Betrayed: The Discovery Draft of Oneiros 2 Is Done!

Betrayed: The Discovery Draft of Oneiros 2 Is Done!

Greetings all,

caught-front-coverI’m happy to report that the discovery draft to Betrayed: Book Two of the Oneiros Log is finally finished!  I’m genuinely sorry for the delay on this project. Things got pushed around, and then some life stuff happened, and it just feels like I kept being pulled into other projects. I’m happy that part is done.

So what’s next? Well, Betrayed is gonna sit for a while. I can’t just jump into editing. I’m already too close to my own work, and if I don’t let a manuscript sit for a while, I tend to be blind to certain issues. I need to be objective when editing my work, and that means giving it some time.

While that goes on, the first thing I’m going to do is finish listening to the audio version of Sojourn in Captivity, which is going well. Courtney did some revisions, and now I need to just give everything a check to make sure it’s ready to go. I’m hoping to have that out in the world before I go to Shore Leave next month.

45003791_10156740898697460_7981328569286524928_nCollin is working pretty hard on Issue 2 of Hazel, and I’ll get the dialogue polished off for him when he needs. There’s some exciting news in that regard, but nothing is final yet, so I’m waiting until I have real facts rather than high hopes, but I am hopeful this project is progressing well.

I plan on doing the first draft of Betrayed starting in July. Yes, that’s a month away, and this book was supposed to be out last year, but a month is typically how long I let a project of that length sit. What that time will also let me do is outline Discovered: Book Three of the Oneiros Log.  Not only will getting that done mean the trilogy will be finished in time, it might help me reconsider certain things from this book.  There’s a huge gap between books one and two, but two and three are only a few weeks (or so) apart. Getting a good feel for the last book should help me make sure everything wraps up nicely.

Betrayed currently clocks in at 57,768 words. I think the gaps between writing and my own tendency to be a little lacking in description hurt me here.  The book should have been about 80,000 words. I know one character needs a bit more screen time, and I know I need some better description. So this revision will probably be a bit more work than the last few titles have been. The good news is the major framework is done, and I’m content with where the story is. Yes, it needs work, but I feel pretty confident that I know what I need to do.

I want to thank all of you for your patience in this. I’m so happy that I can write these stories and share them with people. I’d be lying if I said this book was anticipated, but I do know there are people waiting for this story, and I hope that Repressed did enough to tie you over. We’ll get Betrayed to you as soon as I can get it through the editorial process.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

Advertisements

Book Review: Mordecai by Michael G. Manning

Book Review: Mordecai by Michael G. Manning
Mordecai
This cover for Mordecai was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine. 

Mordecai is the first book of The Riven Gates series, which is the fourth series in the Mageborn saga. My review for the first the last book in the previous series is here. My review for the earliest series (Embers of Illeniel) is here.  My review for the central series (Mageborn) is here.

Spoiler Free Summary:  Mordecai has seen the passing of the Dark Gods. He’s saved Lothion, placed kings on thrones. His children have done similar things. However, now his past, and the past of the She’Har, are coming together to put him in a position he’s never been in. Tyrion, the progenitor of human mages and Mordecai’s distant ancestor, has returned to the flesh. The ancient enemy of the She’Har has also set it’s sites on Mordecai’s home. The ensuing conflict will cost Mordecai more than ever.

Character:  Mordecai is as wonderful as ever in this story. To me, this book sort of put the series back on track. Any series this large and this old is going to have ebbs and flows. While this book wasn’t as good as some others, it was one of the better ones in my opinion, and Mordecai’s story is why. I loved seeing Tyrion again, and most of the cast get’s some good screen time. The thing that has always elevated the series to me has been its characters, and they remain the driving force behind this outstanding saga.

Exposition: Previous books gave us the background and context we needed, so now we can get right into the drama and the action. Sure, I remember some scenes that might have slowed down a bit, but I’d say this was some of the better exposition I’ve seen in the series in a while.

Dialogue: I’ll admit that this is probably Manning’s weakest area. A lot of the dialogue feels like exposition sometimes. We get told things rather than listening to other characters talk. It’s not honestly such a problem. A lot of writers (including myself) tend to lean on this. So you’ll read conversations that feel more like plot outlines here or there, but it’s still conversational and engaging.

Description:  Any Manning book feels like watching a 3D film in iMAX. This story is no different.

Overall:  This book takes everything you know about Mordecai and his world and flips it on its head. Everything that’s been building for more than ten books comes to a satisfying climax in what’s only the start to what I hope is the most amazing series yet. I’m not going to pretend this is the best book, that right is still reserved for Betrayer’s Bane. However, this book was a shot of adrenaline after a more youth-reader-centered trilogy from the younger heroes in the story. I already think this series is better than the last, and it has potential to evolve into one that rivals the first (chronologically).

Thanks for reading

Matt

Sonnets For My Savior 35

Sonnets For My Savior 35

The Beauty of a Christly Family

Why do we hide our pain?

Did Job suffer silently?

Could it be we think our suffering means our faith is in vain?

Could we think that crying out means we don’t believe fervently?

Perhaps others suffer more greatly,

but that doesn’t make our pain any less.

If we bear our pain in a manner more stately,

does it honestly reduce our distress?

Even Christ asked his disciples to watch with Him when His betrayal drew near.

So why do resist sharing our fears with our brothers?

Could it be that what holds us back is fear,

fear that might lessen our perception from others?

Believers, suffering doesn’t have to be yours alone to bear.

The beauty of a Christly family, is that, even in suffering, we can share.

 


 

Suffering Doesn’t Mean Forsaken

We may suffer, but we are not forgotten.

Indeed, we were promised suffering would come.

Even if we lose all we’ve gotten,

It does not mean God’s heart has grown numb.

This doesn’t mean pain isn’t real.

It doesn’t mean we won’t wonder why.

Every living loved one will feel,

agony when the ones they love die.

It’s okay to pray for wisdom.

It’s okay to pray for pain to end.

It’s okay to seek freedom.

It’s okay to share your pain with a friend.

It’s not a sin to pray to God when you suffer;

It’s a sign that you trust Him more than any other.

 


 

He Is With You

Fear not, for He is with you.

He is greater than the one who is in the world.

No matter what man may do,

God’s Son has overcome the world.

He delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians.

He delivered David from the hands of Saul.

When one man sought to persecute Christians,

God changed that man’s heart, and thus was born the Apostle Paul.

What man does for evil; He does for good.

No suffering compares with the glory in the life to come.

Trust in His will, and do as you should,

for by this, God’s will is done.

Take heart; fear not; He is with you.

Find comfort in His grace, for there is nothing He can’t do.

 


 

Father

Grant me wisdom, LORD, help me start my children off the way they should go.

Keep them on the path, even when they’re old.

I yearn to see them learn and grow.

Their learning is such a blessing to behold.   

You are my fortress;

grant my sons shelter.

Don’t let me lead them to distress,

lest they turn from you in anger.

Change me, and make me an example,

one they can follow that pleases you.

Let my patience and love be ample,

so my teaching and instruction are true.

My son’s are a blessing I cherish;

let me lead them to You until the day I perish.

 


 

Selfish

I’m a fool.

I count the minutes of the day and think them mine.

I know the world is yours to rule,

but my hardened heart covets time.

Change me.

I serve, but my desire to do what I wish steals my true happiness.

Set me free.

I’m chained by my own selfishness.

Make me yours.

Grant me a heart that savors the tasks you give me.

I praise your name, and my heart soars,

but I’m not as willing to serve as I ought to be.

My heart is wrong, and only you can change it;

Help me grow, lest my desire to please you become forfeit.

 


 

Wise Provider

Our Lord never fails to provide.

He always gives us what we need.

Our Lord is always on our side.

He always hears those who pray and plead.

Our Lord knows all our necessities better than we do.

He knows what we must have isn’t the same as what we desire.

Our Lord is always faithful and true.

Just because He denies us doesn’t make Him a liar.

Our Lord formed the earth and carefully placed every river and tree.

He formed our bodies into intricate machines.

So trust in God, who brought all to be,

for He alone truly understands your means.

Do not feel abandoned if God denies your request.

Instead trust in Him because in Him, you are blessed.

 


 

Though I Am Unfaithful

I sin, oh LORD, when I forget You.

I abandon You and let You slip from my mind.

I cry out to You, knowing You are always true,

but I forget my promises to You time after time.

I have sinned against my God, who is faithful!

My heart is grieved that I could forget You so.

Have mercy, LORD, and do not be wrathful.

In Your mercy help me to change and grow.

My heart trembles to think I have wronged You,

so I call upon your grace and forgiveness.

You are a loving God, and I see that in all You do.

You hold me and teach me even through my unfaithfulness.

Change me, Lord, so I might serve you more faithfully.

Change me, Lords, so I might serve you more cheerfully.

Working To Improve Skills

Working To Improve Skills

Greetings all,

A while back, I did a post about using other skills to reduce overhead costs. The idea is whatever you know how to do (as in you’ve received training or instruction), is one more thing you can do that you don’t have to pay others to do.  I still affirm that even if you are a paid editor, you should have another editor look at your work. Editing is a funny thing. A person can be pretty blind to his own work. I know I am.

Anyway, one area I wanted to improve on was my digital illustration, and I had a few pieces I wanted to share to show how I’ve been doing.

Grimm

 

This image of Grimm is one I’ve recently done. I took the cover Collin Fogel did for Bob’s Greatest Mistake, and made a few changes. This is all digital art done with Adobe Illustrator. In my own opinion, this is fairly novice work. It doesn’t look like a kindergartner did it, but I wouldn’t’ expect anyone to commission me as a digital artist.  I was reasonably satisfied with it, but it was missing something. Then I realized my biggest complaint with it is the clothing. I’m not very good with digitally illustrating cloth. So I mean to work with this more and improve my overall skill.

Naruto

I’m much happier with Naruto, but when I step back and look at it in comparison to Grimm, I realized a few things. First, this is a portrait. I don’t have that many clothes to deal with, and the style of this picture is different. I think I have a pretty good grasp of gradients and faces.

So what do I do with this? Well, I’m still practicing. Any skill is honestly just a matter of time and practice. Talent helps reduce the time, but there’s no level of skill that practice can’t attain.

The idea is to increase the options I have when I go to shows. I anticipate a world in which I offer convention goers digital anime-style portraits of themselves. I won’t ever sell licensed material, because that’s frankly copyright violation. Sure, people do it, but the copyright owners can always come collect whenever they get in the mood, and I don’t want to be in the blast radius when that bomb drops. But, I CAN do portraits of people and my own characters.

I aspire to do art from my own work along with the portraits to increase what I can offer potential customers. I’m nowhere near a place where my books alone can profit me in a convention. I’ve even mentioned in previous blogs that I measure my success on books sold, not money made. Adding products and services to my table can shift that metric.

So what do you think?  What would you like to see me try next? Is there a character from one of my books you’d like to see me try and illustrate? I will do fan art (because I’m not ever going to sell it), so if you have another character you’d like me to try, let me know.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: The Gospel According to Paul by John MacArthur

Book Review: The Gospel According to Paul by John MacArthur
cover
The cover to this image was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

At the time I bought The Gospel According to Paul, I was particularly enamored by that apostle (he is called one though he was untimely born and isn’t one of the 12). I still love his epistles and his story; I only give that information to explain why I bought that book.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve read it (Sept. 7, 2018). I don’t honestly remember too much. I was perhaps being unfair because I wanted the same fulfillment I get from reading one of Paul’s epistles, and it’s pretty unfair to expect that. I do know that it covers some of the constants in Paul’s writings.

The Gospel belongs to God. I assume the clarification here has something to do with Paul’s use of “my gospel.” He does this the same way us Navy folks say “my ship” or “my command.” We’re taught in the Navy to take ownership. This is to build a person to care or defend things like they’re his own. MacArthur clears that up.

Then there is that thing Paul does so well, which is (and this is my paraphrase here) the summary of how and why we are saved. Faith over works. The death and resurrection of Christ is our sole hope for salvation.

I’m positive there was more, but this study just didn’t hold me the way others from MacArthur do. I could read 12 Ordinary Men 100 times and still be satisfied. Perhaps part of the reason this story doesn’t resonate with me is I’d studied Paul’s works a lot before reading it, so the material just wasn’t particularly enlightening. Please know that I don’t mean this to imply I know everything about Paul and the Gospel. That’s not my intent at all. What I mean is that I was pretty familiar with the terms and concepts MacArthur covered, so I didn’t get that really cool jolt a person gets when particularly difficult passages or concepts finally click.

John-MacArthur-Primary-2
Image of Dr. MacArthur taken from his web site for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

I’d recommend this to anyone not familiar with the Biblical explanation of salvation. This would also be particularly interesting if you’re curious about Paul, but another reason this didn’t meet my expectations is that I truly wanted to study the man  more. If anyone is aware of a good, historically-based, biography on Paul is, I’d be interested in reading it.

None of this is a nock on the book or MacArthur. I just had to note what I thought it was (a biography of Paul with narratives that demonstrate his representation of the Gospel) with what it actually was (a simple study of how Paul taught the Gospel.)

It’s still an interesting story and a great addition to MacArthur’s bibliography.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

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?

 


 

Sin

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.

 


 

Alive

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.

photo-for-human-legion
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,

Matt