STRONGHOLD

How To Pick Your Projects

Posted by on Sep 26, 2016 in STRONGHOLD, To Retreat from Romance, Writer's Diary

img_2679-2.jpg

 

If you could only finish one more project, what would it be?

I ask myself this on the regular. I find it’s a good question to not only recalibrate my workload but also remind me of what’s important to me. At present, it’s my fundraising for a Deep Water Well. After that, it’s getting my revision of Stronghold as well as my romance novel released. While the first item is arguably a semi-passive endeavor, the latter two are solely within my hands to achieve. So what’s stopping me?

A thousand other ideas, that’s what.

Learn More

Revisiting Stronghold

Posted by on Feb 27, 2015 in STRONGHOLD

Few things are as terrifying as revisiting one’s own work, particularly after some distance from it.

I decided to pull a Bruce Wayne and confront this fear in 2015: I reread the release version of my first novel, Stronghold, which was self-published on May 28, 2013. After two weeks (around 8 hours total), I had plowed through the text, and I have to admit I was pleased. Inasmuch as that sounds arrogant, please bear with me.

Learn More

Stronghold : One Year Anniversary

Posted by on May 28, 2014 in STRONGHOLD, Writer's Diary

One year ago today, I released my first novel. Entitled, Stronghold, the book follows a Christian believer who seeks to overcome temptation by imagining his soul as a fantasy realm wherein warrior angels and demonic powers battle for influence and territory. The books came from a very organic personal experience, and it’s development was the rare instance of inspiration that writers crave but few experience.

Stronghold‘s completion seems just as fortuitous. Though I had composed the first draft while still gainfully employed in California, I completed it during the huge amount of time provided by my nine months out of work in Delaware. Had I obtained a job immediately upon our arrival to the East Coast, Stronghold might still be in revisions (and my second novel might not have been started).

The emotional roller-coaster since Stronghold‘s publication has been exhausting. Participating in written and audio videos has been encouraging, but sales not so much. The initial swell of pride after completing the book was replaced gradually with the realization that it may not be as good as I had thought or, at least, has not connected with readers as I’d expected.

The experience has been as much of a disappointment as it has a personal triumph, but I have an aching suspicion that’s the point. Perhaps I am supposed to realize that my writing, while valuable, may never be able to support us. Maybe I need to see that my experiences and ideas are far less accessible than I assumed. And God might have led me through this for the simple purpose of reminding me that I must take joy in his salvation and find true personal fulfillment in him alone, regardless of accomplishment or lack thereof. Then again, maybe it’s a combination of all three.

The bottom line is really this: a year after publication, Stronghold has failed to perform in any capacity to the levels I had expected, but that’s okay. God is still God; God is still good, and I am still his spiritual son–sealed with his Holy Spirit. This is enough. Stronghold‘s existence (and performance) is a bonus.

As I reflect on these things, I am deeply motivated. I have written a novel. I CAN write another. And that one can be better. That one can find it’s audience. But even if it doesn’t, I am still in my Heavenly Father’s loving hands.

And that’s a good place to be.
(Haven’t read Stronghold? Click below for more details!)
 

Learn More

Interview and Book Review at Intentional Warriors

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Reviews & Recommendations, STRONGHOLD

James Cordrey, editor of Intentional Warriors (and author of the book of the same name) was kind enough to run a story not only reviewing Stronghold but also interviewing me about my own recovery journey.

Please take a look at Intentional Warriors to read James’ Thoughts

On Wednesday, I’ll be running an interview with him about his work with Intentional Warriors.
 
 
 

Learn More

Joy

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014 in STRONGHOLD, Writer's Diary

I’m not in a position the world would find joyful. In 2011, I set myself and wife on a journey based on what I felt the Lord leading us to do: first, to move ourselves from our comfortable middle-class existences in Southern California back to the State of Delaware where I was raised; second, to write a novel. We traveled cross-country in Summer 2012 with thoughts of getting work and our own home within nine months of our arrival to the East Coast. All the while, I was hard at work on my debut novel, Stronghold, which I released in May of 2013.

Though it took two years to accomplish, I thought we had done exactly as the Lord had asked and that he had “big plans” for us here.

But God’s ways are not our ways, and our expectations do not always align with reality. We had trouble finding work, and car repairs ate into our savings. We still have not found a church to which we’d like to anchor, and our social dynamics are complicated. To top things, we are still living with my parents in the home in which I was raised (a hard pill to swallow for any man when he awakens in the morning). Our lives here have not materialized as we had hoped.

And yet, in all of this I’ve received something else that I had forgotten to expect (or expected as an afterthought). The hard nights of budgeting, discussing next steps, and simply existing with disappointments have brought me low—lower than I tend to communicate. But I’ve also experienced a joy I cannot wholly describe—a certain satisfaction that only comes in the darkness.

I have come to know God himself, to see his character as I cling to His Word for hope, to see his wisdom in answering prayers as he chooses. I have come to value God alone as my portion, because some days, I feel that I have nothing else—nothing left to give and no ability to obtain more. I simply exist before him as vulnerable as I ever have, and in that, I have tasted joy immeasurably.

And I’ve learned the place from where contentment truly comes, not in success or wealth or location, but in being welcome before God’s throne and knowing he sits high and lifted on it, doing as he pleases. Doubts, fears, and insecurities flee from your heart before that throne. They have no business there, and they know you will not tolerate their presence in that place.

So I have learned to live there, daily. And my anxieties stay at a distance, and I am filled with not only contentment but joy—and coupled with that joy is hope–an earnest hope–that God is working in ways we do not see and accomplishing things we cannot imagine. We may never be a part of “big plans” as the world sees them, but we are securely standing on a grand stage of eternal significance. God gives us that knowledge in himself when we look to him for all and consider everything else a bonus.

If someone were to ask me today if God led us to do what we did, I would tell them the truth: at the time, I thought he did; I still want to believe he did. If he did, he is doing things we cannot see even as struggle day by day—in fact, our perseverance itself may be his working. But if he did not, then he has mercifully drawn us closer to himself despite our actions. Either way, he is still God, and he is still good.

And I take great joy in that reality.

 
 
 

Learn More