’ll get to that in 903A, and we’ll delve into what happens when decent people hold heart-breaking secrets throughout their lives.  And of course, there will be departed souls and demons.

 

 

You and I know each other from a Christian writers’ thread. It’s largely uncharted waters — Christian horror doesn’t get a lot of play time in the Christian bookstores. As a Christian who writes outside of the Christian mainstream, does faith play a part in what you write? 

 My writing has always been influenced by my Christian faith.  While the stories aren’t overtly Christian, themes of faith are weaved in throughout.  Like many Christian writers, I’ve taken great liberties with established Christian doctrines.  I’d say the bottom line is that you’ll see flawed people making the right decisions…eventually.  You’ll also see them stand up and face evil.

 

 

Ted doesn’t have a website for his writing, but The Apostasy can be found on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Apostasy-Ted-Minkinow-ebook/dp/B00740FYBE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412601463&sr=8-1&keywords=ted+minkinow

 

 

Interview with Ted Minkinow   1 comment

Machine generated alternative text:<br /><br /><br />
Today, I am meeting with Ted Minkinow, author of The Apostasy.Thanks, Lela.  I am thankful to you for providing an opportunity to chat about The Apostasy and some work that hasn’t been released.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself, Ted. 

I’m married with five children (ages 9 to 15), and am an IT guy. I grew up in a military family–was born in Munich, Germany while my dad served in the U.S. Army.  As a kid, I mostly grew up in Georgia and Alabama, and that’s where we waited on my father to complete two tours in Vietnam as a chopper pilot. I attended the U.S. Air Force Academy for college and spent seven years on active duty and another sixteen years in the Alabama Air National Guard. I was a fighter pilot, and  I’ve flown in a number of combat operations from Southwest Asia to Kosovo. In civilian life, I’ve most recently been assigned to Germany and have lived in Singapore for the past year.

 

How did you come to be a writer?

Good question.  I’ve always loved reading and telling stories. I completed my first short story in the 5th grade. It was about a World War I German fighter pilot who was shot down and returned to haunt his friends.  So from about eleven years old forward I was hooked on writing. My first short published a couple decades ago. But none of that answers your question because I didn’t consider myself a writer as I was scrawling the stories.

I tried to become a writer by learning as much as I could about the craft. Everyone is filled with enough imagination to write stories.  That’s what I grew up thinking and that opinion remains.  To differentiate myself from every human on earth, I studied and I read. I read the authors I enjoyed and worked to understand why I liked what the wrote.  I also read from authors whose work did not appeal to me.  And I parsed the reasons. I studied books put out on the craft by successful writers and editors.  I even named my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Perkins, after the great editor Maxwell Perkins.

I harangued several of my friends into reading early versions of The Apostasy and entered the rough draft into the Sandhills Writers’ Conference Fiction Contest–Augusta, Georgia–where I was flabbergasted when they called out my name for third place. All those hundreds of other folks around me looked like writers…I didn’t think I did.  Within a couple of months, I was fortunate enough to get a detailed critique from a NYT best-selling fiction writer (we had a very remote connection through school, I reached out to him, and he responded with great kindness). That relationship led to a rework and my manuscript–The Apostasy–and it placed at the Maui Writers’ Conference Contest.  Another shock.  And because of that, I again was blessed to work with a former editor for one of the large houses. He’d collaborated with a couple fiction icons and I soaked up all he said and everything he wrote to me.  After about six months, I ended up with The Apostasy as it is.

So do I consider myself a writer now?  Not sure.

 

Machine generated alternative text:<br /><br /><br />
kupertHuge wad i ali !<br /><br /><br />
e Minkinow Your book, The Apostasy, tells a dark tale of generational hatred on a spiritual level.  I would class it as Christian horror, somewhat in the vein of Ted Dekker. Tell us about it.

In the vein of Ted Dekker is a good start, though I think it’s a tinge more on the Gothic side than Dekker’s outstanding work.  The Apostasy is set in Northern Alabama during three eras: The War Between the States, the 1920’s, and the late 1990’s.  I know the area, the people, and the history, so all my characters felt comfortable. I didn’t consider the racial makeup as I was writing The Apostasy, though since it’s been out it’s been included on some African-American reading lists.

 

Most people have heard of generational sin.  I wanted to explore the opposite: generational goodness.  What would that look like and how well would it hold up when faced with attacks from the spiritual world?  I also wanted to dig into the complexities of southern society, where many of my friends grew up in families that formerly owned slaves.  So what about all that that, and how many of my white friends were blood relatives to the black families that lived mostly in their own area of town during the waning days of Jim Crow?  And while I was delving into that evil spiritual world where no human should venture, I found an ancient demon standing at the precipice of lunacy.  Leland Graves.

The thought of insanity among demons frightened more than just me, it also scared the evil masters of Leland Graves.  If Leland Graves went too far in his collection of souls, then he might just break the Great Unsigned Contract.  And should that happen, how fierce a retaliation could the demon world expect from heaven?  As far as demonic annihilation? Not wanting to find out, the demon masters banish Leland Graves to a spoiled creek in Northern Alabama…and not for the first time.  He’d spent time sequestered there from time to time over the millennia.

Hattie Jackson is the African-American matriarch that holds not only her family together, but is also the link that entwines small-town, Vienna, Alabama African-American and white societies.  And like so many deep-south towns today, those cables wrought during the slave era and great Civil War remain vibrant and humming just below the surface of what we see.

And thus we meet Tom Brunson, a young, medically-retired former fighter pilot.  He’s son-of-the-south, partially raised by absent parents and mostly raised by Hattie.  And Tom is who Hattie phones when she suffers heart palpitations on the night she senses Leland Graves’ return.  Tom falls for the emergency room doctor–beautiful, upper-crust from Birmingham, and African-American.

Leland Graves decides to benefit from exile.  He’ll replace that perfect soul that eluded a hundred and fifty years prior with Hattie’s.  He has a score to settle with her anyway.  And with that perfect soul, perhaps he can break with the masters and open his own operation.  That’s what his disintegrating mind thinks.

 

What’s the final takeaway you would like readers to get from the book?

I want readers to know that the love of family is a metaphor for a greater love that overcomes all travails, and that there are some attributes instilled in people that cannot be destroyed by evil or addiction.  Take courage and self-sacrifice, for instance.  I also wanted to provide a quick glimpse under the covers of what southern society is really like.  Folks up north don’t understand how the Civil War still impacts the south on many levels.

 

What are your plans for the future? Tell us about Bag of Bones, which is a series you’re working toward publication. Gaius the vampire finds himself in the middle of a huge and adventurous mystery.  Tell us about the series and when do you expect the first book to come out?

Now you’re delving into secret places.  But that’s OK, I like you.  Gaius Teutoberg is a 2000 year-old vampire…and a twenty-year-oldish dude who packs groceries for tips at the U.S. military commissary in Wiesbaden, Germany.  Again, I’m in familiar ground.

Gaius, Gare to his bagger buddies, just wants to live out his life in obscurity…and in drinking good German beer and chasing chicks (his words, not mine).  And I use the word live intentionally.  Vampirism is a condition, not a state of being.

But obscurity isn’t what Gaius gets from life.  In Bag of Bones, he’s forced by a demon into a scheme that includes breaking into the Aachen Cathedral and doing a bit of grave-robbing.  Seems his bagger pals are being held hostage on the canvas of a demonic painting of hell.  And if Gare doesn’t come through with the goods, that’s where his friends will remain for eternity.

So while Gare can’t ever seem to get so much as a second date, he’ll now have to somehow secure a national treasure from under the noses of the German people.  And the Polezei. Along the way he’ll deal with demon he calls No Face, a pygmy cannibal vampire, a hot-looking, chain-smoking angel, a roommate who’s the ghost of  a World War II German soldier executed by the Americans for being a spy, a Hungarian Warrior-woman vampire who’s in love with him, and a ghost dog who constantly leaves steaming, transparent piles of poop in his flat.

I spent seven months writing about Gare, his adventures, and his friends, and have completed the first three manuscripts (400+ pages each).  In the second of the series, Gare intentionally finds his way into hell on a rescue mission to spring that blonde angel from a demon prison.  In the third section of his autobiography, Gare travels to Singapore to face one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse.  Seems hell wants to kick off the end times a bit early.

When will they be coming out?  I’ve not established any milestones.

If The Apostasy is Southern Gothic, Gare’s story is light-hearted.  Gare comes across as a bit of a scoundrel, but in the end, all three of my test-readers–all women–confess they’ve fallen in love with him.  One of those ladies is my wife.  Darn it.

And I’m not done with Hattie, Cassandra–the young African-American doctor, and Tom–the ex-fighter pilot.  In 903A Romar House, we find them in Gulf Shores, Alabama, recovering from their ordeal with Leland Graves.  Several of my readers have asked for more detail on Tom and Cassandra’s relationship.  We’ll get to that in 903A, and we’ll delve into what happens when decent people hold heart-breaking secrets throughout their lives.  And of course, there will be departed souls and demons.

 

 

As a Christian author who does not really write “Christian” books, I’m fascinated by Christian writers who write outside of the “Christian mainstream” — horror, fantasy, etc. I think that it’s great that there is a growing independent Christian movement of writers who are breaking out of the stereotypes and reclaiming our place with great writers who were also Christians — CS Lewis, Flannery O’Connor, JRR Tolkien, and many more. How does your faith influence what you write?

My writing has always been influenced by my Christian faith.  While the stories aren’t overtly Christian, themes of faith are weaved in throughout.  Like many Christian writers, I’ve taken great liberties with established Christian doctrines.  I’d say the bottom line is that you’ll see flawed people making the right decisions…eventually.  You’ll also see them stand up and face evil.

 

 

Do you have a website?

Not for my writing.  😦

 

How do readers find The Apostasy? (Or any other books)

The Apostasy can be found on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Apostasy-Ted-Minkinow-ebook/dp/B00740FYBE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412601463&sr=8-1&keywords=ted+minkinow

 

Check Out My Smashwords Interview   Leave a comment

Learn some things about me you may not know.

https://www.smashwords.com/interview/lelamarkhamDSC01494

Celebrating the Birth of The Willow Branch   Leave a comment

Front Cover UpdateTomorrow is the online launch of The Willow Branch, now available on Amazon and Smashwords.

Come join me here or on my Facebook page to celebrate and, of course, Twitter, Google + and Tumblr.

I’ll be promoting all day and reblogs, shares and retweets will win coupons for free copies of The Willow Branch. On Twitter, use the hashtags #lelamarkham or #willowbranch.

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