Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Blueprint is the story of one soul’s journey in planning her last incarnation on earth and what happens when friends take over.

The novel opens with Arielle and Raphael in Heaven as they discuss Arielle’s upcoming and last incarnation. Raphael, who’s been her soul mate for thousands of years, offers to help her plan it and she accepts. He suggests that they get their 12 special friends in Heaven involved. To accomplish this, they decide to invite them all for dinner. At dinner, the friends take turns making suggestions for Arielle’s final life: a healer, a transexual, a homeless person, an orphan, a psychiatrist, a child prodigy, among others. Together, they weigh the pros and cons of each scenario while Raphael answers many of their questions about religion and spirituality. Finally, Arielle makes her decision and presents her ‘blueprint’ to the council of elders.

Blueprint is a short light read that explores various aspects of reincarnation, numerology and astrology, among other esoteric subjects. The story is rather linear because the aim of the author is to present these ideas rather than offer a fictional story for fiction’s sake. The chapters are short and simple and the writing is mostly dialogue. An unusual, interesting read for those interested in the topics mentioned.  

To learn more about this book, visit the author’s website


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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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I love hearing success stories from non-traditionally published authors, so it's my pleasure to introduce you to Tony Eldridge, whose novel, The Samson Effect, recently caught the eye of a major Hollywood producer. The circumstances are unusual, to say the least.  Readers may peruse the full press release here, but to make a long story short, the Hollywood producer's name also happens to be Tony Eldridge–the factor which made him check out the novel and eventually acquire the film rights. 

Congratulations, Tony. That's quite a story. Tell us about The Samson Effect.

My current book is the action/adventure novel called, The Samson Effect. New York Times bestselling author Clive Cussler called it a “first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure.” It is about a biblical archeologist and an Israeli biblical linguist who are searching for evidence of the substance that gave Samson his great strength. However, there are a couple of enemies they have to avoid who want to find, and use, the substance for their own sinister purposes. In fact, the arch villain in the story is a Palestinian madman who wants to use the substance to create an army of soldiers with superhuman strength to fight a worldwide battle for Islam in the name of Allah.

Readers can read an excerpt of The Samson Effect at http://www.samsoneffect.com/excerpt.html.

I was a minister for ten years and I still fill the pulpit on occasion. One area of study that fascinated me centered on the stories found in the Old Testament, like the story of Samson. To me, neither Hollywood nor the New York Literary empires could churn out stories that are as intense, action filled and entertaining as the ones described in the Old Testament. Since I am an avid reader of thrillers and action/adventure novels, bringing the love of the Old Testament stories together with the modern adventure stories I love was a natural. I wanted to write The Samson Effect in a way that would not be considered Christian literature, but would appeal to the people who liked fast paced action books with a religious tie-in.

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

I am definitely a stream of consciousness writer. The only planning I do is when I am mowing the yard or exercising. I will often think through the story, the plot or characters. But when I sit and write, I write with free-flow sessions. I did try to outline, but I never stuck with it. Don’t get me wrong. In a sense, there is some outlining that needs to go on. With me, I do a lot of thinking and letting my characters act in my overactive imagination. This is a type of outlining since I will refer back to my imagination and use it as a basis of scenes in the book.

From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?

It took about three and a half years from the time I wrote the first words of the first draft to the time a perfect bound copy rested in my hands. That included about 3 to 4 months of writing the book, about a year of revisions, and a of couple years to let it sit before I got busy in getting it published.

They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?

You know, I came into this knowing that negative criticism was a given for authors. I set my mind to view it as a badge of honor. Fortunately, I have yet to experience a bad review or comments (at the time of writing this). I have been in a couple of major market newspapers, many online review sites and I have a few amazon.com reviews, but, I know the negative comments will come. And when they do, I will pull up my favorite authors like Clive Cussler, James Rollins, or James Patterson. If you look at any great writer today, they all have their critics. And that’s normal I guess. We all deserve a way to express our opinions. And the author who one day appeals to every person will be in a very unique and lonely club.

Do you have any unusual writing quirks?

I do have one quirk that is somewhat interesting in this modern age. I have to write my first draft in long-hand. I then either type it into my word processor or I speak it in using voice recognition software. But here’s where it gets quirky: I have to use black ink only. I will use blue ink in a crunch, but it puts me in a foul mood until I get my black ink pen back. I have a box of pens with black in my office so I never have an excuse to be in a foul mood.

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

I will often get to a point in a scene where I either can’t come up with the conclusion or everything I try sounds contrived or forced. Times like that I have to go on one of my inspirational mowing sessions or jump on the treadmill. Sometimes I just get in the car and drive, letting my creative juices run their own course. You would be surprised at how many times the “Eureka!” moment comes to me when I give my imagination full liberty to do what it wants to do. But for me, it only works when I am totally alone. You don’t know how many times I came home late because of writer’s block. Luckily, I have a very understanding and supporting wife.

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

Yes. Readers can learn more about The Samson Effect at http://www.samsoneffect.com. They can also keep up with current news, find out about new reviews, and enter contest. Currently, I have a contest going on where I am naming a character in my next book after the winner of the contest.

Do you have another book on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?

I am writing the next book in the series. The Hollywood producer who acquired the film rights to The Samson Effect has asked me for a synopsis of four books in the series, so hopefully I will be busy writing for a while. I want to thank you for the opportunity to let me share information about me and my book with you. If anyone has any questions for me, they can visit my website and click on the contact tab. The e-mail address goes straight to me.

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

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An adjunct professor at the University of Central Arkansas and Arkansas State University, Dan Skelton is the author of three published works, Out of Innocence, The Human Element, and Boojum. His fourth novel, Renascence, which he just finished writing recently, blends elements of futurism and religion. Skelton was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions. 

Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself?

I'm a native Arkansawyer (yes, yes, Arkansan, too) born in Conway. Educated at St. Joseph School and then at Arkansas State Teachers College; after that I earned an MA+30 in English at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and, ultimately, earned a doctorate in Higher Education from the University of Mississippi, Oxford. I have taught in high schools in Fort Smith, Springdale, and Morrilton with a brief stint with fourth graders at St. Joseph. From 1967 until 2002 I taught at Southern State College, which became Southern Arkansas University, where I worked my way through the ranks to full professor and Chair of the Department of Theater/Mass Communication.

I have one child, a daughter, who makes me endlessly happy and two beautiful, brilliant, and talented grandchildren, a girl and a boy.

When did you decide you wanted to become an author?

Probably at the age of four or five, when I first learned to read, but definitely by the time I got into the Freddy, the Talking Pig, series.

Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?

Voracious. I read everything and had no serious fixation on any one genre.

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.

My latest effort is still in manuscript. I finished the first draft last night (6-21-08) at around midnight. It is called Renascence and concerns a teenage girl named Skye and her best friend, Bombsie. Both are mall rats and drug heads. They live in a futuristic society in which belief in God is considered a mental illness worthy of a "mind wipe" and the "elderly" are "transitioned" in their mid sixties. Through the efforts of Skye's grandmother, Grandee Purr, the girl's life is transformed.

The other books I have written tend toward the gritty and dark in content and language. I began to think that any positive message was being lost because readers, perhaps, could not see the forest for all the ugly trees, so I decided to write a book that was strong, pure, and straightforward. That I have done.

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

I never create an outline. By the time I write, I have given a considerable amount of time to the story–beginning to end. If I know where and how it will end, I can get there. I trust my creative impulse to lead me. Some elements are transformed and rearranged in the writing because, in that mysterious process, forces do supersede the rational mind, always for the better in my estimation.

Did your book require a lot of research?

No, a minimal amount, unless you count a lifetime of experience and observation research.

What was your goal when writing this book?

I wanted readers to appreciate the fact that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit constantly seek to participate in our lives, that all of us caught in a mundane quotidian have the opportunity to cooperate with the supernatural and bring forth good out of apparently wasted and barren lives. Maybe just to present God's love, God's presence, God's availability, to establish that we humans are the body of Christ: arms, legs, eyes, etc., and that if good is going to be done for those in need, it will come through people cooperating with the spirit of God.

Who is your target audience?

Mostly teenage girls and women from as young as the middle grades, possibly, all the way up to include college students. Actually, I believe more mature women will like it also because the point of view shifts about between the girls and the older women. I'm hoping there will be no age barriers.

What will the reader learn after reading your book?

Who can really say? I hope they will learn that in the words of an old hymn, "there is no other way than to trust and obey," or that, as Whitman would have it, "The keelson of creation is love."

What type of writer are you—the one who experiences before writing, like Hemingway, or the one who mostly daydreams and fantasizes?

Certainly I synthesize things out of my experiences and so I suppose that puts me in the Hemingway camp as opposed to someone like Arthur C. Clarke.

Agatha Christie got her best ideas while eating green apples in the bathtub. Steven Spielberg says he gets his best ideas while driving on the highway. When do you get your best ideas and why do you think this is?

Some of my best thinking comes when I am taking walks or doing some task that allows me to function with my mind "out of gear," so to speak. As I automatically walk or drive or work at a chore, my thoughts can range about freely. When they do, they provide me an image, a line, a concept, or they connect up notions I have idly considered before. Next thing you know, hunks and slabs of story line come poking through to the surface.

Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her when she refuses to inspire you?

So far, she has been generous. I am the one who resists, if I am in a funk over some real or imagined stress or failure in the material world. When that happens, I can block out communication for quite a while. She is patient with me, waiting until she finds a chink in my armor of obstinacy, whereupon she rushes in with some enticing nugget of possibility.

From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?

Eight months to twelve or fourteen months.

Describe your working environment.

Word processor–My! How that invention has freed me–and silence.

What type of scenes give you the most trouble to write?

Scenes of passion. It is so easy to overwrite. Francis Irby Gwaltney, Arkansas novelist and one of my early mentors, cautioned me about always trying to "rip your reader's guts out." I understood his point but realize that I am often still guilty of that error.

Do you write non-stop until you have a first draft, or do you edit as you move along?

I do edit as I go along; however, there remains a great deal to do in that department even after the first draft has been completed.

They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?

I've had some negative comments from "strangers," though nothing that was too scathing. Truthfully, it hurts, but I try to keep a level head; I pray about it, and, ultimately, try to learn from it. If that sounds "saintly," it really isn't. There's agony enough in the process, believe me.

As a writer, what scares you the most?

Hmmm! Nothing really, although I have been given moments of pause upon considering the possibility of giving scandal or leading some infirm mind and will astray.

When writing, what themes do you feel passionate about?

Love, duty, hope, responsibility. I think the culture we live in has neglected those, cultivating instead Lust, a sense of separation, despair, and irresponsibility.

Are you a disciplined writer?

I think so. At this point, I have three published novels and four yet to be published manuscripts so, if I'm not disciplined, I am productive.

How do you divide your time between taking care of a home and children, and writing? Do you plan your writing sessions in advance?

I don't plan my writing sessions in advance other than anticipating a weekend or a holiday period as a great opportunity. I function as a soccer grandpa; I help clean the house and work on the lawn, mind the kids as needed and run the usual assortment of errands. My writing, of necessity, comes after those needs are seen to, which means some late night work and snatched times on weekends.

When it comes to writing, are you an early bird, or a night owl?

Night owl, unless I have to teach the next day.

Do you have an agent? How was your experience in searching for one?

Yes. My agent is Mindy Phillips Lawrence of MPL Creative Resources; she is also my publicist.

My experience in searching for an agent parallels that of searching for a publisher–in a word, frustrating.

Do you have any unusual writing quirks?

Yes. I constantly punctuate by inserting three periods of ellipses, which vexes Mindy somewhat. Other than that, I'm sure I am a model of writing purity and saintliness.

What is your opinion about critique groups? What words of advice would you offer a novice writer who is joining one? Do you think the wrong critique group can ‘crush’ a fledgling writer?

My opinion is use them if you must. Some people need instant feedback, but, of course, what they want is instant praise. If that bolsters one, fine. If the comments grow snide or biting, check out of that place immediately.

As a young fellow, I rushed with writing hot in hand to teacher, parents, librarians, etc, asking "What do you think?" Mostly they were kind and helpful but, at some point, I came to realize that there was no ultimate arbitration, merely opinions and I lost the need to have myself validated. Now, I do what I do; if you like it, fine; if you don't, well, this is what I do.

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

Yes, but almost always because I have allowed a case of Poor Little Old Me to overcome my industry. "Oh, I'm not good. I'll never amount to anything. No one's ever going to publish me." Etc,etc. What normally unleashes me is reading or going back to work again.
Sometimes, it is possible that a writer simply needs a small vacation in order for the internal computer to reset.

Technically speaking, what do you have to struggle the most when writing? How do you tackle it?

Keeping the dialogue believable, interesting and yet moving the scene along.

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?

Vexation! Frustration! Hair Tearing! Try to tell yourself it's not personal and keep on plugging away.

What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?

I don't know this for a fact but I'm betting if you sell yourself well, your books will move off the shelves quicker.

Who are your favorite authors? Why?

Oh, so many . . . Norman and Norris Mailer, Donna Tartt, Robert McCammon, Preston & Childs, Koontz, Anne Easter Smith, the fellow who wrote SARUM (Edward Rutherfurd), Thomas Wolfe, Tom Wolfe, Faulkner, Walker Percy, Reynolds Price, etc.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Find your own voice; stop trying to be Wolfe or Faulkner or anyone else.

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

Yes. About all you have to do is Google Dr. Dan Skelton.

Do you have another book in the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?

Having just finished Renascence, except for edits, I am in a free wheeling state for the moment. I have a strong interest in the horror/supernatural and have been toying with dealing with Chupacabra or some other crypto-zoological creature.

As an author, what is your greatest reward?

Well, it's certainly not money. Probably having someone who is a total stranger find a way to tell me that what I wrote deeply affected them.

Anything else you’d like to say about yourself or your work?

Only that I remain hard at work and hope that those of you who recognize my name from this source will give me a look-see the next time opportunity arises.

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

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