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!

Presentation at SET High School

DSCN2714I was so blessed to present a workshop for students at SET High School in San Diego, CA on getting published. The class was “Writing as a Career” and while I don’t yet write as a career, I am on that journey. Since I’m a few steps ahead of these students, I was invited in to talk about that process.

One of the coolest things is that, before he really knew I was doing this, my son Timothy signed up for the class. It was interesting to see how he interacted in class, and I hope interesting for him to see his old man’s passion.

The entire idea of a class about writing for a career intrigues me, and I wish I’d had that opportunity growing up. I asked Ava Lennon, the educator for SET High School who teaches the class, why she did so and she responded, “I want to help students find their voices through writing. So often, English in general can be a turn-off for students, but a class like this enables students to see writing in a new way!”

Despite being a published author, the mechanics of English are complex and difficult (for me) to grasp. It’s nice to see a teacher striving to make the written language more accessible and understandable to students.

I’m also happy to present to these students because I get to relive that intense excitement of seeing my name in print. You know what? That fire still gets me deep in the chest each time my name appears on the page. Even after 16 credits in over a dozen periodicals, it still gets me like the first time in Pentecostal Messenger back in the spring of 2000.

That’s the main thing I wanted to show the kids. They all need something to carry them through the writing dry spells. Unless they learn the kind of ambition it takes to be a published author, and unless they learn to kindle that fire within them, they will not be successful writers. It is that fire…that ambition…that separates authors from the unpublished.

Ms. Lennon invites outside speakers in because, “my students deserve to hear from a variety of different published authors. If they are truly to succeed, they need to talk to people who have struggled, who have gone through the hard times, but who have persevered nonetheless.”

This is the sort of attitude that I believe my teachers had when I was a child. It was a different form (Girard, Kansas didn’t have a lot of published authors when I was young), but when Mrs. Johnson let me take home a laptop to write my stories, it was to foster this perseverance and to start seeing my stories on the page. These are things I’ll always be grateful for, and I hope these students will be likewise grateful for Ms. Lennon.

Continues Lennon: “I want them to see themselves in others. I want them to hear about different perspectives. I want them to LEARN.”

You don’t get better than that in a teacher.

I’m so grateful to Ms. Ava Lennon and SET high school for letting me share my passion for writing with the students and to talk through the writing and publishing process. Words cannot really describe the joy in my heart as I answered questions from the students.

I hope to have many opportunities like this in the future, both at SET and other venues. If I can help just a few people, my son included, gain success in their writing ventures, I’ll be as happy as a lark (that’s a simile, in case you didn’t know that)!

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2018 Resource Investments

IMG_7389Since making a decision on Christmas of 2015 that I would become serious about my writing, I’ve made it a point to make one writing investment each winter. For the last few years, that investment has meant buying a few writing books. Here’s what I bought for Christmas of 2017:

  1. Interzone:
  • One of my goals is to get published in a science fiction magazine this year. Part of making that goal a reality is to fully understand what gets published in science fiction magazines. Side note: in the fall of 2017, I ordered a combo pack of Analog and Asimov magazines. You can do the same at this LINK). Link to purchase Interzone below:

  1. Christian Writer’s Market Guide:
  • I purchased the Writer’s Digest Writer’s Market Guide in September and was sorely disappointed in the religious section. Only a handful of periodicals were represented. I didn’t want to buy yet another market guide, but I felt like I had no real choice in the matter. I write religious articles and stories for the most part, so I need a good market guide for that industry.
  • Also, I have purchased the Christian Writer’s Market Guide several years ago when Sally Stuart used to publish it. It was a good publication then, and I am making an assumption that the agent Steve Laube has continued that quality as he oversees its publication. I like it so far. Link to purchase below:

  1. Writer’s Digest
  • I’ll be honest, I bought this because Andy Weir, who I listened to in person, is on the cover. He had some great stories about his writing career, so I want more. I don’t subscribe to this magazine (might start soon), but I usually buy the first issue of the year. Link to purchase a sample copy at this LINK:
  1. Crafting Novels and Short Stories:
  • I’ve submitted several stories in the past, and it’s only recently that I realized that I need some serious work on my short story craft. Honestly, my book-length fiction needs work too. I’ve become fairly good at writing articles and essays (enough to have over a dozen credits), but I want more.

While that’s it for now, don’t be surprised if I update this list from time to time in 2018. In making my writing more of a priority, I will be adding the resources to make it a successful expenditure of my time. Check back for more!

Will I ever Write a Book?

Actually, I have written a book. I thought for sure that Feeding the Dragon was going to be my ticket to stardom. Even as the final edits were being done and the cover was in design stage, I started writing the second book in what I was sure was the next Tom Clancy-esc series. To my great surprise, Stars and Stripes even interviewed me! I thought I was in for sure! I checked the subscription numbers for Stars and Stripes and guestimated that approximately 15,000 people could become interested in purchasing Feeding the Dragon.

I sold maybe…MAYBE…150 copies. Most of those were by family members or close friends (thank you!). The book is now out of print and the publisher has returned all rights to me. What a sad end to what I thought was my big move.

Writing a book is hard. It’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I learned a hard lesson in Feeding the Dragon.

The publishing world is cut-throat and I was not ready to play.

Thankfully, I’ve learned my lesson and my approach now is to slowly build an audience that trusts me to deliver a specific area of expertise. That expertise is practical theology to make their lives better and (more importantly) more productive for the kingdom.

Someday, I hope that will become a book. I know my desire is to move out of blogging (which is another form of independent publishing) and article writing and into traditional book publishing. The book is in its very infant development stage. I’m not even yet ready to talk about it.

Safe to say, however, that someday, I will write a book. And you’ll be the first to know about it (after my wife!).