Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Prize Winning Drabble

   Near the end of last year, Holyworlds held a contest. The goal was to write the best historical fiction drabble (an exactly 100 word story). I entered this contest.
   Now, Holyworlds has finally put up the winners on their blog. I received Second Place (winning a lovely bookmark and computer background) with my drabble 'Run'. You can find it here. I hope you enjoy my prize winning drabble.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Author Interview - Jeremiah Lang

   Today I have a new author interview! Jeremiah Lang is a friend who recently (in the past few months) published his first novel: Point A to Point B (which can be found on Amazon). This being his first novel, I helped him with some of the editing and the technical stuff, which means I got an early copy of the book. Let me tell you: it's pretty awesome.
   To find out more about Jeremiah Lang or his stories, check out his website. Now, without further ado, on to the interview:

   (Jesse Rice): Hello Jeremiah Lang, it's nice to have you here today.

   (Jeremiah Lang): Thanks, Jesse. I'm glad to be here. I'm really looking forward to this interview.

   (JR): Let's cut straight to the chase: You've written a novel recently. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

   (JL): Well, I call it a Sci-Fi/Mystery/Spy hybrid. It's a story about an FBI agent named Jonathon McFarland, whose work may have gone a little too far, into the realm where it strains his relationship with his son, Jason. Much of the book focuses on their relationship, with the main conflict being one of trust. Because when Jason stumbles upon a mysterious conspiracy involving a mad scientist and his FBI henchman, Jason starts to suspect his father may be involved...
   It's an exciting tale full of danger, mystery, and wicked cliffhangers.

   (JR): What inspired you to write this novel?

   (JL): Well, last November(of 2012), a lot of friends on the ToO(The Town of Odyssey, an online forum dedicated to the audio drama Adventures in Odyssey) were participating in NaNoWriMo, a contest of sorts to write 50,000 words in a month. I wanted to participate, so they told me to come up with a plot quick, so I could join. Well, I didn't think up my plot until mid-November, so I decided to save it for next year, although I actually ended up starting in early December, because I just couldn't wait.

   (JR): Why did you choose the science fiction genre?

   (JL): I chose it because it's absolutely my favorite genre. Whenever someone asks me where I learned to write, I tell them that I learned to write by reading. Sci-Fi is the genre I read the most, so it just made sense to write a science fiction book. 

   (JR): Have you ever considered writing anything other than science fiction?

   (JL): Considered, yes. Done? No. No matter how hard I try, it seems like all of my plot ideas are science fiction in some way. I do have plans for an AIO fanfiction, but that's about it.

   (JR): When did you start writing?

   (JL): Well, that depends on if you mean "When did I start writing?" or "When did I start writing well?" If you mean the former, I suppose that would be about 6 or 7 years ago, when I started writing a story called "Shadow of the White Crow". Unfortunately, the book was not so awesome as its title. It actually was pretty awful. Not only that, but I also lacked the motivation to finish it. I started writing its sequel when I was only about 6 chapters into it. I never finished either. 

   (JR): What is the hardest part about writing for you?

   (JL): Hmm... there are a lot of hard things. One of them being coming up with chapter titles. But that's a dumb one, so I'll choose another one.
   One of the things that I really strive to do as a writer is to find the right balance between planning and spontaneity. While I think planning is very important, I also think that too much of it makes a book stale and predictable. It also, of course, goes the other way. Too much spontaneity can make a book too fast-paced and disjointed. It's a very fine line to walk.

   (JR): Do you have a favorite book or series?

   (JL): Yes, I do indeed. The Missing series, by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It's such an intriguing plot. I wish I could rave more about it, but I don't want to spoil the first book for anyone who wishes to read the series!

   (JR): Do you have a favorite author?

   (JL): Once again, I have to say, Margaret Peterson Haddix. I call her my "writing role model". I love the way that she just draws you in, with just a slight hint about what might be going on, and how she slowly unravels things, until you finally get to see the big picture. And the way that she describes the setting of a scene is superb. You can just picture everything in perfect detail, and somehow she doesn't even dwell on describing things. It's just a series of subtle hints that slowly build a picture inside your head. It's just plain amazing.

   (JR): Is there anything you'd like to say about your upcoming stories?

   (JL): Hmmm, what to tell... Well, I currently have four planned books, all of them sci-fi. Well, one of them, not so much sci-fi, but sort of. Two of them are the last two books of The Impossible trilogy. Book 2, titled Time is of the Essence, is currently in progress, with a prologue and 8 chapters written so far. For those of you who have read Point A to Point B, I plan to do a lot more with Jake Reynolds in this book. I'm also adding in a Jonathon/Sabinski backstory. There's a lot of new stuff in this book that I think readers will really like. Different ways of looking at characters, the showing of a weakness, things like that. I'm really excited about the direction it's going. 
   As for the other two, they are stand-alone novels. Each of them currently has a tentative title, and I suppose here I ought to mention something I'm planning to do with all my books' titles: The titles you've heard are both commonly used phrases. Well, that's exactly what I'm planning to do with my titles. Each one is an overused cliché. It's just a fun little pattern I decided I should use. Anyways, back to the stand-alone books. One is the story of a boy whose parents are convicted criminals. The boy, nearly fourteen, now lives on the streets. On his fourteenth birthday, he encounters an mysterious old man who seems to know everything about him... and his parents. The second book is about an unaging boy... I can't really tell you more than that, because I honestly don't know more! 

   (JR): Sounds Interesting! Thank you so much for being here today, Jeremiah.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Why I've Been Gone

   It's been a while since I've last posted. And I guess I should post more even though I'm not very good. I don't know if anyone reads this, but the best way to get better is to practice, practice, practice. And posting average stuff is what the internet is for, right?
   Anyway, why have I been absent from this blogging world (blog-o-sphere, as some might call it)? The answer is podcasts. I listen to too many podcasts! That is why I haven't blogged. I have no time for thinking, let alone writing posts! I blame podcasters!
   Okay, so that's not really fair. I obviously have the ability to choose whether or not to listen to podcasts. Like today, for example, when I took a walk for half an hour without listening to a podcast. That is called self -control (especially since I had my MP3 in my pocket).
   So what is the real reason I haven't written a blog post recently? You want the truth? I suppose I should give it to you.
   The truth is that I have been listening to so many podcasts because I don't want to hear my own thoughts. It is hard to be alone with myself. I like something to constantly hold my attention. That's why I watch TV shows and read books: so I don't have time to sit and think. Without sitting and thinking, I don't have ideas for blog posts. Without ideas for blog posts, no blog posts get written.
   However, today, I was listening a podcast on the Discipline of Solitude (which can be found here if you are interested). It reminded me that sometimes I need to step away from the noise and the distractions. And that is why you have a blog post to read today.
   Another reason is that I recently did World Vision's 30 Hour Famine. It is a 30 hour period over which the participants learn about world hunger and starve themselves as a means of recognizing, if only a small amount, of the struggles most of the world goes through. I participated in that famine and went without eating for the full 30 hours. It was difficult, but perhaps one of the hardest parts was the times when we just sat and thought about the plight of the millions of people around the world who go without eating for more than 30 hours. Afterwards, as all the participants sat around a table and stuffed our faces to break our fast, I thought about how difficult it was to fast not just from food but also from the internet and technology (for we weren't allowed computers or phones or MP3s). What would it be like to live in a place where just seeing a computer would be astounding?
   There you go. Thinking does that to me. And now you can think along with me. Hurrah!
   I suppose that's all the thoughts I have for now. Remember, don't allow technology to overwhelm you. Take some time to think and pray. Also, if you feel so inclined, our Youth Group is still raising money for hungry people worldwide and you can help us by donating here. Thank you very much and keep thinking.