Sojourn in Captivity Is Now Available On Audible!

Sojourn in Captivity Is Now Available On Audible!

Greetings all,

Sojourn_ACX_CoverI’m happy to announce that Sojourn in Captivity is now available on Audible. Courtney Sanello did a fantastic job narrating this story. What I like most about this and the Audible version of Repressed is that it’s just such a quick story.  It’s just under three hours, so if you’re driving around town or heading on a trip, you can finish the whole story on the way.

Pretty soon, I currently have 25 codes good for a free copy of Sojourn. I also have codes for my other Audiobooks.

If you’re interested in one (or all) of them, please feel free to email me.  I hope you decide to give them a try.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

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Book Review: Of Fire and Storm by D.G. Swank

Book Review: Of Fire and Storm by D.G. Swank

 

cover
This image of the cover was taken from the book’s Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine. 

Of Fire and Storm is the second book in D.G. Swank’s Piper Lancaster series.

 

Spoiler Free Summary: Piper is still new to the who demon slaying business, but the threats are still increasing more greatly. A mysterious threat is targeting young people who inevitably commit suicide. Things take a turn for the worse when one victim turns out to be connected to Piper. Her powers are growing, but someone she loves is going to betray her.

Character:  So this story is really closely patterned after Buffy. While I think the relationship is too close, I still like the feeling because I’m such a fan of Buffy.  It would be unfair to call Piper a Buffy ripoff. Sure, she’s a blonde-haired demon slayer, but Piper has enough unique traits. I’ll even admit that I’m such a fan of Buffy that I’m probably forcing the thoughts.  Piper is compassionate and driven. These traits make her easy to like. She’s a bit gullible if you ask me, but her sympathy and proactivity make her worth following.

Exposition: As the second book in a series, one has to expect some degree of exposition to help the readers along. However, this was pretty solid for me. I got the history when I needed it, and I got the story when I wanted it. I don’t feel like the story dragged down or went off the rails at any point.

Swank
Image of Swank was taken from her website for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine. 

Description:  I probably could have used a bit more description. There was enough to get the movie theatre in my head going, but it was a pretty small theatre, and they didn’t have dBox effects. The character description was better than the scenic description by far. But some of the environments felt a bit thin.

Overall: Though it rigidly holds to the Buffy template I’m certain inspired it, it is still entertaining. It’s got a few surprises amid some of the more predictable aspects. It’s not bad if you’re a fan of the genre. It’s a fun read that gives fans of the genre somewhere to go if they need a fix. While heavily inspired (in my opinion) by the aforementioned TV show, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a cheap knock off. I think I enjoyed it as much as I did because of the blending of new aspects amid a familiar, well-loved story. If you miss Buffy, give this a read and see how you feel about it.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Sonnets for My Savior 41

Sonnets for My Savior 41

Why We Were Made

He made our mouthes so we could praise Him.
He made our hands so we could work for Him.
He made our bodies to be a temple for Him.
He made our hearts to be filled by Him.

He did not make us for our own sake, but for His.
He did not make us to please us, but to please Him.
He did not make for our glory, but for His.
He did not make us to serve us, but so we would serve Him.

This does not take away His love for us.
This does not reduce His desire to care for us.
It does not change the wonderful things He will give to us.
It only establishes His relationship with us.

There is no real mystery as to what our purpose is.
The LORD God made us; therefore, we are His.

 


 

Before Him

Before Him, we were lost.
Before Him, we were enemies.
Jesus Christ accepted the cost.
Jesus Christ washed away our iniquities.

Before Him, we were hostile.
Before Him, we committed evil deeds.
Jesus Christ stood our trial.
Jesus Christ intercedes.

Through Him, we are reconciled.
Through Him, we are made holy.
Each person who accepts him has become God’s child.
We are saved through Christ and Christ only.

The only reason we are cleansed of sin
Is the loving, willing sacrifice of Him.

 


 

The Next

If I should live a life full of happiness,
rich in wealth, joy, and love,
I will stand in wonder at the greatness
that awaits in the world above.

If I should live a life full of agony,
wrought with pain and famine.
I will work to remember the glory,
which waiting for me in Heaven.

The things of this world are fleeting,
The grace of God is forever.
The redeemed on this Earth are waiting
For the kingdom of our Savior.

There is nothing, good or bad, this world can offer
that compares to eternal life with the Father.

 


 

You or Him

Why do you struggle to change?
Shouldn’t you be loved for who you are?
Those who seek to obey seem strange.
Why continue to run when the finish line is so far?

Shouldn’t you want happiness?
If God loved you, he’d allow it.
Those who say such things bear false witness.
They speak about the temptation of the world and all that comes with it.

They want you to be like them, when Christ is whom we should be like.
They speak with the world’s wisdom, when we should be fools for the sake of our Savior.
They speak about what feels good rather than what is right.
They seek to bring you to their level rather than the LORD’s favor.

Those who act like men only become men and suffer man’s fate.
Those who act like Him, will be more like Him and receive his grace.

 


 

What We Want and What We Deserve

Let go of your anger and pride.
Let go of your desire for vengeance.
What happened to the mercy for which you cried?
Wouldn’t you want forgiveness if you offered repentance?

Why do we want justice from others,
but we want patience for ourselves?
Why do we celebrate the punishment of others
only to lament what consequences fall on ourselves?

We are all guilty.
All of us deserve God’s punishment.
Compared to God, we’re all filthy.
If mercy is what we seek, why do we hold onto resentment?

Forgive as you are forgiven.
Give the mercy you were given.

 


 

The Helper He Blessed Me With

I was alone.
There was no one to share my pain with.
Whenever I came home,
there was no one to share my joy with. 

I prayed in submission,
finally placing Him in charge of my life.
Then he granted my petition,
and he gave me such a wonderful wife.

She is my helper.
She aides me in sickness and in health.
Her presence has made my life better.
In terms of love and joy, I have so much wealth.

None of this came by any power of my own.
This only happened after I submitted and knelt before his throne.

 


 

Believe

He came from the Father above.
Born to a virgin in a body of flesh.
He came to show the Father’s love.
He gave us life through his death.

He lived a perfect life, guilty of no wrongdoing.
He trained the 12, who would preach his gospel when he left.
The wisdom of the Father was in every word he was speaking,
And to this day all who hear and believe are blessed.

On the cross, He was raised.
Unbroken and unblemished he died.
When he rose again, the path was paved
for all who couldn’t be forgiven by anything they’d try.

Now stands the commandment of our salvation:
Believe in Him who died for our forgiveness and rose for our justification.

Book Review: Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton

Book Review: Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton
Cover
Image of the cover was taken from the book’s Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Pandora’s Star is the first book in Peter F. Hamilton’s Commonwealth Saga.

Spoiler Free Summary: When an astrologist notices a star that regularly vanished and then returns, the futuristic Commonwealth society of planets can’t help but investigate the mystery. The mission brings old enemies together, old hostilities to a boiling point, people who were nobodies to fame, and people who were legends hundreds of years to vanish completely.

Character:  This mammoth tome frankly has too many points of view and characters to track. There’s the guy who invented wormholes and the detective who only failed to solve one case. I also remember a guy ended up a starship captain. My biggest problem with this book is that it demands far too much of the reader. If I think about each individual story, they’re great.  I like stories that have a good cast, but this book simply throws too many plots and characters at me.  Even while reading, I couldn’t ever keep up with who was what doing what and where.  I have two plots I liked best, and they are only vaguely connected to the mission to investigate the vanishing star.

Exposition: This is probably the other reason I struggled with this book. A massive cast combined with mountains of exposition just brings the book to a screeching halt for me. We get several pages of life story for each character before anything actually happens. Again, and one of these stories would have been great, but each block of exposition would be tolerable with fewer characters to work around. There are even side plots that just don’t affect the overall plot at all, and that just drags the pace even further down. The coolest plot doesn’t happen until halfway through the book. I think I’d love this series if book one was three to five books.

Hamilton
Image of Mr. Hamilton was taken from his bio page on the Pan Macmillan website for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Description:  I imagine most fans of pure speculative scifi will love the level of description in this book. It wasn’t as meticulous as say, Dune, but it was certainly detailed and absolutely visceral.  If I’m being fair, it’s probably just right, but combined with the exposition and number of characters, it just slowed things that much more for me.

Overall:  If I’m being honest, this book was just so broad in scope. There are stories and characters in this I was truly interested in, but they were all buried by other characters I can’t even remember and never cared about. The pacing from one character to another felt too random. If this book were split up a bit, I probably would like any number of them, but all together just made it feel hard to follow. This book is great for fans of deep worldbuilding and complex science fiction.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Sonnets For My Savior 40

Sonnets For My Savior 40

Growth

Those who love the Father

follow Him and obey.

They don’t find his commandments a bother.

They grow more like the Son each and every day.

Eat the right food.

Man does not live by bread alone.

He who lives by the word of God has certitude.

He finds more peace that he has ever known.

Study the the word so that you may grow.

Commit them to your hearts and minds.

If His work is the crop that you have sown,

you will reap more joy than you had thought you could ever find.

Love, Obey, Eat, and Grow.

Do this, and His presence in your life will show.

 



Because I Sin

I am a sinner.

I have looked at a brother in anger.

I’ve accumulated wealth thinking that would make me a winner.

I’ve let others work while I relax in languor.

I was a slave to sin.

I’ve stared at women in lust.

I drank myself stupid to quite the spirit within.

I was a liar no man should ever trust.

Jesus Christ paid the price.

His sacrifice made me clean.

He bled for every vice.

It was the only way to account for the sins God has seen.

The Savior who died and has risen

was the only way I could have been forgiven.

 


 

Perishable vs Eternal

Money will perish.

His love endures.

Fame will perish.

His grace endures.

Flesh will perish.

His peace endures.

Pleasure will perish.

His holiness endures.

Pain will parish.

His comfort endures.

Sadness will perish.

HIs joy endures.

All of the things of this world are perishable.

The Lord God, and the gifts he gives, is eternal.

 


 

Don’t Let Me Fall

Hold me tightly.

Surround me with Your light, lest my eyes wander.

Help me walk steadfastly and rightly.

Your love is a precious gift I never want to squander.

Provide me a means of escape

when temptation gives its seductive call.

Mold me into a better shape.

Lift me to Your grace lest I fall.

My desire is to serve You,

but my fleshly heart was born to desire evil things.

Let me please and glorify You in all I do,

so I might enjoy Your peace and all that it brings.

A life in service to You is a life most blessed.

Grant me wisdom, LORD, so that when temptation comes, I may pass the test.

 


 

Freedom

We have the freedom to speak out mind.

We have the freedom to petition out government.

We have freedoms others can only hope to find,

But our most precious freedom comes through Christ, whom God sent.

We have freedoms to bring arms to bare.

We have freedom of the press.

Of all the freedoms for which we care,

Christ’s is the greatest. Without Him, all other freedom is worthless.

We even have freedom of religion.

We can worship or not however we want to.

This makes it so we ca openly praise God’s own Son,

For His is the only way that is true. I

We have so many great freedoms from this nation we are in,

But it is Christ who gives us freedom from sin.

 


 

How Do You Do It?

How can you be so slow to frustration?

How can you be so quick to forgive?

Too quickly I find vexation,

Too often I become combative.

Help me to be more like You.

Help me to have a heart of forgiveness and peace.

Guide me, LORD, in all I do.

My desire to grow more like You shall never cease.

Grant me a heart like yours, full of grace.

Grant me a heart like yours, full of steadfast love.

Your son’s likeness is the goal to which I race.

Your love is the gift no one is worthy of.

Just as you forgive us our iniquity,

grant us a forgiving spirit so that we may have tranquility.

 


 

The Right Goal

Let us seek Your righteousness.

Let us follow Your path.

Help us walk away from our selfishness,

lest we encourage Your wrath.

Let our deeds be pleasing.

Let good fruit come from our actions.

Let every day be more appeasing.

Let me focus on You with no distractions.

Be first in my heart, soul, and mind.

Be the center of my attention.

For You are the creator of mankind,

and I seek only Your affection.

Becoming saved has given us the proper perspective.

Pleasing You is the only real objective.

The Work: What Any Hopeful Storyteller Needs To Remember

The Work: What Any Hopeful Storyteller Needs To Remember

33691405_1268090163335754_6441353274913193984_nGreetings all,

A lot of people have asked me how to write.

Several people have asked me about how to self-publish.

Only a few people have talked to me about marketing.

I can’t remember the last time (or if ever) anyone ever asked me about the work.

The thing is, people love the idea of being an author. Actually, what they love is the idea of being a huge author.

First, “huge” is not a real measurable standard. For instance, Brandon Sanderson only has a net worth of $6 million according to celebritynetworth.com. Now, I’d never say no to $6 million, but what is that compared to say, George R. R. Martin, who makes $15 million per year on that show you all know and $10 million a year on those books based on that show.

Those are good stories and nice goals to have. They’re even real, attainable goals. However, no one just goes to sleep and wakes up next to a novel that will put them in the millionaire club.  Sanderson wrote 13 novels before he got picked up. He typically releases three titles a year. That means the guy writes a lot.

WritingI don’t begrudge a guy who’s more like me. I’m someone who does his best to get work out, but I’ve learned a bit more about the trade (and I still have a ton to learn) since I’ve started. Still, let’s just look at the work I have done. I’ve released nine titles (five original works) in four years. I had written about seven books before I self-published. In word count alone, I’ve written more than 330,000 words. That’s a commitment of time. Before I got married, I wrote 1,000 words a day and marketed for about an hour.

Since I’ve been married, I market as I have time and squeeze in a couple-hundred words a day even if I have to do so during my lunch break at work. I’m still under the belief that the time you put into it has a direct relationship to the success you have. I think this is particularly true of the marketing.

Hopeful authors, please understand that I want you to have your dreams come true. I’d be overjoyed to see you become a best-seller climb up that Forbes list. I just want you to have your eyes open to the effort you have to be willing to put in. There are no shortcuts; there are no easy paths. Too often we see the reward for one’s work, and assume it just “happened,” and that’s just not true.

ChartI wish I had some sort of chart. There are days when I’d kill to know how many books I’d have to write before I start seeing a monthly profit. I’d love to know how many dollars to invest in marketing before I see a regular sales pace. I have some info for you.

I know that a self-published author typically has to get ten books out there before they start to see a profit.

However, that’s the only solid info I have, and it’s info you need if you aspire to be an author/entrepreneur. To be frank, I still don’t really know what I’m doing. I’m just doing my best based on my own research and talking with authors I respect.

So the real question that matters is, “How much time are you willing to put into this?”

If you come and tell me you write 5,000 words a day and market for three hours a day, I’d expect you to be doing well. If you haven’t written a single book, well, that’s why you’re not succeeding as an author.

Why this post at this time? Well, I’m not working as much as a single guy could these days. I’m not upset about it. I’m more interested in being a loving husband and leading father than I am about anything else. But I am still working toward a goal. I just expect I’ll reach it a bit more slowly than I would otherwise. That doesn’t discourage me, it encourages me. It changes my thinking.

Instead of wondering why things haven’t happened yet, I realize I just need to work at it a little longer. However, I can have that optimism because I believe that work ethic breeds success. My goal is to help you see that too. I don’t imagine it would be hard to be at least as successful as I am (if one would go so far as to call me successful). But it starts with, “Write a book.” Then it builds to, “Market the book.” Then it’s, “Write another book.”

You just have to put in the work. It’s a lot of work, but that’s the only trick. So what are you sitting here reading this blog for? Go on! Get writing!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

CoverSkyward is the first story in the Skyward saga by Brandon Sanderson.  Spoiler Free Summary: Spensa has wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and be a pilot since she was a child. Unfortunately, her father is the world’s most famous traitor. He turned on his wing during an alien attack. These creatures have oppressed her planet for years, and the pilots are the ones who protect her world’s way of life. When everyone else seems to be against her even training to be a pilot, her father’s old wing mate gives her the chance she’s always wanted. However, the truth of her father’s death and the key to the aliens attacking her might prove she never should take a cockpit.

Character:  Unlike Rithmatist or Steelheart (which are other YA books by Sanderson), I had to sort of turn off the adult in my brain. If I do that, Spensa is a wonderful character. Honestly, she’s just young. She’s a well-written and designed character, and she’s perfect for YA, but her thoughts and motives are a little less mature than Sanderson’s usual work. It’s still better than most YA I’ve read, but it’s probably more suited for younger readers. She’s quirky. She has a personality trait I personally find endearing. It reminds me of Sir Didymus from Labyrinth

Exposition: Despite the first-person narrative, this story didn’t drag down too much. Sure, there was the inevitable “conversation” that established world history. There’s a backstory that might slow things down in there, but this story was a much-needed, highly-anticipated quick-read for yours truly. It moves at a perfect pace that made it hard to put down.

BrandonGray
Image of Sanderson by Nazrilof was taken from Sanderson’s website for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Description:  I felt like this story had less description that usual. I’m not normally one to harp on this subject, but I would have appreciated a bit more from Sanderson on this, especially in distinguishing the lower levels of the planet from the surface.  If I have a knock on this story, it’s here.

Overall:  I’d say this is my favorite book of the year so far. I’ll also admit this year has been a bit tough regarding my reading. This book is good, and I did enjoy it, but I don’t know how it would hold up against any of my top three from last year. I say that to give some context. I’d say very good, but not great. It’s absolutely a fun read. It still has Sanderson’s usual charm, but it ended on a high note that has me hopeful for the series overall.

Thanks for reading

Matt