Friday, October 26, 2007

FLASHPOINT by Frank Creed

FLASHPOINT by Frank Creed may just be one of the freshest pieces of Christian Fiction to come along in years. I've personally never read a christian novel quite like it. Frank Creed pushes the reader into a cyber-punk future where some Christians are become hyper enhanced warriors called Sandmen (anyone remember Logan's Run?) and Frank has included plenty of ultra-cool technology to help out in the fight against the One World Government which has seized control of the world. One of the coolest aspects of the many awesome fight scenes between sandmen and their foes is the way Mr. Creed takes the reader right into the action in "Bullet-Time" to catch every cool move as it happens. And if you're looking for family friendly, all of the "Kill'n" is done with tranquilizers by the Christians. "Thou shalt not Kill" is still in effect here for these high tech, mindware enhanced believers, but they still mean business. This short novel is full of "ultra-fresh" sci-fi ideas and its protags are two teens who are bent on rescuing their parents and their church. If you loved the Matrix, Terminator, or the like then you'll find "Flashpoint" to be fresh and fun reading from cover to cover and it leaves you wanting the next installment!--James Somers: Author "The Chronicles of Soone."
I've also had the opportunity to interview Mr. Creed:

1.) What was your inspiration for Flashpoint and this series?

This has to do with my whole life. During the Iran Hostage Crisis, I heard TV reporters using the term "fundamentalist terrorist" without regard. I'd been taught in Sunday-school that those who believed in the Bible were Fundamentalists. That bothered me and it was the planted seed.
Shortly before being saved in the early 1990s, I read a copy of Hal Lindsey's, Late Great Planet Earth.
I always wanted to write fiction, but as a fan of science fiction, and with my new fascination in eschatology, everything clicked. Christ coming in the near future? Cyberpunk (near-future dystopian high-tech sci-fi), was the perfect genre.
I did learn soon that obsession with the end Times was not very useful. The Gospel is all about love, and new believers are easily distracted.

2.) You are obviously a big action fan. What influences the way you write an action scene?

Congratulations on asking the hardest question I've ever had to answer in an interview. (No problem,) My short answer is life. And I mean all of it, highs and lows. Pack it all into 60k words. What don't kill ya' makes you stronger. Yeah that's a cliche, but when you can pack all that pain into so little space--that's action. Blow by blow.

If one wants to learn how to write a tight action scene, check the Cyberpunk series called Shadowrun. Thanks to Kevin Lucia's Titletrack, I discovered Mel Odom's Website and I got to nag him one night to write another of my top three favorite cyberpunk novels. Run Fast, Die Hard is a classic. Argent, his main character rocks. One of my top ten novelists replied by next morning. I Smiled.

Cyberpunk is all about action:
Top novels Wolf and Raven, Run Hard Die Fast, Striper Assassin, by Michael Stackpole, Mel Odom, and Nyx Smith.
Top Films: The Matrix, Blade Runner (genre debateable--sue me), Johnny Nemonic.
Sci-fi aside? Die Hard, Raiders, and Bourne--all-that. My big complaint about action films, if bullets miss there has to be a reason why.

3.) Would you say that, as a writer, you have been more influenced by movies or other books? And what are your favorites?

Both--but there's another fiction source--gaming. Tabletop dice-rolling role-playing games and first-person-shooter computer games have shaped a big part of my fiction. Props to TSR (now Wizards of the Coast), and ID Software. Gaming fires imagination. For purposes of evangelism and discipleship, look for Flashpoint the Role Playing Game in 08.
All-time favorite movies: The Matrix, Schindler's List, Monty Python and the holy Grail.
All-time favorite authors: George Orwell, CS Lewis, and ML Tyndall.

4.) Are you a disciplined writer or seat of your pants? Do you outline everything first or allow the mood to strike?

Beginning and end. I do write out a rough outline before I begin a fiction project.
But from my creative approach, a story must tell itself. I detail the outline as I go.

When it comes to fiction there is no moral absolute. There is no proper way. We're all created in the image of the Creator, so we fallen-scribes have that going for us. I cannot believe a number of creative methodologies through which successful authors approach.

5.) What can we expect in the future from Frank Creed as a writer and this series?

War of Attrition: Book Two of the Underground: the Unholy Trinity, trauma-action, and a surprise at the end--stand alone novels only in this series. Necessary background data included.

In coming months, Frank Creed the writer will be offering manusript evaluation services

6.) How did you come to be published with the Writer's Cafe Press?

Here comes the big secret. Marry a schoolteacher. I met my wife online, on May 9, 2003. Cynthia edited many things for local schools and education organizations, and offered to edit Flashpoint.
We wound-up marrying. Because it took her two years to get her Green Card, the only thing we could think of for her to make income was her editing skill. She started a business called the Writer's Café. After years of editing and networking, she learned that the Web and trend for corporate outsourcing had changed the publishing industry forever. A small independent press could now do everything that the traditional houses had been doing for decades.
When she told me she wanted to publish Flashpoint, it was very exciting, but that excitement was tempered by an amateur feeling. Face it, being published by your wife is a short step away from being published by your mom. I gained confidence quickly as she published a fantasy anthology (Tales for the Thrifty Barbarian), and A Child Underground, the memoirs of a Holocaust survivor. By the time the Biblical speculative fiction Anthology, Light at the Edge of Darkness, was compiled in August of 06, my confidence was complete.
I may be sleeping with my publisher, but our business relationship is completely professional. She respects me as an artist, and I get the same kind of deadlines, contracts, and expectations as everyone else she publishes. We work well as a team and I expect this to be a huge advantage as together we live the crazy-paced lifestyle. Book signings are also desperately needed weekends away.
Just as everything else in my life goes into my books, how God gave me a gift like Cynthia, is absolutely unreal. In conclusion: marry a schoolteacher! TWCP is currently booked through Dec of 2008.
Thanks for taking the time, Mr. Creed and I hope all goes well with your exciting new Christian Action series.
To be interviewed by the Chronicles of Soone mastermind. The honor is all mine, Mr. Somers.
To God be the glory,Frank Creed--novelist & founder of the Lost Genre Guild

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Let me just say that THE WAY OF THE WILDERKING is an awesome finale for the series!! The Wilderking Trilogy has become one of my all time favorite stories period--secular or christian!

Jonathan Rogers has capped off his Wilderking Series in style with this last edition to the trilogy! I rushed out to get this book after reading The Secret of the Swamp King and I wasn't disappointed! Mr. Rogers continues to ramp up the action and it seems the only one who doesn't realize Aidan is the legendary Wilderking of prophecy is Aidan himself. But that will all change in this exciting conclusion to the series. There are exciting moments and sad ones as well. But it all comes together wonderfully and never disappoints. Dobro Turtlebane is in rare form as he leaves the swamps with Aidan and tries to mingle with civilizers for the first time...not to be missed!--James Somers, author: The Chronicles of Soone.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


THE SECRET OF THE SWAMP KING by Jonathan Rogers. I've got to hand it to MR. Rogers, he's done a wonderful job of following up on young Aidan Errolson. He's now a few years older and a member of King DArrow's court. True to the biblical parallels with David, Aidan has incurred the jealous wrath of his king. He may be the most loyal member of King Darrow's court, but Aidan is sent on a suicide mission to the Feechiefen Swamp in order to retrieve the legendary Frog Orchid. King Darrow thinks to see the end of young Aidan, but he meets up with his friend Dobro and becomes a Feechie friend to all Feechies. There's someone impersonating the legendary Wilderking out in the Feechifen and Aidan must find out who is enslaving Feechies to the civilizers ways of war and commerce. This book has more action and more intrigue to it. I loved it and read it in two days. Highly recommended!--James Somers, author: The Chronicles of Soone.

Monday, October 22, 2007

THE BARK OF THE BOG OWL by Jonathan Rogers

Bark of the Bog Owl, by Jonathan Rogers was a book I actually thought I might not have much interest in. I was given the book to review and absolutely fell in love with the engaging story, great writing and fun characters. Can a fantasy story which lacks: dragons, elves, and magic really be so good? Oooh Yeeaah! There's plenty of action for young Aidan Errolson and his Feechie friend, Dobro Turtlebane. In fact, let me say that Dobro may be one of the most fun characters I've read about in a long time. There's nothing but page-turning-fun going on in this first book of the Wilderking trilogy. I got the first for free, but I had to go get the second and third myself and read both in two days apiece! The story stands out for its lessons on faith in the One God and for the inventive parallels with the story of young David from the bible. I highly recommend the entire series--James Somers, author: The Chronicles of Soone.


1.) Is the Bark of the Bog Owl your first novel and how long did it take you to get published?

Yes, it was my first novel. I was blessed to find a publisher very quickly. I finished Book 1--or, rather, a version of Book 1--in December of 2002, my agent started shopping it around (as Book 1 of a trilogy) shortly after the new year, and it sold in the spring. I spent part of 2003 making edits--editor Gary Terishita asked me to make the book longer by about a third--and The Bark of the Bog Owl came out in the spring of 2004. So it was a pretty whirlwind-ish process. At the time I didn't appreciate how unusual that was.

2.) Did you go through the whole submission rejection thing before finding an agent and publisher or was it a quick process for you? [this is covered in the previous answer]

3.) How did you come by the decision to make parallels with your Aidan character and King David from the Bible?

Eugene Peterson gave me a whole new way of looking at David's story. His book Leap Over a Wall demonstrates how much narrative richness there is to be mined there. Peterson has a lot to say about the "earthiness" of David's story, and that had a big impact on me...though in the end, the "earthiest" people in the book are the feechie folks, not Aidan. Peterson got me thinking about David, but I have to say, I think my story gets better the farther it strays from David's story.

4.) Feechies have to be some of the most fun characters I've read about in some time. How did you come up with Dobro Turtlebane?

One summer I worked on a construction crew with a fellow whose hobby was hunting wild hogs in the swamp--without a gun. He had some dogs that would catch the hog by the ear, and he would tie it up and carry it out of the woods on a pole. He was about as earthy a fellow as you could ever hope to meet. I filed that guy away, and ten years later when I sat down to write the Wilderking, he became Dobro Turtlebane.

5.) Most fantasy novels revolve around Dragons and Elves and stuff like that. Was there a conscious effort on your part not to include these sort of characters in your Wilderking novels, and if so, why?

Yes, I suppose you'd say I made a conscious decision not to include dragons and elves. In my very first outlines of the story, I don't think I had quite decided whether the feechiefolk would be elfish, magical creatures or just swamp people. It didn't take long for me to decide it would be more fun if the feechies were so different from "civilizers" that they just seemed magical. So feechies can disappear, but not the way an elf or a sprite disappears. They disappear the way a snake disappears. I once saw a copperhead on a leaf-strewn trail, and in the second it took me to bring it to a friend's attention, the snake just melted into the leaves. Even knowing it was there, I still couldn't see it for ten seconds or more; the camouflage was that good. That's not magic, properly speaking, but the effect was very much the same as magic.

I guess you could say I went down the path of seeing how "magical" the natural world could be, and decided that, for my purposes, it was magical enough. If you've ever been to the Okefenokee Swamp or Mammoth Cave, it's hard to picture a fantasy setting that could be more fantastic. And though I've never encountered a dragon, I suspect it would be a lot like encountering an alligator.

In he original proposal for the Wilderking, there's a swamp goblin in Book 2. My wife talked me out of it. In a world with feechiefolks and alligators, she said, what do you need with a goblin?

6.) As a writer, would you consider yourself to be very disciplined and do you outline everything prior to beginning a novel or are you a spur-of-the-moment / seat of your pants type of writer?

I always have a good idea of where a story will end before I start writing. But I give the story a lot of freedom to unfold the way it wants to unfold. I always have an outline--sometimes detailed, sometimes not--but I'm never afraid to throw out the outline. And I always expect a lot of treasures to reveal themselves after I've started writing. Here's an example: When it was time to hunker down and finish Book 3 of the trilogy, I went to my in-laws' farm in South Georgia to write. Eating supper at a restaurant, one of the locals (a man I had only met that night) sat down at my table and got to telling about a bar fight he had gotten mixed up in. Within twelve hours, a feechiefied version of that story was in the book, in the exact form it exists now. (If you've read The Way of the Wilderking, it's the scrape Aidan and Dobro get into at Ma Pearl's public house). It was never in any outline, but it's a pretty important scene in the book.

I like what Anne Lamott says about writing a book. It's like driving at night: you can't see very far ahead, but you can see far enough. You can't see around the next curve, but by the time you get there, your headlights will provide you with the illumination you need to negotiate around it.

7.) What would you say the greatest change in your writing has been since becoming published?

8.) What key piece of advice would you give to writers who are struggling to get published in today's Christian marketplace?

Hmmm...I don't know about giving advice to hypothetical people--people whose real situation I don't know. But I do have a few general remarks on the subject of publishing.

I have a cousin who builds houses, and he tells his clients, "If you weren't happy before you got a granite countertop, you probably aren't going to be happy after you get a granite countertop." Which is to say, a big, fancy house won't make your life fulfilling. Likewise, if you weren't happy before getting a book published, you probably won't be happy after getting a book published. Don't look to the things of the world to do what they can't possibly do for you. I do think that's an important thing to keep in perspective.

On a related note, we all hope our writing will have an impact on the people who read it--I know I do. But it's helpful to remember that the people we're really going to have an impact on are the people we see every day. I say that by way of encouragement. People who are "struggling to get published in today's Christian marketplace" are going through the struggle (hopefully) because they want to make a difference in people's lives. If that's your earnest desire, you can be sure you'll have opportunity to do that, whether you get published or not. If there were some way of totalling up such things, I know I've had more influence (for good or for ill) on the people God has put in my life than on everybody who has read my books put together. I realize that we're not talking about a huge number of people who have read my books, but I suspect the same would be true for most authors.

9.) What made you decide to join up with the Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy blog tour?
[I'm afraid I don't have anything interesting to say on this topic: Rebecca Miller asked if I was interested, and I said yes--though I'm still not clear on what a blog tour is, exactly.]

10.) What are you working on now and should we be looking out for new novels from you in the near future? If so, can you give us a teaser to whet our appetites?

I have started a novel for grown-ups. It's neither science fiction nor fantasy, but a quiet book about a quiet life well-lived.

Thanks so much for doing the interview and for writing such an enjoyable series of novels. I look forward to reading what you come up with next.

Thanks for having me on your blog, James. It's been a pleasure.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Well, I just couldn't wait any longer. I've already dived into my next novel and series start-up for Ethan Hawk. I've got the prologue done and will soon finish chapter one for "Ethan Hawk and the Realm Shift."

The story begins with Ethan, now over one hundred years old, telling his own story to a group of children in the city of Emmanuel in the kingdom of Nod. As idolatry becomes prevalent and the people begin to move steadily away from the Most High God, the old storyteller has come to tell of the days when a Deliverer was sent from God to bring the people back to his fellowship and to deliver them from their oppressors. None of the children realize that he is the Deliverer the story is talking least not yet.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Well, almost anyway...I've just finished the chapter outlines for the remaining two books in my Chronicles of Soone series. Tentative subtitles are:

The Chronicles of Soone: War Machine

The Chronicles of Soone: Apocalypse

I really hope these and Rise of Lucin get a chance with a Christian Publisher--yep, I'm still waiting to hear what the verdict will be on COS: Rise of Lucin. But in the meantime I've been able to not only outline these, but four novels for my next series, Ethan Hawk, as well. This will all save me a ton of actual writing time when it comes down to it. Please continue to keep me in your prayers for this publishing contract! I've heard back from two publishers which have declined publication--the third is undecided at this time. The Lord's will be done!