Thursday, December 26, 2013

William Woodall and the Last Interview Hunter

(Blogger-in-Law’s Note: Okay, so I actually started writing this introduction at the beginning of December, thinking it would be my first blog post back from NaNo...but then I ended up writing another one first. Oh, and then I updated it again with a brief post. I probably should have just rewritten the interview intro below...but that seemed like an awfully lot of work, and I did write about stuff that some of you might be interested in, so I’ll just leave it. Sorry. You deserve better.)
Authors don't tend to make this badge
their Facebook profile pic.

Hi all. I’m back now after basically checking out during the entire month of November while I was working on a project for National Novel Writing Month. Let me report off the bat that I, alas, did not complete the
50,000 word goal. I got off to a slow start and only rounded the corner to 30,000 words. It was still within my grasp, I felt, if I really worked hard...but then, right before we returned to Michigan to see family for Thanksgiving, I came down with a 24 hour bug that knocked me off my feet. At that point, I was so far behind that I couldn’t lose a single night of work, but that’s precisely what happened. I decided to just step back at that point and enjoy the little vacation going home. Still, I’ve got a 30,000 word jump start on a new murder mystery, so that’s worth something, right?

Back to normal life, and we’ve got an interview to jump us back into the blog side of things! My guest today is William Woodall. I actually read his book Cry for the Moon back in  June according to Goodreads (and we know we can trust Goodreads on such things), but one thing led to another and we weren’t able to finish our interview until recently. So usually I tell you what I thought about a book, or at least the bullet points, but it’s been six months so my memory is a bit hazy!

Ironically, if they had just let them turn him into a werewolf
first, he could have run away much faster.
I’ll tell you what I remember. First of all—and this is something we discuss in the interview—the book wasn’t what I was expecting. I knew going in that it wasn’t what most people expect and yet it still wasn’t what I was expecting. The title is vague enough but this is the first book in Woodall’s The Last Werewolf Hunter series, so you can imagine how I was a bit surprised to come across a quaint, quiet story about a twelve-year-old boy named Zach who runs away from home to avoid being turned into a werewolf. There’s no hunting to be done. Rather, the boy struggles to survive and strives to find the one relative who he thinks—right or wrong—can help him.

Even six months later, Zach’s voice remains distinct and authentic in my memory. I enjoyed my time spent with this boy, and found him to be a well-developed, genuine character. Whether you enjoy the book depends on how you feel about a relatively slow story about a determined kid trying to find his long lost uncle. Despite the series title, there’s not a lot of action. I don’t list this as a negative at all: I enjoyed Zach’s journey, in large part because I got to know Zach so well, and cared about him through his struggles and mistakes. As always, I’m going to try to give you plenty of exposure to the author so you can decide whether this book is a good choice for you or not.

Woodall’s other books, by the by, include three more Last Werewolf Hunter books (Behind Blue Eyes, More Golden Than Day, and Truesilver) as well as romance Many Waters and Nightfall from his sci-fi series, The Tyke McGrath Series. You can find him online at That’s enough background info. Let’s chat!

The right is when I read the book. The left is now.
I hate winter.
Brad: Thanks for joining me today, William. Although I just read Cry for the Moon for the first time recently (Master of the Blog's note: "recently" refers to when I first wrote this question back in June or July), I had already heard several times that the book was not what many people expected. Part of that may be the series title—The Last Werewolf Hunter—which is a bit confusing since there were certainly no werewolves hunted in this installment. Would you agree that many readers come to this book with inaccurate expectations? Why or why not?

William: I think sometimes readers come to this book expecting a bloody horror novel, which it most definitely is not.  There’s an assumption out there among many people that a book about werewolves just naturally has to be horror.  But even when the werewolf hunting does take place later on, there’s very little blood involved and almost never any actual killing.  You would have to read the series to understand how that’s possible; the only thing I’ll say is that the werewolf hunters have weapons that make it unnecessary.  Anyone who reads the whole series will understand the title perfectly, but those just beginning may be puzzled a little bit.  You won’t actually understand the rationale for the title until book three.
Similarly, I'm hoping that the upcoming
Star Wars VII reveals what the heck
a "phantom menace" is.

Brad: Ah. It’s like a “To Be Continued” tag. “Want to know why the series is named The Last Werewolf Hunter? Read ‘til Book 3 to find out!”

In your protagonist and narrator, Zach, we meet a twelve-year-old boy whose personality and voice really carry the entire book. Talk to me about writing for Zach. Was it easy to get into the head of a twelve-year-old? Is he based on anyone you know?

William: Zach has always been an easy character to write because he’s me, to all intents and purposes.  All I had to do was reach back into memory and pull some things out from my younger years and imagine what I might have said or done in those kinds of situations.  I was a teacher for several years and I like to write young characters.  I’m sure I was never half so cool or witty in reality as Zach is, but the beauty of hindsight is that you have plenty of time to think of exactly the right words.

Brad: Well, Zach rang pretty true to me, so I think that you are either very in touch with your inner child, or have a great memory! Speaking of influences, are there any other works—books, TV, film, music, whatever—that helped inspire this story?

William: It was inspired by all kinds of different things.  I guess the original germ for the story probably came from watching Teen Wolf cartoons on Saturday morning when I was a kid.  But there’s a lot of real life in the book which you wouldn’t necessarily realize.  We used to own a dog house very much like the one Zach took refuge in, for example.  There’s really a cheesecake billboard in Mount Pleasant, exactly like the one I
It's pretty, but nearly half of Americans still prefer
Pepsi Lake for some reason.
described.  There’s really such a place as Coca-Cola Lake.  I like to pull interesting little tidbits like that from true life and use them in my stories.   

Brad: Without giving too much away, can you talk to us about the series as a whole? I assume that someone hunts a werewolf at some point, which seems like it might really change the tone of this first book. How many total books are there now, or will there be when the series is done?

William: Without giving too much away, Zach really is the last werewolf hunter, the heir of an age-old prophecy about a boy with blue eyes who will break the curse forever and set the cursed people free, even those who don’t want to be set free.  There are four books right now, with more to come.  Each book explores a particular spiritual theme in the context of his struggle against the wolves.  Book One deals with his choice of whether to accept or reject evil.  Book Two deals with submitting to God’s will.  Book Three explores the question of whether the ends ever justify the means, and Book Four is mostly about having the courage of your convictions.  Zach grows up quite a bit over the course of the series and he does face some really dangerous situations later on. Cry for the Moon is very introspective and thoughtful; the other books have a lot more action.   

Brad: It’s an interesting decision to have such variety in the same series, indeed, because I would agree that the first book is indeed slower-paced, and doesn’t necessarily foreshadow more action to come. Let me talk to you author-to-author for a moment, William. I apologize if my dear blog visitors think this question rather dull. The conventional wisdom for many indie and small press authors when it comes to using real world trademarked products is to use them in a positive or neutral way. But it’s pretty clear that you really don’t care for Taco Bell! It’s a shame, because their current menu (depending on the region) would have let poor hungry Zach get a chicken burrito, bag of chips and a drink for $2! My question is, author-to-author, did you hesitate at all before going on and on about how nasty Taco Bell’s bean burritos are?

William: To be honest, I really love Taco Bell!  It’s one of my favorite fast-food chains.  Zach doesn’t even really dislike it, per se, he just doesn’t like one particular item on their menu.  But no, I really didn’t put much thought into it before having Zach give his opinions. Cry for the Moon was the very first book I ever wrote (even though it was published second), so I probably wouldn’t write it that way now.  
And so we discover that Zach is secretly a masochist,
consistently ordering his least favorite menu item
instead of countless other options.
 I was still very much a newbie author at that time and it never would have crossed my mind to think of such things. 

Brad: Then why does he always order the menu item he hates! Oh, Zach! Serious question time now. Your book is about a twelve-year-old boy who runs away from home. While his life isn’t easy, he is able to survive and even—without spoiling anything—reach a happy ending. Are you concerned at all that a child could read this book and emulate Zach’s actions? Being a runaway isn’t glamorized in the book, but it does seem like a viable option.

I'm sure none of us want a repeat of
the rash of teen runaways in 1999,
most of whom were desperate to
avoid being taken to see this movie.
William: I don’t believe kids would make a choice like that unless the situation were really desperate.  If a child ran away for anything less than excellent reason, he or she would soon go home again when they got hungry or cold.  I used to work for child protective services and dealt with runaways pretty regularly.  Never did I meet one who didn’t have a good reason.  Some of the stories they told about the things they left behind would chill your blood.  That said, I don’t believe most children would want to emulate Zach’s choice unless, like him, it was really a matter of desperation.  And in those rare cases, one could hope they might indeed find a compassionate and Godly person to help them.  Most never do, and many find monsters who will eat them alive.  But I can also hope that if an actual runaway ever read this book, he might be comforted, and possibly learn a thing or two that will help keep him alive.   

Brad: Interesting. Who would have thought Cry to the Moon might be a survival guide for runaways? Let’s talk about you now. What’s your greatest strength as an author? Your greatest weakness?

William: I think my greatest strength is creating believable and interesting characters, and possibly originality.  The two compliments I get most often from readers of the Last Werewolf Hunter series are that they love Zach because he’s so real and genuine, and also that it’s a story completely unlike anything else they’ve ever read.  Those same two things have popped up in reviews of my other books, too, so I judge those are probably my best points.  I think my greatest weakness is that I find it difficult to work with several different characters at once.  I tend to want to focus on just one or two and explore the depths of their personality while not paying as much attention to the others as I should.

Brad: Fortunately, there’s just as much room out there for stories that focus on a couple of main characters as there are for more sprawling stories with a large ensemble cast. Now, there are definitely themes of faith and Christianity running through Cry for the Moon, although I don’t consider them excessive by any means. As a believer, do you feel some sort of duty or obligation to include Christian themes in all your work, or did you simply find your faith naturally surfacing in this book?

Pastor George McVey,
whom I interviewed about his
Christian western novels, will be
pretty broken up to hear about this.
William: All my books have a Christian flavor, but I think the worst mistake Christian novelists make is trying to be preachers.  The business of a novelist is not really to explicate the Bible or exhort people to accept Christ.  That’s a preacher’s job.  As novelists, I think our part in winning the world for Christ is to show how faith plays out in the real world, to show Christianity as something beautiful and amazing, so that readers learn to desire it.  As J.R.R. Tolkien said, our job is to break their hearts with longing, because until they become conscious that something is missing, they’ll never look for it.  I do feel an obligation to include that sort of thing in everything I write, but it isn’t always obvious at first glance.

Brad: Well, that’s just rude! You come into my blog home, make use of my hospitality, eat all the cheese in the fridge, and then trash  my work! What nerve!

Of course, I’m going to have to disagree with you, especially with the idea that one can or should have the authority to decide what the “business of a novelist” ought to be. While I certainly respect your right—and the right of every author, artist, musician, etc.—to decide what your own work will comprise, whether the subject is spiritual content or anything else, I must in fact reject your preference to dictate to others the limitations or boundaries of their art. The Christian novelist is answerable to God, and, biblically, the Holy Spirit is ultimately responsible for both spiritual growth (1 Cor. 3:7) and salvation (John 6:44). My readers
There is literally never an inappropriate
time to whip out this meme.
will know that a recurring theme in my work is the charge from Christ for every single believer to be used to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19-20). I find the notion that the Holy Spirit is incapable or unwilling to use novels in this work, or that He will not lead any writer to either help illuminate Scripture or share the Gospel, perfectly preposterous. The truth of the matter is that Jesus did quite a bit of spiritual teaching through fictional storytelling, and cannot think of any reason why any novelist would be prevented from following His example.

All right then. Oh - wait. Are we still in the interview? Sorry, thought I was writing a regular blog post for a second. Let’s get back on track. Just a reminder to all of us, dear readers, we are talking to William Woodall about his book Cry for the Moon. What are you working on right now William? Anything you can share with us?

William: Right now I’m working on the sequel to Tycho, my science fiction novel, which is loosely related to The Last Werewolf Hunter by means of a few characters who appear in both.  I’ve actually been very busy this year; I’ve already published Truesilver, which is Book Four of the werewolf series, and Many Waters, which is a Christian romance and also a spin-off of the werewolf series.  I’ll probably finish at least two more books by the time the year is up.  I’m hoping to have the next werewolf novel done by Christmas.

Brad: My, my! You are a busy little bee, aren’t you? Oh guess what? It’s time for my favorite part of the interview: the part where I get to threaten my guest with death and/or bodily harm if they don’t cooperate with my questions! Woohoo! You know how this book contained no actual werewolf hunting? Well, turns out that was a mistake because I’ve recruited several friendly loup-garou (also known as werewolves) who are more than willing to attack if you don’t tell me your favorite book in the whole wide world. Discounting the Holy Scriptures, of course.

When I first asked William to choose one favorite book,
he just sent me this image.
William: It would be hard to choose, since I have so many: The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, Perelandra by C.S. Lewis, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, Lilith by George MacDonald.  And the list could go on a lot longer, I’m sure.

Brad: Did I mention that these loup-garou are really hungry? It’s true. They haven’t eaten in weeks and they love author. And yet you give me four when I asked for one! You’re pushing it. I don’t have to let them eat you, of course. It all depends on whether or not you name your favorite author—that’s author, singular!—for me. Go ahead. We’re waiting.

William: C.S. Lewis, of course!  I say that not just for his fiction, even though I love it.  It’s his non-fiction work on theology which has done more to shape my Christian walk than anything else I know.  I also embed a lot of theology in my novels, in the form of Zach’s thoughts about this or that subject, and that’s something I first learned from reading Perelandra.  He wrote lots of books, of course, but I would especially recommend Miracles, The Problem of Pain, The Four Loves, Surprised by Joy, Reflections on the Psalms, and The Abolition of Man.  His collected essays are excellent, also. 

I know you're probably expecting this sort of thing
based on William's weak responses to my questions,
but I guess you're wrong to assume this will
be a bloody, horror interview.
Brad: And another author walks out alive. I barely know why, though. Yeah, you managed to keep it to one author—but you also did your best to shoehorn in six additional titles! But I guess it’s a good thing because I can’t afford the increase in my insurance. Before you go, William, I always like asking indie authors what fans can do to help support you and your career. Buying your books is a given, but what else?

William: Tell other people about my books if you liked them, and if there’s a particular character or story you really enjoyed and would like to hear more about, please contact me through my website and tell me so.  I listen to those kinds of things, and in fact the book I’m writing at this very moment is the result of a request from a group of fifth graders in South Carolina.  And if you’re so inclined, take some time to pray that my work will turn out for the glory of God.

It’s a prayer that I’m sure we can all take the time to offer, and I imagine one that God will take pleasure in answering. Brad back now, and I want to thank William again for taking the time to chat with me. It took us a while to connect, but we finally got this thing out there! If you recently found yourself a new Kindle owner at Christmastime, once again you can find Cry for the Moon right here. You might also want to poke around this blog to see the many other authors I’ve interviewed and featured throughout 2013, or perhaps even try out a few of my books. Either way, this blog is a great resource for discovering talented new authors, and I’ll continue to spotlight as many as I can in 2014! Thanks as always for swinging by!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Jonah's Revenge Image

Click on the image to enlarge!

One of my author colleagues suggested I make it a point to spotlight some of the storylines from The Savvy Demon's Guide to Godly Living that don't really fit on the back cover blurb or the Amazon description. It's a big book and the bored, drunk demon showing up at a pastor's house in the middle of the night is just the beginning of the story...

Now available for Kindle, Nook, and in paperback.

Band image comes via Geek Philosopher royalty-free images.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Succulent Scent of Success

November has been an incredible month for me as an author.

Aside from the occasional post about what’s new, I don’t usually focus too much on my own books in the blog posts themselves around here. I like to talk about the spiritual themes found in movies, TV shows, books, and video games, and I like to spotlight other Christian authors you may not have heard of yet (and, in this way, I’ve stumbled upon a lot of great books that I’m so glad I got a chance to read!). That’s not going to change.

But I had a great month last month and I wanted to share and it’s my blog so I’m going to.

Both of my novels that are currently available, The Savvy Demon’s Guide to Godly Living and Emaline’s Gift, were chosen to be featured as bargain books on the popular Kindle book site Ereader News Today. I had heard about other authors (most notably, Cynthia P. Willow, whom you might recall I interviewed way back in January) having a great experience with running a 99 cent sale in conjunction with being featured on the website, and was very excited to learn that two of my books would be featured!

How does the bestseller badge
look in this shot? Too subtle?
It was a great month, both through the promotion and simply for book sales in general. It was such a great month for me, in fact, that both Emaline’s Gift and The Savvy Demon’s Guide to Godly Living became bestsellers! Emaline’s Gift became the #1 bestselling Kindle book in Religious Sci-Fi and Fantasy on Amazon, and hit #2 in both Christian Fantasy for Kindle and Religious Sci-Fi and Fantasy for all books on Amazon (including Kindle and print copies). Savvy Demon also broke into the top ten, becoming the #6 bestselling Satire book on Amazon (the top ten list in that category is pretty much dominated by Kurt Vonnegut, an incredible writer whose prose absolutely sings on the page [or Kindle], for what it’s worth). For an indie writer like myself, who isn’t backed by any major publisher and whose advertising budget usually sits right around zero, it was very exciting. I’m still excited by it! I thank God that He’s taken my books to bestselling status every time they’ve come to mind!

“So what’s this, then?” you may well be asking. “You’ve decided to write a whole blog post just tooting your own horn?”

Yes, yes, that’s it exactly.

What? Oh, no, I mean to say no. Sorry about that. I got confused.

What I’m looking to do here, actually, is to take this opportunity to talk about the reason that I write. Obviously, the vast majority of writers write because they want to be read. Yes, God has made us to be creative beings so writers write, actors act, painters paint, and musicians play because there is something in
And synchronized swimmers synchronized
swim because they must!
the act of creativity that calls to us and compels us, but most also feel that we have something to share with the world. I absolutely believe that our world is a richer place because of the arts, that there is something shared between the creator and the appreciator at a soul level that can probably never be fully explained. God Himself is wonderfully creative and part of being made in His image, I believe, is to be creative beings. We may not all create (or, at least, not to the same level or extent) but rare indeed is the human who can claim to never have been touched by art of any type.

So, yes, I write and I self-publish to share my work with the world. I love the freedom of being an indie author, and I believe we’re seeing this medium come into its own, much as independent film has come into its own in the past few decades (and it has; I made the point to someone just recently that one primary reason that the number of Best Picture nominees at the Academy Awards was opened up to ten candidates in recent years is that almost all the nominees otherwise were independent films that the average moviegoer probably didn’t see, so ratings of the Oscar telecast suffered as a result). As an indie author, I get to write whatever is in my heart, or whatever I feel God wants from me. A publishing house, simply because of the realities of business, needs to be more concerned about making a profit than about the quality of the work. I’m not trying to say that quality work is not being produced through these channels, although it is pretty well documented that the publishing world is changing and the houses need to take much fewer risks. I spoke with some agents and was told by one that the quality of my work was very good, but that it was much harder than it used to be to be an unknown author because marketability is valued as much or more than quality. We’re seeing bestselling books coming out now by people famous for other stuff, like Bill O’Reilly or Glenn Beck, because they have name recognition even if they are new as authors.

"I'm only doing this so I have some
chance of getting published."
Multiple people have commented to me that they didn’t think my latest novel, The Savvy Demon’s Guide to Godly Living, would ever be considered by a Christian publisher for a variety of reasons. I think they’re probably right, but I strongly believe that I wrote the book God wanted me to write. I have been very humbled by reviewers who have called the “deeply convicting,” and even saying, “This book will change you!” But a publisher isn’t asking if people are going to be changed by a book, but rather whether they will turn a profit. I’d admit fully that Savvy Demon would be a risk! But then I’ve also been trumpeting high praise for The Beloved Daughter, an award-winning indie book by debut novelist Alana Terry (whom I interviewed on this blog). Unlike Savvy Demon, Alana’s is precisely the sort of book that anyone might pick up in their local Christian bookstore, and I think mainstream Christian readers would love it! And, if she gets famous as a Fox News pundit, maybe that’ll happen someday...

Has anyone ever noticed that I tend to get off on a fair number of tangents? Sorry about that.

I believe that I was saying that I write because I want my work to be read. “So why not,” you might ask, “make your books available for free?” It’s a good question. Well, it’s a good question if we’re talking ebooks. Obviously, there’s a fair amount of overhead when it comes to paperbacks so indie authors don’t get nearly as much pricing freedom as they do with ebooks. Could I make my books free in electronic form? I could, yeah.

This chart pretty much explains the whole concept.
Maybe. I don't really know.
But I release this stuff to be read. Not just to be downloaded. To be read.

I might be doing a bit of projecting here, but I have downloaded way too many free books. If I’m browsing my Kindle library, I couldn’t tell you if a number of them were titles I saw and picked up, or if it was my wife who wanted it, or what. I’ve read some of them. The vast majority I haven’t. But books I’ve purchased? The vast majority of those I’ve already read. Otherwise, I’ve picked them up too recently and haven’t gotten around to them yet. Most of the people who buy my books will read them. And that’s the point.

Because, you see, I write and I want to share that work with others, but I don’t simply write to entertain or for art’s sake. I’ve already made it clear that I very much appreciate art for art’s sake, and I do think there is value in it, but I am also driven by a greater purpose. Writing is one way for me to share my love for Jesus Christ with others. For me, it’s a ministry as well as a creative outlet and an art to be passionate about. Some Christian authors are happy writing secular books without too many cuss words (and some write secular books full of profanity), and I’m not trying to criticize them. That’s between them and their readers and between them and God. But for me? The number one purpose I have in this life is to be used to build the Kingdom of God. Life is short and, when God says that those who do not follow Jesus will go to hell for eternity, I believe Him. So I want to do everything I can to change that, and that includes writing. For me, I believe that I can both share the Gospel in my books but also help inspire and challenge believers to also be passionate about reaching others for Christ.

And the Holy Spirit's all like, "Yeeaah? You wanna
sleep? Get up and do what I want you to and THEN
maybe I'll let you sleep!"
And that’s precisely what my short story, The Book of the Harvest, aims to do. I still believe strongly that the Holy Spirit personally gave me the inspiration for the story. In the middle of the night. When I was trying to sleep. It concerns a man in heaven who begins to wonder what happened to his old next door neighbor while on earth. He begins searching for answers and discovers that the Holy Spirit had prompted him on numerous occasions to share his faith with her, but the man ignored the promptings. It’s a tale about making the most of such opportunities while we still have them, and, honestly, the message probably trumps the actual story in every way. Hey, I love telling stories, and I do strive to tell good ones to the best of my ability. And maybe I’m selling the story short, since I have heard from countless readers that the tale has brought them to tears. But that’s all God. I just tried to put it on the page and not screw it up too much.

Googling "Christian Harry Potter"
isn't terribly helpful.
I’ve spoken before about the reason I started writing my Christian fantasy series, The Magi Chronicles, of which Emaline’s Gift is the first book (God willing, Book 2 will come out in 2014). The origin for this one is dramatically removed from the Holy Spirit waking me up in the middle of the night with an idea! My family and I are big fans of Harry Potter and, to a lesser extent, Percy Jackson. I like Tolkienesque “high fantasy,” but I probably prefer urban or contemporary fantasy like those examples, personally. I looked to see what was available in the Christian bookstore and, while I saw plenty of high fantasy, I saw very little that was similar to what I was looking for. In fact, I saw one book. I bought it and I read it and I thought it was awful. Didn’t even read it to my kids. This was before I was really introduced to the world of Christian indie fiction, I should point out. In any case, I wanted to write in the genre I loved so much. I wanted to write a novel for fans of contemporary fantasy that would also glorify God and strengthen Christian faith. The Magi Chronicles was the result.

To be fair, she thought this guy was "waaaay too preachy."
To date, the most scathing review I’ve received for any of my books was a 2-star review of Emaline’s Gift. I sent an ebook copy to a Christian blogger who does reviews. I found out when she posted the review that there was a rare encoding problem with the file and it broke at about the 60% mark. She, um, didn’t tell me until she posted the review. She didn’t want another copy because she hated it so much. Her biggest beef? “Too preachy,” is
what she named her review.

I accept that criticism. I’m sure there will be more (and I’m sure there’ll be some negative reviews of Savvy Demon too, as it’s bound to be a polarizing book for some). I may someday weave stories where the Christian messages are a bit more subtle, a bit less explicit...or I may not. I don’t know. But my dad has complained about some books he’s gotten at the Christian bookstore and the only thing that makes them Christian is that the characters don’t swear, and maybe it’s casually mentioned that someone goes to church or offers up a prayer. My books won’t be like that. The hour’s too short, the need’s too great. I want to do what I can, and I honestly do not recommend my books if you don’t like strong Christian themes.

Inspiration for The Savvy Demon’s Guide to Godly Living felt similar, but not identical, to when I got the idea for The Book of the Harvest. The books share some themes, but are very different. Savvy Demon actually tells a lengthy story—I like to think of it as epic—that begins with a purple demon named Melchior getting drunk in a New Jersey bar. Melchior’s getting drunk because he’s bored out of his mind at work and he’s looking for a way to alleviate his boredom. He’s assigned to tempt, harass, and distract the people of Compton Baptist Church, but they make absolutely no impact in their world for Christ, so he’s got nothing to do but twiddle his purple thumbs. You can tell he’s truly wasted when he makes the decision to visit the church’s pastor and tell him exactly what he’s doing wrong. Focus shifts to the pastor, then, as he realizes
Oh, and that blogger also thought that
Every Breath You Take was "too creepy."
No pleasing some people.
that Melchior is actually right. He determines from that point on that he is going to truly follow Christ with all that he is and make the biggest impact on this world he can, and the book follows him and those he touches on their new journey. It’s a satirical novel and uses plenty of humor, sarcasm, and exaggeration in its telling. Once again, it is written to glorify God. My aim is to do that with every breath I take, every move I make, every bond I break, every step I take...oh. Sorry.

Hitting bestseller status probably means I’ll get more negative reviews. But it also means that more people will read these stories, and I have already been very blessed to see God use them for His glory. And you know what? By that measure—and I say this with all humility, because it’s really got very little to do with me—I was a successful author long before any of my books broke into the top ten lists. God knows my heart and He knows that the number one reason I write is to bring Him glory, and He has been good enough to use these simple stories to impact hearts and lives for Him. Stephen King, JK Rowling, and Stephenie Meyer probably make more money on book sales any given month than I will make in my lifetime as an author. Heck, Richard Castle and Jessica Fletcher probably have me beat too and they don’t even exist! But, while I would love to provide a comfortable living for my family as an author, I have my eyes on a higher goal. I want to hear, “Well done,
Sorry, ladies. He's just a sexy figment of your imagination.
Captain Mal Reynolds on the other hand? Totally real.
my good and faithful servant.” Somehow, I think that’ll mean more than the largest royalty check I can imagine.

For the record, when it comes to money, if you or someone you know would like a copy of one of my books but cannot afford it, please let me know. Almost every indie author I know is willing to provide “review copies,” a free book in exchange for an honest review. If you want one of my books and cannot or do not want to provide a review, that’s okay too. I can give you an ebook copy at no cost to me. If that’s not an option for you, I’ll be able to provide a paperback at some point (although you might have to wait until payday for me to order it). I recently had the opportunity to send a copy of Savvy Demon’s Guide to a reader in Romania, and he reviewed it on his blog. Shipping costs weren’t even nearly as bad as I feared they might be!

Now everyone in Romania’s going to want a free copy of my books, huh? Wikipedia lists the population at 20,121,641. That might take a few paydays, actually. Any chance some of you can share?