Archive for the ‘Christian Fiction’ Category

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and the recently released, A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married.



Would you call yourself a born writer?

I’m not sure I would say I am a born writer as much as I have always felt called to write. It’s important to me to make sure of my God-given talents. Writing is something I’ve always enjoyed.

What was your inspiration for Amos Faces His Bully?

Like my first book, Little Shepherd, this story places fictional characters in a Biblical setting. My first inspiration was to continue with the format of my first book—make it a series of unrelated, yet similar, stories. There are others planned.

My primary reason for writing Amos Faces His Bully, however, is very personal. I was bullied as a child; teased from the day I entered elementary until the day I graduated high school. Yet, with all the awareness of bullying and the anti-bullying programs that exist in our cities and towns today, bullying still exists. As I’ve worked hard to prevent my own child from being bullied, I wanted her to know God could provide her—and other victims of bullying—with peace and strength.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Faith often plays a role in my books. Whether it be a young shepherd boy who must trust that God will keep his sheep safe while he visits the newborn King, or a bullied child seeking courage to deal with his tormenters, reaching out in faith has many rewards. A Christmas Kindness, while not faith-based, has themes in it that some might consider Christian values. Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and A Christmas Kindness show young people as problem solvers.

How long did it take you to complete this picture book?

The first draft of Amos Faces His Bully took a few days…but that’s the easy part. It’s the editing process that takes a while. You’re not only looking for typographical or grammar errors. You’re looking to trim away the unnecessary words. You’re clarifying your meaning. You’re seeking out repetitive words or phrases. Even after a book is published, it’s not uncommon to wish you had done something differently.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

Um…no. Total panster who waits until there is a fair amount of time to sit down uninterrupted to write. Usually that means once a month at writing group, but I’ll take what I can get.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Writing a book about a youngster being bullied when you were bullied and friendless for most of your childhood tends to bring up bad memories. Thankfully, as many of us discover, the years after high school bring with them a level of maturity the bullies—and you—didn’t have in school.

What do you love most about being an author?

It’s amazing to be able to go to Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com or other online retailers and find my books there. Have to admit that is a special feeling.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self-publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

All my books are published by independent publishers. After the manuscripts were accepted, the process—while not exactly short—was fairly painless. I’ve been blessed to work with wonderful people at both publishing houses. That’s why I keep going back with each new book.

Where can we find you on the web?

My friends say I am all over the Internet. Having worked in online book promotion and using social media for my current job means they probably aren’t too far off. I am out there a lot. The best places to find me are:

Website: http://ccmalandrinos.com

Blog: https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cheryl-C-Malandrinos-170542359697682

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ccmalandrinos

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ccmalandrinos

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4341623.Cheryl_C_Malandrinos


About the Book:

Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Pages: 20
Genre: Christian children’s picture book



Amos is targeted by the town bully because he is so small. When word reaches Amos of his friend David’s battle with Goliath, he thinks back to what David told him about putting his faith in God’s protection. Perhaps the same God can help Amos face his bully too.


Guardian Angel | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |Indiebound.org


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Dreamer coverIs the Dreamer good or evil? As war looms between Britain and Argentina over the barren Falkland Islands, Major David Elliott is having nightmares. Long ago, in a dark jungle near Cambodia, he failed to do his duty. That duty was to execute a member of his team. David’s weakness eventually led to his team’s capture. Tortured by the Viet Cong, they revealed the dark secrets of the CIA’s Phoenix program. Forced to leave the service in disgrace, his men now live in the ‘darkness’. What do the dreams mean for them? David’s wife, Sonia, sees them as harbingers of evil things to come. A revolutionary in Argentina before the war, she escaped to America and became a citizen.

Now, Captain Alvarez, head of the Argentine Secret Police, wants her back. He devises a plan that lures her into returning to Argentina where she is imprisoned on Los Estados Island. Meanwhile, a mystical creature has summoned David and his former team to gather once more to honor the ‘covenant,’ a pact they made with each other when they believed their lives were coming to an end. Together, with an errant priest, Father Perez, they reluctantly agree to assault Los Estados and free Sonia. As they travel across Mexico, Central and South America, they encounter the CIA, Contras in Nicaragua, the M-19 narco-terrorist group and the United States Navy; while all along being shadowed by the mystical entity. Is the entity God or Satan? Will submitting to the will of the entity allow David and his men to stand in the light of men once again? Is the Dreamer good or evil? You decide.

Dreamer is a tale of redemption, honor, courage, belief in God and betrayal! If you enjoy military fiction, this book is for you.

Purchase information:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dreamer-Phillip-Davidson-ebook/dp/B00EZVKPFU/Phillip Davidson - Author


About the Author:

Phillip L. Davidson is an attorney who lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, Karen. He is a former infantry Captain who commanded a group of Cambodian and Vietnamese Kit Carson Scouts on a night ambush team in the Mekong Delta. Phil’s life in the military has provided him with a wealth of war stories.  He has used his creative insight to produce a military action adventure of epic proportions. Dreamer is a must read book. He is currently at work on a second novel.

Visit the author online at http://www.phildavidsonbooks.com/.


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Amber Leaf, Minnesota, 1942.

In spite of the hardships of war, young Jo Bremley lives in considerable happiness with her husband and 7-year old daughter. Then one night, influenced by his best friend, Jo’s husband announces that he has decided to join the war. Before he gets a chance to, however, he’s the victim of a snowstorm accident. Now a young widow, Jo tries to make ends meet as best as she can by doing laundry for an establishment called O.M. Harrington.

During the year following her husband’s death, Jo runs into several difficulties which put her job in danger. Her husband’s best friend, whom she’s always blamed for her husband’s death, sets up a successful law practice; her daughter has a couple of unfortunate incidents with Big Ole, the owner of O.M. Harrington; and Jo doesn’t think she’ll be able to get her daughter the Christmas gift she deserves. Eventually, through a series of twists, the characters learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness, all in time to celebrate the holiday season.

Though Tracks in the Snow is a slow read, and got me a little frustrated at times, I ultimately enjoyed it. I appreciate the way the author took her time in developing her characters and the question of how she was going to put all the loose ends together at the end kept me reading. At times I found Jo too perfect and goodie-goodie, but in the end she wins me over. I especially like Big Ole and his gradual change from a grumpy old man to a caring person. He has a nice character arc. The story is a snapshot of a family in Minnesota during World War II. The author did a good job portraying this situation.

The ending of Tracks in the Snow is heartwarming, without being preachy. In sum, although the pace of the book is slow, the characterization and the writing are good. If you’re looking for a page-turner, this isn’t the book for you, but if you like to take your time when reading a story and getting to know the characters, and you appreciate realistic fiction, you’ll enjoy Tracks in the Snow.

For more info, visit the author’s website or Amazon.

Originally published in Blogcritics

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A Satan Carol by spiritual horror author Alan Steven Kessler combines elements of the macabre and parody/satire to explore the concepts of free will and evil. Not having read in this horror subcategory before, I was intrigued when I received a copy of this ebook for review.

The story begins in 1848 Ireland during a time of intense famine. A poor, nearly starved boy dies in the countryside, releasing a ‘golden soul,’ a special soul full of kindness and healing power. Had he lived, he would have infected generations with goodness.

The tale then moves 180 years later to Christmas Eve in Massachusetts, where we encounter Katie Katz, a troubled, pregnant 14-year old who’s planning an abortion. Revolving around her are various characters who are interconnected in some way, either by family ties or by Mr. Green—aka the Devil—who has an agenda and will stop at nothing to tempt them and play with their conscience.

Among these characters are Katie’s father, Harvey Katz, a top notch lawyer who defends rapists and killers, does drugs and treats women like objects; her grandfather Orem, who’s cursed with prophesies and visions no one believes; Fritz Mueller, a gruesome doctor who performs abortions and uses the fetuses to extract a serum that could affect people’s growth. There are others, too, such as Katie’s mother and Harvey’s assistant.

Through the generations, Mr. Green has been following these people since birth, trying to shape their destinies to suit his purposes. At the top of his agenda, of course, is the golden soul and the way it could affect his son Pal. Though we have an idea that all the characters are pawns in Mr. Green’s evil games, it isn’t until the middle that we get a clearer picture of what’s really going on.

Mr Green tries to convince and trick his victims with dreams and hallucinations, but in the end, they have free will. As the plot evolves and the characters opt to follow the right path, Mr. Green grows increasingly frustrated. In fact, he becomes exhausted and whiny, prone to temper tantrums. After all, it isn’t easy bending the fabric of time and trying to be everywhere at once.

Who is the ghost of Christmas Eve? Is it Pal, Satan’s son? Is it Katie’s unborn child? Or is it the golden soul itself? Will Satan get his way in the end?

A Satan Carol moves back and forth in time and is told from multiple points of view. It is a well-written story with a heavy message that will especially appeal to Christian readers. Though some of the segments are gruesome and bordering on the bizarre, at times Kessler uses dark, twisted humor to lighten the prose. The story explores the universal theme of good versus evil with a particular focus on the power of free will. Kessler writes with a lot of attention to detail and some of the paragraphs are quite long, especially in the first half of the book. The pacing is faster in the second half, with less exposition and lots more dialogue.

A Satan Carol is an out-of-the-ordinary read that invites self pondering. Recommended for readers of horror and Christian fiction who’d like to try something different.

A Satan Carol
by Alan Steven Kessler
Wild Child Publishing
ISNB: 978-1-61798-013-8
Copyright 2009
290 pages
Formats: PDF, HTML, ePub, Mobi, Lit, PRC
Spiritual/Christian Horror
Author’s website: http://www.askessler.com
Listen to the first chapter online: http://www.askessler.com/listen.html

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I am a new author with two published books to my credit. The Last Degree (DIP Publishing) was released last month. The book was inspired by my obsession with conspiracy theory. I am a Christian who believes in doomsday prophecy. I also believe there is a shadowy government that is running the world behind the proverbial curtain. The prime suspects are the Bilderbergs, Freemasons, Illuminati, Bohemian Club, and/or Club of Rome. Conspiracy theorists hold that the elite will reveal themselves once they organize the world under one government. This theory is called New World Order, and my novel links it to biblical prophecy. Crazy, right? I’m not alone. Some are much more serious about this line of thinking, going as far as constructing underground living quarters, preparing for the end.

My second book, Halo of the Damned, will be released on February 7th. Once again religion inspired me. This book isn’t as serious, but research still plays into the plot. I stumbled upon an article about the Yezidi religion many years ago. Part of their religion is about angel worshipping, particularly Malak Tawas, the peacock. This angel is known as Satan in the West. I mixed the obscure religion with my own cynical views of the advertising industry and turned it into a novel.

About the books:

The Last Degree: Secret societies plan for the first phase of New World Order. The novel is dedicated to all Birthers, Truthers, 2012ers, Tribulationists, and/or conspiracy advocates that question the inner circle of the elite.

Halo of the Damned: A fallen angel uses the advertising industry to gather souls for Satan.

Author’s Bio:

Dina Rae is a new author that is here to stay. As a former teacher, she brings an academic element to her work. Her research on the Yezidi religion and love of art inspired her story telling for Halo of the Damned.

Her other novel, The Last Degree, is a fictionalized account of the Freemason’s role in the New World Order. Dina’s grandfather was the Most Worshipful of his lodge. The subject has always held a personal interest.

Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago. She is an avid reader, tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on conspiracy theories.

Link to author’s website or blog: dinarae.co
Twitter: @HalooftheDamned
Link to excerpt: dinarae.co
Link to purchase page: EternalPress.biz for Halo of the Damned and http://www.amazon.com/Last-Degree-Dina-Rae/dp/1937182053/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328143707&sr=8-1, dippub.com, Barnesandnoble.com for The Last Degree

Watch the trailer for Halo of the Damned

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dianneDianne Sagan, author, speaker, ghostwriter, and consultant has been a story teller much of her life. She started writing short stories for her children when they were small. Dianne has spent several years honing her craft as an op-ed columnist in the regional newspaper, Amarillo Globe News, short stories for anthologies and online articles on Suite 101, Writing for Dollars, and others.

Born in the Midwest, she grew up on the plains of West Texas and in her heart of hearts always wanted to write. She says that she loves being married to a writer and an editor because she always has someone to brainstorm with.

Visit her website and blog.

Your new book, Shelter from the Storm, is different from your novella, Rebekah Redeemed. What made you write such a different book?

I think that both these books are parts of who I am and what is important to me. I realize that “we’re here to make a difference” has become a rather trite thing to say, but I believe that what we learn through life experiences should be used to help others. We can help others get through challenges. I use my writing as an outlet as well as speaking with groups or organizations.

Tell us a little about what it was like to write this type of book.

Parts of it were hard to write and emotional, but because it is fictionalized I could remove myself somewhat from the plot. I kept thinking that if I could make it a page turner and focus on Brittany Camp, the protagonist that people could empathize with her.

This is your second book to be published. Is it as exciting this time as it was with your first book release?

It is just as exciting but it is tempered with what I’ve learned about what it takes to launch a book. It is a lot of work. However, I’m sure I’ll be just as excited when the first box of books arrives and when I look on amazon.com and see it there. I wanted to take a picture of myself by the book shelves at the book store the first time I saw my book on the shelf. I do admit that when I got the ISBN number, I felt like dancing just like with the first book.

Who is your favorite character in Shelter from the Storm?

Of course I feel an attachment to Brittany Camp, but I like her attorney. He is a compassionate and understanding person, but he is also focused and wants to help his clients believe in themselves again.

Do you have any other works in progress?

Yes, I’m working on The Fisherman’s Wife. It is the second book in the Christian fiction novella series. I also have a few other books that are still in what I call the incubation stage. I work in my head a lot on story lines and ideas before I start actually writing.

Who are your favorite authors?

I read a lot of different books, both fiction and nonfiction. Some of my favorite authors are Francine Rivers, Terri Blackstock, Jerry Jenkins, James Patterson, David Baldacci, Carol Higgins Clark, Janet Evanovich, Lillian Braun, and Deborah LeBlanc. Some of my favorite nonfiction authors are Beth Moore, Max Lucado, and Jennifer Rothschild.

You are also a ghostwriter. What is it like to write as a ghostwriter compared to writing your own books?

The books I’ve ghosted were nonfiction and included subjects like leadership, overcoming fears, becoming a better person, becoming successful and teaching children about handling their finances. The biggest challenge is to write in someone else’s voice. You are writing someone else’s message and you need to be sure you are saying what they want to say.

Writing my own books and stories is easier because it just flows out and I don’t have to be sure I stay in the correct voice. I can just let the story or content develop from my own imagination or research. However, I enjoy doing both kinds of writing. They both have their own challenges and feeling of satisfaction when you complete a project and it is ready to go to layout for printing and release.

It is pretty cool to see your name on a book that you’ve written and exciting when you have a book signing and people actually want to buy your books and enjoy reading them.

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Rebekah RedemmedOrphaned Rebekah becomes a servant in her uncle’s house in Bethany. Traded from relative to relative, she suffers neglect and abuse. When a Roman soldier assaults her, she flees in fear of her life and hides. Rebekah is discovered and Lazarus becomes her kinsman redeemer. Can Jesus redeem her soul? Can she forgive or break the chains of her past?

Read an excerpt:

Benjamin sized up the little girl. A flicker of recognition in the older man’s eyes quickly turned to ice. Stepping closer he reached down to the child and she pulled away. “Look at me, child,” he commanded with a little less animosity in his voice.
Rebekah lifted her chin and looked into her uncle’s brown, lined face. He pushed the shawl off her stringy brown hair, and for a moment the lines in his face softened and his eyes showed compassion. “You look like your mother,” he mumbled to himself. Then he stood back, cleared his throat and narrowed his eyes once more.
“You want me to take her in, is that it?”
“Yes. We have little and cannot take her as our own.”
“What is in it for my wife and me?”
“She is strong and a good worker. She is good with lambs. She can help with cooking and drawing water. I know she looks small, but she is strong and obedient. She could be a useful addition to your household. A daughter is not like having a son, but they can work.” Caleb tried to sell the idea to the shopkeeper.
“Well,” he sized up the child and scratched his bearded chin. “She could help my wife.” He stood in silence, strolled out into the street, and looked up and down at his friends and neighbors. Then, turning on his heel, he walked back to Caleb and said without emotion, “You asked around the village for me? Others know of the child?”
“We asked people so we could find you.”
With one more glance up and down the street, Benjamin saw the rabbi walking toward them. “The Torah does say that we are to care for orphans and widows. She is my dead sister’s child, no matter what else happened between us. I will take her in, but not as a member of my family.”
“Shalom. May you…”
Benjamin reached for the girl. He interrupted Caleb, “I will not pay you for her. Go back where you came from. I take her because it is my duty under the Law of Moses.”
Caleb turned to go. Benjamin pushed Rebekah toward the back of the shop. She looked over her shoulder at her father’s friend for the last time.
“Come. You must meet your mistress. You have taken up enough time. I have a business to run and customers to serve.” He spoke as if he were an important man.
Rebekah stepped through the door into a small courtyard and into a new life. She prayed silently that it would get no worse.

Read a review on THE BOOK CONNECTION.

Purchase Info:

Title: Rebekah Redeemed
Author: Dianne G. Sagan
Publisher: Buoy Up Press
ISBN: 978-0-937660-52-2
SRP: $11.95 (U.S.)

dianneAbout the author:

Dianne Sagan, author, speaker, ghostwriter, and consultant has been a story teller much of her life. She started writing short stories for her children when they were small. Dianne has spent several years honing her craft as an op-ed columnist in the regional newspaper, Amarillo Globe News, short stories for anthologies and online articles on Suite 101, Writing for Dollars, and others.

Born in the Midwest, she grew up on the plains of West Texas and in her heart of hearts always wanted to write. She says that she loves being married to a writer and an editor because she always has someone to brainstorm with.

Her interests include reading, quilting, gardening, time with her children and grandchildren. She has spent years in volunteer work through Boy and Girl Scouts, her church, and the Sharing Hope Ministry to incarcerated women. She is also involved in writing about women’s issues. She loves speaking to groups about these issues and about writing.

Works in progress include a suspense novel, more Christian fiction novellas, and ghostwriting.

Her most recent published book is Rebekah Redeemed.

Visit her website and blog.

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Stopping by the Dark Phantom this weekend is Karina Fabian, whose book, Infinite Space, Infinite God, just earned her an EPPIE Award this year. Welcome to The Dark Phantom, Karina! It’s nice to have you here. How is your virtual tour going so far?

Hi, Mayra! I’m laughing, because I’m writing the answers to your interview in June! That’s the beauty of a virtual book tour—you can get so much of it done ahead, and then the month runs on automatic. I am pleased to report, however, that at this time, I have scheduled 25 blogs, two podcasts, and two live chats, covering a wide range of interests from science fiction to literature to religion. Many of the blogs are interviewing me or reviewing the book. I can’t even imagine getting this kind of participation from print magazines and radio. And I can do it all in my pajamas!

Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your book, and what inspired you to write such a story?

infinitespace_e_cover.jpgOur anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God is thought-provoking science fiction with a Catholic twist. Readers will find just about every SF approach from space opera to dystopia to SF mystery. The topics span time and space travel, genetic engineering and animal/human hybrids, alien encounters and interplanetary colonization. The slant, however, is exploring how the Catholic faith will play and be defined by all of these developments. We have Catholics leaning on their faith, physically and mentally, to survive incredible catastrophes. We have Catholic traditions challenged by dystrophic environments and priests and nuns living and working in space. The book however, is an exploration of possibilities, not an evangelization piece for the Catholic Church. The best of SF asks, “What if?” and that’s what ISIG does.

The contributors span a wide range of experience, but all have incredible storytelling talent, which is why ISIG won the EPPIE award for best electronically-published science fiction of 2006. It’s also gotten some terrific reviews from people of all or no faith. I’m so tickled it’s gotten so much acclaim—and it’s only just coming into print! August 15 is the launch date. The inspiration for ISIG comes from Rob’s and my faith and our love for science fiction. We actually met because of our love of Star Trek. However, most science fiction completely ignores faith, and that bothered us. Humankind will not outgrow a need to love God anymore than we will outgrow a need to think or imagine or create. As Catholics, we also didn’t believe it likely that a faith that has survived essentially theologically unchanged over two millennia of change would die out because humans get new tech toys or meet an interstellar neighbor.

In 1996, Rob and I had developed a near-future universe in which humans were just starting to colonize the solar system, and group of nuns, the sisters of Our Lady of the Rescue, conducted search and rescue operations for the spacers. When a friend on the Catholic Writers Online started an e-book press, we suggested a story collection, but she wanted a broader-reaching anthology. Leaps of Faith was born, and became an EPPIE finalist. It caught the attention of a Catholic publisher—a big one—who suggested a Catholic-exclusive anthology. We put together Infinite Space, Infinite God, but they decided against taking a chance on genre fiction. A year or so later, Twilight Times picked it up and we’re so glad!

There’s been a great rise in Christian literature these past few years. To what do you attribute this?

I think folks are coming around to our way of thinking. (Wink) I believe readers are looking for books that don’t ignore or brush off the faith aspect of the human condition. I don’t know for certain about fiction for other religions, whether it ever died out or if it is now resurging as well, but as the future brings more wonders—and more uncertainties—we are finding a need to recall and cling to our Creator, in all aspects of our lives.

Christian literature as a subgenre itself is very specific, sometimes heavy-handed approach. Certainly it has its place; readers want, and at times need, that kind of affirmation. Personally, I don’t want ISIG pigeon-holed into that genre. This is mainstream SF with a Catholic theme.

I think, though, that the rise of Christian literature has opened the eyes of publishers, and that means good things for books like ISIG that acknowledge faith without evangelizing. We’ve seen it in the music industry; Christian rock has become very popular, but if you listen to country music, you’ll find significantly more references to God and church and prayer than you would have a decade ago.

Is Christian SF something new? Who started it? If you go to a bookstore, do you find them in the Christian section or the SF section?

C.S. Lewis wrote Christian SF; it’s been around as long as the genre. But you wouldn’t call it by that name. I’ve never looked for “Christian SF” in the bookstore, so I have no idea where or if you’d find it. Frankly, I think folks would have better luck on the Internet. If ISIG gets into the brick-and-mortar bookstores, we want it in the mainstream. That’s really our audience. However, we’re also working with Catholic and Christian bookstores to try to get them to include Christian genre fiction (beyond romance, which is big already.) After all, Christians enjoy science fiction, fantasy, even horror. They don’t look for them in a Christian bookstore because no one expects to find them in a Christian bookstore, but if owners stocked them and let people know, I think a following would develop. It’s about trying to reach everyone rather than pigeon-holing.

Right now, however, if you want to find Christian science fiction, you’re better off looking on-line. Here are a few I recommend:
Infinite Space, Infinite God (Twillight Times Books) (http://isigsf.tripod.com): but of course!
Light at the Edge of Darkness (The Writer’s Café): a heavier-handed but entertaining sampler of Biblical speculative fiction. These stories cover SF, fantasy, and horror and have strong sometimes evangelical Christian messages.
Flashpoint (The Writer’s Café): Biblical cyberpunk, but good enough to be mainstreamed.
Faith Awakened (www.faithawakened.com): Christian SF involving virtual reality as an escape from dystopia
Dragons, Knights and Angels; The Sword Review; Raygun Revival, and Wayfarer’s Journal: Christian SF and fantasy magazines.

Also check out the Christian Fiction Review Blog (www.cfrblog.blogspot.com) the first Sunday of every month to see what’s touring.
The Lost Genre Guild is dedicated to promoting quality Christian speculative fiction. Check out their blog as well.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this novel? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline? How long did it take you to write it?

It’s an anthology rather than a novel, so I can’t speak for all our contributors. Since we were mostly editing, we let the stories determine the flow of the book. We tried something a little different, as well, and put in some essays about the current Catholic Church to introduce the sections. It was done with the Catholic publisher in mind, but we kept them in. We hope that some Catholic literature courses will pick it up. In all, it took about a year and a half to gather stories, select them, edit them (some needed re-writes), write the introductions, and polish the manuscript.
For our own stories, they usually start out with an idea or a character. Rob and I will go out to dinner, discuss the idea and hash out the details. Then I go home and SOTP (seat-of-the-pants) write. I haven’t outlined a novel since my first one in college, and then I only outlined because the story was coming so fast, I couldn’t keep up if I wrote each word down. I’m also a character-driven writer, so they need to reveal their story to me. When I’m done with a story, Rob will go over it, redirect and edit, and I do the next draft. Until Rob retires, I’m the writer on the team and he’s the idea man. I think that will change when he has time and mental energy for writing fiction—then watch out!

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?

My writer’s block usually involves transitions. I’ve accomplished a task or finished a scene and since I don’t outline, my characters want to go out for coffee or take a nap and that really translates into *** or a chapter break. So I either take a shower and get into my character’s (awake and active) head, do something manual and mindless like clean house, or IM a friend and whine that I’m stuck. I love Yahoo! IM. I probably waste a lot of time on it, but I’ve also made some terrific friends and gotten some fantastic ideas, especially for my latest novel. (If you pick up Magic, Mensa, and Mayhem and love the cowbell scene, thank Ann Lewis.)
Rob and I had writers’ block on another Rescue Sisters story, but we hit on an idea while on the road to Colorado for a working vacation. To break past it we asked ourselves what hadn’t been done yet and how could we do it. In this case, it’s a story where a young man gets his Calling to the priesthood.

How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?

First the advice. KEEP LOOKING! Rejection is seldom personal: often the book doesn’t meet their needs, or is too far out to be worth the risk, or just not click with the editor. If you actually get back a useful rejection (“Couldn’t identify with the character,” “quality of writing not up to ours”) consider it carefully, make changes if you agree, but KEEP LOOKING!

Let you own goals dictate where you send it. For example, with ISIG, we went to some pretty big publishers first and worked down in size. In all ISIG took a year and a half to find a publisher. I’m doing the same with my trilogy The Miscria, and that one has been three years in the search, but mostly because DAW held onto it for two. However, for Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (a fantasy noir comedy), I went straight to a small press. That’s because I knew the publisher and she liked my characters, and I knew this book has a large but potentially limited audience: Mensa members. I think it will appeal to anyone who likes twisted cliché and fantasy humor, but I also recognized that most big publishers probably would not see it my way. Besides, this one is pure fun.
Overall, I advise against self-publishing, esp. for fiction. I also advise you to check out potential publishers. Even some self-proclaimed “traditional” presses are really more vanity press. Predators and Editors is a good place to look. Do a Google search on the publisher—folks with bad experiences will post. Also, pick a name or two out of their book list (not the ones who may have put “testimonials” on their website—that in itself is a warning sign), and e-mail them. Someone had told me about Twilight Times, and I knew one of their authors from a group, so I asked her about it before submitting. She loved TTB, and I am pleased with everything so far, too.
Incidentally, looking for a publisher is my least favorite part of writing. This is where it becomes a job rather than a vocation.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

Infinite Space, Infinite God – (http://isigsf.tripod.com): This is the dedicated site for the book: events, interviews, story synopses, reviews, book trailers. Its there for the curious to learn more about ISIG and for the press to get information for articles.
FabianSpace – (www.fabianspace.com): My personal website. It has my blog, a list of my works, descriptions of the universes I play in, a media room for the press, and my chat room FabChat, where I host live chats with authors and their fans every Thursday night.
Dragon Eye, PI – (www.freewebs.com/dragoneyepi/index.htm): The universe of Dragon Eye, PI. Usually, this is written in the character of Vern, the cynical “Sam Spade” of the dragon world. It has a list of stories, the link to the serial mystery I’m writing for The Prairie Dawg, and Vern’s own blog. I’ve got dragon and St. George stories and art from others, too.
I’m also on MySpace: www.myspace.com/karinafabian and ShoutLife www.shoutlife.com/karinafabian

Do you have another novel on the works? Tell us about your current and/or future projects.

Right now, I’m working on a fantasy noir comedy, Magic, Mensa and Mayhem. Vern, a dragon from the Faerie universe, and his partner, Sister Grace, a mage in the Faerie Catholic Church, are eeking out a living in the Mundane universe as private detectives for the particularly desperate. Bishop Aiden, however, sends them to a Mensa convention to chaperone the Faerie guests. It should be a cushy job, but when the Valkyrie Brunhilde goes on the prowl for men who don’t smell of mead, a dwarf heads to BillyBeaver™’s Fantasyland to “get discovered,” and elves high on aspartame want to declare war on Florida , their job goes from Chaperone to Supernatural Haz-Mat.
Next in line is to finish my SF novel, Discovery. This one involves the Rescue Sisters, assisting a mission to explore the first-discovered alien spaceship, which has been found crashed and abandoned in the Kuiper belt beyond Pluto. When Sr. Rita’s old flame shows up as part of the expedition, she can no longer run from her feelings. Will she forsake her vows for a human love? What discoveries does an ages-old alien ship hold for her—and how do they affect her faith?
We’ll also be collecting stories for ISIG II. If you’re a writer, look for an announcement in January!
In addition, I have regular author interviews in Hereditas Magazine, and host a live chat every Thursday 8-10 PM EST (9-11 PM after Sept 13). Go to www.fabianspace.com and click on FabChat. Hope to see you there.

Thanks for stopping by, Karina! It was a pleasure to have you here!

Thank you! I love virtual interviews, and you’ve been a terrific host. After all, you didn’t mind my being in my pajamas. 😉

Please remember that Infinite Space, Infinite God is out in print from Twilight Times Books August 15. (www.twilighttimesbooks.com) You’ll also be able to order it from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble online, or from your favorite bookstore

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Please tell us about Infinite Space, Infinite God, and how you came up with the idea to edit and put this Catholic SF anthology together. First off, Infinite Space, Infinite God is great science fiction. You’ll find exciting adventures in time and space with characters, settings, and technologies that feel real. You’ll read about clone slaves seeking their freedom, an interstellar travelr stumbling upon a lost generation ship, a mind-destroying device from another dimension, a mind-altering device created to punish criminals, cultural dystopias, asteroid mining, even an alien abduction.
The twist is, each story deals with the practice of the Catholic faith in overcoming the problems of the story. When a Catholic terrorist undergoes the mind-altering treatment, it’s the Sacrament of Reconciliation that saves his sanity. Fr. Heidler uses the power of meditative prayer to overcome an alien artefact’s dangerous psychic effects. A lapsed Catholic is challenged to find the meaning of the Crucifixion when his crazy boss sends him back in time to take a photo of the Via Dolorosa. Interstellar evangelists find themselves in the middle of an interplanetary war. Two stories feature new religious orders: the Joans are religious sisters/bodyguards for priests in dangerous areas, while the Order of Our Lady of the Rescue is devoted to space search and rescue.
Put together, Infinite Space, Infinite God is a fun yet thought-provoking read about the expression of faith in the future.
Rob and I had long been somewhat annoyed at the absence of faith in so much SF. Characters live out every other aspect of current society–from work to entertainment–express every emotion from love to hate, do everything from fighting to making love to going to the commode. Yet how often do you read one praying? Or hear them discuss their faith? Or attend church? Not just as a symbol (the emotional preacher vs. the rational scientist), but as their everyday, natural part of who they are? How often do the policies or doctrines of a faith affect the story? Those are the kinds of stories we wanted to see–and that’s what we looked for with Infinite Space, Infinite God and its (currently unpublished) Christian “sister book,” Leaps of Faith.

What are some of the religious or moral issues explored in the stories?
Can clones have souls? How far can someone be genetically altered before they lose their humanity? How do our actions speak louder than our words when it comes to the expression of faith? How will technological advances alter the work and doctrines of the Catholic Church? Can technology lead to a deeper understanding of faith–and can faith heal us from the damage inflicted on us by technology? Why is it important for people to be knowledgeable in their faith and to pass on their faith? What place have miracles in a world replete with the miracles of technology?

During the last few years there’s been a rise in Christian books. To what do you attribute this?
The market is there. Folks are looking for entertainment that more closely corresponds to their own ideals. And we’ve re-discovered that we can write entertaining, escapist fiction that is nonetheless moral and even explicitly Christian–and publishers have found that people will buy it.
People, especially in the US, are looking for Christian or inspirational fiction because they know they’ll find clean, uplifting stories that may touch their souls. The challenge for us writers is to make sure that they are also well-crafted and exciting and will touch their minds (and maybe their adrenal glands!) There’s nothing worse than spending $13.50 for a thinly disguised sermon.
Personally, I don’t read a lot of Christian fiction. I like fantasy and sci-fi, mystery, and some historical fiction. Nonetheless, as a writer, I find my characters insist on expressing their faith. I hope, however, that as those books get published, they end up in the sci-fi section and not the Christian section.

Please tell us about Karina, the author.
I’ve been writing since I was in grade school–stories for class, a few journals at critical points in my life, fanfict…whatever struck my fancy. In 1996, I started seriously making a career of it, writing articles for pay and adult conversation (I had two toddlers at the time). In the last couple of years, I’ve backed off the nonfiction, however. I’m lucky in that my husband makes enough money to keep us comfortable, so I can spend my time writing what’s fun.
And, boy! Do I have fun! I’m shopping a trilogy about a psychic teenager. Deryl is trapped between three worlds: Kanaan thinks he’s some kind of psychic angelic supercomputer from which their people can download information (and leave him with the compulsion to research everything from fortress building to triage). Barin thinks he’s some kind of avenging spirit that will smote their enemies telepathically. Naturally, his family and friends on Earth think he’s nuts–and they commit him until he escapes to Kanaan. There the real fun begins, for he discovers Kanaan and Barin are on collision course–and he’s got to stop it somehow.
I have another novel I started with NaNoWriMo about a group of researchers, asteroid miners, and a trio of nuns who are sent to explore the first-discovered alien ship. The sisters of Our Lady of the Rescue are to oversee safety on the mission, but find they have to overcome rivalry and animosity between the “proffs” and the “rockjacks” before someone gets hurt. Even more, Sister Rita’s old love interest is on the mission, re-awakening her feelings and causing her to doubt her calling as a religious. Can the discovery of the alien ship help her discover the true path of her life?
I also have a terrific Faerie/Mundane multiverse I play in. A terribly cliché combination of nuclear accident and magical mishap interact to create a gap between our dimension (forever known a Mundane) and a magical one (dubbed Faerie). Keeping the universes safe is the team of Dragon Eye, PI: Vern d/Wyvern (don’t call him that) and Sister Grace of Our Lady of the Miracles.
Vern is your average North African Faerie Wyvern with a not-so average problem: since he cannot be killed, St. George put a holy spell on him, removing everything that made him a great dragon–size, flight, fire, healing…you name it, he lost it. To earn his greatness back, he must serve God and Man. Sister Grace is a Catholic Mage with a secret and a case of post-traumatic stress syndrome that brings her to the Mundane dimension.
All the stories are told first-person and in the noir style. (If Vern had been an egg, he’d have been 20 minutes.) I play with clichés and standard fairy tales, Native American legends, whatever I can mix in. I even have one story that mixes an Irish legend with the Biblical Plague of Locusts. I’m shopping several of their cases around right now and working on a novel. I also have a fun, fun website where I channel Vern. I love being funny and sarcastic and blaming it all on him!
I just finished a hilarious romance staring Coyote the Trickster from my Mundane/Faerie universe. Nothing like having your exciting new romantic hero stop just as he’s leaning in to kiss you so he can scratch off a flea! The “Perfect 10”–but on what scale?

What are your working habits?
Erratic. In addition to writing (which is my sanity maintenance program), I homeschool four kids (ages 6, 8, 11, and 13), teach religious education, and am in charge of two Catholic writers’ groups, and I’m a military wife. Thus, I’ll have months (like November) where I’ll get done 50,000 words for National Novel Writer’s Month, plus a short story, two features, an instalment to my Dragon Eye murder mystery series, two new websites and several interviews. Then I’ll have a month (like December) where I’m lucky to get through my e-mail!
One thing I try to do, however, is write something every day. My first novel was written by refusing to allow myself to sleep until I’d written just one sentence. Sometimes, I’d be able to get whole chapters done, but if not, I’d at least moved forward. In a year, it was ready to shop around. It might never have gotten done if I’d waited for large chunks of time.
I work better with deadlines and others’ expectations on me, as well. When DAW asked to see the second book in my trilogy, it took a month to write. Since I still haven’t heard from them, however, the third one is languishing as other things take my attention. NaNo is great for me.

What do you find most effective when marketing and promoting books? Any secrets you’d like to share? To be honest, I’m very new at marketing myself. Infinite Space, Infinite God is out in e-book right now, so I’m doing my best to create the buzz before the print version comes out in August.
I created a website using tripod. http://isigsf.tripod.com It’s free and easy. In 6 weeks, it’s gotten about 430 hits. The site has story synopses, bios, press releases, reviews, photos–anything someone needs to learn about or write about Infinite Space, Infinite God.
I went on a virtual book tour this December, which has been great fun. You can find the schedule on the Infinite Space, Infinite God website.
If any of your readers are in the Los Angeles, I invite you to see Infinite Space, Infinite God on display at the LA Times Book Fair April 28, 29. We’re sharing a booth with the Authors’ Coalition.
I’m working on getting reviews. “Chewing the Bone” gave us a terrific review, and we’re waiting for others.
Next, I need to start working on media releases to newspapers, print magazines, and radio stations. However, my eye for these is more toward the August print date.

Do you have a website where readers may learn more about your work? For me and my writing, plus my blog: www.fabianspace.com
For Infinite Space, Infinite God: http://isigsf.tripod.com
For Vern and Dragon Eye, PI: www.freewebs.com/dragoneyepi

I understand you’re compiling another anthology at the moment. Would you like to tell our readers about this? Oh, goodness, no. Not yet. I’m hoping to do another Catholic or Christian SF anthology, but that’ll depend on the sales of Infinite Space, Infinite God.

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