In my last blog, I wrote about the value of creating a playlist as you write and for your reader’s enjoyment as they read your books. I said I would share with you my playlist for ‘The Fellowship Of The King – a Christian Geek’s Guide to Kingdom Purpose’. Well, here it is. If you’d like to buy the book to go along with it you can get it from Amazon.
The book is a guide to discovering what your purpose may be for God’s kingdom while you’re here on earth; your royal assignment and quests, what God has laid on your heart to do for others, and the personality, experiences and natural abilities He gave you to accomplish those quests. Quizzes and note pages are included.
‘The Fellowship Of The King’
The first few songs are for the introduction to Kingdom Purpose as we go about our daily lives. Axe or Sword starts the second part of the book which takes you on a journey to discover who you may be in a fantasy realm and what the king there would ask you to do as a Dwarf, Elf, Halfling, Nord or Imperial (with leeway to choose any other race you’re familiar with).
The book has note pages to write down what you discover and blank pages for your artistic talent to shine as you imagine yourself in another world. If you would like some inspiration for that, check out my Pinterest board on The Fellowship Of The King.
PLAYLIST titles and artists
Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies) – by Chris Tomlin
There and Back Again – by Chris Daughtry
Bring Me to Life – by Evanescence
These Dreams – by Heart
The Kingdom – by Starfield
Desert Song – by Hillsong
Only King Forever – by Elevation Worship
Mighty Warrior – by Elevation Worship
Axe or Sword? – from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Ring Goes South – from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The White Tree – from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The Medallion Calls – from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Concerning Hobbits – from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
(For Mountain Dwarves)
Durin’s Folk – from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
(For Deep Dwarves)
The Bridge of Khazad Dum – from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
(For High Elves)
Evenstar – from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
(For Wood Elves)
Vox – by Sarah McLachlan
(For Grey Elves)
Breath of Life – from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Minas Tirith – from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
No Quarter – by Led Zeppelin
I managed to find videos to go along with these by simply googling the title+video, but because of copyright laws, I can’t add them here. Those of you who are tech savvy will hopefully be able to create a playlist on your device.
If you think any other songs would fit the playlist, you’re welcome to add them in the comments. Enjoy!
Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image with an imagination that invites you to take a step beyond.
Ok, granted most writers are introverts, we tend to shy away from parties or hide in a corner and hope no one talks to us. I’ve become a little more outgoing over the years but I still prefer quiet over noise. Unless, of course, I’m taking notes for a party scene in my next novel!
Invitation to a Launch Party
Fear not, this invitation is for an online party and you don’t have to talk to anyone in person or virtually, only in comments and only if you want to. Kirstie, my co-author, and I want to share our excitement with all of you on the release of our new workbook for fiction authors.
There are almost 200 pages of writing tips, information, brainstorming prompts, character building graphics, mapping graphs and tips for creating a new world, plus posters to encourage you along the way, publishing tips, marketing strategies and launch ideas. Then we go through the promotional steps you can take to grow your following, branding yourself as an author and successfully marketing your books.
The workbook fits regular copy-size pages so it’s easy to take along. So if you’d love a place to collect all your creative thoughts, plot your scenes and have it all handy in one place, this will be a great workbook for you!
I hope you can join us for the Facebook launch of THE NOVEL AUTHOR’S WORKBOOK!
Tips, Games and Prizes!
We’ll be hosting four hours of fun with writing tips, games and prizes from 2pm – 6pm, Ontario Eastern time. And there’ll be lots of chances for extroverts to interact and launch ‘Congratulations’ balloons (I just love seeing those float up on my screen!). Add yourself to the guest list!
“Do you ever dream of being more than you are? Being a super-hero who can do marvellous feats for others and for God? Someone who can vanquish evil by a spoken word? Well- You Are! …We are all part of something bigger than ourselves; a supernatural world which exists parallel to ours and which few of us see but which interacts with ours in a constant battle for Mankind.”
This is the introduction to my new book —
‘The Fellowship of The King – A Christian Geek’s Guide to Kingdom Purpose‘
Click the book to find out more.
Find Your Christian Life Purpose
What on earth does that mean? That’s a leading question because not all of the book is about this earthly realm. Half of it is about youin a differentrealm! The first part of the book is discovering how God uniquely designed you before you were born, to be an ambassador (a representative) for His Kingdom. How He gave you specific natural abilities, a specific personality, and ultimately Spiritual Gifts chosen for you to carry out the assignments He has for you on earth—should you chose to accept them.
Find Your Fantasy Alter-Ego
The second part of the book is a fun spin about who you might be in a fantasy realm, your uniqueness translating into a world of fiction and what your missions would be there for the king. It takes you through discovering your race, your choice of weapons, your class (occupation), creating a shield, and your code for the kingdom. Who do think you would be and what mission would you accept for the king?
The book’s a prelude to my upcoming Speculative Fiction novels set in a fantasy realm but written from a Christian perspective. More about those in the coming weeks.
I wrote this book with my son, Benjamin T. Collier, also a published author, who writes amazing novels of fantasy and science fiction (mum’s bragging rights). We had a lot of fun writing this together and putting the different aspects of humankind and fantasy characteristics together to explore the seen universe and the unseen realms of fantasy. He’s the one who wrote most of the second part of the book, and a good friend of ours, Kirstie Shanks, designed the cover and the artwork. It’s a blessing to be able to work with such talented people who are dear to me and follow after God.
If you’re not inclined to geekdom yourself hopefully you’ll still enjoy the reality half of the book and discover what God has for you in His divine wisdom. It also makes a great gift for a geeky friend. The ensuing conversations could be quite hilarious! You may find you have more in common than you think.
Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image—and remember:
Break into the writing realm, or boost your writing career by submitting a short piece of work to an anthology. They usually consist of short stories, poems and nonfiction ideas. It gives you the chance to work with an editor and get valuable feedback on your writing skills. Plus, you’ll meet other authors, personally or virtually, and maybe make new friends.
Find 2-3 writing groups who publish collections of work and join the groups. They’ll likely have an annual or bi-annual call for submissions for a new book.
Earlier this year I sent away five submissions altogether and was excited to have two of my pieces chosen. I write Christian Speculative Fiction and Christian Fantasy stories, so both anthologies are from Christian groups.
Anthologies make great gifts for all ages. I’m delighted to share with you the ones I”m in this year —
“Biblical [Christian] Speculative Fiction is speculative fiction which uses Christian themes and incorporates the Christian worldview…” — Wikipedia.
In many of the modern Christian fiction novels, the characters are mainly Christian and act on guidance from God with no overt or miraculous divine intervention. There is almost always a non-Christian character who eventually becomes ‘born again’ and the emphasis is biblical and doctrinal, as in Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’Left Behind series. It differs greatly from speculations on the Bible and Christianity found in fictional work such as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.
An example of a story which portrays a biblical and doctrinal emphasis but also features miraculous intervention would be Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness which features demons, angels, and spiritual warfare.
So, in a nutshell, Christian Speculative Fiction is any fiction genre which gives a Christian worldview and can incorporate fantasy, science-fiction, dystopia, and other genres which invite us to connect with our Christian beliefs ‘outside the box’.
In the last few years, new venues have opened for the Christian Speculative Fiction genre. More recently, Enclave Publishing (formerly Marcher Lord Press) and LoreHaven have created a platform for writers of Christian Speculative Fiction.
Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image, which includes that magnificent imagination of yours.
I’m currently updating my first published book, an autobiography as a mother with an autistic child. My son, Benjamin, was non-verbal as a small child and was later identified as having High-Functioning Autism. He is now a published author and speaks at churches and schools about his experience growing up with autism. You can still get a copy of the first edition but some of the links in the resources are outdated. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction of the book.
Where do you go to, My Sunshine?
“You have the most beautiful blue eyes, my handsome baby boy. Why can’t I see you behind them? Where do you go when your eyes wander away from me?
I hold you in my arms and stroke your tiny face, run my fingers through the yellow strands falling across your brow and I search for a glimpse of soul connection, but you are nowhere to be found.
If I let go of your small hand you’ll run away or you’ll walk in an endless straight line and not care where you’re going. You won’t see the people on the path in front of you or the tree that blocks your way. You won’t run excited to play with the other children on the swings because they’re not there in your world.
We walk by the lake. I point at the birds, gracefully gliding, skimming over the lapping waves. A young puppy barks and, for an instant, I see a puzzled frown on your tiny forehead, then it’s gone.
I show you the delicate, colourful blue petals of the Forget-Me-Not and we stop for a while to listen to the rustling of the birch. But you walk where I walk and stop when I stop only because I hold on tightly to your little fingers so you don’t slide down the bank and disappear. You have no response to these wonders around you.
I tell you how God made all these things. How He loves you and created you as part of His masterpiece too. How you have a purpose inthis life and how I’ll do my best as your Mummy to help you find that purpose He has planned for you. But you don’t seem to hear a word. You just stare into the distance.
We walk back on the path and I sing to you “Forever Young.” You don’t sing along or dance in circles around me giggling. But oh how I love you my Sunshine.
Where do you go to, my sweet baby boy, when your eyes wander away from me and you’re lost in your autistic world.”
The first edition is available from Amazon at a super discounted price:
A few years ago I wrote a personal story in Brett Ullman’s book, Reset. I’d like to share that story with you as I look forward to the new focus of my blog. All the stories in this book are about personal struggles and how the writers moved forward with a new perspective. Brett includes his own story of a dark time in his life.
You can follow Brett’s blog about his work with teens and their families and receive the book for free, or go to Amazon to purchase it:
“Brett Ullman travels North America speaking to teens, young adults, leaders and parents on topics including sexuality, mental health, men, dating and media. Brett’s seminars engage and challenge attendees to try and connect our ancient faith with the modern culture we live in. Participants are inspired to reflect on what we know, what we believe and how our faith ought to serve as the lens through which we view and engage tough conversations in our society today.” – Brett’s blog.
Till Next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image.
(note: I’m an Amazon affiliate and receive a small fee for using their images when I promote someone’s work.)
A Beginning – The comfort zone of the protagonist and the inevitable separation
A Middle – Resistance of the oncoming event and the struggles moving forward
An End – The hero’s transformation and return to a new normal
Use whatever method you’ve discovered works for you as you collect your ideas for your epic fantasy story; sticky notes, mobile device, notebook, dry-erase board, whatever. Use something you can manipulate. You’re going to want to move things around when you realize a particular scene needs to switch from the beginning to the middle, for example.
For this reason, I like to colour-code the scenes once I figure out where they belong. Highlighting them makes it easier to spot them in the array of my imagination on the screen. Then write, write, write!
Every scene that’s been playing around in your head and kept you awake all night or distracted you during a sermon (it’s ok, it was God who gave you your imagination so He’ll forgive you if it veers you off once in a while). Then put them under the headings Beginning, Middle and End, or if you prefer, Act 1, Act 2 and Act 3.
Once that’s done, rearrange your scenes in the order you think they need to happen.
Remember you’re only writing what’s going to happen in your scenes, not the entire scene right now. This is extremely important if you’re using these blogs to prep for NaNoWriMo where you’ll need to write 50,000 words in 30 days. These blogs are about outlining (preparation) before you actually start the writing process.
The Beginning – Act 1
Begin at the beginning. Sounds like a good idea – very logical. The beginning is where all the groundwork for your story belongs. Here too, you introduce your reader to the when and where of your story. So here is where you put your world-mapping and world-building ideas and make them into scenes (something happening at the time and place in the world you’re describing). Write one or two sentences about what your scene will be.
The Status Quo
Introduce your main protagonist (hero) in their normal everyday life and the world they live in. (In LOTR, Frodo is a Hobbit who lives in a small house in a shire. He loves life and he likes people).
The event that calls the hero to act on something and leave their status quo. (His uncle vanishes and leaves Frodo a magical ring).
They embark on a journey, either physically or emotionally. Usually, in fantasy, it’s a journey away from home. (In LOTR, Frodo sets out on his adventure).
Your hero rejects the quest at first either from fear, hesitation or pride. (Frodo is reluctant to leave his comfortable life).
Your hero will need a mentor, someone who has experience and wisdom which will prove vital to the hero on their journey. Introduce the mentor here. (Gandalf is Frodo’s mentor as he leads him on the adventure).
The mentor will aid the hero through some sort of transformation.
Acceptance and Action
Introduce minor characters but introduce one at a time to give your reader a chance to familiarize themselves with everyone in the story. (In LOTR, we’re introduced to Sam, Pippin and Merry).
Their journey begins.
“Don’t do a lot of world-building before you start writing. Do just enough to get the basics clear in your mind, then let the characters reveal things to you as you work”. – J. Anderson Coats, author of The Wicked and the Just.
The Middle – Act 2 Trials, Tribulations, Friends and Foes
The Edge of the Abyss
Your hero will encounter all of the above; characters who will help your hero or hinder their quest. There will be tests to determine who is a friend and who is a foe. (Orcs, a stranger who becomes a good friend and ally, dark riders on horseback).
Your hero will need to decide if they will carry on with the quest, turn back, or run. There is a crisis. (Frodo has a crisis of courage, feeling that he cannot go on).
“Write short, sharp, heart-clutching scenes that propel your characters through conflict, adventure and resolution. Let your characters guide you”.– Elizabeth Sims, Novelist, Writing Coach and Editor.
The End – Act 3 The Climax and The New Normal
Your hero faces their biggest test/fear in a confrontation with death or another big event. (Frodo knows he needs to destroy the ring but it beckons him, and he shows his weakness).
The Resolution and Reward
Your hero earns the prize and journeys home or on to a new normal. (Frodo goes back to the Shire, but his life will never be the same).
Rearrange your scenes until you’re satisfied with the order they’re in so the story outline starts to make sense to you. Fill in the Middle with several action-packed scene ideas. As always, learn from the masters by reading fantasy and watching fantasy movies. Keep a notepad handy and try to draw out of the story all the points in this blog.
How is your novel organizing coming along? Would a novel planner help? After I wrote my first rough draft of my first novel for NaNoWriMo I created a planner along with my super talented graphic designer, Kirstie Shanks. It’s now available on Amazon. It’s also available as a printable version in my White Rose WritersEtsy shop. (White Rose Writers – The Business Of Being An Author is my source of income).
Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image.
Kingdom Purpose – What On Earth Are You Doing Here?
We’re not content to merely exist – we want to matter in this world. So how do we figure out what our own life means? If we’re not a famous evangelist or humanitarian, what’s our purpose for being here?
“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” – (Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, 1:11-12 MSG).
We are all unique individuals, with our own unique qualities and our own unique assignment from God. He gave us all the attributes we’d need to do His work here and feel His pleasure in our completed assignment. Take a look at a picture of space.
The God who created the earth and all those amazing nebulas and supernova, dark matter and pulsars, created you and me unique and in His image to be family in His name!
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago”. – (Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, 2:10 NIV).
Whatever God has laid on your heart He has given you the ability to do. What has your heavenly Father asked you to undertake on His behalf in this kingdom on earth?
You can find my 22-page mini-course, Your Write Voice For His Kingdom, on the sidebar of the Homepage.
Dec 4th Well, here I am with my NaNoWriMo winner’s certificate! I started out on November 1st with a rough idea for a story, but I hadn’t done the outline or decided on character names or anything. When they said, ‘Write an entire novel in a month”, I took it rather too literally and hadn’t prepared anything! Along the way I discovered I needed an outline. All I had was a beginning idea and an ending. I had no middle. The middle is the entire story – what was I thinking?! But I read a very important coaching tip and decided to just keep that front and centre as I plodded on; Just Write. I tried to ignore the editor in me who sounded a lot like my English grammar school teacher, and I wrote, and wrote, and wrote… The final day I was so tired, but as I neared the finish line I was super excited to see the prize so close. I watched the word count click 49, 999 – 50,000. I felt like I’d run a marathon, but I stayed awake long enough to print out my certificate. It’s a great feeling, to reach the finish line in whatever you set out to accomplish, whether it’s a novel or a new recipe for chocolate brownies.
When I got to the middle part of the novel I just kept going. I started researching names at first, for my main characters, but the rest of them in the middle got the first name that came to mind – just write! Some of them will need to have a name change as I revise, or I’ll find myself in trouble with the first name of an antagonist being someone I know! It’s funny how that works. As they say, “Don’t tick me off. I’m a writer and you may end up in my next novel – and I may just kill you”. The plot unfolded all on its own and my characters became real. For my first try at fiction, I am actually proud of my attempt. It will have to wait for now, though.
The novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo is one of a series of novels I’ll be publishing starting in Spring 2016. Before this book is published, I hope to have two more short non-fiction works published and a fantasy. So maybe, if God has this in His plan as I see it in mine; I’ll have this novel published just in time for the next NaNoWriMo.
Thank you to all who supported me through this endeavor, especially my family who ate goodness-knows-what some nights, lots of fast ‘food’, had to put up with dirty dishes in the sink all month, and me endlessly talking about NaNo. You’re all the bestests!
Signing off on my NaNoWriMo posts till next year. God Bless,