Tag Archives: Christian Fiction

A Crisis in Writing

Why do IEvery time I receive a one-star review, it presents me with a momentary conflict of why do I write? The latest one star commented on how the reader picked up the book because it was steampunk, enjoyed Tainted, even with the bits about God and religion, then it all went down hill with Awakened. There was too much God and preaching going on to the point where this reader couldn’t finish the book and decided to give it a 1 star.

After reading the review, I started asking myself who am I writing for? Should I have toned down Awakened, even though the very premise was about Kat realizing in the end she couldn’t heal herself, and even science couldn’t heal the condition of her soul? Should I have just kept God out and had science heal her?

Should I become a secular writer and just write really good books? I would gain more readership (and probably higher royalties).

But every time I face this conflict, I can’t shake the fact that not only do I feel called to write Christian fiction (not just be a Christian and write stories, but write God and everything about Him into my books), I want to write these kinds of stories. I love writing books about grace, about finding hope, about miracles when all seems lost. This is what burns inside my heart, what gets me excited to sit down and write every day.

I am thankful for these reviews because they make me pause and reevaluate why I’m doing what I’m doing. And every time I come back to who I am personally as a writer and remind me I’m not going to please everyone. For me, I need to write about the passions of my heart and soul. This brings me more satisfaction that a large readership, 1k 5-star reviews, and large royalty checks.

This is who I am. So these are the books I will continue to write. The stories of my heart.

Parallels between Christian Leadership and Christian Writing

I was reading an article on Christian leadership the other day and realized how many parallels there were between the key points and my own writing. So I decided to share my thoughts (and a glimpse behind the philosophy of my own writing).

Carey Nieuwhof, the author of 21 Key Learnings from Andy Stanley and the Drive Conference, will be in bold; my own thoughts in normal text.

We don’t tailor content of our services for unchurched people, but we do tailor the experience.

Same with my writing. I don’t dumb down or take out the spiritual component of my stories. But I also don’t preach. I use the medium of fiction writing to tell a story with deep questions and wonder.


People learn best in emotionally charged environments.

What is more emotional than fiction? Words engage both our hearts and our minds. They are a way to reach inside a person and touch his or her soul. That is the goal of my writing.


We leverage common experiences and emotions, not belief systems.

When I write, I am not writing a paper on why you should believe what I believe, I am writing about common experiences and emotions like betrayal, fear, longing for love and acceptance, and forgiveness.


A goal is something you accomplish. A win is something you experience.

So true! A goal is to finish the manuscript. A win is when a reader writes to me and tells me how my story impacted her life. I am in control of my goals, but I cannot control my wins. However, I love to experience a win 🙂


Public loyalty buys you private leverage. Criticize privately, praise publicly.

I am a firm believer in this. Public humiliation never helped anyone (or at least me). But someone who cares about me (and I know they care about me), have the keys to privately criticize me. I had to learn early on in my writing career who to hand those keys to, and to not let in those people who did not hold those keys. I also apply this to how I approach other writers. Praise publicly and if I have that kind of relationship, critique privately.


The loudest critics in the church are people who have become missionally disengaged. Why listen to people who are missionally disengaged give you feedback on your mission?

This goes back to my previous statement. Everyone has an opinion in this day and age and they can post it everywhere. But that doesn’t mean they have earned the right for me to listen to them. A lot of people are only out to prove a point or to be right. So why listen to people who aren’t first invested in me as a human being?


Kids begging their parents to go to church beats parents begging their kids to go to church. Invest in your family ministry environments.

Change this to people begging the author to keep writing beats author begging readers to read their books. Invest in your craft, in your genre, in your skills. But don’t forget to dream and imagine. That is what the reader wants to share with you: your wild, crazy, amazing story.

One more thought to counterbalance this: remember you are not perfect and forgive the mistakes you make (whether that is a typo, grammar, whatever). Continue to strive to be the best you can be, but remember you are human 😉


So, yeah, I always find interesting parallels between two seemingly different things. I’m weird like that 🙂 Hopefully you found some insight as well. And I would encourage you to look at the original article. Great ideas and thoughts on how Christians (and churches) can be effective and love people more.

A Time to Die Cover Reveal

What if you only had one year left to live? How would you spend it? That is the question behind Nadine Brandes’ debut novel A Time to Die. I don’t know about you guys, but that’s a great premise for what looks to be a great book! So without further ado, here is the cover…

A Time to Die

How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system. But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her clock is running out.


Nadine BrandesAbout the Author: Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She writes stories about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her debut dystopian novel, A Time to Die, releases Fall 2014 from Marcher Lord Press. When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she is out pursuing adventures. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband.

Where to find Nadine online:

Website: http://nadinebrandes.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/nadinebrandesauthor

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/nadinebrandes

Twitter: http://twitter/nadinebrandes


And don’t forget to add A Time to Die to your Goodreads tbr list! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21795840-a-time-to-die

Fantasy and Science Fiction Reads

During the month of October I have been celebrating anything and everything speculative. And it wouldn’t be complete without sharing some of my favorite books or books I am looking forward to reading. So if you are looking for a nice, cozy book to curl up with this winter, check out some of my suggestions 🙂


The RynThe Ryn by Serena Chase. The story is your typical young person finds out they are royalty, but I love how Serena puts a unique twist on this by giving Rose (who later finds out she is the Ryn, the future savior of her people) the ability to hear other people’s thoughts. That and Rose has red hair (I love red hair!). To read my complete review of The Ryn, click here. To find out more about The Ryn, click here.



In Darkness HidThe Blood of the Kings series by Jill Williamson. Another fantasy with people who can hear minds. This three book series is a two time Christy awarding series (along with multiple other awards) and just plain good. To find out more about In Darkness Hid (the first book) click here.




daugher_of_light_lgAnd of course, my own fantasy series. The Follower of the Word series centers around Rowen, a young woman who discovers a mark on her hand, a mark that allows her to see inside the human soul. There are those who are terrified of her power, and so banish her. And then there are those who wish to possess that power and search all the Lands for Rowen, the last Truthsayer. To find out more about the first book in the series, Daughter of Light, click here.



I love steampunk: the gadgets, the historical flavor, the meshing of fantasy and technology. So of course I need to add some steampunks to my list!

CrosswindCrosswind by Steve Rzasa. The Stark brothers live in a western steampunk world filled with aeroplanes and trains, and lots of adventure! Click here to find out more.




Armored HeartsArmored Hearts by Pauline Creeden and Melissa Turner Lee. When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother’s side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairy tales. Click here to find out more.




Science Fiction:
A Star Curiously SingingA Star Curiously Singing by Kerry Nietz. In the future, Earth is ruled by Sharia law. Follow Sandfly, a debugger and a slave, who goes to a space station to fix a robot for his masters, a robot that has went mad. But little does he know his life is about to change. To read my full review, click here. And to find out more about the book, click here.



Fairytale Retellings:
The Healer's ApprenticeMelanie Dickerson has written many great fairytale retellings, minus the magic. In other words, what if the story really happened hundreds of years ago in our world? I love her stories and you will to. You can start with any of them, there is no particular order. So I will point you to the first one she wrote: The Healer’s Apprentice (a retelling of Sleeping Beauty). Click here for my full review and here to find the book. Bonus! All her ebooks are currently on sale on Amazon 🙂



Medieval Mythology:
IHeartless wasn’t sure how to categorize these last books until I saw someone else label it as myth. Yes, myth, but more like celtic or some other medieval myth, not Roman or Greek. Anne Elizabeth Stengl writes some amazing stories filled with dragons, princesses, elves, and trolls. Generally, I get tired of the same fantasy trope characters, but Anne breathes fresh air into these stories. They are truly unique and some of my favorites. The first book in her Tales of Goldstone Woods is Heartless. Click here to find out more.



Just Plain Strange:

Amish Vampires in SpaceYes, that is the category I would put this book in (all puns intended). Amish Vampires in Space by Kerry Nietz is just that: Amish vampires in space. But less you think this book is a spoof, I personally know Kerry has taken the time to really flesh out the Amish culture and ask what would happen in the future with this group of people? How would they live, what would their lives be like if there was planet colonization and space travel? And the vampire part, more science than horror. Really, you need to check it out. Click here.


I wish I had more time and space to list out more of my favorite books, or books on my reading list, but then you would be sitting here reading this blog instead of out searching for your next book. So go forth, my friends, and read!

And please leave a comment and tell me what your latest favorite fantasy or science fiction is 🙂