Thursday, August 29, 2013

REVIEW: MEMORY'S DOOR, by James L. Rubart, Swings Open an Intriguing Tale

MEMORY’S DOOR, book two in the Well Springs series by Christy Award-winning author James L. Rubart, cracked opened on creaking hinges. A few ominous bones were thrown out in the first few chapters setting up what was to come—portals to new and terrifying experiences for the Warriors Riding—but those opening moments needed some oil.

The door finally bursts open when all hell breaks loose one-third of the way in. And hell it is. The demon Zennon launches an all-out attack of threats, violence and deception. Some of the team members face their greatest fears and suffer great loss as the fight for the souls of the world and their own. But they are not alone and, at times, they also share in heavenly glories.

The last third of the book brings the most intensity as well as the book’s most defining and emotional moments before the door finally closes. However, it does not slam shut and is left ajar for the third installment of the series. There remains one member of the Warriors Riding who is yet to suffer a sacrificial loss—something we can, uh, I guess, look forward to in the final chapter.

We can also look forward to more healing (possibly more than spiritual?) for the team, an amped up and ramped up battle, and a few surprising twists as Rubart further frames this intriguing tale and finally nails in the header.

Overall, I enjoyed the book immensely. Rubart is certainly one of, if not THE, greatest of Christian authors writing today. Not only is the writing done well, he tells great stories of value, and he tells them very well. All of his books have been great. [His book ROOMS still tops my list as my all-time favorite work of Christian fiction and, in my opinion, he has yet to best that work.]

However, there were a couple of reasons this book isn’t his best. One reason being the slow beginning that didn’t cover much new ground. Chapter one tried, but was too vague; I fumbled unmoved through chapter two [reread the chapter Jim, you'll see what I mean]; engaging in the third chapter’s reminders was tedious. Not until chapter four did the story begin to take off for me.

And reason two, while much of chapter fifty-four was wonderful (as is the remainder of the work) Rubart has, at last, stooped to the all too trite “battle against demons with swords” scene. To me that was more than trite, it was disappointing. Beyond that I enjoyed the warrior's ride, learned from the journey, and look forward to what is to come.

Book one in the series is SOUL'S GATE which also is a great read and ride.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

MEMORY'S DOOR Brings Tears to My Eyes

As you know I've been reading James L. Rubart's MEMORY'S DOOR. It has thus far been a wonderful ride. I still have a ways to go, but I just finished chapter 51 and I have to tell you all that tears came to my eyes.

I can't describe what I feel, but I feel one thing I can tell you: You should read this book and you WILL be moved.

I should finish tonight and tomorrow I will share with you my overall review.

Florence Festival of Books at the Beach, Readers Rave

The 3rd Annual Florence Festival of Books is a book fair for both authors and publishers at the Florence (Oregon) Events Center (right on Hwy 101). It opens Saturday, September 28, at 10 a.m. and continues until 4 p.m. Admission is free.

At a book fair individual authors offer their books for sale (there will be 68 authors there). And since the Florence event also has publishers, each publisher will show the books they have published and try to sign up new authors. [I have a manuscript to pitch.]

The biggest winners are the people who attend—anyone who loves books and reading. Upon entering, all attendees will receive a tote bag to carry their book purchases. Browse among 50-plus authors (including me) as well as several publishers.

What a treat to look at book after book of all different genres, actually meet the person who wrote each book, talk to them, buy a book, and have the author sign it on the spot. Some of these authors will be first timers and others will have numerous books for sale.

Come on down to the beach for the weekend and stop in on this wonderful event. I'll be there and, IF all goes well, I may have the first (pre-release*) copies of my newest and forthcoming book PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM (shhh) as well as the previous two titles in the Bayou Boys Adventure series.

*official release date is October 26, 2013.

Quote of the Day (Week, Month or Whatever)

"Nothing bad ever happens to a writer; everything is material."
                 — Garrison Keillor.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How I Learned to Work When I Didn't Feel Like It, by Author Donald Miller

Donald Miller

Donald Miller

I’m a 4 on the Enneagram with a strong 3 wing. Enneageeks know what this means. It means I’m in touch with my moods, my feelings, my thoughts more than the average person (the 4 side) which can sometimes be a pain. Being a 4 means you can only “create” when the weather is good. But I’ve got a 3 wing, which means I need to succeed, I need to get work done and I need for that work to be better than anybody else’s (3 = need to succeed). As you can imagine, these sides war with each other.

Monday, August 26, 2013

This Just In: I'll be at the CCHE Resource and Info Night

My books will be available for purchase (and signed if you wish) at the Clark County Home Educators Resource and Information Night at Vancouver First Church of God, 7-8:30 p.m., TONIGHT Monday, AUGUST 26. Hope to see you there!

DIVERGENT Movie Teaser Trailer and More

Many of us liked "THE HUNGER GAMES." And the movie adaptions are decent (albeit somewhat altered and abridged). The second film of the three book series will be in theaters this Christmas. (Certainly you've seen the trailer by now.)

The "DIVERGENT" series, another three book, and--in my opinion--better written dystopian tale will also make the big screen on 3.21.2014. This first look, teaser trailer doesn't quite sell it for me, but, of course, I will see the movie.

The books are very good and written by a Christian (though they are not Christian works, per-say). I think they were better written than "Hunger Games." I do fear the "ERAGON" curse. Sometimes an author sells the rights too readily. (After all, it's exciting to have someone wanting to make your book into a movie.) And then it's made with a poor script and even worse production values.

Let's hope not. The third, and final, book in the set is due out in October. In the meantime, here's the teaser trailer for book/film one:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Here's an Interview with Me by Author Andy Bunch

Check out my recent conversation with fellow author Andy Bunch. You might just learn something about me and my writing.

Too Many Books, Too Little Time

Books arrived in today's mail! James L. Rubart's MEMORY'S DOOR and my own PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM proofs. Such a dilemma! Of course, one desires to pour over ones own work, but I've also promised a timely review to Jim.

Don't worry Jim, I will read yours first. I should be done by the end of next week. Then? I'll tackle mine while on the road to and from vacation.

And, meanwhile, be on the lookout for my link/post to an interview I did for Andy Bunch's blog.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: James L. Rubart, Christy Award Winner for "Soul's Gate"

James L. Rubart, author
I first picked up a copy of BOOK OF DAYS by James L. Rubart on a discount table at Barnes and Noble. I loved it and immediately went back for ROOMS which I loved even more. To date it's still my favorite book. I have poured through everything he's written since. I was fortunate to meet Jim at a conference and he was not only inspirational in his presentations, he was gracious and friendly in person. We've been Facebook friends ever since and he quickly agreed to an interview when I asked him. You're going to enjoy this one.

Q: Why thrillers, Jim?

A: Are my novels thrillers? I’ll take that as compliment because I get bored easily when reading and you seem to be saying my books move fast and are hard to put down. The truth is my novels don’t fit neatly into any one genre. There’s definitely a strong flavoring of the supernatural, adventure, a splash of romance, soul issues … but truly, I’ve never thought about genre, I’m just writing the kind of stories I would want to read.

Q: I recently blogged about “writing what you know” and commented on how well you know the Pacific Northwest. I also noted you seem to have quite an imagination when it comes to spiritual things. How do you come up with these things? Are you involved in some deep spiritual mentoring group like the characters in your Well Springs series?

A: I’m not involved in a specific group, but I’ve always wanted to go beyond the norm that I see in much of Christianity. I think there’s so much more to God than we allow; certainly in the westernized culture we live in. Many of us take the most speculative, supernatural, fantastical book ever written—the Bible—and turn it into a list of rules, dos and don’ts, and principles.

I try to push my readers to think beyond that. I got an e-mail recently from a pastor who asked, “Where did you get your training? Where can my staff and I get more teaching like the things in your book?” I loved it. Loved hearing about people who are pressing into the deeper things of God.

James L. Rubart high-fiving after being awarded a Christy.
Q: You’ve got a new book out called Memory’s Door. It seems like yesterday that Soul’s Gate cameout [which recently was awarded The Christy] and not long before that The Chair. You’ve got a day job, how do you manage to crank out such good work so fast?

A: I consider myself incredibly fortunate that God gave me an ability to write fast with okay results. For the most part, I simply sit back, let the movie screen in my mind start, and I transcribe what I see. And I’m also extremely fortunate to have truly incredible editors who take the first draft and make suggestions that turn the finished product into something far beyond what I could have done on my own.

Q: What’s your writing schedule like?

A: Intensely sporadic. I’ll go weeks without writing anything, then I’ll go on a writing binge where I’ll write 2,500 – 3,000 words a day for three weeks. I’m fortunate to have an amazingly supportive wife.

Q: How many books will there be in the Well Springs series counting Soul’s Gate and Memory’s Door? And how often will they come out?

A: There are three books in the series, Soul’s Gate which came out last November, Memory’s Door (which as you know, just released) and the third, titled, The Spirit Bridge, which releases spring of 2014.

Q: What was your process for ‘breaking in’ [with Rooms and Book of Days] as a writer? How long did it take? Were there rejections?

A: Yes, rejections! Plenty. I went to my first writing conference in the spring of ’06 and was fortunate to meet a number of people that were extremely supportive and encouraging. Through a variety of circumstances I signed with my first agent in the fall of ’06. He shopped Rooms to all the major publishers and they all said, “No.” But one of them, David Webb, said, “If Rooms doesn’t sell in six months, bring it back to me.” A year later (publishing is glacial) I did, and nine months after that I had an offer from B&H Fiction. I ended up doing three books with B&H before moving to Thomas Nelson in the spring of 2011.

Q: The running themes through all your books are forgiveness and restoration. Why?

A: I think everyone has a theme that is at the core of their life—whether they know it or not. When I consult with other authors, I tell them I can figure out the theme of their life (and how they should brand/market themselves) if they’ll tell me what their three favorite movies are. In other words, what they are drawn to—what resonates with them—tells me what is deep inside them.

What resonates most deeply with me is the theme of my life is freedom. I’ve been all about that since I was a kid. I believe most of us have too many chains around our bodies holding us back from our God designed destinies … and if we can find freedom, we can step into the glory God planned for us from before the beginning of time. So that’s what I write about.

Q: Let’s talk about Memory’s Door which I am about to begin. Both the Kindle edition ($9.99) and the paperback ($15.99) came out August 6, 2013. What can reader’s expect?

A: Freedom from regret. I believe we all carry regrets, and Memory’s Door hits that issue head on and I believe it will set people free from the devastation of holding onto the past. Also, if readers liked Soul’s Gate, I think they’ll like Memory’s Door even more. The stakes are higher, the lows are lower and the battles are more epic. There were a number of scenes that brought dust to my eyes as I wrote them, and that’s always a good sign that I’ve captured a few elements that will go to the deep parts of people’s hearts.

Q: What would you wish readers to know about you? Like, what do you do in your (LOL) ‘spare time’?

A: Spare time? Sorry, don’t understand the phrase. Seriously, I love spending time with my wife, I love water skiing, backpacking, playing guitar, golfing, photography, doing the occasional sleight of hand, hanging out with my sons and of course, reading.

Q: My wife wants to know: What else inspires you? And how much are your characters invention and how much is based on people you know?

A: Your wife asks a great question. I believe it’s true that we can’t write what we don’t know about, so most of my characters are expressions of the various sides of my personality—my fears and strengths and weaknesses. But in some cases I’ve simply taken a person from real life and stuck them into my novel. For example, the character, A.C., in The Chair is a based entirely on a close friend of mine. He’s one of those rare, larger than life type people and I simply plopped him into the story exactly as he is in real life.

Q: Some of my blog readers are other writers. I’ve seen you speak at a conference and your message was invaluable. Where can other writers meet you and hear you speak in the near future?

A: Thanks, Greg, I appreciate that. The best way to connect with me is on my Website/blog and Facebook. I just launched a new website and if people sign up for my newsletter they’ll be able to find out where I’m speaking, find out about the occasional freebie I’m giving away, and the release of new books.

Q: I’m sure we all want to know: Who are your favorite authors? What do you read? Do you even have time?

A: I vaguely remember those days—when I read a book for pleasure, when I had time to read. Sounds funny, doesn’t it, that I don’t have? But it’s true. When I used to read a lot, I read Ted Dekker who has become a friend, Karen Hancock, C.S. Lewis, Robert Ludlum, Orson Scott Card, George McDonald and a million others. Most of what I’m reading these days are other author’s manuscripts for possible endorsement—and most of the time I don’t even get a chance to do that.

Q: And finally, what advice would you give a new writer?

A: The best advice (but the most difficult to do) is to think of writing as you would becoming a surgeon. To break in, your writing can’t be great. It has to be exceptional. I find most aspiring writers (and this included me when I was starting out) think their craft is further along than is really is.

I like the story of the woman who came up to one of the world’s most famous violinists after a concert and praised him lavishly. She ended her comments by saying, “You’re so wonderful. I’d give my life to be able to play like you.” He responded by saying, “I did.”

Q: Reminds me of the story about a woman lost in New York city. She sees a man dressed in a tuxedo, carrying a violin case. She asks him, "Pardon me, sir, how do you get to Carnegie Hall." He answers, "Practice, practice, practice." Please continue.

A: Most people who want to write, don’t want to pay the price. But if they do, I tell them to start reading excellent writing blogs like Rachelle Gardner’s, to go to writing conferences, buy books on the craft and studying them like they are studying to be a brain surgeon. It takes years of dedication and intense hard work to become a brain surgeon. Same thing for writers.

If it’s your destiny, step into it strong and with belief. Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down. It will set you free. 

Q: Thanks, Jim, for sharing with us. Great stuff! We'll close off with posting your new video.

A: Thanks much for having me, Greg!

You can find, friend and follow James L. Rubart at:


Twitter: @jameslrubart


Memory's Door Available now!

Memory's Door email sig cover 353 7 '13  Soul's Gate email sig 353 7 '13  ROOMS .  Book of Days Final cover 10 28 '10  ROOMS for email 7 23 '13
FB logo twitter_newbird_boxed_blueonwhite

James L. Rubart is the best-selling and Christy award winning author of, ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, THE CHAIR, SOUL’S GATE, and MEMORY’S DOOR. During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing which helps businesses and authors make more coin of the realm. In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, golfs, takes photos, and occasionally does sleight of hand. No, he doesn’t sleep much. He lives with his amazing wife and teenage sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at

Monday, August 19, 2013

Local Author Writes Girls' Books About Little Dog, Too

During the last month three local authors have shared booth space with me at a couple local events. One of those authors is Susie Slanina, author of the Metro the Little Dog series of books. The colorful covers and whimsical tales about adventures with Metro (based on a rescue dog once owned by Susie) appeal to young girls.

Author Susie Slanina with several of her loves.
Susie was recently interviewed by, so rather than interview her for this blog, I include that interview in video form. You can find it at the bottom of this post. Or visit the original story at

Two things are clear: Susie loves animals and Susie loves to write. She is available to share with school groups.

There are several beautiful books in the Metro series and you can preview them all on Susie's website. You can also learn more about her and her (or is it Metro's) illustrators. [Ellen Satra was Metro's FIRST illustrator (for the 'first editions'), but artist Paul Bunch did all the illustrations in the video. And two twins, Shane and Ariel Kwiatkowski did the illustrations for METRO GOES RETRO (Disneyland book).]

And here's an interesting factoid: In Metro's newest adventure the little dog visits Disneyland in 1958; that was when Susie's father worked there at the at the Carnation Company on Main Street (which is no longer there). Her dad started working on opening day 1955 and the family visited the park nearly every weekend.  [Do you think that being a big Disney fan and having been born in 1958 might make this my favorite Metro read?]

Susie's Metro books are available on or can be purchased directly on her website using PayPal.

Stay tuned for an upcoming interview with James L. Rubart, bestselling Christy Award winning author. Subscribe to or otherwise follow this blog by clicking the JOIN THIS SITE button at the right and you could win a copy of his newest book.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Author Interview: Andy R. Bunch, Creator of "Suffering Rancor"

Andy R. Bunch, author.
I recently met Andy Bunch, author of Suffering Rancor. He is both gracious and friendly. As an independent author, he supports and encourages other indies. You'll enjoy what he has to say.

Q: So, Andy, your blog lists a wild ride of crazy experiences. Author Garrison Keillor says that “everything that happens to a writer is material.” Tell us about your adventures.

A: Yep, I’d agree with Keillor. I think it morphs into something other than the original incident though. Kipling said, “A good writer should be able to watch an alley cat slink across a park and be able to write what it feels like to be stalked by a bangle tiger.”

That’s the goal in my mind. Experience reality from a number of angles and then stir enough of that into your writing to reach people with a deeper truth. I believe that in order to entertain others you must be entertained yourself so I try to find the humor in most situations, but life isn’t all about fun and laughing. Still, in order to inspire life in others you must first come alive yourself. So whatever is happening in your life, learn to put it in perspective and find a way to profit from it.

As far as specific adventures in my past ending up in my books, the truth is always stranger than fiction but seldom as entertaining. I’ve fallen in the ocean in Alaska, capsized a canoe. I ended up fighting for my life from pneumonia. That joined with some of my childhood bouts of strep throat in my description of the disease my hero and his friends face early on in my Fantasy novel, Suffering Rancor.

I try to let life invade my stories but you’d almost never be able to draw a connection between the real life event and the ones in the book. One exception would be when my father died in 2003. I went back through my novel and rewrote the impact a father’s death has on a character. It hurt to write that, but if that was going to be in my book then it had to be accurate.

Q: You have some independent publishing experiences as well. You’re a contributor to the Northwest Independent Writers Association anthology as well as having published two books on your own. What are the joys and pitfalls you’ve experienced in these ventures?

A: I was twice the editor of the Phoenix magazine and a contributing editor of the Salmon Creek Journal as well. I struggled a lot with short fiction, but I felt it was important to grasp that before moving onto longer works. Short stories really are a different animal but there are some obvious cross-over skills.

I hadn’t written much short fiction since I switched to novels, so I confess to dusting off a story I’d begun already for the first NIWA anthology. I thought I could tack a fast conclusion on it and be done, but I was actually only halfway through it. That’s become a favorite story of mine. I wanted to turn things upside down a bit and create a sympathetic monster, inept bad guys and a heroine who’s willing to do anything for power including screw over a simple creature that tries to help her. Unfortunately the characters had other ideas so it went where it wanted to and became a great story despite me.

The story in this year’s NIWA Anthology came from a NIWA writing challenge. One of the skill building exercises we took on was to come up with a difficult challenge and post it to our forum. Then we all wrote a short story to fit the challenge. We used a picture of a sink hole that formed in someone’s bedroom overnight—under their bed. It was a very evocative picture. I’m really proud of that story. From a publishing standpoint, the anthologies sell real well. So I’m hoping to garner some fans out of those.

Q: Your book Suffering Rancor has been described as “like Pirates of the Caribbean meets Conan the Barbarian.” I’m really enjoying the work. Tell us about why you wrote it and what the experience has taught you.

A: Rancor was the book I learned to write on. I had a few abortive attempts at other novels early on, but Rancor was the one I had to write because I couldn’t get it out of my head any other way. I struggled with dyslexia growing up and reading was an enormous challenge, but I loved words. I loved how the felt when you said them and I loved reading the dictionary to finding new words. My favorite two things about words is the way they represent entire concepts so that you can make a sentence that conveys pages of information, and secondly how words can be pieces to a puzzle and you need the exact right one for the job.

I was a horrible speller, K to 12th grade, and everyone actively discouraged me from writing. In fact, my dad pretty much paid for me to go to community college and my car insurance, so long as I pursued a degree other than writing. I took writing classes on the side and wrote in the library or coffee shops where I wouldn’t get caught.

My last year at Clark (of 6), I went on a study abroad trip to the UK and I remember standing in Rudyard Kipling’s house and thinking, “Maybe not everyone makes it as a writer but some people do. Why not me?” I came home and told my parents that I didn’t care if it made me homeless, I’d pan-handle for money to buy chalk and I’d write my novel on the sidewalk even though the next rainfall washed it away. After that they stopped opposing it so much.

So Suffering Rancor and I journeyed quite far together. No one in college really taught me how to write a book, but they did teach me how to peer edit, so I joined a writers group and started working the fundamentals. 16 years and 7 rewrites later I had a bouncing baby novel on my hands. My illustrator, Corey Pennington, came into some money and paid the initial publishing costs so we could get the project out there. That’s back when you had to pay a lot to companies for each little thing, it’s practically free now. Anyway, Corey is a good friend and we got the book out with only a few dozen typos and some embarrassing homophone issues. I’ve since revised it one more time and freshened up the cover.

Q: You’re working on a new novel; when will it be out and what’s it about?

A: The working title is “Footless and Fancy Free” It’s book one in a series called the Vancouver Scooter Club Mysteries. It’s with my first readers this month and I hope to have it back at the first of next month so I can begin the revision. I plan to have it out for Christmas.

The book is about a Gulf War vet, Mike Sandburg, who has recovered physically from losing his feet to a mine, but must now figure out what comes next. He takes part in an experimental prosthetics program based out of the VA in his childhood hometown of Vancouver, WA. When Mike’s childhood sweetheart asks him to help her search for her twin sister, Mike takes his first step on a journey through lust, murder, and insanity where everything is eerily familiar but not quite the same.

I’ve always wanted to write a mystery and that’s what I set out to do, but it ended up more of a cozy thriller. It’s a fun read.

Q: It sounds intriguing; I can’t wait to read it. You are the founder of NIWA. How’d it get started and would you like people to know about it?

A: I’m one of six original founding members of Northwest Independent Writers Association. Initially we wanted to band together for support and sharing ideas about the industry, but we quickly realized that the biggest challenge facing Indie Authors is the public’s belief that traditionally published books are better quality. In reality, the entire market has shifted due to technology changes. The only thing you can be sure of in a traditionally published book is that someone in New York thought it would have a wide market appeal.

I don’t really care if a million people like the book I’m reading, I feel comfortable judging a book for myself. Between ebooks and Indies, the traditional market is hurting for cash and less likely than ever to spend money on an unknown writer. Not to mention that they’ve stopped spending money on editors and promotions, so the writer is pretty much on their own anyway. I’ll get off my soap box. Ultimately, NIWA realized that its primary function was to promote professionalism and quality among Indie authors and to increase consumer confidence in their work. So that’s what we do.

Q: What words would you share with new writers hoping to venture into independent publishing?

A: Oh, boy! There’s a lot of things they need to know. I encourage everyone who feels that they have a book inside them to write it. It’s hard work but good therapy. Actually publishing that work with the technology we have now is relatively easy. Promoting and selling that book is a ton of work, and being commercially successful is exponentially more so.

If I could offer only one piece of advice it would be “don’t think that Indie publishing your work is a way to mitigate the heartache of rejection. Nothing about writing, revising, editing, publishing, or selling your book will be free from rejection.”

Vonnegut once said, “Don’t write because you want to: write because you have to.” I’m not that cynical but I see his point. Being a writer is like being that naked cowboy singer in time square. You don’t have anything to hide behind but the instrument of your talent, so you’d better not suck, and it doesn’t matter if the crowd gathered to gawk at you as long as they throw you a buck and leave thinking, “that guy’s actually pretty good.”

Q: Where can readers pick up your books?

A: My books can be found by searching Amazon or Barnes and My fantasy YA novel, Suffering Rancor, is also on Smashwords, kobo, the iStore etc. and the audiobook is available through Amazon or Audible. This smart link is supposed to get you to the right book no matter what country you’re in and this one’s for the ebook My second book, On Becoming a Man, is a Christian inspirational I co-authored with Janice Seeney. Amazon is probably the best place to find that, here’s a link

Thank you, Andy. Excellent stuff. You can find out more about Andy at:

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Come on out and see me and other local authors Andy Bunch, Phil Silver and Susie Slanina at Sunday Streets Alive this Sunday (Aug. 18) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. We'll be at Block Ten (flanked by Washington and Columbia streets on the east and west, 6th and 8th streets on the north and south).

Susie and Phil have books for children, I have books for tweens and young teens, and Andy has books for teens and older. Something for everyone! Plus there are many activities at Block Ten and several other locations along the 4.5 mile walk/bike route. We'll be offering a bike decorating activity.

Don't miss this premiere Vancouver event! And please, do visit and, if you can,buy a book or two and support your local authors.


With one book proposal (THE AMISH VS. THE ZOMBIES) still out to two publishers for consideration, a manuscript (LIGHTS, CAMERA, WORSHIP) being considered by another, having just finished two works (LCW and PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM), one close to publication (PP), having finished the libretto for a rock opera (THIS CHILD) and at a loss for what else to do (lol), I am proceeding to write (early) on TO HEAVEN, HELL AND BACK.

I have previously begun the work and had plans to continue it in November, but being ahead of the game and nothing else to tackle (although we'll be working on getting THIS CHILD into production beginning next week), I am taking it on early. I've just begun chapter three.

Here is a sample from the opening chapter:

It has long been speculated that parallel worlds (or universes) exist side by side—or, rather, together in the same space, one, perhaps, within another within another. Although imagined, never in the wildest dreams of scientists, has anyone ever thought it actually possible to travel inter-dimensionally. And no one—no one—ever believes me when I tell them that I have, in fact, achieved that very feat.
Mind you, I am not a scientist. My Higher Ed studies are in philosophy and theology; disciplines that do not ask dimensional questions. Though they tend to deal with the abstract and the unknown, they only ask metaphysical questions and those often do not seem to have a practical—down to earth--application. I, however, beg to differ. I believe that nothing could be further from the truth...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM Proof has Shipped

I'm looking forward to reading through the hard copy (bound) proof of PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM.

It shipped today and should arrive within five business days!

Who else wishes to read an advance copy?

Second Edition of LIGHTS, CAMERA, WORSHIP Revised and Expanded

The original title and cover.
Today, I finished the revised, expanded and updated Second Edition of LIGHTS, CAMERA, WORSHIP: Redefining Media and Technical Arts Ministry for Today’s Worship

It features:

      Many new illustrations (the popular original cartoons 
       are left intact).

      Two entirely NEW chapters: Smartphones, Tablets 
      and Apps, Oh My! and Making Social Media Work 4 U

      Plus Many New Resources.

I'm not sure when it will be released, but the manuscript is currently out to reader-endorsers. I'll keep you posted, of course.

Advance Readers Sought for PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM

The hard copy proofs (bound books) of PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM have been ordered and will arrive Thursday, August 22. I ordered two so that someone else could read through it at the same time I do.

Who wants to be an advance first reader and proof and comment

You would need to be done reading in one week (by Aug. 29), since I will begin any edit-changes over a car trip on Aug. 30/31. For such an invaluable service I will also give you a signed copy when the book come out in October.

To the left is the book's final cover art.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rock Opera THIS CHILD Ready to Workshop

Work on the rock opera THIS CHILD has gone well. The musical numbers, by Marc Keele and Vic Sorisio, are all complete. I have finished the working script/libretto and the show is ready for workshop.

Now the real work sets in as we prepared to produce the show.

In the next weeks we will be meeting together to complete a proposed budget, produce a production schedule and begin a marketing/promotional plan. We will be creating a Kickstarter campaign to raise capital.

We hope to produce the world premiere of the show this spring and will likely hold auditions in December if funding goes well. If you are an opera-quality singer/actor you are welcomed to audition.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Another Editorial Pass on PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM

This floor plan appears in the book. As does the 2nd
floor as well as other illustrations. Click to enlarge.
I've gone over the PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM PDF proof and found some changes needing made. I'll go over them with my editor and make them before ordering the hard copy proof*. (I should have that next week.)

The count down to release is on!

* I could still use an outside reader. Any volunteers (I'll give you a free, signed copy)?

And don't forget to come see me and children's and young adult writers Andy Bunch, Phil Silver and Susie Slanina at Sunday Streets Alive on the 18th (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) in downtown Vancouver.


The screen capture of the digital cover proof with the ISBN barcode added.
Nice to have this in the inbox this morning:

"Congratulations your files are printable! We've reviewed the interior and cover files for Playhouse Phantom, #4389461 and they meet submission requirements. 

"The next step in the publishing process is to proof [a sample physical copy of the] book."

This morning I was able to see an online digital proof and download it (as PDF) as well as view a 3D rotation of the cover.

Currently, I am going over a PDF galley proof. When that is completed I will order a bound printed copy of the book to proof and will also have it read by an advance reader. Any changes are made before final approval and then the books are printed!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM Revisions and Reformatting

After a day of errands and then hours at the Clark County Fair I managed to reformat the interior of PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM. I'd been using the wrong template (book size). I will tackle the cover once again beginning Monday.

When all that's done and uploaded, I'll move on to more revision, writing and editing on LIGHTS, CAMERA,WORSHIP while I await the online proof of PP. When I get that there'll be another round of edits before ordered the hard copy proof for yet another round of editing.

Meanwhile, remember the Sunday Streets Alive event one week from tomorrow. (We're at location 1 on the link's map.) We'd love to see you!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sunday Streets Alive with Bikes and Books and More

Here's our location at Sunday Streets Alive.  10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 18 (booth 8).

Come out and see us (Phil Silver, Andy Bunch, myself and maybe a fourth author).

We'll have a cool bike decorating opportunity and books for signing and purchase.

Plus there's just tons of family activities all over the city.

Bring your bike or walk the 4.5 miles. It will be a day you won't forget.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Getting the Art Just Right for PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM

Struggling with the printer to get the PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM cover file just right. The math is most difficult--especially for the spine.

Hopefully this fourth file will be the one.

Also have been working on the editor's edits and required revisions for LIGHTS, CAMERA, WORSHIP!

That will take well into next week due to a busy weekend.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

James L. Rubart's New MEMORY'S DOOR Released

James L. Rubart writes:

"It's finally HERE! (Was that too salesy? Sorry. Sorta, kinda, very excited.) Memory's Door has released! (Grateful if you could keep your order to ten copies or less so everyone has a chance.)"


Here's some trivia facts Jim shares from the first book in the Well Springs series:

  • The radio station that Dana used to work at, Spirit 105.3 is a Seattle station I worked at in the mid 80s on air and in sales. It's still going strong: 
  • Well Spring Ranch is a prominent location in the novel. As you know, it’s a real place and is located about two hours west of Colorado Springs. My publisher and I brainstormed Soul's Gate at Well Spring and we went back in the fall of '12 to brainstorm Memory's Door as well. 
  • All the places in Soul’s Gate are real as you’ve probably guessed—which readers from the Northwest already know! 
  • Reece’s house in the Seattle area based on a friend’s home that is indeed a log cabin set off in the woods on three acres. 
  • In the second chapter of Soul’s Gate it says Brandon has a Martin 12-string guitar. So do I, just like his. Funny how that got into the story.
Watch for our guest interview with Jim, coming soon (and, meanwhile, pick up the book).

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Proposed Cover for PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM

This is the proposed cover design for PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM
Please tell me what you think.

What is Fiction?

Here's my definition of fiction: "Literary lies told to tell the truth." ~ Gregory E. Zschomler

Monday, August 5, 2013

PHANTOM PLAYHOUSE Layout/Formatting Finished

Today I finished the layout and formatting as well as the Table of Contents for PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM. That means I move onto the cover art and then it's off to the printer for a proof copy (after which is the final editing process).

And remember, I'm appearing at Sunday Streets Alive on August 18 with three other authors. Be there or be square.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sold More Books Than Ever at Today's Event

Today's Loyal Local event at the Vancouver (Wash.) Hilton was a big success! I sold more books than ever (pretty much an equal number of MARSH MONSTER and VOODOO VIRUS) at a single event!

I shared booth space with fellow authors Susie Salina, Phil Silver and Andy Bunch.


Come see me at the next one on August 18th.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Formatting PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM for Press

One of the interior images of the real
Davis House in New Orleans, LA.
So, yeah, today I'm formatting the book and doing the typography for PLAYHOUSE PHANTOM. I have added also added the interior images.

Once it's done I get to calculate the spine width and get to work on the cover art. Then it's off to the printer for a proof copy, then more editing before putting the order in. Yup, it's getting close, baby!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Q and A Interview with Ian Doescher, Author of Shakespeare's Star Wars

Author Ian Doescher
I’d like to introduce local author Ian Doescher, a Portland, Ore. native and Creative Director at Portland’s Pivot Group LLC. He’s a musician, too, with a degree in music from Yale as well as a Master of Divinity from Yale. His new book Shakespeare’s STAR WARS is a delightful mash-up.

Q: Ian, I spent some time this year at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore. And saw a couple of the Bard’s plays at the Portland Shakespeare Project (which were wonderful). You’re a huge Shakespeare fan; tell us about it. Do you have a background in theater?

A: In high school (Grant High School in Portland), I did a lot of theater, but my love of Shakespeare really came out studying the plays in English classes and then just reading his works for pleasure on my own. I spent the summer after my sophomore year in high school learning various soliloquies, and then after college I accomplished my goal to finish reading the complete works. So Shakespeare has been a passion for a long time.

Q: But you’re also a Star Wars aficionado, right? How many times have you seen the series? What gave you the idea to re-write the space-western in theatrical iambic pentameter?

A: At a guess, I would say I’ve seen the Star Wars movies fifty or sixty times each. The idea actually came out of watching the trilogy, visiting the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies all within about a two-month period. So I had Star Wars, Shakespeare and mash-ups swirling around in my subconscious, and the idea for William Shakespeare’s Star Wars came out of that.

Q: How on earth were you able to get permission from Lucas/Disney and sell the odd idea to Quirk Books?

A: Selling the idea to Quirk came first. I looked them up online and emailed one of their editors out of the blue with the idea. He responded and said he would be happy to read something if I actually wrote some of it, which was enough for me to start writing. A few weeks later I had a draft of the first act, sent it to him and he said he wanted to do it. I recognize how lucky I am, because this isn’t the way the publishing industry normally works! Quirk then handled the communication and the contract with Lucasfilm.

Q: Congratulations, by the way, on becoming a new author. Is this something you’ve wanted to do for some time and will you do it again?

A: Thanks. I’ve loved writing for years, but I always thought I would write academic books (I have a background in academia). But now that I’ve published a mainstream book, yes, I hope I’ll do it again!

Q: Many of my readers are other authors or aspiring authors. Tell us about the writing and marketing process. Was Quirk the first publisher you approached? Did you use an agent?

A: Quirk was the first publisher I approached. After it was clear they were interested and they were contacting Lucasfilm, I had several friends urge me to find an agent. If nothing else, they said, it helps to have someone who understands the language in your corner. So through a friend who is also a writer, I found my agent (who is with Wolf Literary Services in New York).

Q: We're all jealous and we hate you (lol). Okay, so tell us about yourself. Oh, and your thing with music.

A: I majored in music in college and still love to write music and sing. I worked for a couple of different symphony orchestras in college (doing administrative work) before going to graduate school in religion. After a Master’s of Divinity and a Ph.D. in theology and ethics, I was a pastor for a while before moving to a marketing agency. I’m now the creative director of a marketing agency with a background in religion and music and a book out on Shakespeare and Star Wars. Yeah, kind of all over the place.

Q: I loved the book. I was attracted to it by the video trailer, which I got such a kick out of. I just HAD to read it, even though I had labored with the archaic language when I studied Shakespeare in college. I found your work most enjoyable (as well as the presentations by PSP); I’m a new fan of the Bard of Avon. Was it your intention to open up Shakespeare to an apprehensive audience?

A: That’s my biggest hope for the book, actually. There’s an aura of elitism around Shakespeare in our culture—when students start to study his plays, there’s a lot of fear alongside an assumption that they won’t be able to understand it. I hope William Shakespeare’s Star Wars might be a bridge that helps students approach Shakespeare. Maybe if they start with my book and are introduced to iambic pentameter and the structure and literary devices Shakespeare used—all within the safe context of Star Wars—they’ll be more likely to find Shakespeare less intimidating once they open up Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet.

Q: In seeing the trailer and reading the book, as a theater designer and director, I was instantly taken with visions of staging the play. It is, in essence, a five act play and cries out to be performed. You’ve already answered this question privately, but for the rest of my readers, can this or when will this be performed? What is your (new) hope on the matter?

A: At this point, Lucasfilm isn’t allowing full performances. But we’re keeping a record of the requests that have come in, because we’re hoping they might change their mind after seeing how much interest there has been. I would love to see it on the stage—that wasn’t my original intention, but what fun!

Q: The book is now widely available at Amazon and bookstores everywhere (list price $14.99). [Readers: This IS the book you are looking for.] Are you appearing at any signing events? Can fans meet you?

A: Right now most of the events are already behind me. But I’m around and I always enjoy meeting readers. I will be at the Wordstock Festival in Portland on October 5th (which is, coincidentally, Star Wars Reads Day).

Q: Will the Jedi Return or the Empire Strike Back?

A: Time will tell. I certainly hope so.

Q: Anything you'd like to add?

A: Nope, thanks for having me on the blog!

Thanks, Ian, it’s been a pleasure. May the Force be with you.

Link Ian's webite

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Word on Wordstock Coming in October

Dear Wordstocker,

At the Wordstock offices we're working wildly to make the next few months, ahem, chalk full of word encounters: from the musical and literary festival, Rox in Sox, to an urban art experiement with chalk, poetry and YOU. We're bringing our best game. Want to join us?

Star Wars Reads at Wordstock.
Star Wars Reads Day
Fans of reading and a certain galaxy far, far away have reason to rejoice: Star Wars Reads Day, a day-long celebration of literacy, Jedi, Sith, Wookiees and all things Star Wars is returning.

The best news? Star Wars Readswill be celebrated at Wordstock this year! With acclaimed Star Wars writer Timothy Zahn and newcomer Ian Doescher’s Shakespearean twist on the acclaimed saga plus a special appearance by Cloud City Garrison, a chapter of the 501st Legion of Stormtroopers.

Be there Sat.10/5 and may the (literary) force be with you!

Chalkstock: an urban art experiment.
Chalkstock, August 6thWhat is Chalkstock? It's a chance to unite the community of Portland around the power and beauty of the written word in a down to earth way.
“How?” you ask.

Here are the basics: 
Gather hundreds of friends on August 6th at Irving City Park. Give them chalk and a portion of sidewalk. Let them write (no swearing or explicit sexuality, let’s keep it family friendly). Watch people wake up to a world of verse. Leave the chalk out and encourage people to add their own.

Want to know more? Click here to sign up. 
Community spotlight: Portland street fairs.

Mississippi Street Fair
Wordstock is lucky to be a part of a city that loves to celebrate art, culture and community. That's why we have joined the Mississippi Street Fair,Belmont Street Fair, and Alberta Street Fair to hit the streets.

This summer we're breaking out our red chairs and touring Portland's street fairs to spread awareness of Wordstock and inject some wordy fun into the summer before our big event in October.

On July 13, the Wordstock team set up camp at the Mississippi Street Fair toting along our red chair and a selection of free books from Title Wave Bookstore. Our volunteers had fun sparking great conversations about writing and sharing Wordstock's mission to use the power of writing to effect positive change in people’s lives.

Find out where we’ll be next!
Wordstock 2013 needs volunteers!

Be a Wordstock volunteer!We'll provide the snacks, if you provide the awesome. Over 300 volunteers make the festival run each year—we couldn’t do it without you!

Volunteers work the festival, escorting authors, answering questions and running the show, really.

Join the team this year! It's easy. Sign-up and tell us a little about you. Our volunteer coordinators can't wait to find the right spot for you this year!

Click to be a volunteer this year. 
Under the red chair: a glimpse into the festival to come.
Susan Choi
2013 festival headliner

Susan Choi, photo credit Adrian KinlochMy Education by Susan Choi

Susan Choi's latest novel is My Education. She has published three previous novels: The Foreign StudentAmerican Woman, and A Person of Interest. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and sons. 

For more information about the author, click here. 
MK Asante
2013 nonfiction feature

MK AsanteBuck: a Memoir by MK Asante

MK Asante is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, hip-hop artist, and professor of creative writing and film at Morgan State University.

For more information about the author, click here. 

What's that? Who else, you ask? Click here.

Educators! End your summer with a bang of inspiration and creativity. 
Wordstock's 2013 Teacher as Writer, Pt. II classTeacher as Writer
Mon-Fri, August 19-23

at the University of Portland

Teachers, sign up for the course that will feed your creativity and prepare you to help your students articulate their ideas. More and more state, national and global education standards require students to demonstrate their knowledge across curriculum in writing--be it math, science or reading.

During TAW, Step I you'll work on a 2-page personal narrative, receive coaching from a professional writer and gain strategies you can use in the classroom for years to come. 

Click to register or forward this email to a teacher in your life.

Words around town: a well fed writing life.
Peter Bowerman
Tuesday, August 6th
6:45 PM - 8:15PM
Collective Agency
322 NW 6th Ave. #200 PDX

Love to write but hate to starve? Creating a Well-Fed Writing Life Through Lucrative "Commercial" Freelancing

In today’s downsized business world, companies of all sizes pay freelancers handsomely to handle many writing tasks involved in communicating with prospects, clients, and employees. But how to successfully navigate this new terrain?

Doors open at 6 for networking/food; Peter speaks at 6:45, Q&A until 8:15, followed by more networking.

Friends of Wordstock get $10 off with the coupon code WORDSTOCK. Click here for more information. 

Wordstock and Rox in Sox.
Rox in SoxRox in Sox
Saturday, August 3rd
10AM - 7PM
West End Building
4101 Kruse Way, Lake Oswego

Wordstock will be taking part in the first-ever free family festival Rox in Sox, this Saturday August 3rd from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. on the front grassy lawn of the West End Building.

Families are asked to bring donations of children’s books, new socks or new shoes to distribute to kids in need in Portland, Kenya and Jamaica.

The festival will be a musical and literary celebration showcasing performances  by Aaron Nigel Smith and his One World Chorus members, Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, “kid-hop” artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, PBS-TV’s “Between the Lions” as well as Red Yarn Productions, who will roam the festival with his musical puppets.

Click to read more about this exciting project.

For quick info, check our Kids' Corner side bar!

Be a member and empower a voice

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wordstock office
810 SE Belmont St.
Studio 5
Portland, OR

ph (503) 477-4361
fx (503) 549-7869

Wordstock logo served on grey.

Wordstock is a literary art and education nonprofit organization.

Our mission is to use the power of writing to effect positive change in people's lives.

    little word kids' corner
 kids' corner

Rox in Sox (cont.)

Looking for some wordy family fun this weekend? Come to Rox in Sox in Lake Oswego on August 3rd.

10:40 Shelby Bach 
12:05 Deborah Hopkinson 
1:00 Trudy Ludwig 
1:50 Matt Holm 
2:45 Greta Pederson
3:35 Noel MacNeal 
4:25 Victoria Jamison 
5:20 Ray Ballantyne
Other activities will include family yoga, hula hooping, drumming, hands-on arts and crafts and face painting. Food and beverages will be provided by Joe’s Burgers and Marley Coffee.  At least 20 vendors will provide activities and other goodies.
For more information visit the website, updates will be posted regularly at