Out In Front by Kirk Gilchrist

IMG_8400.JPG

My dear friend and senior pastor just released his latest book this week, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for him and for those who read it. It’s chalk-full of hard hitting life lessons, glacial nuggets of wisdom, and often startling arguments to some of church culture’s more common assumptions—ones he confronts from simple, Biblical perspectives.

An eternal pragmatist as well as a tireless worker, Kirk also writes about many of the fundamental cultural principles of leadership that’ve helped grow our church, New Life, to the healthy place it is today.

What I love most about this book, however, is that it reflects a man I deeply admire. I know Kirk. Of all the people I’ve ever met, he operates unlike any other in a true New Testament gift of leadership. He’s always looked to better his team before he betters himself. And he’s paid a high price to be able to speak from a place of authentic spiritual success.

I can’t afford (nor could I survive) to make all the mistakes of other men—I have my own to wrestle through. That’s why works like these are so unequivocally pivotal when it comes to serving others the way Jesus did and does.

Dig in,

ch:

The Shadow Lamp

20131110-180414.jpg

Most people who read my novels or who frequent my blog know my affinity for the legendary Stephen R. Lawhead, whose works are truly—legendary.

Thank you, Jack Black.

So when the opportunity arose to review The Shadow Lamp, the fourth offering in his Bright Empires series, I simply had to opt in to the CSFF Blog Tour for the month of November. Plus, who can resist another hard copy edition to complete one’s collection?

There are many things I could say about this fourth installment, ranging from delectable intrigue and subterfuge, to prolific scifi plotting that plays to Lawhead’s historical (rather than futuristic) strengths. But the item I felt like emphasizing is perhaps something more subtle, like the aftertaste of a fine food or beverage, rather than the more noticeable palette presentation (which you can find from full reviews). Namely, Lawhead’s attention to generational legacy.

The older I get, the more I tend to appreciate the legacy of my forefathers. Who they were, what they did, and how where I am today is a direct result of decisions they made. Similarly, I cherish the few heirlooms that I possess, like a leather WWII pouch from my grandfather that bear his initials (which he made himself), or my great-grandfather’s single shot bolt-action Winchester .22 from 1899. Rather than the “quickly obsolete” nature of the digital age that I exist in, these seemingly archaic items link me to people who directly effect me today, but most of whom I never knew.

20131110-182904.jpg

This breathtakingly beautiful video on Vimeo speaks to these very themes, and is a fitting tribute to our Veterans today. [Warning: prepare to cry].

The ability that Lawhead has to tell a story that spans hundreds of years (in part, due to his ley lines plot device) is really marvelous. Many authors who try this tend to bog the reader down in endless lineages that fail to leverage any true value for the story. But Lawhead manages to keep the information and the relationships relevant, while still stirring up “ancient longings” that woo the reader into feeling like they’re a part of the history, not just an exterior observer. I think this is one if the reasons I so love Lawhead’s writing, because the divine melancholy of his histories hold me to the stories long after the book is closed.

How we live today effects those who live tomorrow. Or better said, in a world where ley lines connect centuries in a matter of moments, how we live today effects those who live in ten minutes.

So live in such a way that your grandchildren would be proud. And measure your possessions; keep them few, and imagine your grandchildren savoring them. Everything else can go.

Check out Lawhead on Facebook. Then check out what some of the other CSFF reviewers are saying on Al Gore’s interwebs, listed below.

Happy reading!

ch:

•••

20131110-180424.jpg

•••

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

•••

First read what my good friend Nathan Reimer has to say, then check out:

Julie Bihn
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Karri Compton
Theresa Dunlap
April Erwin
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Rebekah Loper
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Writer Rani
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Rachel Wyant
Phyllis Wheeler
Deborah Wilson

TSR Fan Art

This permanent page is dedicated to all the amazing artists out there who love Aria-Prime as much as I do. These are their works, representational of their dreams of the far-off world above the cloud-floor.

If you’re an artist and have an image you’d like to submit, please email it to me here. There is no guarantee your art will be posted, there is no financial compensation for your submission if it is posted, and you maintain 100% copyright of your work, giving me the rights to publish it here on this page.

Fly or die,

ch:

1 Banth by Caleb B

Local Author Self-Publishes New Novel

PRESS RELEASE:
For release on Tuesday, September 10th.
For additional information or interview, contact Rebekah Berthet or Candy Shaw: (315) 788-0825

WATERTOWN, NY - Christopher Hopper signs a copy of The Sky Riders for fans at The Vault in New Life Christian Church

WATERTOWN, NY – Christopher Hopper signs a fans book at The Vault in New Life Christian Church. Photo by Joseph Gilchrist.

Local Author Self-Publishes New Novel

CLAYTON, NY – What do vintage airships, giant birds, floating cloud cities and steam-powered engines all have in common? If you guessed local author Christopher Hopper’s new steampunk epic, then you’d be spot on. The Sky Riders, Hopper’s seventh novel to date, hits digital and physical bookshelves today via Amazon.

“This is really exciting for me,” says Hopper, a resident of the Town of Clayton. “From right here in the 1000 Islands, I get to publish my novels worldwide, all because technology has made it easier to reach fans.”

Formerly with traditional legacy publishers like Thomas Nelson Inc. and Tsaba House Inc., Hopper is one of the growing body of writers who’ve jumped ship to self-publish. Bowker Identifier Services reports that there are over 235,000 self-published titles now for sale, a 287% growth surge since 2006. And with entities like Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace—both Amazon companies—self-publishing for digital and print has become more accessible, and more lucrative. Bookstats reported that 2012 sales figures of ebooks hit $3.04 billion, which gives Hopper even more reason to be excited.

“Where you’d only make between 8-15% with a legacy publisher,” says Hopper, “my lowest royalty bracket with self-publishing is 30%, and my highest is 70%.”

While some ask Hopper about the readers he’s missing out on by abandoning the traditional publishing route, he’s quick to correct them. “I was missing huge amounts of readers with traditional publishing, as they were mainly targeting book stores. Today, I have instant distribution to millions of Kindle and Nook readers, and sales up are up over 300% from my legacy publishing days. The bottom line is that I’m reaching more readers with less work than ever before.”

Thinking of self-publishing your own title? Not so fast. “It’s a lot of work,” admits Hopper. “But outsourcing exterior and interior design, for example, as well as shopping for editing services, can help people where they might be weak.”

If you’re still wondering just how to self-publish through something like Amazon, Hopper has an answer for that too. He published his Handbook to Publishing Your Novel ebook last December.

From where Hopper sits atop his floating cloud cities in his fictional world, the future is bright for readers and authors alike, and the return is anything but make believe.

The Sky Riders is available locally at The Vault in New Life Christian Church, as well as online at http://www.christopherhopper.com. •

TSR Comes out Tomorrow!

TSR Book Cover Header 640x350
Hello, my amazingly faithful Readers!

Tomorrow is the big day: the official release of my 7th full-length novel, The Sky Riders. Even just ten years ago, had you told me that one day I’d not only publish a single novel over 100,000 words, but seven, I would have laughed in your face. So each and every time this “book release” occasion comes around, I’m even more indebted to the following:

• God, for humoring my inabilities with his abilities to produce capabilities.

• My wife and children, for allowing me to spend the long hours needed on my laptop at absurd hours of the day (and night).

• My English teachers, notably Dawn Sandquist and Margaret Grace, who poured into me even when I gave them the deer-in-the-headlights look.

• My writing companions and tour mates who encouraged, taught, corrected and inspired me to grow as a writer: Wayne Thomas Batson, Donita K. Paul, Eric Reinhold, Jonathan Rogers, L.B. Graham, Bryan Davis, Sharon Hinck, Gregg Wooding, and Christopher and Allan Miller.

• Former publishers who gave me a shot when I didn’t deserve one: Pam Schwagerl (Tsaba House Inc.), and everyone at Thomas Nelson Inc.

J.A. Konrath for enticing all of us legacy published writers to jump ship and dive into the self-publishing revolution.

Michael A. Stackpole for his abundant wealth of knowledge which he continually gives away for free, but has cost him years of development.

• My Proofies who have leant their selfless eyes to the ARCs I put out. You make me shine.

• The Inkblots, in all our various forms, who met (and will meet again) over pub tables to discuss writing, life and the future.

• The amazing staff, board and congregation of my church, New Life, for believing that my writings are just as much ministry as counseling someone in my office.

• My friends Peter Hopper (and dad), Kirk Gilchrist, Douglas Gresham, Brett Peryer, David Buckles, Joseph Gilchrist, Tony Hayner, Jason Clement, Nathan Reimer, Denis Johnson and Nate Cronk for their conversations, musings and creativity that have inspired me to think hard and dig deep.

And lastly, to my readers. I write every word with you in mind, and couldn’t continue writing without you literally paying my bills. I’m blessed I get to do things I love for a living. It amazes me every day, and I pray I never take it for granted.

Thanks to everyone for purchasing the new book, spreading the word, and leaving honest reviews. (When referencing The Sky Riders on Twitter or Instagram, please try and use #theskyriders or #TSR).

Fly or die,

ch:

Reading Small, Thinking Big

20130902-230205.jpg

Reading a novel on an iPhone is ludicrous.

Or so I thought.

Until I had a revelation. The same kind of revelation I had when choosing between two physically-large books for a flight, because taking both was simply too much for my carry on. So I put the Kindle app on my iPad and took both. And a few dozen others.

Making the jump from paper to screen for my book reading was manageable. Large visual surface (actually, the iPad has more real estate than most book pages), and even an unexpected perk: no book light needed at night. But still, reading a novel via the Kindle app on my iPhone? It can’t be done.

Until I realized that I read thousands of words every day on my iPhone.

Texts, emails, articles, research, PDFs, Tweets, Facebook, posts, status updates, recipes, directions, lyrics. In fact, I read more on my iPhone than I make phone calls. Conservatively 100 to 1.

So why couldn’t I read a 100,000 word novel on my iPhone?

Because…because…

Once I realized I’ve already read enough text on my iPhone to fill dozens and dozens of books, the argument was over.

And I read a novel.

In the mean time, I found out I’m not alone. In fact, Henrik Berggren, CEO of Readmill, recently presented his findings at a conference in Malmö, Sweden, showing that not only are mobile smart phones the most preferred book reading device in 2013, but they also keep us more engaged in our reading.

“It is not only that they are spending more time reading the books because the screen is smaller. Even taking into account screen size, smartphone users read more often, they finish more books in general, they start more books, they share more quotes, and they write more comments,” says Berggren. “This paints a very clear picture that the people that are most engaged with their books are the people who read on their phones.”

They always say that the best camera is the one you have on you. Which has quickly become the smart phone. Likewise, it would appear the that the “best reading device” is following suit.

Not there yet? Don’t worry.

You will be.

Because my analytics tell me half of my readers are viewing this on their mobile devices right now.

ch:

Freebies: TSR Banners and Wallpaper

TSR Large Rectangle 336x280

Who doesn’t like free stuff?

I thought it’d be fun to give away some desktop wallpapers, which incorporate some of my drawings from my notebooks with the book’s graphic design. The result is 5 different wallpapers that you can dress up your computer with to show your Kili-Boranna spirit.

And if you want to go a step further and tag your blog or website, you’ll also find a full range of banners (including HTML code for the true geeks among you).

Check it all out here.

If you want a wallpaper or banner that you don’t see, let me know. I might be able to make it for you.

Thanks for all your support in prepping for this book’s launch into the skies above Aria-Prime.

Fly or die,

ch:

The Sky Riders (TSR): Progress Report

jason clement writing the sky riders mac book pros
Jason Clement and I took the morning to work on our respective projects while onboard AireFire 1 yesterday. A sailboat in the beautiful 1000 Islands is about as peaceful a work environment as I can think of. While we got a lot done, we’d both confess we could have stayed longer.

I’m about 35% of the way done with the 1,200 edits logged by my Proofies on The Sky Riders (book 1). If you’re an artist of any kind, red ink can often be the bane of our existence. But don’t let it scare you. Corrections don’t point out your flaws so much as reveal the beauty of your work. With every correction I address, I can feel this manuscript getting cleaner and more effective. It’s exciting!

All edits will be done by week’s end; then it’s on to interior formatting and cover design. Target release date is Tuesday, September 10th. Stay tuned!

ch:

GHOST by Wayne Thomas Baston

GHOST cover

By dear friend Wayne Thomas Baston has just released his newest creation to the masses, GHOST. I’ve had the privilege of tracking with this story from its inception, and I’m thrilled to have been asked to help spread the word.

If you’re not familiar with Baston, this is a gripping, riveting introduction – one definitely not for the faint of heart (or weak stomached). And if you’ve been reading Baston for a long time, then be ready for something altogether new.

Thriller meets CSI meets supernatural/paranormal. That’s all I’ll say. Get it, read it, love it.

I will warn younger readers: this book might not be for you. Here’s Wayne in his own words:

For my younger readers, please note that this is a story for older readers. At the very least, age 16+ Why? It won’t be for sex and bad language––that’s a promise. And it won’t be for gratuitous violence either. I’d say the violence and bloodshed would be on par with my pirate books.

So why the audience designation? Two reasons: these books will deal with the criminal element, and some of the scenes / topics may disturb younger readers. Ghost is a special sort of investigator who will go after the worst of the worst criminals, the ones no one else can or will catch. These are villains who have literally been getting away with murder…or worse. Another reason for the change in reading audience is that these books will be on a whole new level of intensity. Seriously. We’re talking, white-knuckle, pit of your stomach, fear. There’s a point to it all as well, and hopefully a message of hope.

So without any further ado, here’s the write-up and links to the Kindle version. (Print version to follow later this summer. Stay tuned).

ch:

_____________

GHOST

“Fans of Lee Child and Jim Butcher will love this series!”
—The Underground

Protector and punisher…

Hunter and hunted…

Down-to-earth and otherworldly…

John Spector, aka GHOST, isn’t your ordinary investigator.

He carries a shiny badge, a billfold ID, and a mysterious silver suitcase. His mission? Seek the forgotten ones, the abandoned ones, the ones no one else can or will help. Visit blunt force trauma upon the world’s blackest souls and deny the devil his day by any means necessary. And never stop. Never.

For more than a decade, the “Smiling Jack” killer has been posting photos of his victims on the Web, daring anyone to catch him, daring anyone to care. But when no missing person files match and no victims are ever found, the FBI closes the case.

Years later, a digital camera washes up on shore, and GHOST finds it. Each macabre photo becomes a clue that will lead GHOST and FBI Special Agent Deanna Rezvani on the trail of one of the most diabolical killers of this world…or beyond.

“No one gets away with murder. Not for long.”

NOTE: This book is intended for mature reading audiences. The appropriate reader age is: 16+

GHOST, available now at: http://is.gd/PHqG2t

NOVEL: Ties That Bind

ties that bind
So proud of author C. J. Darlington (Twitter / Website) on the release of her latest novel with Mountainview Books entitled Ties That Bind. C. J. is a fabulous example of a young writer who is bright, works incredibly hard, and has immersed herself in the world of writing. She has built a great rapport with other writers through being a good communicator and a faithful reader; such people are true students of what it takes to make a career out of authoring good stories, and I’m thrilled for the work she’s doing.

Get your copy today!

Paperback on Amazon
Kindle on Amazon
Nook on Barnes & Noble

ch:

r

Handbook to Publishing Your Novel


I’m pleased to announce that my newest ebook, Handbook to Publishing Your Novel: A step-by-step practical guide on how I self-published my books after leaving traditional publishing, is out on Kindle. This release come with a big thanks to the continual prompting and encouragement from a slew of fans and close friends. When tweeting about it, please use the hashtag #HPYN.

While the bulk of the content of the manuscript already exists here on my site as freely accessible posts, I received a substantial amount of feedback saying people would gladly pay $0.99 (and more) for the information if it was assembled in an ebook. After many months of delays, I finally buckled down and finished it, and have kept the ebook at $0.99 because I want as many people being equipped as possible.

I already feel some of the information is out of date, and at the rate of acceleration the publishing world is in, that could be said of a product posted last month. As such, I hope the comment’s section fills up over time with questions until such point that a second edition is deemed necessary.

For those unfamiliar with the nature of this ebook, here’s the back matter:

This 10,000 word ebook is a collection of personal writings and blog posts documenting my journey through self-publishing my novels. After having my books published by two different traditional publishers, I realized that aside from having a built-in sales network, they weren’t really doing anything for me that I couldn’t do just as well, if not better. As such, I’ll cover: editing, interior design, cover design, publishing for print, publishing for ebooks, and marketing.

While some how-to books have the reputation of being obtuse, obnoxious, and providing little in the way of meaningful content, my hope here was to give simple and easy to understand tips in what it took me to get my novels online in both print and digital form. Likewise, you can keep in touch with me via my website as this ebook slowly becomes obsolete (which it will, given the nature of the advancement of digital technology). I’m just one author trying to help other authors make it on their own.

So if you’re a writer and looking for help through the process of getting your first manuscript out to the public, or if you know someone who is, I hope this little ebook is a valuable resource. Let me know what you think!

ch:

IN ADDITION: I feel it’s worth noting for the tech-savvy, would-be content creator out there, that while I emphasize the use of Adobe InDesign for layout in HPYN, this entire ebook was assembled in Microsoft Word and uploaded as a .docx file. It was painless, simple, and has a solid result. So it can be done, and pretty quickly; InDesign simply gives you more power, especially when laying out for print, thus why I lean heavily toward it.

Original Sketch of Dionia

20121203-163015.jpg

A little something noteworthy for TWLC fans:

One of my day-off projects this afternoon was that of gutting and relocating my mammoth bookshelf from one place in our bedroom to another.

The process as an adult is much the same as it was when I was a teen. But instead of my mom “forcefully requesting” me to pick everything up, or my father admonishing me with his ever-practical phrase of, “A place for everything, and everything in its place,” I have a wife who said to me, “All that right there [waving her hand], is not working.”

In other words, pick it up, you bum.

As I cleaned, I couldn’t help but sense the nostalgic emotions often associated with happening upon an old trinket from a loved one, a box stuffed with handwritten notes, or a dated birthday card from an old friend.

My favorite find of the day was happening upon my original notebook for The White Lion Chronicles. While most of the entries were about ten years old, many of the references were to even early concepts dating to 1996. My favorite page was a sketch of Dionia’s map as I first envisioned it.

It’s interesting to review names on it that were changed when I penned the manuscripts. Bor Isle would eventually become The Isle of Kirstel, while the Kaddrak Mountains would be renamed as the realm of Tontha.

But most poignant is the quote at the top of the page’s header, one heavily influenced by a concept I’d adopted from Tolkien:

I believe this wonderful world of Dionia is not something for me to create, but rather, its that the people and this culture already exist and simply need to be discovered.

Journaling about a project is nearly as important as finishing a project. Without finishing, we can not inform the souls of others; without documenting, we can not inform our own.

ch:

The Tide of Unmaking

To all our faithful Elves,

Thank you for your patience, kindness and encouragement. You have journeyed near and far with us, to lands both familiar and foreign. And now the day has come. The Tide of Unmaking is here. And we have both Ellos and you to thank for it.

It was our firm intent to release the book on the 15th as promoted, but our files were approved early. And how fitting that it’s on September 11th – which makes our mantra all-the-more-fitting…

Endurance and Victory!

KINDLE | PRINT

ch:

#tToU Release Date: 09.15.2012

20120910-221719.jpg

That’s right Elves of Berinfell! The Tide of Unmaking debut is nearly upon us, now just a few short days away. Sir Wayne and I shall be unveiling our latest creation this Thursday morning (as long as Lord Asp doesn’t find a way to put a wrinkle in our efforts), with the ebook versions following a few days behind (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad, Droid, iPhone, etc). Price points will be $14.99 for the paperback, and $2.99 for the digital editions.

As a personal favor, we’re asking all our fans to purchase directly through our CreateSpace/Amazon store here. It’s the same price and great customer service for you, and a better rate for us.

Thank you for your faithfulness to this story, and your love of the series. You’re why we write.

ch: