Guest posts

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

L.A. FreelandA Writer Who is Christian or a Christian Writer?

I am a Christian who is a writer.
That doesn’t necessarily make me a Christian Writer.
When I tell people this, they say one of two things.
People who fall into Group A often adopt a taut little smirk or sigh in a heavy anguished sorrow, as if I were just now nailing Jesus to the cross, and say, “If you don’t write for the Lord, He won’t bless you.”
People who fall into Group B usually smile and say, “Great. We need more Christians who write mainstream. Move out of the choir loft and take to the streets.”
I just read a blog post about not being afraid to share your faith by taking a stand and writing truth, not entertainment.
I have to disagree. Sometimes, as readers, we’re looking for escapism. Sometimes straight truth isn’t very entertaining. Sometimes fiction portrays a fresh picture of truth in a way that grabs reader’s attention. Ted Dekker’s Circle Trilogy, Black, Red, and White, illustrated the amazing power of Christ’s blood using fantasy and the story of a man caught between two worlds.
I’ll tell you a secret that’s not very flattering. I don’t enjoy non-fiction. I like to learn life lessons through stories. When I read a great book, it can be life changing. Karen Kingsbury’s novels do have touched me in that way. If I see fictional characters work their way through obstacles and problems, it makes me want to do the same. I get involved in the lives of these imaginary people and relate to their struggles.
My passion revolves around the imaginary world of Young Adult Science Fiction. Writing inspirational articles captures my heart as well and I have a blog devoted to encouraging readers and writers.
Some days I feel like I exist in two different worlds.
My vision is to write for the general market and give a glimpse of “something better, something more.” We all like to get lost in another world on occasion. My desire is to give readers a world that will call them toward the Lord, rather than direct them away.
I have read many well-written books in the Young Adult market, but many of the bestsellers are not teen friendly. Language and sex fill the pages. The big trend in Young Adult Fiction today centers around the paranormal—vampires, werewolves, witches.
These stories are fun and entertaining. I read them and even enjoy them, but as a whole, these books lead the reader to question God’s authenticity and move beyond pointing to the possibility books promote the theme that there are really beings out there that hold more power than God. This worldview centers on people holding the ultimate authority over themselves and nature and removes them from God’s sanction.
I’m not looking to send out an overt Alter Call when I write. Instead, my goal involves moving teens in the right direction so they can ponder the real questions that will lead them to God instead of away from Him. The truth remains, whether we choose to believe it or not.
 Awakening, my current work in progress, finds its science fiction basis in genetics. Awakening explores how far the human mind can be pushed and poses the question—Should humans even be manipulating things better left to God?
My other WIP, Kyle’s Storyprovides a fictionalized account my son’s four-year battle with leukemia. I wrote the first draft as an adult novel and then changed my mind. I am reworking this book through Kyle’s twelve-year-old eyes. More kids than you can imagine suffer from life altering diseases. My goal is to open up that world in a way that helps kids understand.
Faith plays a major part in Kyle’s Story, but I wouldn’t label it as Christian Fiction. I would label it as an expedition through pediatric cancer where the discovery of truth is wrapped inside a faith journey.
So, while I am a Christian and proud to let the Lord guide my steps, I don’t consider myself a Christian Writer.
What do you think? Drop by my blog at and let me know. Comment box is waiting.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Guest post by Abrie Dionne sci fi romance author

Image of Aubrie Dionne

Alien mammoths
Now for the alien mammoths…
Did I get your attention with the title? Yes, Tundra 37 has alien mammoths! When creating my ice world, I thought about Earth’s ice age and all the creatures that inhabited the tundra. In the first book of the New Dawn series, I had giant sandworms, so this book needed a beast to rival them. I couldn’t have real mammoths, of course, because this was another planet altogether, so I made up my own.
These mammoths have several spikey tusks that twirl around their head in a crown. A snout of thick, wrinkly skin dangles in front of a sharp toothed mouth. Their hair is made of muscles that extend and wrap around you, and they’re very very hungry. Whereas Earth’s mammoths ate mostly vegetation, these alien mammoths are out for meat!
The mammoths play a pivotal role in Tundra 37, because the main character, Gemme, has to battle them to save the man she’s paired with, Miles Brentwood.
In Paradise 21, the main character didn’t like her lifemate, but this is the opposite case in Tundra 37. Gemme thinks Miles is so achingly gorgeous, she knows everyone will believe she devised the pairing herself, being the only matchmaker on the ship. So, she deletes it, and suffers for the rest of the book as she gets to know him on an expedition to search for more fuel.
I can tell you right now, someone on the expedition doesn’t survive one of the mammoth attacks… you’ll have to read Tundra 37 to find out who!

The Seers

I came today to talk about two important characters in Tundra 37: The Seers, to twin sisters. Growing up in the lower levels of an overpopulated Earth, their only chance at a better future lay in having the psychic powers tested and used by a corporation called TINE: The Telepathic Institute of New England. While at TINE, they are asked by a very rich man to use their powers to drive his colony ship from Earth to Paradise 18. They agree to his terms, and find themselves driving the ship hundreds of years into the future. To keep them alive, they’ve been attached to the computer mainframe of the ship while their bodies waste away.
These characters are integral to the plot, and were the most fascinating characters for me to write. Just imagine questioning your own identity and humanity after so many years attached to a ship. One sister is particular gave up her love for this job, and every day she questions her choices. I don’t want to give too much away, but in the end of the book, she’s faced with the hardest choice of them all.
My question for you is: would you give up love to keep your twin sister safe and drive a colony ship to Paradise 18? How would you feel after doing the same job for so many years, you physically become a part of it.
These are tough questions, and I can’t wait to see your answers!

Why I Chose a Frozen Planet
I’m here to talk about Tundra 37, the second book in my New Dawn series, which releases today!!! Don’t worry if you haven’t read the first book. Each installment can be read separately and still make sense. So here goes my guest blog…
Why I chose a frozen planet…
For Contrast:
The first book, Paradise 21, was mainly set on a desert planet. I wanted a completely different landscape for the next book, Tundra 37.
In Homage to Hoth:
Some inspiration came from the frozen ice planet of Hoth in Star Wars. I loved the abominable snow monster-called the Wampa, and the horned tauntauns, which Luke Skywalker and Han Solo ride across the frozen plain. I wanted to create my own ice world with its own unique inhabitants. In Tundra 37, you’ll see alien mammoths with hair that can extend and pull you into their mouths, and tentacled beasts that live in an underground ocean, covered by ice.  They were immensely fun to write and provided great obstacles to torture my characters with.
Because of My Personal Experience with Cold Weather:
Living in New Hampshire can sometimes feel like living at the North Pole. Temperatures fall below freezing from December to March, and we get Nor’easters that can dump up to ten feet of snow. I wear pants underneath a long skirt, two of more sweaters, a hat, gloves, a scarf, and knee high boots all winter long. Suffice to say: I hate being cold.
I remember one day way back in high school where I almost passed out from the cold. I was playing piccolo in the marching band at the Turkey Bowl, which is always way too far into November to sit outside for several hours. First came the shivering, so bad that my teeth clacked together, then a hazy dizziness, and then numbness all over. A clarinetist kept yelling my name to keep me awake. He may have been teasing me, but he also kept me from passing out that day. People say write what you know: and in this case, I know a lot about being cold.
My question to you: Would you rather crash land on a desert planet or an ice world?

Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make Me A Match…
Anyone familiar with Fiddler on the Roof knows what I’m talking about…couples being matched up. This is exactly what they do on the colony ships in my New Dawn series, and for good reason. Generations must live on the ship, and with such a closed environment and harsh deep space conditions, the survival of humanity lies on producing the strongest, hardiest future generation. Desperate times calls for desperate measures.
In Tundra 37, the main character, Gemme Reiner, is the matchmaker. She loves her cushy job with a nice view of deep space and a comfy chair to swivel around in. Yes, she has thousands of matches to supervise, but the computer does most of the work, and all she has to do is hit the approve or disapprove buttons. It’s very simple up until the day her match flashes on the screen. He’s the gorgeous lieutenant that everyone wants for themselves. Not only will she look like she’d contrived the pairing, she just might lose her job. And she can’t even think about his hands touching hers, or how he’d make her feel. Out of the question.
After Gemme presses the delete button on her match, a comet shower pummels the ship, destroying the pairing system forever. Her job as the matchmaker is over, and she must join an exploratory team, led by the handsome lieutenant, to find minerals able to power what’s left of the ship. Only, she finds much more than minerals in the vast tundra. The truth to why the computer has entwined their destinies unfolds in an ancient alien device buried deep in the snow.
What would you do if you were matched to the hottest man on the ship? Would it be a blessing or a curse? Would you press accept or delete?

Alien Zombies
Yes, you heard it right: aliens and zombies (two of my favorite things) combined. I wanted to write a zombie book, but I didn’t want it to be like all the other ones out there, with decaying humans eating people’s brains. I wanted to put my own twist on it, make the zombies original in a way that made sense with my sci fi world. This is how A Hero Rising came about.
So, I came up with Morpheus, a substance gleaned from minerals mined on the moon. In A Hero Rising, resources on Earth are used up, so scientists send giant lunar freighters to the moon. Sure, it’s a great source of minerals, but little do they know an alien virus resides deep within the rocks. Exposure to this virus will not only give you superhuman speed, but will make you want to kill and transform you into a creature from another world.
This is the main reason for the fall of Old Earth. Sure, overpopulation has eaten away at dwindling resources, but it’s the outbreak that’s the last straw. In an attempt to keep the virus under control, the World Coalition bombs entire cities, and everyone who’s anyone has a ticket on a colony ship.
But, what if you were left behind?