Saturday, March 14, 2020

Pandemic Owners Manual


SARS, Bird Flu, West Nile Virus... It seems like every few years there is some new dread disease that is going to kill us all. Yet as of the time of this article none has had the same level of cultural impact as the latest plague du jour, coronavirus. (One might even say it has gone... viral. 😜)

No!  Don't leave!  Last pun. I promise, okay? ✋

My point is (and the reason I felt the need for a blog article is), for all the noise and all the hullabaloo, what I'm not hearing is the church's response to all this.  Does the Bible say anything about such events, or more to the point, how we're supposed to handle it?

I'm going to answer that by taking a little detour through the world of historical fiction.


If I could get everyone to read any other book as a "be like this" instruction manual, it would have to be the historical novel When London Burned by G.A. Henty.  And the good news is it's out of copyright too so you can, and should, download it for free  (👈 aka, free ebook/manual as promised)


"But wait, isn't that about some kind of fire?" I hear you ask.  And it is.  But this is just one of a series of large-scale events that happened one, right after another during the reign of Charles II of England.  Not the least of which was the "Great Plague" which made coronavirus look like a fluffy bunny.


Like we're seeing now, the prevailing response in those days was to panic, but unlike nowadays the herd chose not to stockpile toilet paper, but to do the marginally more logical thing, and flee the city in droves.


Unfortunately, this often included doctors, nurses, and clergy, which left the city not only with an overwhelming need, but a shortage of personnel to make it all worse.
 
 
The hero of the story took a different view of things and although untrained, he decides to risk his life to stay behind and help the infected people of London. This all comes after hearing the words of one of the few ministers who stayed behind. Well worth a read:
"You are all soldiers of Christ," [the minister] said, "and now is an opportunity given to you to show that you are worthy soldiers. When the troops of a worldly monarch go into battle they do so with head erect, with proud and resolute bearing, with flashing eye, and with high courage, determined to bear aloft his banner and to crown it with victory, even though it cost them their lives.

Such is the mien that soldiers of Christ should bear in the mortal strife now raging round us. Let them show the same fearlessness of death, the same high courage, the same unlimited confidence in their Leader.

What matter if they die in His service?
He has told them what their work should be. He has bidden them visit the sick and comfort the sorrowing.

What if there be danger in the work?
Did He shrink from the Cross which was to end His work of love, and is it for His followers to do so? 'Though you go down into the pit,' He has said, 'I am there also'; and with His companionship one must be craven indeed to tremble.

This is a noble opportunity for holding high the banner of Christ. There is work to be done for all, and as the work is done, men should see by the calm courage, the cheerfulness, and the patience of those that do it, that they know that they are doing His work, and that they are content to leave the issue, whatever it be, in His hands."
(Spoiler: The minister dies of the plague, BTW! 😲)

I think we could all use a dose of this kind of fearlessness today. After all, Jesus Himself said, "And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?"  

Even though the threat of the disease isn't even in the same league as the plagues of old, it is still causing a tidal wave of need.  For example, in our area they have officially closed public schools for the next two weeks. Consider the terrible ripple-effect of that little whammy.

Consider first the poorer members of the community whose kids *used to* get free school lunch.  What are they going to eat now?

Consider working moms -- especially single moms.  What are they going to do with their kids?  Will they have to quit their job to watch them?  That would make their poverty WORSE!


And what about the nurses who have to deal with this, ON TOP OF their now overwhelming number of patients, AND the ever-present knowledge that they are more likely than most to be exposed to the disease.

Consider small businesses and those operating on thin margins already.  What happens to them when people stop going out to eat, or going to the movies, or whatever their shop is about.

I'm sure there are many more hardships that I'm not even seeing.  But for every one of these, there is an opportunity -- more than that, a moral imperative -- upon all Christians to help out!

And really, that's what separates "the men from the boys" (as it were).  You see, anyone can claim to be a Christian when the sun is shining and it's all Easter bonnets and Sunday School picnics.  But what really puts proof to it is... what you do when it might just cost you something!


So, in summary:
  1. Instead of looking only to cover your own buttocks just like everybody else in town, open your eyes to the need around you.
  2. Seeing it alone means nothing. (James 1:23-24) Do something about it.
  3. Be fearless - like one who knows that life is only temporary and chooses to spend it the best way possible.
  4. Finally, read the book above.  The language is a little archaic, and the home remedies are weird, but overall, an action-packed adventure!

Or, in other words, the summary of the summary:
Live Your Adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher


Thursday, February 27, 2020

Clive Cussler

One of my major writing inspirations died this week. :_(

His story:

Multiple bestselling action/adventure author Clive Cussler died on Monday in his Arizona home. The facts surrounding that can be easily found on your mainsleaze news media of choice or wikipedia, but I wanted to chime into the conversation with my take on his work and how it has influenced my own.

  
First, if you're not familiar with his work, his books are very action-packed and have often been described as "a cross between James Bond and Indiana Jones". That is, he is always out to save the world from megalomaniac baddies like Bond, but on the other hand, there is always a historical mystery element to piece together like Indy. (Sound familiar to anybody we know?)

That was the fiction he wrote, but what the casual reader might not know this: Cussler didn't only write about uncovering history, but actually did so, himself! He was an antique automobile collector and underwater explorer who went on several amazing adventures. (His autobiography is one of my favorites.) 

He even founded his own exploration group named NUMA, after the fictional (albeit better funded) one from his stories. 

One thing that will always stick with me is how he talks about a little speech he had with his crew. 

My rendition:
So he had hired a large oceangoing vessel and crew and was supposed to meet up with them. The water was choppy that day as he approached the exploration vessel in his little motorboat. With the rolling waves and rope ladder he had a hard time getting aboard. 

Rather than lend a hand, the rough sailors only laughed at his attempts to climb up. 

Livid, he gathered the entire crew together for a meeting. 

He held up his right hand and said to them, "See this hand? I don't care what you do on this boat. I don't care what you do to the ship, to eachother, even to me. But whatever you do... you want to save this hand right here." 

Sure enough one of the sailors bit. "And why the [explicitve] would we save that hand?" 

He looked them in the eye and said, "Because that's the hand that writes the checks!"
After that they took a lot better care of him. :)

And speaking of an author living his adventure... 

My story:

As for me I finally decided to become an author when I was commuting back and forth into the city every day (an hour each direction on a good day). 

Needless to say, I had a lot of time to kill. Evenings were no problem as I had Brant Hanson to listen to on the radio -- my favorite DJ of all time, hands down. But in the mornings I needed something to occupy my mind other than talk radio (which had a way of wrecking my attitude). 

Inevitably, being an avid reader, I finally turned to books on tape. Round-about way of saying, I wound up listening to most of Clive Cussler's repitore while staring at the taillights of the car in front of me. 

While going through the books I often thought, "Wow! My boys would love these!" But then there was always that "one scene"... you know, where Dirk Pitt winds up sleeping with a married woman in a Titanic stateroom or somesuch other horrible thing. 

Then, in stepped a Christian filmmaker colleague who posted a meme, "Create the things you wish existed." 

That was it. Over the next several months I sat in the "hot box" (my car in the parking lot at lunch times) banging away on what would become my first release, "Queen of Atlantis". 

In short: all the adventure with none of the cringe. 

Even though I went an all new direction with the stories, there were three characters in the series which were based around Cussler's world, as a silent omage to the books' inspiration.

Two of these were Michael and Melinda Moast, themselves. They were based in part on Sam and Remi Fargo from one of Cussler's serieses. 

I liked the idea of a married couple who "do adventure" together. It completely dovetails into the Christian view of marriage. What's more, I think that living through the ups-and-downs of the adventure of life together is really what a healthy marriage is all about.

The third character adaptation is... well... I can't tell you. It's kind of an "easter egg" in the books, so I don't want to spoil it. I'll leave it to you guys to speculate. (Heh, heh, heh!) ;)

In conclusion:

We lost a very talented author and dynamic personality, without whom, most likely, my own works would not even exist.  Mr Cussler, we salute you!


Now it is up to you and I to...
Live your adventure,
- E.L. Fletcher

Monday, January 20, 2020

Author Business Plan


The main purpose of this post is not only to check in but also to provide a little more information around what "Edmund Lloyd Fletcher" is about as an author.

Backing up a step, I was recently reading an ebook that said, "the reason why most authors fail is that they do not treat their writing career like a business".  The book went on to explain how most authors don't have a business plan. 

...Which I also didn't! *Ghasp!*

Therefore I freaked out, dropped everything, and wrote one up.  Even being only a few hours old, I feel like it has already helped to provide some guidance and direction.

I thought it would be a great idea to share the business plan here on the website so my readers can get to know me and what I'm about.  Also, I think that other authors can benefit as far as inspiration in making up their own plan.

(Naturally there are some portions I've held back from posting online, but I've left the headings in place for you authors out there.)

Business plan - Edmund Lloyd Fletcher

Mission statement

To fill the under-served niche of Christian-based novels with high levels of action and excitement.  Moreover, to encourage Christians to live the adventure of following God's call.

Tag line / Motto

Live YOUR adventure!

Core values


  • Compelling stories that make the reader think about life.
  • Flawed, but faithful heroes that the reader can identify personally with.
  • Villains so "reasonable" in their thought processes that the reader can identify with.
  • Clean from sexual content and perverse speech. (Even including pseudo-cusswords.)
  • Portray worlds in keeping with the Christian worldview. (eg. Magic is always evil, etc)
  • Encourage the reader to get out there and live the adventure of life!
  • Message should flow in a non-preachy way such that a complete atheist could read the book
  • Target audience


  • Faithful Christians
  • Avid readers
  • primarily young adult eager for adventures of life
  • also older people "stuck in a rut" and desiring adventure
  • Available assets


  • programming skills
  • wife with people skills + facebook skills
  • kids with vivid imagination
  • kids who are readers
  • old christian film contacts
  • church family
  • Short-term goals


  • Release a book every three months
  • Teach classes (how to publish your own book in today's world)
  • Speaking events?
  • Long-term goals


  • 20 novels
  • Ultimate goal


  • To be able to make a living from my writing.
  • Syndicate "Edmund Lloyd Fletcher"
  • Action plan


  • Get The Third Crown out ASAP!
  • ... [other items redacted] ...
  • Support team

    Potential writing partners

    [redacted]

    Beta readers

    [redacted]

    Editors

    [redacted]

    Reviewers (send advanced-reader copies)

    [redacted]

    Promotion Locations

    [redacted]

    Advertising Locations

    [redacted]

    Friday, November 1, 2019

    NaNo, Go, Go GO!

    Okay, that title may or may not have been written by my inner cheerleader. 

    And, I'm going to need her, because NaNoWriMo is in full-swing!  To compound matters, this is the most pantster I have ever gone.  I literally started out with nothing but an idea -- no characters, no scene ideas, no nothing!

    Day 1 is down, and despite starting out at absolute zero
    I actually made (and exceeded) my word count today!

    Also, you may be curious, "Hey, what idea is he doing, anyway?  Last I heard he was still deciding".

    Too true.  Thank you everybody who voted!  Unfortunately the votes were pretty much neck-and-neck, so it literally came down to a coin toss.  As I told DW as she was flipping, "Wouldn't it be wild if this book totally takes off and people want to know 'how did you decide...' "  That would be a fun story.

    Anyway, without further vindaloo, the idea that won both the votes and the toss was #2, the war between fantasy realms.  Here's the working cover I hacked together last night.

    Strangely, it turned out having the "feel" of an indie CD cover to me.  Oh well.  Works for now.

    Plus, if you're good at reading the clues, you can figure out which fantasy realms are at war here. ;) ;)

    So, hopefully somewhere in the mishmash lies a story you'll one day enjoy reading!  Till then, if you're also a NaNoWriMo participant, feel free to "buddy" me on there.  My account is, of course, "Edmund Lloyd Fletcher".


    Thanks, and Live YOUR Adventure,
    -E.L. Fletcher

    Saturday, October 26, 2019

    NaNoWriMo 2019 Ideas


    Uh oh! It's that time of year again!


     Yep NaNoWriMo, the legendary "National Novel Writing Month" is upon us once again.  Of course, I still haven't finished editing and publishing the 3 books from the past NaNo experiences, but I prefer not to dwell on the... present. :D

    And like last year I'm going to open it up to you, my friends and fans, to vote on what story you most want to see!

    Here are our options:

    1) Giant rock beasts with villagers living on their back. Goal of the beasts is to fight one another in a Highlander-esque “In the end, there can be only one” scenario.  This would be a trilogy, progressively insane in scale of the beasts and the stakes for the people involved.

    2) A fantasy war story between two fairytale realms — that is told as an actual war story.  What I mean by that is less “battle of the 5 armies” and more “saving private ryan”.  Like an in-the-trenches viewpoint.

    3) I have an entire file cabinet full of sci-fi stuff from way back in highschool when I was into that.  Someday I need to sort that out, clean it up (it was written in my BC days), and do something with it.  Not looking forward to this mess, but it needs to be done.


    I think the easiest way to tabulate results would be to head on over to the poll on my facebook page.

    Friday, August 30, 2019

    Beta Readers Wanted!


    Get it?  Because it's a Beta fish... 😜

    Okay, never mind.

    I think the real point is that even if you aren't a fish, you may be interested to know that I'm looking for beta-readers for my new novel slated to come out Oct 4.   Yep, that's right, you get to read the story a FULL MONTH before everybody else!!!

    I've gotten a few people on board already by word of mouth (you guys ROCK!) but the more, the merrier.  Come on in!

    Also, I should mention that is a staged-release, so each beta reader gets the version with feedback & features recommended by the previous round.  What this means to you is that you really benefit by all those already with their noses in the book - er - kindle, I guess.

    If you're interested in joining the fun, drop me an email or message me on your social media of choice.


    Thanks,
      - E.L. Fletcher

    Saturday, May 18, 2019

    Books, marketing, and a Bible lesson (that should scare you a little)



    Books, marketing, and a Bible lesson (that should scare you a little)


    If you're like me, it means you love to create; build things; innovate; put the pieces together and come up with something great.  I mean, that's what drives us, right?

    The trouble is at some point or another, we have to make money to, you know, eat.  That means selling/marketing our work.  It means *distant shriek* actually talking to people.

    If we've gone the traditional publisher route, we can (but probably shouldn't) assume that they'll take care of some of that.  And, of course, if we self-publish we're all on our own.

    Either way, our marketing approach usually remains the same:  Ignore it and hope it goes away.  After all, our book is so awesome people will find it and buy it.  Riiight... 🤔

    I hate to say it,  but... (No, seriously.  I really don't want to say it!) ... that's not only a terrible plan, but explicitly condemned by Scripture as well!

    "Huh? What? Where's it say that?"

    Matthew 25:14-30, otherwise entitled the "Parable of the Talents".  It's fairly popular, but to recap, Jesus told the story of a businessman goes on vacation, leaves some cash ("talents" were silver coins) with his servants for safekeeping.  First two did a good job investing, doubled his money, and were generously rewarded.  Third guy not only didn't invest, but didn't even put it in the bank.

    He literally buried his talents in a hole.  Yeah!  Here he had talents and instead of putting them out there for the world to see he buried them away.  Haha! What a doofus!  He completely... um... [uncomfortable pause] ... oh wait. I see what you did there, Jesus. 😳

     There were two consequences for this.  First, his talents were taken away and given to the wealthiest of the wise servants.  Ever heard the cliche "the rich get richer"?  Well, what if that observation isn't about fairness (as we make it out to be) but more a matter of poor stewardship and its consequences?  Something to think on.

    Oh, but don't leave offended yet.  It gets worse!

    The last line is, "cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth"  That's a common Biblical euphemism for Hell!  Okay, I never quite let that sink in before.  This whole analogy about not living up to ones' potential... okay, fine, I track with that.  But, Hell!?? Woa!  😱

    Hard to say exactly why the offense called for such a severe punishment.  But it certainly does make one sit up and take notice!

    The best conclusion I came up with is that if we bury our talents, either through active hiding or the laissez-faire policy of ignoring marketing, we're essentailly stealing.  We're stealing from the world something that others could enjoy and be edified by.

    I don't know about you, but I don't believe in randomness or chance, but in a world that's logical and under control.  I have to believe, then, that we were put here with a specific job to do and a purpose in mind (Esther 4:14). 

    But what happens when we neglect that job?  Good question.  I know it doesn't confound God's plan, but... at what cost to those around us?   And if the dire consequences of the parable are any indication, then the cost to us must be quite high indeed!

    Now how am I going to end this topic on a more positive note ...?

    I know! For those looking for a little more carrot an a little less stick, take a moment and listen through Matthew West's song "You've Got Something to Say"


    Bueno?

    Okay, now get out there, get your marketing game on, and most of all...

    Live Your Adventure,
    -E.L. Fletcher