Jars of Clay

By Zelphia Peterson

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

All the lovely broken people

Knit together, now made whole

Shattered fragments shining brightly

Healed and clean, a living soul

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Scattered pieces, roughened edges

Blackened bits and climbing cracks

Seen as perfect, loved as holy

So follow Him; no turning back

[Read more…]

KP Book Review: Wars of the Realm Trilogy

Since my early teens, I’ve been a huge fan of The Kingdom Series and The Knights of Arrethtrae. Both have rendered rereading and hold an honored spot on my bookshelf. When I heard that Chuck Black was writing a new series, I was elated. But then life became distracting, my free time decreased, and after skimming the synopsis for Cloak of the Light, I had mixed feelings about it. As far as I could tell, the book featured no sword fights, chivalry, castles, biblical parallels, or any of the elements that drew me to Chuck Black’s other works. On top of that, a couple people warned me that the overall writing quality was poor.Wars_of_the_Realm_Trilogy

However, I am fiercely loyal to authors who have captivated me in the past. So, in spite of my misgivings and low expectations, I eventually bought the Wars of the Realm trilogy when I had a spare Amazon gift card. I’m glad I did, because the first book, and the sequels, gripped my attention more than any Christian fiction has for a long time. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Brianna Storm Hilvety
Brianna was born with a rumble in her veins. She finds the tap of a keyboard to be soothing like the pitter-patter of rain. She has been a writer for a decade, a freelance editor for a few years, and a bibliophile from the moment she pronounced her first syllable. Proudly a Silver Member of The Christian PEN, she serves on their team as graphics coordinator. She exudes her passion for speculative fiction and helping young writers by being on the staff of Castle Gate Press and Kingdom Pen magazine. When she isn’t poring over words, she may be spotted shooting her Canon, riding The Breeze (an all-terrain vehicle), or romping with her dog, Zookie. Purple is her signature color, and she refuses to recognize all other claims to it.

This Year’s Generation

By Jason Zimmerman

We carry our phones in our pockets

while our minds ponder other things.

We meet the world with hunger,

and treat ourselves like royalty.

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The world tells us to ripen

like juicy fruit to pluck,

and we respond by shouting back,

“Good grief! We’re only kids.” [Read more…]

Five Overused Clichés about Family in Writing (and How to Avoid Them)

Name a Disney film. Name both of the hero’s parents.

Not easy, right? Usually at least one of the parents is dead. Although Disney has other reasons for doing this, the main one is to develop sympathy in the audience for the hero. Sometimes it works. But it also comes at a price.

People, especially young adults, are surrounded by family. Whether they want to be or not, they are stuck with their family and have to interact with them every day. Though some might not admit it, familial relationships are the strongest relationships anyone can possess.5_Overused_Cliches_about_Family

Why aren’t we highlighting these relationships when we write stories? Most of your readers will have close friends from church or school. Many of your readers might have “significant others.” (I hate that term; isn’t everyone significant?)

But all of your readers have (or have had) parents. [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.

A Wish Fulfilled

By Adora Istrate

She wandered through her life

With her nose in a book,

Every event, every game,

For those blessed pages forsook.

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She jumped in every puddle,

Felt for every wardrobe’s back,

Dreamed of her secret identity

And armies come to attack.

[Read more…]

How to Give a Terrific First Impression as an Author

“You will never get a second chance to make a first impression.” No one knows who first voiced that statement, but the logic of it has endured. A bad impression may be mended over time, and a good impression may turn out false. But you only have one chance to make that first impression on readers and convince them you are an author worth listening to.How_to_Give_a_Terrific_First_Impression_as_an_Author

Your Persona

There are three sources through which readers will get their first impression of you. The first is yourself. This could be via your blog, website, or social media profiles. It could even be you in person, at a writers’ conference or gathering. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Hope Ann
Hope Ann is a Christian wordsmith, avid reader, and dedicated authoress. Her time is taken up with writing, reading, archery, knife throwing, playing with inspirational photos, helping care for the house and eight younger siblings, and generally enjoying the adventures of life on a small farm at the crossroads of America. She has self-published fairy tale retellings on Amazon and is currently working on several projects including a fantasy novel and futuristic trilogy. You can find out more about Hope and her work on her website as well as links to download her first Legends of Light novella for free!

Your Eyes

By Kate Flournoy

As You see, Lord, let me see.

Teach my eyes Your sight.

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Teach my heart to comprehend

Your sorrow through the night. [Read more…]

Questions to Consider Before Killing Off a Character

As writers, we are sometimes accused of gloating or chuckling evilly to ourselves in dark castles over the sorrow we cause readers when we kill favorite characters. I won’t confirm or deny that, but I will say that writers who reap tears from readers will feel the deep satisfaction of a job well done, because they’ve made readers care about the characters.deathquestions

But whether we weep over our characters’ deaths, rub our hands and grin over them, or indulge in both reactions by turn, several points must be considered when deciding if a character needs to die, how he should die, and the end result.

Does Your Character Really Need to Die?

Not everyone has to die. Otherwise no one would be left to mourn the deceased, and where’s the fun in that? Also, sequels tend to need living characters to fill the pages and bring readers back to your stories. In all seriousness though, depending on what you are writing, it’s likely that a character (or two, or ten) will die—but you must have a reason. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Hope Ann
Hope Ann is a Christian wordsmith, avid reader, and dedicated authoress. Her time is taken up with writing, reading, archery, knife throwing, playing with inspirational photos, helping care for the house and eight younger siblings, and generally enjoying the adventures of life on a small farm at the crossroads of America. She has self-published fairy tale retellings on Amazon and is currently working on several projects including a fantasy novel and futuristic trilogy. You can find out more about Hope and her work on her website as well as links to download her first Legends of Light novella for free!

Healing

By Greta Dornbirer

On my thirteenth birthday I met my true love. I invited my entire class, maybe one hundred kids in all, to my birthday party. I thought it would be fun if everyone brought their favorite book to discuss. That was my mistake. The popular kids never read books—either they were too stupid or they didn’t consider it “cool.” The bullies, who my mom made me invite, were definitely too stupid to read, and they thought that everyone else had to be just as dumb. So they stole kids’ books at school, including mine.healing

The normal kids tried to stay out of the bullies’ way. Many of them didn’t like to read because they were scared of what the bullies would do to them. One time the bullies forced a kid who had been reading Robinson Crusoe to flush his book down the toilet. Of course that clogged the toilet, and the poor kid got doused with disgusting water.

I was one of the odd kids—or the nerds, as the bullies dubbed us. My best friend Neal was a nerd too, except he was a science nerd, not a book nerd like me.

Neal showed up at my party with his favorite book on how to blow things up. I hoped he wasn’t planning on demonstrating what he’d learned from the book. Next came Chealsie, a known theater nerd. She brought a book on how to act well. Then I waited…and waited…and waited for the other kids to arrive. But they never did. [Read more…]

Blinded by Conviction

By Jackson Graham

1657 – Port Bristol, England

Those men attack ships and take their money—and kill the crew…” blindedbyconviction

Jade dove behind the trunk, stopping his ears against the horror. These brutes killed sailors and innocents alike. He squeezed his eyes shut, willing himself to disappear. Minutes earlier, savage freebooters had barged into his family’s home, demanding money in their drunken stupor. At his father’s flat refusal, the buccaneers drew their cutlasses. Muffled cries rang out. Then silence.

Boots thudded as the men staggered throughout the house, searching for valuables. One pirate flung open the lid of the trunk, further concealing the trembling child, and rummaged through an unrewarding collection of blankets. Another wrenched the family coin chest from its poorly hidden position by the hearth and raised it high. As the footsteps faded, the boy waited, then he backed out of his hiding place. Jade shuddered in relief—and despair—and raced to the door, averting his gaze from the bodies of his family. [Read more…]