What Is Kingdom Pen?

What_Is_Kingdom_Pen

What is Kingdom Pen?

Whenever someone asks me what Kingdom Pen is, I have a hard time describing it succinctly.

We may have started out as an online magazine.

But at this point, we’re so much more than that.

So at our annual staff retreat, we recorded a video explaining what exactly Kingdom Pen is and what we do.

Check it out below and share with your friends!

 

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations. What causes otherwise-good people to make really terrible decisions in their lives? Why do some people have the strength to withstand temptation when others don’t? How do people respond to periods of intense suffering? What does it mean to be a hero?
These questions drive him as a reader, and they drive him as a writer as well as he takes normal people, puts them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then forces them to make difficult choices with their lives.
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him writing articles here or short stories at his website (link below) as he works toward achieving these goals.

God’s Calling for Me

By Michaela Bush

There is a voice that stays deep inside,
It’s something enormous I can’t seem to hide.
The quiet whisper, the thrill of joy,
No one can possibly think to destroy.

God_s_Calling_for_Me

I follow this whisper from day to day,
And it shows me every single way
I can become the person God intended—
The person within me that’s so very splendid. [Read more…]

Dead Pens

By D.G. Snapper

Oh no!

Not again.

Why me?

This pen!

I unscrew the lid

And check the ink holder

The color is all there

But angered, the author

Dead_Pens

The pen I rebuild

Then place on the table

It should work

But why isn’t it able?

[Read more…]

Three Ways Exceptional Sci-Fi Authors Develop Themes

My favorite sci-fi stories always seem to be tight. The sci-fi elements, the characters, the world, and the theme are all closely intertwined. Whether the stories are relatively small scale (the movie Arrival) or full-blown trilogies (Jill Williamson’s The Safe Lands), they blend otherworldly characteristics with real-world issues to create a compelling narrative that not only entertains but explores and instructs.

But how? Theme was complicated before aliens and phasers and warp speed got in the way. Are you supposed to handle theme the same as you would for non-speculative genres?3_Ways_Exceptional_Sci-Fi_Authors_Develop_Themes

No, because genres differ for good reasons. Speculative stories are set apart by their diverse options for communicating theme. Sound scary? Maybe. But exciting too.

However, before we start discussing themes, we need to take a minute to talk about the genre.  Sci-fi stories are defined by their Primary Fantastic Element, which makes them surpass reality. For 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the PFE is the existence of the Nautilus. For the movie Passengers, it’s the ability to put people into hibernation while they hurtle through space for one hundred and twenty years. Perhaps your futuristic world features flying cars and surgically implantable bio-computers that enhance sensory detail, but only one element should be so drastically different from the real world that the story rotates around it. That is your story’s Primary Fantastic Element, and it is the axis of your theme. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Brandon Miller
Raised on C.S. Lewis and matured (to whatever extent) on Tolkien, Brandon Miller is a huge fan of Christian speculative fiction. His favorite stories artfully bend the physical reality to reveal spiritual realities which apply to all realms, kingdoms, districts and solar systems (including our own.)
When not writing fiction Brandon spends his time tending his blog The Woodland Quill, sportsing, or just struggling through that last-year-of-high-school/first-year-of-college which is really neither but is definitely both.

KP Book Review: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Everyone in the galaxy has a gift, similar to a magical talent, which develops during puberty. Few have a fate, an inevitable future event in their lives. Akos and his brother have fates, which makes them dangerous, despite being only the children of a farmer and an oracle. Cyra and her older brother, the children of a bloodthirsty emperor, also have fates. When their identities and fates are revealed, the lives of these four intertwine in ways that no one, not even the oracles, foresaw.

Carve_the_MarkVeronica Roth, author of the Divergent Series, recently released her latest novel, Carve the Mark. It’s a mixture of fantasy, dystopian, light romance, historical reimagining, and, most strongly, science fiction. Spaceships, advanced technology, and foreign planets comprise a fantastic world full of complex cultures and beautiful imagery. Yet, extraordinary abilities and prophesying exist alongside Roman coliseums, tyrannical emperors, and intentions of world dominance. Roth layers these literary elements over each other to form an unforgettable story world.

Carve the Mark explores many deep, even dark, themes. It is not recommended for readers younger than fourteen. Cyra suffers constant, excruciating pain, which she is capable of sharing with others through a single touch. As the daughter and sister of bloodthirsty emperors, she becomes a tool for their use. Readers need only imagine the pain Cyra experiences to realize how dark the themes must be for her to have a successful character arc. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Emily Kopf
Emily Kopf is a voracious reader with a love of all things fantasy, fairy-tale, and happily-ever-after. She is a twenty-something college student studying English Literature and Christian Studies to learn how to harness her two passions into some kind of career in the Christian book-ish world. In the meantime, she writes Zerina Blossom’s Books, reads and reviews books constantly, and dreams of faraway places and a handsome prince. Back in the real world, you can find her making pretzels, volunteering at church, crafting beautiful things, and spending time with friends and family.

Our Hope

By Zelphia Peterson

Our_Hope“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

How can you stay and suffer endless pain?

This life, the trials that it bears.

How can you fight to win the joys and gains

That lighten burdens, won so hard from cares?

What hope sustains, what lofty measure fills

The void that formed through years of dreams untold?

What ray of light defies the dark that kills;

What life endures, though death would make it cold?

What courage beats to strengthen hearts to love

In spite of curses loud, to walk the way

Not for the faint of heart without resolve?

A hope so bold it stirs a soul to say,

“Though through a hundred years of pain I’ve called,

I have still this—eternity with God.”


zelphia-petersonZelphia Peterson is twenty years old and a native of the Twin Cities region of Minnesota. Currently she lives with her parents and her sister as she pursues her master’s degree in Global Public Health. Ever since she wrote her first poem at a costume party in first grade, Zelphia has remained fascinated by wordplay in poetry. For her, perfection is when rhyme, rhythm, and aesthetic sound serve the meaning behind the poetry. She draws much of her inspiration from Scripture and the natural wonders of creation, as well as human experience in general. In her free time, Zelphia enjoys making music in any form, reading voraciously, painting, archery, camping and backpacking with her family, chatting with her sister, and serving her church. She hopes to someday serve the Lord in another country by using her training as a public health worker.

When My Lungs Burn

By Melinda Delamarter

I see you

You’re standing at the edge of this forest

Terrified

The entire world has already passed through

They’re living their lives on the other side in peaceful bliss

Unaware

Of the terror you go through every morning

Struggling to face the uncertainties that rise up and slap you every second

Unaware

Of the agony it takes for you to crawl out of bed each time the sun rises

Even though you know you’re facing seventeen hours of gut-wrenching pain

When_My_Lungs_Burn

[Read more…]

How to Develop Realistic Sci-Fi Technology

On the surface, sci-fi is one of the easiest genres to define: stories involving speculative science. But the word speculative has deeper connotations than you might think. When authors incorporate as-of-yet uninvented technology into their stories, they are speculating answers to different what ifs. What if people had the ability to indefinitely extend their lifetimes? What if the government had to completely restructure itself to deal with the changing population demographic? What if certain religious groups rejected the artificial life extensions and suffered persecution for continuing to procreate, which the rest of society worries could lead to overpopulation?

How_to_Develop_Realistic_Sci-Fi_TechnologySci-fi writers are equally nerds and philosophers because they explore the limits of mankind’s knowledge and the fundamental reality of human existence. But when writers fail to show the various ramifications of their fictional technological achievements, their story worlds ring false.

Thankfully, you can avoid this fate by tackling the following five questions in your sci-fi story.

#1: What is the Government’s Response?

One of the most implausible elements of most sci-fi stories is that a fantastic, life-changing technology is developed, yet the government does nothing—instead of flooding the scene with an overabundance of red tape and restrictions.

Marvel’s Civil War did an admirable job of addressing the state’s role by playing out what happens when lawmakers, international boundaries, and governmental oversight finally catch up to scientifically enhanced superheroes. Cap and Iron Man, who previously enjoyed a free reign as they thwarted evil, must choose between submitting to a questionable higher power or acting as vigilantes. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Sierra
Sierra Ret — homeschool grad, camping fanatic, and amateur adventurer — joined the KP team as an intern a year ago and has since been promoted to Writing Team Captain, an honor equally thrilling and humbling. She enjoys both swinging in a hammock in the woods and hermiting behind a laptop screen with a mug of tea in one hand and a bar of dark chocolate in the other (something that tends to make typing difficult).
While the most recent plot in her long string of fantasies involves making a living as a travel blogger in New Zealand, she currently makes her home in Peterborough, Canada, a pleasant land that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Shire. But regardless of whether she eventually settles at home, abroad, or at the seat of government power in Ottawa, her chief aim is to live a passionate and meaningful life for the glory of God.

KP Book Review: The Lost Girl of Astor Street

By M. R. Shupp

If your best friend was kidnapped, to what lengths would you go to bring her home?

Piper Sail is an eighteen-year-old woman living amidst the jazzy 1920s. When her best friend, Lydia, goes missing, Piper breaks the societal expectations for a woman her age and investigates the disappearance. She earns the disapproval of many, but she does catch the eye of a handsome detective named Mariano.The_Lost_Girl_of_Astor_Street Together, they continue to search, but Piper discovers information that makes her believe Lydia’s abduction is part of a bigger scheme.

Stephanie Morrill’s novel will transport you to the heart of glitzy 1920s Chicago, complete with flapper dresses, speakeasies, mobsters, and corruption. When I began reading the story, I was surprised at how quickly it came to life. Morrill contrasted the affluence of Astor Street against the underbelly of Chicago through detailed description that blew me away. [Read more…]

Hyperspace

Captain’s Log,

Stardate 70797.4

For thirteen hours and twenty-four minutes,

we have tailed the cosmic trail

of the vandalizing devils

who dared damage our ship’s hyperdrive.

I stare out the glass and into the black

that seems to be the color of my mood.

Hyperspace

The surrounding clusters of gas and rock,

stars, asteroids—

such maddening technicality—

are insistently scattered in our way.

My growing impatience covets an audience

with the supernova responsible.

Clean up after yourself, you haphazard accident!

[Read more…]

Profile photo of Cindy
Cindy Green is a Canadian homeschool student who wants to live in a world where rain is colorful and mint chocolate chip ice cream is acceptable for daily consumption. But she is contented to live in one where dogs exist, fireworks are a regular occurrence, and trees are climbable objects. She began scribbling out fiction and keeping a journal at around age seven, and last she checked, hasn’t stopped. Aside from obsessing over the arrangement of words, Cindy spends her time playing piano, looking at pictures of outer space, loudly singing along to music, exploring the dictionary, attempting Highland dancing, and reading. She hopes to someday publish a book of her own, learn to skateboard without getting scraped, and witness the aurora borealis in the Yukon. Most of all, she wants to live her life colorfully and passionately for the glory of a good God and to point to her Creator as the source of all joy.