Picture Prompt Contest: 3rd Place Winner!

3rd place in our Picture Prompt short story contest goes to Natalee Jensen, and her story, Cowboys and Indians!


Poignant and well-written, this story takes a creative look at a harsh reality.


Congratulations, Natalee!


It was the day he was supposed to come home.PPCpinterest

Despite the heat of Georgia, it rained. Obviously it rained; it only ever rains when something goes wrong. That day, back in the muggy heat of August, something was definitely amiss in the atmosphere and the skies released their fury.

Mama had made lemonade, not the cheap powder stuff that we used on a daily basis since we couldn’t afford anything else, but freshly squeezed lemonade. She had placed the delicate glass pitcher on a little wooden table out back along with three tall glasses; one for me, mama, and Danny. Mama even picked a few of her prized wildflowers from our garden out back and put them in a canning jar filled with water.

I dressed up for the occasion, in the usual terms of dressing up. Mama insisted that I wear my Sunday best, but I opted for a loose fitting cowboy outfit complete with western style boots, a black felt hat, a rusty old sheriff’s badge, and a blazing red neck handkerchief. Mama said I looked silly and asked what kind of greeting would it be to Danny if I wasn’t in my nicest and cleanest clothes, which still had a grease spot or two. I told Mama that Danny would understand and went on to explain how we used to run around the yard playing “Cowboys and Indians.” She shook her head and said that I was crazy.

The rain pattered across the back lawn, soaking the table Mama had set up. The rainwater made the lemonade pitcher overflow, spilling and staining the white tablecloth she had laid out The flower petals became heavy with the water jewels and drooped over, sagging and weary looking.

Mama had a heated argument with herself, including her fist in the air and shouting at the rain. She rushed around the linoleum kitchen floor and debated whether or not to go out in the rain. She gave up with herself and muttered, “Sorry, Danny. This was supposed to be one of those days you wouldn’t ever forget. And this dog-blasted rain had to come.” She shook her fist in the air again.

That’s when the phone rang. I was sitting on the steps leading from the kitchen to the second floor and kicking my boots against the wall, smearing little brown stains across the beige colored wall. I heard Mama rush to the phone and say things into the receiver.

After a few minutes, Mama came to find me on the steps. She settled herself beside me and stared at a water stain on the ceiling, her long brown hair falling in spirals down her back.

“He’s not coming back,” she had said, her voice ever so slightly different from her usual cool demeanor. But I knew. I knew that she was trying to hide something, emotions probably. I didn’t believe her.

She repeated herself, saying, “The war took him.”

“Why’d the war want ‘im?” I asked, twirling the toy pistol in my hand.

She simply shrugged. “I don’t know. But he’s not coming back.”

I didn’t believe her. It wasn’t until he showed up in a wooden box that I believed her. It wasn’t until we were putting Danny in the ground that I knew he wasn’t coming back. It wasn’t until Mama cried for three days straight that I believed her.

I went to Danny’s funeral in my cowboy costume. Mama made me change the red neck handkerchief to a black one, telling me that wearing black to funerals was what we were supposed to do. I didn’t understand, being five years old, but I did it anyway.

Mama wore a long black dress that she made herself. It wasn’t anything fancy, like some of the neighbor women wore; those long silk things that made their plump bodies look like walking window curtains. Mama was proud of her dress, and I was too.

People cried a lot during the service. Men in uniforms played “Taps” on their trumpets. An American flag was laid on top of the wooden box that Danny was resting in. Mama looked proud of her son, but in a sad way.

The pastor raised one wrinkly hand in the air and placed the other on the casket and prayed. While everyone’s eyes were closed and their heads were bowed, I took the toy gun from my holster, twirled it around my finger, and pointed the gun at Danny’s box.

I shot him. “Boom, I gotcha!” I whispered. “You’re dead!”

Mama tugged on my shoulder and made me tuck the gun away. I did, not wanting to upset her any more than she already was. No one wants to see their mother cry, especially not a five year old.

After the pastor finished his prayer, I ran. Mama called after me and a few of the older boys started to follow me, but they didn’t follow me to the tree where I fell and cried. Leaning against the tree, I dug the flesh of my finger into the rough tree trunk. A trickle of blood ran
down my finger. Danny always told me to put a tough face on and suck the blood away. So I did, although my tough face ended in a sad grimace.

“Danny?” I whispered into the chilly breeze blowing through the graveyard. Nothing.

“Danny?” I had been practically begging for him to pop out from behind a tree, freshly plucked chicken feathers stuck behind his ears and pounding his hand against his mouth in a shriek.


Then I cried.

Danny was gone forever.

He wasn’t coming back.

He was gone.

Even up ‘till this day, every year on August third, the day we got the phone call, I travel back home to Mama’s house. I make some fresh lemonade and set up three glasses on a white tablecloth clad wooden table in the back lawn. I fix myself up to look like a cowboy and sit on the same worn steps, kicking my boots against the wall. Mama still climbs up the steps and sits next to me, leaning her slender neck back, her dark hair – now streaked with white and gray – brushing the steps, and stares at the growing water stain on the ceiling.

“He’s gone,” she says, tracing circles in the dust beside her.

Now I believe her.

I saw Danny in a wooden casket.

I buried my brother.

And we never got to finish the game of “Cowboys and Indians.”



Natalee JensenNatalee Jensen is a fifteen year old girl residing in the beautifully hilly state of Pennsylvania alongside with her parents, younger brother, and kitty cat. She has been homeschooled from her very first day of preschool, and she wouldn’t trade doing schoolwork in her pajamas for the world! She adores reading and would spend most of her time curled up with a book or a notepad and pencil (which has recently been replaced with a laptop). Besides her love for words, Natalee enjoys spending time with her family and friends and watching some pretty adorable kiddos. She also finds enjoyment in knitting and sewing and just generally being creative. Natalee enjoys blessing the world with her combinations of High School Musical, Broadway, and Christmas songs. But, most importantly, Natalee simply enjoys being who she was created to be.


As the third place winner, Natalee will receive a $25 prize, provided by our sponsor, CoastalConservatory.com: Intentional Living for Cultivating the Family Enterprise.

4 Ways To Overcome Writer’s Block

By Jessica Greyson


Facing writers block can be one of the most difficult things that you face as a writer. It can creep up on us, or blindside us like a brick wall. But no matter how it comes upon you, it leaves you feeling like you’re stranded on a deserted island with only a pile of driftwood to make your escape, so here are some tips and tricks to build a successful escape back into the writing world.


Ask Questions


Take a moment to step back from your writing; maybe go back to the roots of what inspired you to start this project in the first place. Sometimes rekindling the first steps of the “romance” with this story will bring that passion for writing back and you’ll go back to your writing feeling renewed.


Ask questions about the scene you are writing.

  • Is it moving the story forward?
  • Does it need to be in there for the story to move forward, or is it a filler scene?
  • Are you enjoying this scene? If you aren’t enjoying it, your reader probably won’t either.
  • Is it from the right POV? Could this possibly better through a different set of eyes? Consider who has the most to lose or gain in the scene. If there isn’t much to lose or gain, your character isn’t going to be as invested, which affects the writer and which will eventually affect your reader.
  • Why? Sometimes those three little letters can be very effective.
  • Interview your character. Taking time out to really deeply analyze your character at this moment can sometimes bring out details you weren’t picking up before.

[Read more…]

5 Reasons To Pray Before You Write

By Amy Bohannan

Writer’s block.


We’ve all been there at some point or another.  (Some of us more than others.)


Lists have been written of ways that we can overcome.  Step by step lists, bullet pointed lists, check marked lists—too many ways to overcome this terrible creative blockage in our brains.


On most lists, though, I find the most important step is omitted.  In fact, I find it’s the most forgotten and neglected of all.  Imagine that—the most crucial step to creativity, the least remembered.


What would happen with our creativity if we remembered it always?


How is it that we can so easily forget that we have within our grasp access to the Author of the most excellent and profound of stories?  We forget that we hold His tale within our very hearts.  We forget the Tailor of all the most diverse characters of the universe.  We forget the Painter of the landscape, the settings and stage on which His tales unfold.


We forget that each of us treasure in our hearts our own story of salvation—written by Him.


We forget to ask Him—the Author of salvation and Inventor of redemption.


After all, does not each of our stories contain that which He began?


Does not each story have a fall, a battle, and a redemption?


The first, most crucial, most elementary, yet the most abandoned step to creativity: pray.


I know, I know.  It probably sounds cliche, right?


I find that I forget all the time to include God in my writing.  To ask His advice.  To ask His opinion.  To ask Him what He wants me to write next!


If it’s a cliche, it’s a good cliche.  Oh, may it be overused!  May God’s writers ask of Him too much!


Reasons you should pray before you write:


1. He is the Author of story itself


His story became the most popular book ever—the top ranking book sold in the history of the world.  Its sales have boasted at over 6 BILLION copies!


Besides the numbers that prove the obvious fame of the Bible, think about the elements contained within the pages of the Holy Book.


Breathed by God, between the leather bonds there unfolds a story that tells the history of mankind—how he was created, how he fell, how he battled evil, how he was redeemed, how he overcame.  Every good story contains these elements that God originally penned.


Think about it.  If a story didn’t have a ‘fall’—an inciting incident in which something goes wrong—what kind of story would it be?  Or what about the battle between good and evil?  Or redemption in which good always prevails?


Think about your favorite stories.  Can you think of one that do not have any of these elements?  And if they did (some have tried), did you find the story satisfying?  Most assuredly not.


God holds the keys to the perfect story.  Why not ask Him for advice on yours?


2. He knows the hearts of men


The world is desperate for hope.  Whether they will acknowledge it or not, they are yearning for God—for His glory, His redemption.


We, as unworthy authors—ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, have a most worthy mission of bringing His word through the art form of writing to a desperate people’s starving hearts.


If you are seeking the heart of God, you are seeking to touch the hearts of His people to glorify Him.  Only He knows what is happening in the hearts of men and what they need to hear or read.  We can speculate and think that we know what the world needs to hear, but ultimately, He knows exactly what kind of tale or writing is needed to touch the inner core of man.


If we are obedient in seeking Him, He just might be able to use us to be the writer of that tale.


3. There may be a reason your story is stuck


When our mission is not blessed of God, it can become stifled.  Sometimes, writers block can be a blessing in disguise.  A good time to evaluate the content of our story.  Is it worth the time that we are spending on it?  Does it conform to the canon of Philippians 4:8?  Does it ring true to your own heart?


Or maybe it’s not time to write that particular story yet.


There is a story in my heart that I have mulled over for years, but every time I sit down to start writing it, I find myself drawing a blank.  Where to begin?  What to say?


Do I stop writing?  No!


But don’t force that story now.  It may be for another time.  There may be another tale that God has for you to write…


To everything there is a season…” Ecclesiastes 3:1


 4. Writing can be an art form of worship


Our hands, our mouths, our voices—our very breath is evidence of the grace of God.  Colossians 3:17 tells us to do everything—whether word or deed—in the name of the Lord Christ Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.


Our writing can be a form of worship to our King.  An art of gratitude as we pour out all that He has given us through minds that are able to comprehend, through fingers that are able to type, through voices able to speak and ask questions, through eyes that are able to read…through creative talents and unique purpose.


We have an incredible opportunity to worship Him and glorify Him through the art of story.


By writing on our knees, our faces turned to Him, His heart is quickened at the sight of us.


5. He promises to reward us


I don’t preach a prosperity gospel.  I don’t say that if we do all the right things, that we’ll get everything that we want.


But what I do preach is the abounding riches of the rewards of obedience.


But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Matthew 6:33


The context of this verse is speaking to the elementary needs of this world.  Food and clothing—Jesus tells us not to worry about these things.


How much more should we not worry about what we should write?


When we are seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, our hearts are bent toward the things of God.  We are on a constant look out for evidences of Him—sightings of His promises fulfilled, His glory shown, His grace being sufficient.  We find ourselves satisfied in the simple things—because in our hearts we realize that they are more complex than we could ever imagine.


He promises us to supply us with everything that we need when we follow Him. Rest assured, we will be rewarded for seeking Him—for drawing near to Him, for yearning to become more and more like Him.


As we become more in tune with the heart of God, our own hearts will overflow with words that bring glory to His Name.  We will find ourselves at a loss, with not enough time to write all the words spilling from our hearts—neither enough pages in the world to contain them.


And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.John 21:25


God is glorified through our writing—our stories, our essays, poems, songs; our every written word is to be treated as an offering at His feet.


When we find ourselves stuck in that terrible rut of writer’s block, remember that we must not allow it to win over us.  Our pens are mighty weapons when anointed in prayer and wielded in reverence in the ultimate battle conquering evil.


As we live the Story of Redemption, may we never forget to seek the Author of Salvation as we weather the many trials and joys of storytelling!


Winning The Battle Against Writer’s Block

By Hope Schmidt

The battles of life take many shapes and sizes, and writing is no exception. Glaring plot holes, inconsistent characters, and tangled timelines oppose the author in their turn. And then there’s writer’s block.

Surrounding us with a confusing mist of ‘what should we write?’, these battles can be among the most challenging we face as an author.

Writer's Block

Simply not wanting to write isn’t true writer’s block. That’s another battle altogether, a battle of diligence and discipline.  You have your story. You know what comes next. But lethargy strikes and you simply don’t want to write. It happens to me quite often but can be overcome through dedication and focus.

Set deadlines

To keep this focus I like to set deadlines for myself, such as writing three chapters a week or getting a story finished by a set day. Or you could set a minimum word count per day, be it a hundred words or two thousand. Or set a time limit…even if it is just fifteen minutes a day.

In the end, it comes down to self-discipline. Do you really want to write? If you do, then you must be willing to write even when the wave of inspiration is in retreat (it will return, just give it time). If writing is a high priority, then make at least a little time to write and discipline yourself to actually sit down during that time and write. It is possible, even if it means getting up a little earlier or not playing so many video games or reading so many books.

But what about when you can’t write?

The medical definition for writer’s block in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: ‘a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece of writing.’ A more down-to-earth definition rephrases it a bit: ‘the problem of not being able to think of something to write about or not being able to finish writing a story, poem, etc.’ And my ‘epic’ definition is: ‘one of the writer’s most feared enemies who inhibits the power of transferring words to a blank page and who must be vanquished’.

Now, whether we think of writer’s block as a ‘psychological inhibition’, an aggravating problem, a battle, or simply an excuse to take a break from writing, chances are most writers have been forced to deal, in some way or another, with writer’s block. But, persistent an enemy as it is, writer’s block can be defeated.

The foundational key to conquering writer’s block is to want to. This sounds obvious, I know. But if you seriously want to write and are stuck in the middle of the story, don’t surrender. Writer’s block isn’t an excuse for not writing, it just another foe to be defeated. But you must be willing to put forth the effort to break through to clearer inspiration.

Isolate the problem 

The first step is to isolate the problem. Normally something in the story enables the writer’s block to take hold, be it a character who isn’t cooperating, a mangled timeline, or a plot gone awry. Maybe you’ve outlined your story and know what’s supposed to happen in a particular scene or chapter, but can’t figure out how to go about it. Or maybe you haven’t outlined at all and have no clue what happens next. Whatever the case, detecting the basic obstacle makes it much easier to close the breach.

Once you know where to look, try to reason through the problem, methodically setting aside what won’t work and playing with the ideas that could solve your difficulty. You can either do this as yourself, the author, or you can view the problem from a different perspective. Maybe put yourself in the place of one of the guards of the castle that your hero or villain is trying to break into (or out of). How about a prisoner in the dungeon, or a captain in the army? Whether you work the stories as a mental exercise or write the scene out, everyone, from mentor to page boy, will provide diverse and intriguing possibilities. Quite often I write these ‘alternate views’ as letters or diary entries.

My favorite view to default to is the villain’s. Once, when I knew where I wanted the captured sister of my hero to end up, but couldn’t figure out how to get her there without her being discovered by her brother, I pictured the scene through the villain’s eyes and was able to plot out a route and the reasons for it being chosen.

Talk it out

Another helpful prompt is to talk. Detail out your problem to a friend and quite often you’ll come up with ideas even as you outline what’s gone wrong. And you can pray. God should be part of every moment of our life and, just as He cares for the large battles we face in the world, so He cares about our (relatively) small ones against writer’s block.

And you can talk to yourself. Weird? Maybe. Helpful? Very much so.

Of course, to give the impression that I’m at least partly sane, I normally only talk to myself while alone. When we had goats, I’d talk while I milked them. Other safe havens include muttering to myself from a treetop or while taking a shower. Or I might take to the field below our house and pace back and forth for nearly half an hour while working through some troublesome knots in a story.

A close second to talking to oneself is writing to oneself. I’ve done this while planning out characters…writing my ideas down as if I were arguing back and forth with myself about the best course to take. You may be surprised at how many ideas this simple (and perhaps insane-sounding) method produces.

Quite often, if the problem resists being reasoned into oblivion, either through other character’s views or through persistent talking on my part, I’ll try a different tactic. The ‘what if’ method.

The ‘what if’ method

What if this guard was actually a sympathizer of the hero? What if the villain gets lost while hunting and unknowingly stops at the hero’s house for directions? What if the hero underestimates his opponent…or overestimates him? The possibilities are as limitless as your creativity to think up ‘what if’s’. Some ideas produced won’t fit, some might be worth stories of their own, and others just might change your story for the better and break through that attack of writer’s block once and for all.

So identify the problem, try to reason through it, either as one of your characters or simply talking to yourself (or you could try a ‘character/author’ argument), and ask ‘what if’ about everything. And, above all, don’t give up. The answer might break quickly. Or it might take a few days and many sighs and discarded scribbles. But the answer will come.

Above all, don’t give up.

Once you are able, sit down and write. Even if you don’t quite like how the scene is playing out, write it anyway. It is much easier to go back and correct or even rewrite a scene once it’s already written, than to wait until the scene is perfect in your mind before writing it out. First drafts were made to be rewritten. More strikes by writer’s block may (and, let’s face it, probably will) attack, but victory by victory, page by page, correction by correction, your story will come together.

The creation of a great story is by no means easy. There are times it isn’t even fun. But ‘fun and easy’ isn’t what writing, or life, is about. So if you have a story to write, then stick to it. Write for the glory of God and don’t be dismayed by the various troublesome aspects of writing and the occasional attack by writers block. It’s merely another challenge to be overcome; another battle to be won.

To paraphrase an inspirational quote I once saw, I’m not telling you defeating writer’s block will be easy. I’m telling you it will be worth it. So take up your pen, sit yourself down, commit yourself to the battle, and claim the victory.

KP Spotlight! J. Tobias Buller

We are so excited to bring you our second KP Spotlight, this one featuring a KP subscriber who was a finalist in our Begin Your Novel contest, J. Tobias Buller. Enjoy!


Kingdom Pen: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What are three interesting facts?KP Spotlight


J. Tobias Buller: I have lived in West Africa for nearly four years, I am over six feet tall, and my favorite musical album of anything ever is John Powell’s How To Train Your Dragon soundtrack.


KP: Homeschooled? Public-schooled? Tell us the tale.


JTB: I was homeschooled off and on in grade school, before transitioning one hundred percent to homeschooling.  Pretty awesome.


KP: What do you consider your biggest accomplishment? (It’s okay to brag a little on this one!)


JTB: It’s hard to say.  I’ve done a lot of little things in my life, and some of my biggest accomplishments (such as writing a short story several years back that has become one of the best things I’ve ever written) are quiet things that matter mostly to me.


But I’d say that finishing a certain novel of mine is my biggest accomplishment.  When I started, it was a sprawling, epic story, and one that I was emotionally invested in.  Two years later, it was over one hundred thousand words, but I had finished it.  It’s still rough, and needs to undergo a lot of revisions, but I was able to articulate what I had envisioned two years earlier, even if it was messy and disorganized—and that means a lot to me.


KP: What is the best part about writing for you? How did you become a writer?


JTB: I love the act of creating a story.  The actual writing is tough work, and although revision is fun, it sucks the energy out of you.  But standing knee-deep in story guts, in characters and emotions and imagination and possibility—that’s why I keep going.  It’s something utterly entrancing.


And that is actually why I became a writer.  I was entranced by stories, by the concept of imagination.  I could think of something, write something, and it could become real, in a sense.  It is mental exploration.  It’s finding something amazing.  I had to try it for myself.


KP: What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received? What has helped you the most in your growth as a writer?


JTB: I think that the best writing advice I have received can’t be summed up in a single rule or idea, but it can be summed up in a single word: story.  Story is an extremely complex and dynamic idea, but over the years I’ve learned how to see the good stories, study what makes a good story a good story.  Finding out what a good story looks like has helped me implement that in my own writing.


The two main sources of instruction I’ve found in the art of Story are The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke, and the high school writing curriculum The One Year Adventure Novel by Daniel Schwabauer.  The latter especially has been huge for my writing life, since “OYAN” is not just a curriculum; it’s also a vibrant storytelling community.


KP: What is your biggest struggle as a writer? Biggest fear?


JTB: My biggest struggle is probably being simple.  I know what makes a good story, but it is just so hard to put it into practice with simplicity.  My ideas tend to spiral out of control, and while it’s good to have plot twists and character motivations and all of that jazz, I struggle with keeping the core of a story at the forefront.  I look at some animated movies—Pixar comes to mind—and I marvel at the simplicity, and the power, of their storytelling.  And my biggest fear is that I won’t be able to learn how to write that simply—that I’ll stagnate at my current ability, doomed to write complex fantasy novels that just feel a little off.


KP: Are you an outliner, or more of a “Pantster”?


JTB: A bit of both.  Three or four years ago, I was a passionate pantster—I believed that structure and outline would inhibit my writing and prevent me from writing something unexpected and fresh.


But as my novels grew longer, I learned how to outline properly.  I still don’t believe in total control—I prefer to do something I call “storyboarding,” in which I draw a line and plot out the general direction of my story, with all of the important turning points mapped out.  My latest novel, however, is so complicated that I had to write out something similar to a screenplay treatment: a summary of the whole plot, so that I could keep track of everything that needed to happen.


I think there is a lot of good in writing by the seat of your pants.  But it can bring some serious problems: foreshadowing almost disappears, plot twists can seem fake, and the story can wander and lack a clear goal.  I’ve found that my best writing happens when I write in between the two extremes.


KP: Any big writing milestones coming up? Word totals, novel(s) completed, publishing, etc.


JTB: I’m hoping to finish my current novel—the opening of which, by the way, received 2nd place in Kingdom Pen’s Begin Your Novel contest—before the end of July.  It’s called Chromeheads—it’s a time travel science fantasy murder mystery, and probably my most ambitious project to date.


KP: If you could give one piece of encouragement to other writers your age, what would it be?


JTB: Don’t stop writing, and don’t stop studying.  Don’t stop writing, because writing is the best way to get better at writing.  And don’t be afraid to expand your horizons, exploring different genres, characters, and settings.  Don’t stop studying, because there are a wealth of incredible stories out there, and by studying them, you can learn how to make your own stories better.


KP: What do you like the most about Kingdom Pen? If there was one thing you’d like to see added, expanded, or changed at Kingdom Pen, what would it be?


JTB: Kingdom Pen is really well put-together; oftentimes, when a community like this is started, it has an air of informality or the website looks like you put it together in Microsoft Paint.  Kingdom Pen, in contrast, is pretty slick!  I honestly can’t think of anything I would change about it.


KP: How did you find out about Kingdom Pen? How long have you been a subscriber?


JTB: Several of my friends are contributors and/or follow it.  I’ve only been an official subscriber for probably less than six months (ish?) but I remember reading one of the early Kingdom Pen issues a year or two back.  It was the one with Braden Russell’s tree story.


KP: If you could say one thing to the Kingdom Pen community, what would it be?


JTB: The same thing I said about writing.  Exploring how story works is extremely important, and it’s something that has helped my writing immensely.


Just ‘cause we really want to know…


KP: What kind of reader are you and why? (Read a whole book in one sitting, read lots of books at once, only read at night, only read in the morning, etc.)


JTB: Depends on the book!  I read Chesterton books slowly, and often at the same time as other books; but typically, I only read one fiction book at a time.  But even there, there’s variation.  If it’s an exceptionally good book (see: Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings) I’ll plow through it in days, if not hours.  If it’s slower, I tend to read it over the course of a week or two.


KP: If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?


JTB: I’d cut planes out of the empty pizza boxes, because I wouldn’t have the self control to actually deliver the pizzas.  I mean, how do they do it?  Smelling those maddening pizza juices for fifteen minutes and trying to drive at the same time?  It would drive me crazy.  (Get it?  Drive?….uh, yeah.  Let’s forget I said that.)


JakeBlogPictureJ. Tobias Buller—“Jake”—is a missionary kid, a writer, and a strongly loyal Kansan. He has written eight speculative fiction novels and one historical fiction novella.  His other work includes a long-winded blog, snarky essays, and a memoir he wrote about his experiences during Liberia’s Ebola outbreak.

He moved to Liberia in November 2011—the beginning of three and a half years of adventure. Recently back in the USA, he plans to be eaten alive by American collegiate education in the fall of 2015.

Jake writes at Reflecting The Mirror and Teenage Writer.

Do You Want The Kingdom Pen E-Mag Restored? – A Survey

Hello Kingdom Pen!


As many of you know, Kingdom Pen began as a free E-Magazine over four years ago (you can download the last issue we created from the home page). Since then, the Kingdom Pen ministry has grown considerably. However, as we grew, the cost of creating the free E-Mag increased dramatically, so we had to suspend the creation of magazine issues.

KP Update post graphic

Now, we are considering bringing the magazine back, but only if you want it. The KP Staff would really appreciate it if you would take the time to answer our short 4-question survey to help us know where we should go in the future.


The last survey we created, concerning KP Radio, helped us a lot, and we are very thankful for your answers! Your responses were overwhelmingly positive, and we are gradually working toward making podcasts and live radio shows available. Now we are asking for your help again. Do you want the Magazine back? What what you like the Magazine to include? What about other KP Merchandise? Please let us know in the survey, and in the comments if you have anything else you’d like to say or suggest.


Thank you so much!

Create your own user feedback survey


Story Of The Seed

By Katherine Flournoy

I was a small, round, smooth, brown seed with a rough, sturdy cap at the top, and a hardy stem. The tree to which I belonged was a great tree, with leaves that spread their lush, verdant emerald veil between me and the bright blue of the sky, and reached out with gnarled, spreading arms as if to touch the stars. I always went in awe of this tree, for to my small perception and narrow minded adoration it seemed the greatest embodiment of power and majesty in all the confines of our forest, and our lands. My tree— or rather our tree, for I was the smallest of the many seeds that drew nourishment from its branches— was set upon the outskirts of a vast forest.

Story of the Seed Slider - edited


I was frightened of that forest. It was dark and close and full of half shadows and whispered rumors of evil, and the deeper one looked into its closely woven branches the blacker it became. But upon the other side, my tree overlooked a broad, lush meadow. Through this meadow was cut a great highroad. Broad was this path, and long, and smooth with the traffic of passing feet and wagons and horses. It was my hourly delight when I was but a young seed to peep down through the rustling green curtains of my tree and watch those that went to and fro upon this highroad. The strange beings who walked there fascinated me, and indeed I used to wonder, in an idle moment, what their life was, but I loved my tree, and wished never to leave it. Then I was young and naive, and knew not truly what was the life and lot of a seed. But I would learn, and learn it to my sorrow.

The night of the storm is black yet vivid to my memory still. I believe it always will be. For it was that night that I truly became a seed, and tasted first the bitterness of our lot.

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June Theme of The Month!

Hello writers and readers of Kingdom Pen! A new month has arrived, and with it, a new theme!

June Theme Post Graphic

This month’s theme is “Killing Writer’s Block.” I think we’ve all had it before. I personally had it for about a year! Yeah, I’m bad. However, this month we will be focusing on ways to help you defeat Writer’s Block, rather than bemoaning how it so often seems to get the better of us.


If you have any experiences concerning Writer’s Block and how you defeated it, send us an article!


Happy writing!


(Some of you still have submissions for last month’s theme being reviewed, and we will posts those as well upon approval.)