Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lost Genre Guild - Day 3

All right. I've done it. I'm dipping my hermit-y toes into new waters. I've submitted a request for membership in Lost Genre Guild.

Fellow writers of speculative fiction might want to check out LGG's Recommended Resources page to find sites, publishers, and newsletters dedicated to Biblical speculative fiction.

To join or to just get more information, head over the About the Lost Genre Guild; scroll down the page to find the Membership Enquiries link, or to click on "What is Biblical Spec-Fic?" for a definition of the term.

Other blogs on the Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour have had a lot of positive things to say about LGG. You can check out those posts by visiting thewriters listed in the left sidebar of my blog, under CSFF Blog Tour Participants.


By the way, Episode 4 of Thieves' Honor (The Game: Opening Moves) is now up at Ray Gun Revival. Once again, the cover art is awesome, and the stories are entertaining, and the reviews are informative. All sorts of science fiction goodness on tap at Ray Gun!

Episode 5--"The Game: Shooter"--was the least fun to write, and still feels awkward, but I had to stop worrying the words on the page and just let the story go.

Episode 6 would probably already be written, if not for all the extra time spent with family during Christmas week and this week. I hope to have the episode finished and polished by the first week of January, but that's cutting it kinda close for the deadline.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lost Genre Guild - Day 2

Light at the Edge of Darkness (read more here) is an anthology of short speculative fiction, including work by members of the Lost Genre Guild, written from a Biblical worldview.

Because others have already presented several excellent reviews, I've snagged a few comments from the anthology's page on, and included them below:

Many of the tales were horrific, sad, dark, and oppressive, but one thing remained the same throughout: there was always a ray of Light at the edge of the Darkness. Sometimes the heroes were saved from physical death, sometimes they weren't, but always they knew they would be saved to eternal life. The truth of the gospel, of Jesus' redemption, was ever present. This is the core that holds everything together. One of the strong points overall is the way the authors weave the Biblical truths, particularly of Jesus' sacrifice, love, and redemption.
- Catharine Hassan

This book is a very enjoyable read. It runs the gambit of fantasy and science-fiction
to suspense and even westerns. Best of all, the stories within will make you stop and think long after you have finished reading.
- Timothy A. Hicks

Beware, though, as you read through these stories many may be disturbing because they cause you to see the world differently. You will meet greedy aliens, doubting martyrs, and a righteous man rewarded for his righteousness ... well, I don't want to give that one away, but it may mess up your theology when you read it.
- Terri Main

For readers who like hors d'oeuvres before the main meal, here's the opening paragraph of a longer work included in the anthology, Undeniable by A.P. Fuchs:

DUNCAN JAMES TOUCHED THE tender, bumpy flesh around his eyes. Carefully, he trailed his index finger from the outer rim of his left eye socket to the middle here his eyeball once sat. A razor-sharp sting of hot pain pierced the fragile area the second his finger made contact. He sharply tugged his finger away. The pricks of tears instinctively formed at the corners of his eyes but he wasn’t sure if they’d even leak out. The openings of the tear ducts were no doubt seared shut. And he was right. No tears came, but he’d give anything for even a few drops, anything to let him know he was still human.

For folks who can sit on the couch and eat dinner while watching Doc Robbins perform an autopsy on CSI, that's pretty darn intriguing. Let the feast begin.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Lost Genre Guild - Day 1

This month's Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour spotlights the Lost Genre Guild, dedicated to the promotion of--drum roll, please--Christian science fiction and fantasy. Well, to be more specific by using a broader term, Biblical speculative fiction.

Lest that multi-syllabic term make readers cross-eyed, here's a brief definition provided on LGG's website:
Biblical Spec-Fic then can be
defined as speculative fiction that is
written from a Christian world view:

scriptural framework.
But what in the world is speculative fiction? Again, borrowing from the LGG website, it is

"an inclusive term that encompasses fiction genres like science fiction, fantasy, horror."

There have been a few writers who have become well-known for their work in these genres, and have written from a Biblical worldview, but the Lost Genre Guild seeks to expand the allotted shelf space for this kind of fiction by exploring beyond the safe boundaries of what is currently called "Christian fiction": romances, historicals, chick lit, modern teen life, children's books, occasional adventure tales.

For the interested reader, The Guild Review offers reviews of current titles, as well as thumbnail images showing details from the book covers. I am familiar with a couple of books on that list, but have only encountered Wind Follower on the shelves of local bookstores.

And that leads us back to the point of LGG: providing more Biblical speculative fiction to the reading public.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

After Christmas Update

Still hobblin' around, but I'm mobile. Feet hurt, but I'm grateful I have them.

The Boys & Girls Club was dead Friday--aside from a few high school and college-age basketball players who spent their time in the gym, we had only one Club member show up, and she was there just the last two hours.

A fellow staff person suggested I wheel around in my office chair, but I was tired of all the sitting I've been forced into the past few days, so I did a few little chores--sometimes on crutches, sometimes without--and eventually used some of the down time to type a scene for a science fiction piece. Right now, I'm regretting all the time on my feet.

My younger brother and his family will arrive late Saturday from Ohio for their Christmas visit. That means I have to be domestic, and clean the house.

On Christmas Day, my dad and I learned we could actually concoct an almost-traditional dinner between the two of us, and it tasted pretty good, too.

I've been having doubts about the big fantasy novel I've been working on for a few years. Seems like I may have spent those years merely in practice on a manuscript that will very likely never be read by anyone but my family and closest friends. But practice is practice, and honing one's craft is never time spent in vain.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Unto Us

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Luke 2:34-35
Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

John 14:15-18
If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

Acts 17:24-28
God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth...He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being....
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing Amazing Grace.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Further Misadventures of a Clumsy Writer

Shortly before 5:00 p.m. on Monday, I parked the Boys & Girls Club van in its spot after taking a group of kids to the cinema to see The Tale of Despereaux, and gathered my belongings, including a heavy black bag that I haul nearly everywhere--my current writing projects.

The plan was to transfer my stuff to my truck, parked just beside the van, and then take the van key inside the Club. And the plan was to do it quickly, considering the frigid temperature.

Well, as long-time readers of this blog may know, I'm not the tallest person. I have to adjust the van seat every time, because the customary driver is around six feet. Getting into and out of a 12-passenger van would be difficult without the handy step on the driver's side. I opened the door, hauled my belongings from the passenger's seat over to the driver's side, put my left foot on the step, and prepared to disembark.

As soon as I put weight on that foot, it slid right out from under me. I heard a pop. I landed hard on my left side, stuff scattered around me, right shoe landing between the noses of the two vehicles, and I just sat on the freezing pavement. "Oh God, Oh God, Oh God. It hurts. It hurts. Oh God." (You get the picture.)

After a while, I got the ankle to move, and stood, gathered my stuff one more time, and put it all inside the truck, wondering 1) how I was going to make the trip to the building and back, and 2) how I was going to drive home, since the left foot was required to operate the clutch.

There was an adult and two boys who were sitting in a black pickup when the accident happened, but I don't know if they witnessed it. However, when I was upright finally, they got out of the truck, and I called to the dad to take the van key to the front desk for me. He offered to help me walk inside, but I said I was going straight home.

I did make it through city traffic, then took a back road home so I could drive slowly--not over 35 miles an hour, the posted speed limit--and thus not use the clutch very often. In fact, I managed to travel that entire road, from where I turned off at the highway until the city limits of the little town where I live, several miles later, without using the clutch once. When I did use it, I'll admit that my imagination saw the bones of my foot grinding against one another. Yes, I am a dramatic wimp.

My dad called shortly after I arrived home, and he came over to finish doctoring my injuries. I managed the elastic bandage myself--I have a lot of experience, and at least three elastic bandages from prior trips to the clinic--but he cleaned the two deep cuts on the back of my right foot. Don't know how they happened, or why the right show flew off, but maybe the foot was cut on the underside of the step.

If I hadn't done myself similar injury many times in the past, I wouldn't have a handy pair of crutches. This morning, I felt the pulled muscles and bruised hip and butt and calf, but I can walk without the crutches, if I keep my foot flat and don't try to bend it in a natural stride.

Here's the crazy thing: There's pavement "burn" (or "rash", whichever one wishes to call it) on one knee, but my pants are entirely uninjured. How does that happen?

I intended to go to work today, but swollen foot wrapped in elastic bandage would not insert itself into shoe. I could have wrapped it in a Wal-Mart sack, I suppose, but that wouldn't have helped my ability to operate the clutch.

Anyway, before Dad left last night, I told him I felt twelve years old again, getting first aid after wrecking my bicycle for the unknown time. We laughed, and he assured me that if I wanted the attention, I coulda just called. I didn't have to thrown myself out of a van.

But where's the story in that?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I wonder what makes some folks so quick to believe in evolution or the Big Bang or global warming, none of which are provable, and yet reluctant to or nervous about believing in God?

Seems to me, humans will always find a god to worship, whether science or themselves or some other idol or philosophy.

And yet those same individuals will sneer at people who believe in an actual God, as if believers are uninformed, uneducated yokels easily led about by superstition.

What makes the unbelievers so much more educated and superior than the believers? Why are unbelievers afraid of God? What makes them angry about Him? Why are they willing to believe anything BUT Him?

Science alone may not be able to prove God, but it can't disprove Him, either.

Neither evolution nor the Big Bang can be studied by scientific method or proved by empirical evidence. There are no witnesses to such events. Radiation is too evenly dispersed to support the Big Bang Theory. Though there have been "missing links" put forth, none have held up to scrutiny. Life cannot spring from nonliving matter.

The word "evolution" implies progress forward, not regression or cessation. What about the law of entropy: Everything decays? And why do babies and young life forms die? They're new, not decayed.

What is life? Why can't we always resuscitate a dead body? All the elements of physical life are present, but the heart and the brain will not always restart.

Why is physical procreation still necessary? Still the need for two genders? Why do animals and humans still give birth? Cloning is imperfect, the products often diseased or short-lived.

Why doesn't "the ooze" still produce life? Where are those magical chemicals today, and why aren't we able to get the same results?

Where are all the mid-evolution products? We can find dinosaurs, but where are all the things that are still evolving into us?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

An Untitled Christmas Poem

I wrote this poem on the fly last year, just before heading to the December meeting of my writers group, and remembered it today, just before heading to this year's December meeting this afternoon.

In Christmas past, I used to wait
wide-eyed in the dark,
willing daylight to arrive--
or the first chimes of midnight--
but always, always, I fell asleep,
and did not hear the whispered consult
or see the huddled adults
conjure piles of wrapped treasure
beneath a tinseled tree.

Then came the years the gifts were few--
maybe only one--
but popcorn, cocoa, carols,
reading in the Book of Luke,
warmed the coldest winter holiday,
reminding us by frail candlelight
that even the brightest star
blooms suspended in chill space,
unseen without the dark.

c. 2007, Keanan Brand

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ah, Those Goofy Chihuahuas

This was sent me in an e-mail from a friend, and since I'm a sucker for wordplay and terrible puns, I thought I'd share it with the world:

It's a romantic full moon, when Pedro says, "Hey, mamacita, let's do Weeweechu."

"Oh no, not now, let's look at the moon!" says Rosita.

"Oh, c'mon baby, let's you and I do Weeweechu. I love you, and it's the perfect time," Pedro begs.

"But I wanna just hold your hand and watch the moon," replies Rosita.

"Please, corazoncita, just once, do Weeweechu with me."

Rosita looks at Pedro and says, "OK, one time, we'll do Weeweechu."

Pedro grabs his guitar and they both sing, "Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year"


(And thanks, Mindy, for sharing the silliness.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Sneak Peek

Here's a scene--possibly the opening scene--for Episode 6 of Thieves' Honor. This episode won't see the light of day for a few months, around February or March, but it never hurts to issue a trailer. Hey, they do it at the movies!

“Looks official to me.” Zoltana rubbed her thumb over the harbormaster’s seal in the lower corner of the shipping manifest. “The seal’s authentic. The Martina Vega put in at Gildertown about a month ago. I don’t see anything wrong here, Commander Wilkes.”

“There isn’t.” Wilkes folded his hands on the gleaming black basalt table in the center of the round, arch-ceilinged court chamber in the heart of the admiralty. Surrounded by the soft, indirect light from the high windows, he and Zoltana were alone at the table, their security details standing guard at the entrances. “The ink, the paper, the signature—all authentic, as far as we can tell. However, is not one of the crew an accused embezzler and a skilled forger?”

“Virgil Harbinger Wyatt.”

“And have you not boarded and searched the freighter Martina Vega on several occasions?”


“Eight. More than enough to find incriminating evidence of theft, smuggling, or illegal salvage.” Commander Wilkes slid a small screen across the table. “And yet none of your personal or ship logs contain such evidence.”

Zoltana glanced at the device but didn’t pick it up. The Orpheus log files—labeled by ship’s date, and cross-referenced by planetary name and date or by astral coordinates—marched in neat columns down the screen. “You will have noted my suspicions, which are well documented, as well as the Vega crew’s behavior and my recent attempt to gain information first-hand.”

Wilkes’ smile was tight, humorless. “A spy aboard a pirate ship. The operation was a failure.”

A clumsy and abysmal failure. Zoltana leaned back in her chair and opened her hands in a relaxed gesture. “Didn’t an old Earth scientist once say that all his failures simply taught him how not to do something?”

“Edison. But there is also the matter of an hour’s gap in your ship’s record, and the unauthorized access to classified frequencies.”

“Maintenance explains the gap, and the frequencies—” Zoltana shrugged, just enough to disturb the fabric of her uniform. “We encounter an unidentified disruption whenever we are near the Martina Vega, but we do know it isn’t coming from their analog radios. Perhaps, among his other alleged crimes, Captain Kristoff has acquired blackmarket government technology.”

Commander Wilkes tapped thick, scarred fingers on the glossy tabletop. “Crimes that you neither confirm nor condemn.”

“Where is your evidence, commander?” Zoltana touched the cargo manifest. “All you have is all I have: suspicion and circumstances.”

Wilkes’ smile broadened into genuine amusement. “And an eyewitness.”

c. 2008, Keanan Brand

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Hermit's View of Christmas Decorations

For about two months now, I've been battling a lingering and nasty crud--very likely "walking pneumonia"--that hasn't responded to the prescribed medication I've thrown at it. However, the Dollar General version of a name brand OTC medication has demonstrated a small influence. I need to stock up.

I went to work today, despite really wanting to stay in bed and sleep my life away. Since tomorrow marks the first day of basketball games for the 2008-09 season at the Boys & Girls Club, I'll have to go to work on Saturday, too. Yippee.

On the flip side, the Christmas tree is set up. I may be a hermit, but I keep a fairly clean house, and it's decorated once a year. The tree is small, just large enough to boast one string of clear miniature lights which stay on it all year round (it's stored in large trash bags eleven months out of twelve), and it fits nicely on the dining room table. As the days pass, I'll set up a couple of Nativity scenes under the branches, maybe put an angel on the treetop, but that'll be the extent of the external signs of Christmas spirit. Music can go a long way to filling in any sensory gaps.

Mom is a decorator--all the ornaments on the tree, the mantel festooned, the dining table set a variety of centerpieces. The cheer of the season is evident. And my neighbors across the street annually turn their tiny house into a blazing nightlight. This year, they've added a blow-up lighted musical ensemble that includes a penguin, a snowman, and a Santa, among other entities. For the entire month of December, I won't need to turn on my porch light.

Knowing my distaste for gaudy displays or plastic figures, my family thinks it's funny to tell me about "amazing deals" or "low, low clearance sales" on such subtle yard ornaments as giant plastic manger scenes or Santa-and-sleigh sets that can be fastened to the peak of one's roof. I've always liked Snoopy, but Snoopy as Santa? Not so much. For some reason, my quelling stare doesn't seem to keep the family from laughing.