Welcome Clint Smith, author of FAITH AND THE FORMULA, with a guest post describing a new type of genre that is currently gaining popularity.
The Emergence of Inspirational/Faith-Based Fiction as a Genre
In recent years, inspirational/faith-based novels have become very popular. Readers want to be entertained but at the same time, they want to be inspired.A good story with identifiable characters can serve such a purpose. At Christmas time, inspirational novels are ideal gifts because they make a good platform for reflection about the love of God and the blessings of life.
To me, the most successful faith-based novels have a grounded reality about theplot. A too sugary and sweet tone can turn the reader away. Readers appreciate characters that experience trials and difficulties that are similar to their own challenges. Additionally, if you create a page-turning plot with unpredictable twists and turns, the ingredients are complete for a popular novel.
I believe that my novel, FAITH AND THE FORMULA, will entertain, stimulateserious discussion about important topics in society, and inspire deep reflection about our relationship to God and our future. It will be ideal for a book club discussion, Sunday school, or Bible study group.
Tim Jennings searches for his fiancée who presumably died in a tragic accident, but he believes that she is still alive – her body never recovered. His search leads him headlong into a subversive underground organization dedicated to toppling the U.S. government. The organization plans to implement a mysterious medical formula that halts the aging process to accomplish its evil goals. While Tim confronts evil, he struggles with his own faith. What will be the outcome?
A unique plot line in Christian fiction, the content will surely capture the fancy of hungry faith-oriented readers. Set initially in Atlanta, Savannah, and Chattanooga, the story is briskly paced. The setting shifts to Denmark, Germany, and then back to the United States, ending with climactic scenes in St. Augustine, Florida.
Biography of Clint Smith
Clint Smith lives in Dawsonville, Georgia. He is a writer, businessman, and a member of the Georgia Air National Guard, assigned to State Headquarters at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia. A former legislator in the Georgia General Assembly, Smith has written many newspaper columns, speeches, and other works on political, public policy, historical, and military subjects.
An ordained deacon, Clint Smith is a member of First Redeemer Church in Cumming, Georgia. He is also the former chairman of the board of directors of the Chestatee Library System in Dahlonega, Georgia. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Georgia State University (minor in management). He earned an associate degree in applied science from the Community College of the Air Force as well as a diploma in Writing for Children and Teenagers from the Institute of Children’s Literature in Redding Ridge, Connecticut. A classic film buff, Clint Smith specializes in writing and speaking on the movies of Alfred Hitchcock. He is currently working on his next project, a science fiction novel set in Alaska.
Welcome Sheila Deeth, author of Bethlehem's Baby, with a thought-provoking post about discovering your true self, past, present and future, and how doing so means going beyond how others label you.
Motherhood, Writing and a College Degree
That moment when you realize your teachers think you’re “quite bright” and may even be destined to bring glory to their school, has a powerful weight of terror behind it, especially if you’re a city kid attending a school where one young woman every blue moon qualifies for a bluestocking high-class university like Oxford or Cambridge. The moon was blue, and I was actually one of two—a really good year—which made me determined to prove myself worthy of the honor.
Of course, when I got to college I found I was a very small fish in a very big pond of super-educated piranhas. I went to parties, but they really weren’t my thing. I haunted libraries. And mostly I hid in my room, trying to figure out whatever it was that everyone else seemed to know about the language of mathematics.
Eventually I caught up, caught on, and got into my stride—kind of like pushing up the speed on the treadmill until running feels like nothing at all. I could do this. I was (almost) a woman and I was succeeding. Meanwhile I’d met a guy who was just as determined as I to be a credit to his family and school. We sat together in lectures, went to talks from famous professors like Stephen Hawking in our time off, encouraged each other, and eventually both got first class honors degrees before getting married.
My husband asked what I wanted to do with my life and, feeling free to be honest with him, I answered that really I wanted to be a Mom. He didn’t believe me. He said he was sure I’d change my mind; I’d be bored; I wouldn’t want to waste all that expensive education; plus I had a talent and I really ought to use it. But I didn’t; I wasn’t; it’s not wasted—it’s part of who I am and how I see the world; and I have other talents too. Still, words matter. They weigh on you. They nibble at your self-confidence. When the kids hated me I wondered if they’d have been better served by my going out to work. When they shut themselves in their rooms I thought I must have poured my inhibitions into them. When they had problems, I imagined I’d given them mine. And when they succeeded—I’m blessed, now they’re grown, by having three college graduates all happily employed—I knew their triumphs were all in spite of me.
Meanwhile, motherhood had freed me to return to an earlier dream—the one that came before being “quite bright,” and was related not to math but to the way my nose was always buried in a book. I wanted to write. I told stories to my kids when they were small. I helped in school and told stories to groups of kids learning to count, made up storygames for children struggling with learning to read and write, used stories to teach chess, added stories to math lessons, told stories in Sunday school, and tried to show my kids and their friends that their problems were just part of the story of their lives. But the question nibbling away at my self-confidence was still the same—was I wasting that hard-earned education? Was I letting down those teachers who’d seen me as “quite bright?” Was I denying the mathematical talent I’d been born with?
I went back to work and it wasn’t the same, because I wasn’t the same person I’d been before. Getting into Cambridge didn’t complete me. Getting a masters in math didn’t define my final path. Succeeding in my job, even having kids who succeeded, just wasn’t enough. I’m a story still being written and I wanted to tie all the magic of motherhood together with the logic of math and pour it out in words. So when I lost my job, I wrote.
I am who I was—a skilled mathematician, a credit to my school, and happy mother of three—and who I am—a writer—and who I will be, dreaming my impossible dreams. It’s not inconceivable I may even still be “quite bright” but you’ll have to read my books and make your own decisions about that.
Thank you, Sheila, for your guest post. And, I must say that I consider you "quite bright"!
Sheila's latest creation is a book called Bethlehem’s Baby:
Meet the Emperor Augustus’s advisors, the quiet research student helping wise men study stars, the shepherd whose granddad keeps complaining, an Egyptian fisherboy, a Roman soldier, and more in this set of 40 5-minute read-aloud stories based around the events of the Christ Child’s birth in Bethlehem.
Sheila Deeth is an English American, Catholic Protestant, mathematician writer, author of the Five Minute Bible StoryTM Series for children, several spiritual speculative e-novellas, Divide by Zero (a novel), and various poems and short stories. When she’s not writing she’s usually reading, posting book reviews to the internet, or wandering the neighborhood talking to all the local cats and dogs.
Bonnie Milani is the author of the "fast paced, well written" sci-fi novel, Home World. When she's not creating fantastic, out-of-this world story-lines, you might be surprised to learn that Bonnie leads a down-to-Earth life as an Insurance Broker. So, how does she find time to write with her busy schedule? Read on. (I'll be reading along, too, looking for tips to keep up with my own musings!)
Finding Time to Write
by Bonnie Milani
I can’t count the number of times I used to whine I could never find time to write. I started out well enough, writing an environmental fairy tale for the NJ state department of education in college, earning my M.A. in print communications from Stanford. After graduating, I freelanced feature articles for newspapers and magazines ranging from Mankind to Science Digest. Then I got married. Somehow, after that life always got in the way: husband, job, housework, what-have-you. I felt the self-betrayal every single day, felt that something in my spirit was out of kilter. Yet I didn’t write a word for nearly twenty years.
It wasn’t until my mother died that I finally realized I wouldn’t always have a ‘tomorrow’. It still took me three years to get my heart and soul back together, but finally, on Labor Day 1994 I plunked myself in front of my first PC and started putting words down on a screen. It wasn’t easy in any respect. I worked as a pension / benefits administrator: my work days ran from six a.m. to nine p.m. Nights and week-ends I played cook or go-fer for my contractor-husband and his crews. Housework I handled on a ‘if this is Tuesday, this must be the kitchen’ rotating schedule. Finding time just wasn’t happening. Worse, my husband thought I was crazy to waste time on anything as useless as writing stories. Being the crew-boss type, he said so. At length and at volume.
It was his complete and utter opposition to my need to tell stories that finally pushed me into accepting I was going to have to make time to write. Initially during those hectic years, I set aside Saturday mornings from 7 a.m. (after I shooed him out the door) to 10 a.m. (when I had to start prepping the crew lunch and do the banking). Eventually, I moved out of the admin world into insurance and started my own agency. That put another 5-year gap in my writing; every waking moment went into building the business. Eventually, I worked out a schedule that let me write for myself from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. I also started putting my MA to use by picking up a side job teaching writing at a local adult school. That led to putting my shingle out as a freelance editor. Eventually, I built up a writer’s group from my students who were serious about writing for publication. And, of course, I still ran my own insurance agency. (Still do, for that matter.) Didn’t get a lot of sleep, but I finally felt my soul start to heal. The result – after many, many drafts and the wonderful guidance of generous authors like Mary Rosenblum – is Home World.
Long story short: nobody ever finds time to write; we all make it. Let me ask you: what’s your writing schedule? What’s your story goal? Are you aiming for publication? When? How many story pages a day do you need to get down to make your schedule? Have you got a specific time and place already established? Or do you always wind up feeling so guilty about all the other things you’re not doing that you give your time up? OY do I know that feeling! So here’s a suggestion: set your writing time. Then think of that time as sacred. That’s YOUR TIME to worship the Lord by putting the gift He gave you to use.
Hope that helps!
Yes, it does! Thank you, Bonnie. I think I'll copy your last paragraph and hang it next to my desk for inspiration to keep writing!
About the Author: Bonnie vividly recalls the book that helped her decide she could out-write another writer: it was a junior reader's biography of Sir William Harvey, the 17th century English physician credited (in the West) with discovering how blood circulates. After about 30 pages of telling herself "I can write better than that!" she grabbed a crayon that just happened to be blue and started editing. She was all of seven years old at the time. Unfortunately for her juvenile bottom it was a library book. She followed the dream through college and after grad school, freelancing feature articles for newspapers along the East Coast. Milani even wrote a cover story forScience Digest! Alas, life and grown up responsibilities caught up with her and by her late twenties she put writing away with so many other dreams while she followed a ‘career track’. After losing her entire family, she realized story telling wasn't just a want but a need and a gift God gave her. So here she is, a self-declared “middle-aged pudge” working on getting back into a writer’s kind of real life!
Home World is a fast paced, well written story about the power and price of love. This story takes place amid the ruins of a post-apocalyptic Waikiki. Jezekiah Van Buren thinks he has found a way to restore Earth—Home World—to the other worlds of the human commonwealth. His goal is to restore his home to her lost glory.
Ingenious even by the standards of the genetically enhanced Great Family Van Buren, Jezekiah has achieved the impossible: he has arranged a treaty that will convert Earth's ancient enemies, the Lupans, to her most powerful allies. Not only will the treaty terms make Earth rich again, it will let him escape the Ring that condemns him to be Earth's next ruler. Best of all, the treaty leaves him free to marry Keiko Yakamoto, the Samurai-trained woman he loves. Everything’s set. All Jezekiah has to do is convince his xenophobic sister to accept the Lupan's alpha warlord in marriage.
Before, that is, the assassin she's put on his tail succeeds in killing him. Or the interstellar crime ring called Ho Tong succeed in raising another rebellion. Or before his ruling relatives on competing worlds manage to execute him for treason. But Jezekiah was bred for politics and trained to rule. He’s got it all under control. Until his Lupan warlord-partner reaches Earth. And suddenly these two most powerful men find themselves in love with the same woman. A woman who just may be the most deadly assassin of them all.