The Dirty Campaign Cover Reveal

Time is flying by the summer. Before long, the upheaval of the mid-term elections will be upon us! It’ll be the only thing Twitter and Facebook will focus on, not to mention the pundits on your television.

But how does it affect small towns across America? That’s the question The Dirty Campaign seeks to answer. I can’t wait to share the novelette with you! Wow! I’m excited!

Ok, it’s coming in September. Are you ready to see the book cover? Scroll down!

The Campaign Cover Draft 4

What do you think? Let me know in the comments! Subscribe here for updates on the story and to find out when you can download it for free!

Announcing: The Dirty Campaign

IMG_2207Raul Sanchez pastors the 3rd Street Baptist Church in Sunset, Kansas. Senator Jonathan Moreland, a conservative who has served multiple terms in Washington D.C., has a particularly prickly problem. Talking to Pastor Sanchez seems like the perfect thing to do…

Until it all blows up, threatening to hurt Raul’s standing in the town and the Senator’s reelection bid. Will Raul and his friends find a way through it? Or is it too late? Will Sunset recover? Most importantly…is there a chance for the gospel message to shine through?

The Dirty Campaign: Political Intrigue in Sunset, releases in September! A few advance copies are available now. Email (dan@navychristian.org) for details!

Sign up here to learn more about Sunset and learn about the release of The Dirty Campaign and other Sunset works!

Writing about Rape

“Judgement, especially of a rape victim, seems so far outside of the scope of Christianity that it should never find a home in the church.”

For those who are following the progress of my novel, Tragedy in Sunset, it’s no surprise that this topic is on my mind. It is the catalyst for the entire novel. In fact, the opening scene in the novel finds the main character, Tom Reynolds, entering the first stages of grief over the rape of his daughter earlier in the day.

One of my Navy students, about seven years ago, was raped and beaten so badly that she didn’t return to duty for months, though to my knowledge she did finally do so. Another friend of mine still holds the emotional scars of being taken advantage of even though it’s been years since the assault.

We know that rape is bad. Can anyone possibly defend it any longer? Not that it was ever really defensible, but really…especially now?

I get that some cases are difficult to figure out the real answers. Could there be some genuine cases of mistaken consent? I really doubt it, but maybe. And some statutory rape is probably consenting young people who make mistakes. Maybe. Even then it’s not defensible, but maybe it’s “different.”

Yet what still happens all too often is that stories like one from the Washington Post come out wherein a young 15 year old girl is held for 29 days and raped by the father of one of her school friends. The dad in me asks, “Why is this guy still alive?” Skip due process. Or maybe give it to him just to make sure, and then kill him slowly. I realize that this stance is unChristian.

These monsters are a plague on our society. Yes, I realize that I’m writing impusively. I’m thinking like a dad…a dad of daughters (not that boys aren’t raped, but…not as often). I’m not writing or thinking like a rational member of a free, laws-and-due-process-based society.

And when I wrote about Tom Reynolds on the night of his daughter Marcy’s rape in my novel, I didn’t write as a rational person. I wrote as if I were Tom. I wrote as if it were one of my daughters I had carried into the emergency room. I wrote as if the nurse was ushering me out of the ER so they could run the rape kit on one of my girls.

We have to confront this issue. And by we, I mean Christians. We have entire programs to help people recover from pornography, divorce, alcoholism, and a host of other problems, but I rarely hear about helping people recover from rape. And I don’t think I’ve ever heard a preacher condemn rape from the pulpit. Why not?

I don’t think there’s a conspiracy theory to flesh out here. I doubt the average Baptist preacher is purposely avoiding the subject. However, shame on you if you are purposely doing so. What are you hiding? Or hiding from?

One thought might be, “well, if people weren’t having sex outside the boundaries God set in the Bible, there wouldn’t be rape.”

Excellent point, and a true one. However, we wouldn’t need to condemn pornography, theft, murder, or anything else covered in the Bible. So that excuse isn’t good enough. Another issue is that it’s easier to verbally attack women for dressing immodestly than it is to condemn the men who rape them.

No, they didn’t ask for it.

You know how I know that they didn’t ask for it? Because when I see a woman dressed immodestly, I don’t think, “ooh…a perfect target!” Why not? Because I’m a sane man who doesn’t rape women. It doesn’t matter if a woman doesn’t dress right. A woman’s clothing does not lead to rape. A rapist’s mind leads to rape.

Start talking…and writing…about rape. It’s a sad, sick reality in our culture and we are in a perfect position to respond to it with the love and hope of Christ.

We should be bothered that the only people writing about rape are newspaper reporters (like the one referenced above) and books like Rape, by Joanna Bourke. These are non-believers most likely, and certainly aren’t writing from any spiritual view point.

So here we start. It’s not a good starting place, but it’s something. We know, for example, that God cares for the orphans, the poor, the widows, etc. Surely he cares also for those who’ve had innocence taken from them. It would be prudent for us as Christ-followers to lead the world in this effort to make victims of sexual violence feel welcome…to feel safe. Judgement, especially of a rape victim, seems so far outside of the scope of Christianity that it should never find a home in the church.

We know that God says that vengeance is his. I am grateful for this because I have a lot of sins in my life.

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Query for Tragedy in Sunset

What follows is the query I have been sending to agents for my novel Tragedy in Sunset. If you have thoughts on how to make it better, please let me know! If you want to start following Tragedy in Sunset’s progress, sign up here for updates.

Here is the query:

“A young girl is raped in a small Kansas town. Now her father must overcome his struggling faith to join forces with a rogue cop and the perpetrator’s father to prevent the rape from destroying Sunset.”

Dear Agent (I used actual names in the official queries),

I am Dan Smith, and my book, Tragedy in Sunset, is the story of Marcy Reynolds and her father, Tom. Marcy is a 13-year-old eighth grader who is violently raped on Christmas Eve. It is the story of her father, Tom, who throws away a decade of sobriety the night of Marcy’s rape. Finally, and most importantly, it is a story of faith from multiple experiences and viewpoints.

Tragedy in Sunset inspires courage and change through hardship. It will entertain, stimulate, and deepen the faith of Christians who know what it is like to struggle with their faith and come out on the other end a little weary, but trusting God a little bit more. It is also obviously for those who have suffered through sexual assault or know someone who has been through an attack. Tragedy in Sunset runs 90,000 words.

My writing has appeared in over a dozen periodicals, including EFCA Today, Christian Courier, and The Lookout. All are either essays or articles. While not fiction credits, I have built relationships with several editors that I can use in the future for reviews and/or excerpts. My Facebook page has over 1,350 likes and climbing (@navychristian) and my Twitter account (@navychristian) has over 5500 followers. I also have a Master of Arts in Religion from Liberty University’s School of Divinity.

The full proposal contains a larger explanation of my marketing plan. However, I want you to know that my Facebook page, Twitter, and blog will all be used to focus attention on Tragedy in Sunset. As mentioned above, I will also leverage relationships with periodical editors for reviews and excerpts. Furthermore, I guarantee that I will use at least half of any advance to increase influence and market Tragedy in Sunset. Finally, due to my career in the Navy, I know pastors in several major cities, giving me a ready list of contacts for speaking engagements.

Bottom line is: Give me a chance and you’ll get one of the hardest working authors in your stable. May I send you a package that includes the first three chapters, a synopsis, and a marketing plan? Simply reply to my email address (dan@navychristian.org) or by phone (858-598-5244)and I’ll have it on the way!

This is a simultaneous submission. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future!

 

Sincerely,

S. Daniel Smith

www.sdanielsmith.com

Tragedy in Sunset

Hey everyone! Some of you know from a post I wrote last fall, that I have been working on a book. Well, it’s finally time to introduce Tragedy in Sunset to the world. I’ve been holding off for a long time because, as many of you know, the writing process is very long. Even after finishing the first draft, I’ve been working very hard on the novel in order to give real life to the story and the best product possible to you, the reader.

And just what is that story? Glad you asked! Here is a short blurb:

“A young, small town Kansas girl is raped. Now her father must joined forces with a rogue detective and the perpetrator’s father to prevent it from destroying a town.”

Interest you? I hope so!

Tragedy in Sunset is in editing right now and will be for the rest of the summer at least. Here’s a rough outline of the future for this story:

  1.  Editing (through the summer and early fall 2017)
  2.  Submission to agents (early 2018)
  3.  Depending on point 2, will begin to submit to publishers (mid-2018)
  4.  Publication sometime in 2019 or 2020.

See? The publishing process is really long! However, I want you to meet the people of Sunset, Kansas so badly that I’m preparing a series of short stories to whet your appetite! I’ll release those shorts through my blog.

Thanks are in order for my beta readers. I’m so grateful for the work they are doing!  Tragedy in Sunset moves forward every day! You can keep up with the novel’s progress by clicking here.