Thursday, February 16, 2017

Why Did Solomon Say His Wife Looked Like A Horse?

My newest article for TRC magazine has been released. "Why Did Solomon Say His Wife Looked Like A Horse?" is a humorous piece that examines the use of animal analogies in the Bible's Song of Solomon.

You can read it here: "Why Did Solomon Say His Wife Looked Like A Horse?"

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Writing Highlights of 2016

Now that 2017 has begun, I’ve been thinking about how my writing went in 2016. Here are the things that stand out to me the most:

- I had four articles and six short stories accepted by magazines. That’s one less than last year, but I received a higher pay rate this year.

- One story, the modern fairy tale “Earl King,” was released in audio form by the Untold Podcast. You can listen to it for free here.

- I continued to be a quarterly columnist for TRC magazine, releasing three articles, “Chasing Cheetahs,” “The Joy of Otters,” and “Watch Out for Poison Ivy,” and one humorous western story, “Snakebite.”

- I sold over 200 articles as a ghostwriter.

- I finished writing and editing a children’s sci-fi book. I’m happy with how it turned out, so I plan to start submitting it to agents soon.

How did your 2016 go?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Is This the Most Underrated Noir Film? (Woman on the Run Movie Review)

The Story: After witnessing a mafia hit, a man goes on the run to try to stay ahead of those who want to silence him. Of all the people searching for him, none searches harder than his bitter wife, despite their marriage being in shambles. As she searches, she begins to realize that their marriage is worth saving, but will her husband live long enough for it to matter?

My Thoughts: Though Woman on the Run is somewhat obscure, what few reviews I could find of it recommended it highly, so I gave it a shot. I wasn’t sure what to make of it early on, but as the story progressed, I became convinced that the reviews had been right. This is an excellent thriller, perhaps the most underrated of all noir films, and it deserves to be more widely known.

The fast-paced and suspenseful plot is filled with snappy dialogue and memorable scenes. One such scene involves a woman who is trapped on a roller coaster right as a murder is about to take place below the ride. Despite desperately wanting to help, she can do nothing to stop what is coming or warn the victim. No one is able to distinguish her screams from the noise being made by all the other people who are at the theme park.

The main message of Woman on the Run is also notable, since it is strong and clear without being overbearing. The events of the story encourage spouses to work hard to know and love each other in marriage instead of letting problems push them apart. Few films have managed to so perfectly balance a bold message and a well-executed plot. I hope that in the future more viewers will get to see this classic movie.

Content Overview: Mild violence.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Watch Out for Poison Ivy



TRC magazine just released my newest article, "Watch Out for Poison Ivy." It's about an important spiritual lesson that the poison ivy plant illustrates.

You can read the article here.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Mindwar Trilogy by Andrew Klavan (Book Review)

The Story: A wildly creative terrorist has created a virtual reality realm that will allow him to hack into any computer system in the world. He plans to use this power to destroy the United States. To combat this threat, the American government recruits a crippled teenage boy who has a talent for winning video games. The boy must be hooked up to a machine that will allow him to enter the virtual reality realm and try to destroy it. Yet anything that happens in the realm will happen to his body--including death.

My Thoughts: I’ve enjoyed several of Andrew Klavan’s previous YA novels, particularly Nightmare City and the Homelanders series. The Mindwar trilogy is comprised of Mindwar, Hostage Run, and Game Over. Some trilogies have a weak middle book or third book, but that isn’t the case with the Mindwar trilogy. All three books are well-written, with plenty of action, good characterizations, and memorable fantastical imagery in the virtual reality realm.

I believe that the trilogy marks the first time Klavan has written science fiction, but he does a pretty good job at making the technology believable. The specific rules of the virtual reality realm are occasionally ambiguous, which sometimes robs certain scenes of their suspense, since at any moment an unknown element of the realm might provide the hero with assistance. Overall, however, the realm is a fascinating place, and the trilogy that is set in it is well worth reading for sci-fi and action fans of all ages.

Content Overview: Mild violence.

You might also be interested in my reviews of Nightmare City and the Homelanders series.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Free on Kindle Unlimited: A Great Sci-Fi Series

One of my favorite science fiction authors, J. Grace Pennington, has just released the newest volume of her YA sci-fi series Firmament. Reversal Zone is book four in the series. Firmament, like Star Trek, follows the adventures of the crew of a starship, but from the perspective of a starship nurse instead of the captain.

Although I’ll be ordering a paperback of Reversal Zone since I prefer print books, I thought I’d mention that the whole Firmament series is free to read digitally on Kindle Unlimited. Anyone who has Kindle Unlimited and likes sci-fi should definitely give Firmament a try. The series is best read from the beginning, though any of the books can also be read on its own.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Family-Friendly Serial Killer Movie? (Strange Illusion Movie Review)

The Story: After having a nightmare that a wicked man is seeking to take over his widowed mother’s life, a young man returns home from college and is shocked to find that his mom has just started dating a man. Could his mom’s new suitor be a good person, or was the dream a premonition of a horror to come?

My Thoughts: I never thought I’d see a movie that could be described as “a serial killer mystery for the whole family,” but then I saw this film, and nothing can sum it up better than that. It’s great fun to watch the naive yet earnest and caring young man try to figure out whether or not his mom’s new suitor might be evil.

Although the story and acting seem a bit clunky by modern standards, the overall plotting at least is above average for the time period and holds up pretty well today. Because of that, Strange Illusion is a suspenseful tale worth seeing for fans of good old-fashioned thrillers. Sadly, Hollywood rarely makes movies like this anymore.

Content Overview: A small amount of mild violence, which might be too much for very young or sensitive children.