Sonnets for My Savior 34

Sonnets for My Savior 34

What I Need

I have had seasons of plenty,

but I still need Jesus.

In times when I don’t have any,

Rather than riches, I need Jesus.

When my stomach is empty,

more than food, I need Jesus.

When I attain a position of great respectability,

I still need Jesus.

His sacrifice makes me clean.

His righteousness covers my iniquity.

When before God, for me He will intervene.

His power is sufficient to cover my frailty.

No matter how much I have or how little I am given,

I need Christ because through Him, I am forgiven.



Rely on Him

We rely on you, for you are greater than any other.

No illness is cured without your providential hand.

Our hope is in you, you and no other.

No one can do the great things that you can.

We seek you first, for you are our deliverer.

You guard us from temptation.

We seek you first, for you are the great healer.

You save not just our bodies, but our souls with Your salvation.

Our trust is in you, for you are our creator.

All that you do is for your glory and our good.

You are our most holy and sovereign maker.

Let us always seek you just as we should.

You are patient and faithful,

We rely on You, our God most merciful.



Though We Didn’t See

We didn’t place our fingers in the wounds on his hands.

We didn’t place a hand into his side.

Yet we still follow his commands.

We still praise him with arms open wide.

He hasn’t visited us in person.

He didn’t sit with us at our table.

But of his resurrection, we are certain,

and we imitate him as well as we are able.

We haven’t seen him with our own eyes.

We didn’t see his death on the cross.

Yet we still trust him to lead our lives.

We still look at the things of this world and count them all as loss.

It doesn’t matter that we didn’t see;

with all our hearts, we still believe.



Let Them Go

It isn’t my time,

But the time God has given me.

When I think of the hours and minutes as mine,

I’m not thinking as I ought to be.

It isn’t my money,

But the money God has given me.

If I insist on being greedy,

How can I claim Christ has set me free?

It isn’t my food,

But the food God has given me.

If I maintain a selfish attitude,

I place Christ below the desires of my body.

The glory of heaven is more than I could ever know,

So please great me a heart that’s willing to let these Earthly treasure go.


Do You Love Him?

What would you do for the one you love?

What wouldn’t you do for his or her sake?

How do you show your love to the one above?

Is your love truly genuine, or is it pretense? Fake?

Would you cast your friend aside for success?

Then why is Christ not worth your time?

If friends are nice to have in times of stress,

how much more valuable is an all-powerful Savior like mine?

If you would sacrifice for a child or mother,

what are you willing to sacrifice for Him?

If you would loan money to a brother,

why can’t you make an offering to Him?

If your declare you love for Him,

How do you show that love? What do you do for Him?




We measure them from worst to most acceptable,

The sins we commit.

We compare ourselves to those more contemptible

Rather than seeking wisdom through the Holy Spirit.

We point out the sins of others

To make our own sins seem less despicable,

But there is no profit in comparing ourselves to our brothers.

We are all sinners; thus we are equally impeachable.

This is why we need a Savior.

Only His righteous blood can make us clean.

No act of man can win God’s favor.

But faith in the true vine can make any withered plant green.

One isn’t good because others are more depraved.

This is why submitting to Christ is the only way to be saved.




I could breathe, but there was no life in me.

I could bleed, but there was no joy in me.

I looked alive to all who could see,

but existence and life are not the same to me.

I was blind even though I had eyes.

I was deaf even though I had ears.

My words of pride were only lies.

I couldn’t find a way to escape my fears.

Through His death, I have life.

Through His resurrection, I have justification.

His grace has brought joy to my life.

His love has given me salvation.

Without Him, sin can only thrive,

but through Christ my Savior, I am alive.


Alien Days: A Castrum Press Anthology

Alien Days: A Castrum Press Anthology

Greetings all,

41ntTIvrguLI was thinking about what to write about for the blog today and remembered my good friend Corey Truax has a new title available. While I’m still pulling out my hair waiting for his own personal book, he and J.R. Handley worked together again for this new story, which comes in an other anthology. This anthology, Alien Days, is available right now!

Here’s the blurb for the anthology:

Alien Days is a multi-author anthology with thrilling tales of aliens, invasions, artificial intelligence, friendship, deceit and extinction. A combination which makes this collection a must-read for science fiction short story fans.
This anthology features Nebula and Dragon award nominees, Amazon bestsellers and award winners alongside rising stars in the science fiction genre. Let the authors take you on adventures through dystopian worlds and far flung planets that will stretch your imagination… Welcome to Alien Days.

Image of Truax taken from his website for advertising purposes.

I read Corey and J.R.’s last short story in a previous anthology, and I’m excited to have this one on my own TBR pile. J.R. is also a friend, and I’ve read a number of his books. Corey did a blog about this anthology on his page, so you can check that out here.

I can’t say I’ve read any of the work from the other authors, but that’s why I love anthologies so much. They introduce me to authors, and I almost always come away with another author I enjoy reading. I learned about Peter V. Brett from one anthology. I learned about Jake Bible (who I haven’t read more from but intend to) in another.

Anthologies are a fantastic way to get several great stories and meet authors you might not have otherwise heard about. I invite you all to try this one out. I already have my copy.

Thanks for reading,


Book Review: Sleepers by Stephen Landry

Book Review: Sleepers by Stephen Landry
The cover for this book was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.  

Spoiler Free Summary:  Sleepers by Stephen Landry is the prequel story to the Convergence saga. When the demons arrived, two-thirds of Earth’s population remained asleep while others were changed. They had powers. The government formed them into a fighting force, and eventually, they headed for their ship, determined to take them down.


Character:  The super heroes were sympathetic characters. I remember a guy who collected some ninja swords. I remember the couple (one sleeping, one not). They were compelling characters with authentic motivation. The main character was just trying to assure the loved ones were safe while they slept. Now, it’s been quite some time since I’ve read this book, so I don’t hold it against the author that I can’t remember names (or even genders).  That’s just time taking it’s toll. For instance I can’t name every character on Wheel of Time. Sure, Rand and the gang, but they are characters from my favorite series. So please just trust me when I say these characters were fun to read about.

Exposition: This story was told in an odd sort of “love letter” first-person perspective. There are interludes of another character as well. This probably had more exposition than I wanted (and that’s accounting for first-person), but it wasn’t nightmarishly long. What did slow the book down (one of two major issues) is the location of that  exposition.  The first part of the book is a history lesson. It took a good bit of time to get into the meat of the story. I would have been much happier if the author had started me in with all the wonderful action and cool super hero stuff and then woven the background in a bit after I’d had a chance to enjoy the fun.

This image of Landry was taken from his Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Dialogue: This wasn’t the best, but Landry’s gift is in his creativeness and conceptualization. I’ve seen more wooden dialogue, but this had some pretty clunky, exposition-filled conversations that slowed things down.


Description:  This was good, particularly in the action scenes. Landry has a gift for fight sequences, and I think the fight scenes were second only to his idea for this series.

World Building: This is another area of strength for Landry. I could tell he put a lot of effort in the the outline and concept. This story would be an amazing comic book script. It’s very visual and well thought out. The design of the plot is good and the scope of the universe is interesting.

A Note on Proof Reading:  I don’t normally post about this. First, I’ve been called out on some pretty silly things, and I feel bad about those, but I must say this book had a great many grammatical and word-choice errors.  It was honestly quite distracting. Frankly, this is a wonderful idea with decent prose that is seriously brought down by the sheer number of issues per page. If Landry simply pays a good proofreader and copy-editor, this book will go from unfortunate to pretty darn good. The story really is interesting. The concept is fascinating, but I had a lot of trouble getting through it for this issue. Again, I’m not perfect, and if anyone were to call me out, I don’t know how well I’d hold up.  This is one reason why I don’t usually review this area of writing. However, given just how many issues there were, I’d be letting potential readers down if I spoke only of the things I liked (and like I said, there are a great many), and ignored something any reader would easily notice.

Overall: This was a great concept with fascinating world building and cool action sequences. It’s cinematic in its visuals, and the story is supported by reasonably sympathetic characters. The story was brought down by grammatical errors and some heavy exposition, but it has a lot of merit as a concept and story. 

Thanks for reading


Sonnets For My Savior 33

Sonnets For My Savior 33

She Is At Peace

Thank you, Lord, for wiping away her tears.

She will never again thirst or hunger.

You have taken away all of her fears.

She now knows a peace that is greater.

She has passed from life, but does not know death.

She no longer feels mourning or pain.

She’s been filled by Your Holy breath,

and she will never know struggle again.

She has left this world,

but she lives, for God is the God of the living.

All of God’s grace has been unfurled;

now she sits at the foot of the throne, singing.

You have called her home and granted her release,

so thank you, Lord, for giving her Your peace.


The Power of Prayer

He always hears us.

He always listens.

In times of pain, He comforts us.

In times of doubt, He enlightens.

Blessed are those who pray in the Spirit.

Blessed are those who live in a mindset of continuous prayer.

Sing your song of praise, and he will hear it.

Cry to him, when you feel in despair.

The prayers of the righteous please Him.

Call on Him, and He will answer.

He is merciful, and gives generously to all who ask of Him.

For a genuine heart in prayer, there is no wrong method or manner.

While it is true that His sovereign answer may be no,

keep praying in hope, for He grants his children more than they even know.


My Favorite Way to Show Love

When someone needs care,

let me provide it for them.

If this world grows unfair,

let me offer a sympathetic hand to them.

Let me stand for them if they are week.

Let me cry with them when the suffer.

Let me encourage them when they are meek.

If their muscles fail, let me provide for them all the strength I can muster.

Christ gave all he had.

Can I not give just some of my time?

  Let me comfort others and make them glad.

For Christ loved this way, and I seek his love to me mine.

There are other ways to show love; this is a fact,

but I find the most joy showing love through an act.


He’d Run To You

He’d sprint to you.

He’d throw his arms around you.

He’d present a ring to you.

He’d kill his fattest calf for you.

He’d rejoice at your return.

He’d celebrate your resurrection.

Even though you didn’t earn

such a wonderful reception.

He’d welcome you back.

He’d restore you to your place.

No matter how far you wandered off track,

He’d rush to you and kiss your face.

There aren’t words to describe just what He would do for you,

and coming home to Him is all you’d have to do.


He Wouldn’t

Why would God forget you,

when He’s numbered the hairs on your head?

Why would the God who made you,

refuse to hear a word you’ve said?

Why would he forget you,

when He sent his Son to die for you?

Why would he forget you,

when He sent His Son to pay the price for you?

He is faithful,

and He has promised He will not leave or forsake you.

He is watchful,

observing all you say and do.

Trust and be patient, as he is patient.

He will strengthen and help you. His grace, he will give to you, and it is sufficient.


My Strength

When I am weary; He opens my eyes.

When I am weak; His strength carries me.

He is the one in whom my hope lies.

In a time of need, I offer him my plea.

I am not enough on my own,

so I submit to His sovereignty.

He never leaves me alone.

His grace covers my iniquity.

Help me set aside myself.

I must take up my cross and follow You.

He has given me life itself.

There is nothing he can not do.

He is mighty, loving, and just;

it is in His power, not my own, that I place all of my trust.


He Overcame

No temptation could overcome Him.

No suffering could dissuade Him.

No hunger could weaken Him.

No threat could frighten Him.

No argument could confuse Him.

No insult could break Him.

No lie could fool Him.

No amount of reason could change Him.

Men couldn’t capture Him.

Men couldn’t judge Him.

Death could not hold Him.

The tomb could not keep Him.

Do not worry over what trouble or trials the world has hurled.

Take heart; Jesus has overcome the World.

The Need For Pain: Why Happy Characters Are Boring

The Need For Pain: Why Happy Characters Are Boring

Greetings all,

First a few notes:  For starters, I have the files for the Sojourn in Captivity audio book. I’m reviewing them now. The (very early) results seem wonderful.

Next: My wife an I are officially trying to have a child. This required a surgery to reconnect her tubes (which had been done during her previous marriage). The surgery went well, and I’d just like to take a moment and thank God for that. She and I both truly wanted to have more children, and we’re grateful the door is open. Her recovery has us both growing (code word for frustrated, which is actually why I’m doing this topic today). She’s stir crazy, and my routine is shot. Her number one comfort is being outgoing and doing things, which she can’t. My number one comfort is routine and consistency, which is nonexistent when I’m working and running a house.

But I truly mean it when I say this helps us grow.  You see, I aspire to have a boring life. I love the idea that tomorrow will be just like today. (Not at all my wife’s idea of a good day, but in this case opposites attract).  It’s all fine and good for a person to like what he likes, but if we don’t experience pain, we don’t grow. No one wants to read about the guy who encountered no stress and overcame nothing.

When we encounter struggles, it changes us. Pain  helps us grow. No, I don’t look forward to it, but I’m better when it’s over. Our characters are the same way.

Image taken from A Wheel of Time Wiki for character study purposes under Fair Use Doctrine.

A lot of my favorite characters are characters who suffered plenty: Rand from Wheel of Time suffered a ton (as did my favorite character in that series, Perrin). I’d say these characters are the extremes in terms of my top three series ever. Still, all my favorite books (personally) feature characters who truly struggled.

Here’s the next part to why this is so important. The readers or viewers must believe the characters might fail. I often have playful (yet also serious) arguments with a friend of mine (Hi Terry!) regarding why I honestly don’t care for DC. The characters are too powerful.  They have near Olympian power. Sure, Marvel has some OP characters, but most DC characters are of a ridiculous power level. I’m not afraid for them. I’m not in the least bit worried they won’t win the fight or meet their goal. This makes the story boring. If you want readers interested in your story, you need to convince the reader that character might fail.  This is all the more difficult to do because most readers expect a happy ending. They anticipate that, so it’s such an art to instill an honest sense of fear of failure for the character.

The wife and I don’t hate Jodie Whittaker or her Doctor, but we really couldn’t get into her first season. Now, other than Matt Smith (who remains the greatest Doctor ever), I hated every first season of every doctor. I think the writers take time to figure out the new Doctor just like the new Doctor (in the story) takes a minute to figure him or herself out. But we couldn’t get into it. Then something occurred to me: She never lost. Yes, the grandma died (was it the first episode?), but there wasn’t a connection. In fact, I’m of the opinion that character was pretty expendable. Why? Guess:

She was happy.

Image taken from for character study purposes under Fair Use Doctrine.

The only good thing a happy character can do in a story is die. They have no struggle, and therefore they have no interest. The most interesting thing that could happen is to see this wonderful, happy character die, thus causing all the other characters to become even more interesting as they try to adjust to life after happy character.

Most of my readers who I talk to during conventions often ask me about the characters who die. We talk about this a little. The one character I get the most (playful) anger with killing (no spoilers) was the character who was happy. But that character’s death shook the readers and gave them an emotional jolt. This loss affected not only the readers, but the characters around the the dearly departed.

So I had some interest, but then life got consistent for the Doctor. Then things got easy. I can think of a few instances when there was great opportunity for this Doctor to face true loss on a couple different stages, and the writers didn’t take the plunge. But you can only put Lois Lane on the train tracks so many times before the readers don’t even care anymore.  Sooner or later, that engine needs to plow over Lois, or the “act” gets boring. That’s what I feel happened with this latest season of Doctor Who.

So I wanted to throw out those ideas when I had a moment. Hopefully things calm down for me. (I really do appreciate growth, but I miss my routine something fierce right now, and my wife is going to go out of her mind if I can’t take her out next week.)

What do you all think? Do you have a story you realize you didn’t like so much for this reason? Do you disagree?

Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,


Sonnets For My Savior 32

Sonnets For My Savior 32

If He Wasn’t Raised

If He were not raised from the dead,

our faith would be in vain.

We would be guilty of the life we have led,

and our souls would know nothing more than judgement and pain.

I have tried to live a life for myself,

I received the praise of man, but joy eluded me.

It wasn’t until I looked to please God rather than myself,

that joy found me, and I finally felt free.

If Christ remained in the grave,

the only hope we would have is in this life.

But He arose and left the cave,

so our souls have indeed been freed from strife.

It’s so odd that after years of seeking happiness through freedom,

my heart was filled by accepting Christ’s salvation and serving God’s kingdom.



When I am happy,

when I am sad,

if the hour is early,

if I lost all the time that I had,

When I have an abundance,

when I feel I have nothing,

if I have traveled a great distance,

If I have been gone, but now home is approaching,

When others have need,

when others are blessed,

if I have committed a misdeed,

if another has put my patience to the test.

It doesn’t matter the circumstance, place, or time of day.

The appropriate mindset is one seeking to pray.


An infinite number of sins piled high.

As far from God as any man can be.

The next day, one sin I forever deny,

but there is still so much growth left for me.

Study the scripture.

Change my ways.

Work to endure,

through trying days.

I’m so far from the sinner I was,

but I’m no closer to my God, who is perfect.

Still I can’t succumb to temptation because,

He washed me clean as His elect.

I’m a sinner; this I know,

but God is with me; the proof is the fruit I bear as I grow.


More Than I Can Handle

I can do nothing on my own,

so I need You for everything.

You softened my heart of stone.

I’ve submitted to You, my heavenly King.

In times of stress, I shall not rely on my own power,

and if I never struggled, history shows I’d turn from You.

Please let me rely on You every minute, every hour,

for Your wisdom can accomplish far more than I could hope to.

When I am sad, I can’t pull myself through.

When I am in need, I can’t provide for myself.

All I have, Lord, comes from you.

You grant me my shelter, my food, and my health.

Lest trials come to remind me how much I need You,

let me instead praise you no matter what I go through.



Joy doesn’t come from accolades or fame.

It doesn’t come from riches or gold.

It doesn’t come from winning a game.

It doesn’t come from living until you’re old.

The promise of joy isn’t a licence to do as you desire.

Do not mistake one for the other.

One will lead only to fire.

The other only comes from the presence of the Father.

Shaping God to fit your wants only leads to idolatry.

You live to serve Him, not He for you.

Those who chafe at God’s commands and seek to be free

don’t understand what a foolish thing that is to do.

There is no happiness that compares to the Joy of God’s presence;

neither is there a pain that compares to His absence.


Should We Really Follow Our Hearts?

The heart is deceitful above all things

and desperately sick.

Evil thoughts are what the heart brings,

On the candle of sin, the human heart’s desire is the wick.

Man is tempted by his own desire.

The intention of his heart is evil from his childhood.

Indeed if a man seeks his own path, he will only find fire,

for there is no one on Earth who is good.

Only God can make a man’s heart new

It is His way, not man’s that is right.

His way is true.

Those redeemed by Christ have a future that is bright.

Our hearts were broken by Adam’s sin,

but Christ’s sacrifice can change us from within.


A Sonnet of Praise

Please, oh Lord, accept my words of praise!

You are mighty; You are just.

Let us serve You all of our days.

Let use remember Your commands and do as we must.

God of love, You granted us salvation.

God of mercy, you sent Your Son to pay for our iniquity.

God of protection, You deliver us from temptation.

God of peace, You offer us tranquility.

All we have comes from You.

Let all we do be for You.

You’re faithful; all you say is True.

There is nothing our God can’t do.

Great is our glorious God.

Wonderful is our Holy God.

The Curse of Greatness

The Curse of Greatness

Greetings all,

I thought I might take a moment to discuss a topic near and dear to me. I love stories. They’re just so amazing, and each one is special for it’s own reason. But what happens when someone truly creates something exceptional? A trend I’m noticing these days is that the greater a creation someone has, the more demand that artist is to create something greater, but that’s not a consistent measurement for any number of reasons. Lately, I’ve seen a number of people talk about how awful something is. I’d be in the middle of asking why they didn’t like it, and, inevitably, the other person would say something like, “His first book was so much better!”

OHHHHhhhhh! You’re not evaluating this story on it’s own merit, you’re comparing it to something else. Is it a completely unreasonable thing? Maybe not. I mean, every author and artist I know truly wants the next project to be better than the last. But I don’t know that I’d want to be judged on my last work, especially if I were ever lucky enough to create something amazing.

So what I’m going to do is look at a few projects to hopefully show what I mean.

downloadThe Star Wars saga: This might honestly be the most beloved story of all time. Even people who hate Star Wars (like, from 1980-something and beyond) still know it. They still get the jokes and memes. The original trilogy was lightning in a bottle. It does so many things well, and it hit people and culture at a perfect point in history. Here’s my statement though, no follow up, ever, could hope to hold up against it. First, we’ve had some 30 years to romanticize that story. We grew up, loving it, watching it, and reaffirming our love for it.

I don’t have statistics to measure this, but I’d be willing to bet money a guy is more likely to meet and marry a second wife before he’d be willing to let anyone touch is beloved Star Wars. Bold statement right? Is it? God forbid, if I lost Julie, I’d be devastated. I love her. I truly believe God made her just for me in the same way he made Eve for Adam.  Still, I’ve already asked her to try and find someone new if I die, and, after time, I might find someone new for myself. But whoever I meet, I’d meet and get to know on an individual level. How fair would this hypothetical situation be if I compared my second wife to Julie? Even more, people don’t really even consider it. Sure, they may recognize things or appreciate things that remind them of their original spouse, but they don’t hold the previous spouse against  the current one.

But make a prequel movie that doesn’t meet the twenty years of expectations I’ve placed on it, and we’ll riot. Make a sequel that doesn’t line up with my fan theory, and I’ll start a petition demanding Disney retcon the movie, and then I’ll lose my stuff because the director lacked the courage to stand behind his conviction of starting an original story line. This isn’t opinion, search #StarWars on social media and look at the hate. My sons actually said, “The sequels ruined Star Wars.”

Star_Wars_The_Last_Jedi.jpgThat gave me pause. “Did you even watch it?”


“Did you like it?”


“Then how did it ruin it?”

“My teacher said so.”

First off, my kids are supposed to be learning skills, not being force fed your own personal opinion on art and cultural issues, teachers. No my sons are TAUGHT to hate a thing just because they want to fit in. (Tangent over.)

Here’s my point. You can say you like Star Wars, or you can hate it. But I wonder, if we had someone watch Episode 8, and make sure that person never saw the originals. What would that person think?  What would happen if we watched that movie just for that movie? Is it a part of a whole, sure, but fans today are measuring against decades of romanticized expectations and anticipation. Disney doesn’t stand a chance. I’m not saying 8 was the greatest ever, but it’s nowhere near the worst, and no amount of Jar Jar Binx can honestly ruin A New Hope.

So why talk about this? Am I trying to justify 8 vs the other episodes? No, like Disney, I don’t stand a chance. Neither does 9. Fans have chosen to love or hate that movie already, and they’ll love it or hate it regardless of the content because they’ve chosen to love it or hate it. It’s like politics. I could say the most hateful things, do the most horrible stuff in accordance to anyone’s opinions, but if I label myself a republican, republicans everywhere love me. Do the SAME stuff, and label myself a democrat and democrats everywhere will embrace me. It’s honestly the same with these transcendent works.

Harry_Potter_Cursed_Child_PlayThe Cursed Child: People everywhere are pretty polarized about this story as well.  I loved it. Now, fans didn’t have the same amount of time to romanticize this story, and I’ve noticed the dissatisfaction is way down. Do a survey, and I’d bet money those who hate it are those who grew up with Harry. I mean that literally. If they started it at 12 and finished it at 20-something, they probably hate Child.  Find those older readers who were more discerning and less impressionable, and at the very least I bet money that group will have a much more standard Bell curve.  Why do they like Beasts? They went away from all those main characters.  Why don’t they like Grimwald? They made editorial decisions on Dumbledore.  The only real way to stay in a universe and not get flack would be to  create a new story with new characters who don’t alter or affect the ones people fell in love with. Solo might be the most hated Star Wars movie (maybe).  But Solo doesn’t stand a chance. We love Han, and if the Han we see doesn’t fit into our romanticized view, we hate him. Frankly, no one can meet your romanticized view of a character.

So I fear ever writing that transcendent story. Because people forget what it means to truly create something transcendent. It’s notable specifically because it’s unique and original. I think a lot of directors, writers, and creators are unfairly held to a transcendent standard, and it takes away one’s ability to simply enjoy a story on it’s own merit.

books-1245690_960_720I very carefully didn’t give too many opinions on what I thought of these things because that’s my point. There is not fair comparison. There is no fair opinion. The very nature of an opinion is based on emotion and thought more than any measurable standard. I challenge readers and viewers to think about this the next time you watch or read something. I’ve seen things I didn’t enjoy as much. My wife asked if I’d watch a remake of Krull or a sequel.  I’d probably see the sequel, but I’d have to work very hard not to be unreasonable. I’ve had decades to imagine how I thought the story would go. My life as a writer even began with my work to pen a sequel to the story. So anyone else’s vision would just be insulting to me on a personal level because of my own filter and not because of the actual work, which really isn’t fair.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree? Do you disagree? I’d really like to have a civil discussion on this.

Thanks for reading,