I find there are lots of questions when someone stumbles across the blog of someone they've never met. Rather than chattering along at my own pace, I'm going to do my best to answer some of them for you:
Who the hell are you?
I'm a writer. In my traditional career, under my real name, I've published stories in major, pro-rated magazines. My nonfiction has appeared on Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. I have studied under prominent authors, and I am serious about what I do. I believe stories are part of what it means to be a human being.
I am also a pastor's son. I love my dad, and I respect what he does, but I never liked church; I was never any good at it. I asked too many questions, even the ones you're not supposed to ask. I used words you weren't supposed to use. I liked (like) beer. My spiritual journey has been one full of detours, dead-ends, backtracking, and re-backtracking. I don't do things the easy way--apparently I'm incapable--but I've learned some interesting things along the way that I think (I hope) have given my stories a unique color and perspective.
I'm happy to finally share some of those stories with the people I've always felt were my real audience, people like me, the bad Christians, the ones who never quite fit in the pew.
Why the pseudonym?
To be mysterious, of course!
To make a long story short, there's a stigma attached to authors who self-publish, and it goes something like this: "If you self-publish, you weren't good enough to get published the old-fashioned way, and you're supremely arrogant to believe you know better than professional editors." Unfortunately for everyone involved, this stigma has a firm basis in reality.
But, as people often do, I believe I'm different.
For one thing, I am good enough to be professionally published; it happened. Secondly, I think there are certain genres (edgy christian fiction among them) where editors tend to be polarized to such an extent that the genre almost ceases to exist. For example, a "secular" editor might find your work too "religious," while a "religious" editor might find your work offensive. If you walk this kind of line, the quality of your work is irrelevant; what matters is worldview. I'm not grumpy about that fact. That's how the publishing cards have fallen, and I can accept that.
But what about those stories? The ones that contained the same tension inside them that I feel in myself? They might be among my most honest stories. Are they doomed to sit in my trunk folder forever?
Nay, says I! Not if the internet and I have anything to say about it.
Why the cussing? Why the creepy stuff?
The world isn't sterile. It isn't muted. There is an incredible, almost blinding range of good and bad in the world. If you won't show the bad stuff, how can your reader believe you when you show them the good stuff? They'll feel cheated, like you just fed them a sermon or an episode of Full House disguised as a story. I'm not down with that. Not in the slightest.
What about Jesus? Where is he? (And why didn't you capitalize "he?")
Let's get something straight: I think the word "evangelize" sucks. I hate the mentality behind it. You give someone something they want (love, belonging, a box of groceries, a great worship team, coffee in the foyer, a twenty dollar bill, a story), and when the hook is set, you reeeeeeel 'em in.
That's bullshit, and it makes me want to take a shower.
I'll leave Bait-and-Switch to salesmen. My goal is to tell the best story I can using my experience and imagination, a story that doesn't flinch away from the nitty-gritty or bashfully disguise the spiritual. My stories aren't scripture. They aren't Chick Publications evangelism tracts. They are stories by a Christian, for people. That's all. I'm not going to try to meet a "J's per page" count just to sell more copies.
(As for not capitalizing "he," I think capitalized pronouns looks ugly on the page. Besides, if I can harmlessly break a churchy tradition, you better believe I'll do it. Am I the only one who thinks squirmers are kinda funny?)
You haven't scared me off yet. So what have you actually written?
I'm delighted you asked:
Amazon or Smashwords. Here's some jacket copy for you:
"Jonah's job is to guard the Lamppost, an oval of inky blackness in space that marks the boundaries of a starless universe that has bulged into our own. He is a brilliant pilot, a pioneer in the use Free Flight mode, but the numbers on his psyche profile are falling and his post-jump orientations are consistently over-schedule. Everyone around him is changing, and Jonah's reality begins to crumble just as he is selected for an off-the-books mission beyond the boundaries of our world. The result is a domino effect where doubt and love collide, and Jonah's search for purpose plunges him deep into a hostile universe and even to the threshold of a higher dimension."
I'll be publishing two more novelettes in the coming weeks/months, so keep an eye on this blog for info on "A Dream for Annie" and "Fox and the Rest of Us."
It was a pleasure to meet you. Enjoy the stories.