Friday, May 31, 2013

Five Glass Slippers Writing Contest!

How would you like this to be the cover of your story?
In another year it just might be!
I am excited to announce the Five Glass Slippers Contest. For this contest, you talented writers will compete to see your short story or novella featured in this collection to be produced next year by Rooglewood Press.
Here are the rules:
The Story:
1. Your story must be based on the fairy tale "Cinderella." While you are at liberty to retell the story in all sorts of exciting and original ways, the core of the tale must be recognizable. Include as many of the classic themes as you can, though you may feel free to switch them up and surprise us!
2. Your story must be between 5,000 and 20,000 words long.
Write to me at to request a submission form. I will send you the form, which you will fill out and return to me with the submission fee of $10. Upon receiving the form and fee, I will let you know so that you may email me your story in a Microsoft Word document.
If you get several great ideas and decide to submit more than one story for consideration, you will need to fill out and send in submission forms and fees for each story.
Because I want you to have plenty of time to prepare your best work, I am giving you until December 31 to send in your manuscripts. (Feel free to send them in as soon as they are ready, however . . . so I'm not deluged all at once!)
The Winners:
I and the other editors at Rooglewood Press will read each submission and select five winners to be announced by author name and story title on March 1, 2014. Each winner will receive:
1. A $50 cash prize
2. The opportunity to work one-on-one with Rooglewood Press editors to polish and perfect the selected story.
3. An individually designed title page within the volume to match the selected story.
4. An author-bio feature within the volume with links to professional blogs and/or websites.
5. The opportunity to feature advertisements in the back of the volume for other published works of fiction.
6. A print copy of the complete book for her/his bookshelf!
The Book:
The Five Glass Slippers collection will be available in print, e-book, and (I hope!) Braille copies by June 2014. It will be for sale online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
So there you have it! I am tremendously excited to see what all of you come up with.
This is also the announcement of our new little Rooglewood Press, through which I hope to produce many fun titles from many talented authors. This Five Glass Slippers collection is only the beginning . . .
Feel free to go have a browse of our website (but remember that it's a work-in-progress!).
For you bloggers, please share the grab-button below along with the link:
And tell everyone you know about this contest! I'd like to get the word out as far as possible. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Introducing: Amanda Bradburn

I recently came across an exciting young author whose debut story looked like so much fun, I simply had to get her to feature here on the Tales of Goldstone Wood. My dear Imps, please welcome Ms. Amanda Bradburn, author of The Keepers of Elenath.

Amanda Bradburn’s love of writing began at a young age. At ten years old, she watched the Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring movie, and adored it. Her newfound passion for all things fantasy became a book, The Keepers of Elenath, published in 2009. This book was soon to turn into plans for a fantasy series in the fashion of C.S. Lewis’s masterful Chronicles of Narnia.
Full of a love of life, Amanda enjoys meeting people and getting to know her readers. She also loves to help young authors find their feet (though some would call her a young author herself) and does freelance editing by appointment on the side.
She loves travel, history, violin, and teaching the Bible to children. She also loves coffee, but then, most writers do.
Here's a little about the book itself:
Evil is stirring in Elenath. A rapid chain of events: a righteous king's murder, a dark queen's seizure of the throne, and the stirring of ancient peoples opens a new chapter in Elenath's history. Dark powers seek to control all and a bare few stand against the sinister forces. At the center of the tempest lies Gwaeron, princess of Anirum. Secrets surround her true identity, and the strange gifts she is capable of are sought after by both sides of the silent war. Another evil haunting the land of Elenath; sweeping from the northwestern wasteland to Anirum's eastern coast is the dreaded eves fornost. Hearts of human, elf, etel, and gnome will turnfor good or evil. And the worst is yet to come.
 You can check out the fun book trailer for The Keepers of Elenath! And Amanda graciously answered a bunch of questions about herself and her work, which I'm sure you'll all enjoy. And, even more fun, she's offering a copy of her debt novel as a giveaway prize! So read on, and be certain to enter your name below.



1. Would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee?

-          Sure! Let’s see… Oh, coffee, for sure. I’d love to try some Earl Grey just because, though. J As for hobbies… I love dessert, so naturally I’ve become a baker. I do some crafting and crochet, and a handful of other eclectic and random things. I love blogging and reading, and most of all I love to write and to chat with writers.
Personality . . . I’m basically a quiet person. I love to travel, but I also love to stay home and hide out and write.
2. What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller?
-          I first started writing when I was about seven; two friends and I wrote an impossible mystery after the fashion of Nancy Drew. After we drifted apart, I just kept writing. I can’t imagine life without it now!
3. Tell us a little about your debut novel, The Keepers of Elenath. How long did you work on this story? How did the idea come to you? Is it part of a bigger project?
-          I began The Keepers of Elenath when I was fourteen. About a year and half later, I finished it and began to look for a publisher. I found one, and a few weeks before my graduation from high school, I held Keepers in my hands. J
As for the idea, I’d been devouring The Lord of the Rings movies for years (and had been writing a fanfic for about three years. I’d always wanted to write fantasy, and when an idea came, I just started. The finished product doesn’t resemble the original core idea at all. *laughs*
It is part of a bigger project. My goal is for Keepers to be a seven book series by the end, but due to some differences between myself and my publishers, I’m looking for a new press (thinking about self-publishing…maybe) I have the sequel to Keepers finished (The Phantom Assassin) as w ell as about half of the third (The Lady of Hawkings Watch) and I’m SO excited about what’s next.
4. Can you pick a favorite character from this story?
-          I really like Theloq. (He’s the mentor-warrior figure) I actually didn’t know his true identity until a little while ago, when I interviewed him on my blog, but it all made sense after that! He’s a little dark, a little brooding, and a touch grouchy sometimes, but he’s just amazing. J
5. What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?
-          Music. Pinterest. A new book. The movie theater. A long chat with a writer buddy. Editing. Some Coffee. J
6. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
-          I love watching the characters become real. It’s so special when you finally connect with them and they can actually fulfill the roles you have laid out for them… and when they develop dimension. Love it.
-          Least-favorite? Rewriting. *scowls angrily* Not to be confused with editing—I love editing, even have a freelance editing business on the side. Rewriting stings, though, after you’ve gotten so far and your work shudders to a halt and you realize that you’ve made a fatal error. I’m doing that right now in a co-authored book. My coauthor and I got together and realized we’d need to scrap about half of the story line. Yuck.
7. If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be?
-Gaaah. That’s rather unfair, because I have so many and they change all the time… Tolkien is the old standby, because it’s his fault that I started to write fantasy in the first place. *laughs* But I can’t say that because I haven’t read Tolkien for a while. Hmm…. I’m going to say Cornela Funke, because I love her Mirrorworld books.
8. So what is next on your publishing horizons? Can we look forward to more in the Elenath series? Or perhaps something completely new?
-          I’m toying with the idea of self-publishing The Keepers of Elenath series, though I’m not a fan of self-publishing as a general rule. As for other works . . . *rubs hands together excitedly* My cousin/coauthor and I are releasing an ebook short story called Little Red Robin Hood at the end of this week. (As long as I can figure out the ebook process). If it does well, it’ll go into print. It’s the first of what will hopefully be an entire series of short stories about Robin Hood as a young boy. J I adore it! It’s so witty and hilarious.
9. What are you actively writing right now?
- I technically have 10 writing projects going, but 5 are in different degrees of sabbatical solitary confinement. So only 5 am I actually writing at the moment. One is a fairy-tale retelling called Imperfect, one is a future earth idea called Render Me Flawless, there’s a action/spy/dystopic novel called Duchess, a fantasy-allegory novel called Shards of Glass, and I’m always working on touching up Keepers.
10. Can you share a short snippet from The Keepers of Elenath?
- I honestly think that this was the most difficult question yet! Here’s a bit of humor. Poor Gwaeron.

Snippet from

Keepers of Elenath


“Don’t worry,” Aen whispered, sidling up to her. “We haven’t had a dragon eat an apprentice for at least a week.”
   Gwaeron gave him a weary glare as she swung open the stall door. Inside, slumbering, was a half-grown dragon, but it was still huge. Its copper-colored scales glistened as it shifted and sleepily opened its intelligent eyes.
  “Hello, Talon,” Gwaeron murmured, watching with a sinking heart as Graystaf and Aen ambled out of the dragon stable, chatting merrily. “I’m Gwaeron. How about letting me saddle you?”
  The dragon gave her a glare filled with contempt and settled back down to sleep.
  “See here, dragon, I don’t really want to be doing this either, but the sooner you cooperate, the sooner you will be able to go back to sleep.” Gwaeron grabbed one of the strange flaps on the saddle and lugged it to the door. “Please don’t be stubborn, Talon.”
  With a snort, the dragon turned his back toward her, his tail smashing her in the ribs and sending her flying against the wall in a cloud of straw. With a groan, Gwaeron picked herself up and sighed.
This was not going to be easy.

Thank you, Amanda! What a fun an intriguing little slice of adventure!

You readers can learn more about Amanda via her blog: The Ink-Made Maiden. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

And now, the giveaway! Be certain to enter your information and share about Amanda's work. And, if you are the lucky winner, reviews are always welcome by novelists!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 20, 2013

Introducing: Regina Doman

Dear Imps, I am very pleased today to introduce an author who has been a favorite for some time now. I first encountered her work when I was fifteen and I happened upon a certain book called Snow White and Rose Red: A Modern Fairy Tale.

Intrigued, I requested it for a birthday present . . . and when it came, I stayed up all night reading it! I absolutely loved how this talented author could take a beloved fairy tale, set it in modern day New York, remove all traces of magic and yet . . . and yet it remained magical, somehow!

Regina Doman was an instant hit for me.

A few years later, after that first novel was renamed Shadow of the Bear, I discovered two sequels, Black as Night and Waking Rose, which I also enjoyed. Since then, Ms. Doman has written several more books in her Fairy Tale series. She has gracious agreed to visit the Goldstone Wood blog and tell us about her stories, her writing, and her newest release, Rapunzel Let Down. I hope you will enjoy meeting this talented author.

First, the official write-up:

Regina Doman is a Catholic wife, mother, author and editor. Currently she runs her own company, Chesterton Press, which publishes and distributes quality Catholic fiction.  When she worked as the editor of Sophia Institute Press' fiction line,  Rachel's Contrition became a #1 Best Seller in Amazon's Women's Fiction category, and winner of the 2011 Catholic Arts and Letters Award for best adult fiction. As an author, she has written the Fairy Tale Novels, a series of books for teens and adults that places fairy tales in modern settings with Christian themes interwoven. The fifth book in that series, Alex O'Donnell and the 40 Cyber Thieves, won the 2011 Catholic Arts and Letters Award for best young adult fiction. Her only picture book Angel in the Waters has sold over 120,000 copies. Regina and her husband Andrew live in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley with their children. To the question, “How do you manage to get it all done?” Regina responds, “What makes you think I get it all done?”

 Welcome, Regina! I am so pleased to have you visiting today. Would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee?
Regina: Tea, definitely, caffeinated or herbal, and always in a teapot!  Hobbies include watching my kids, listening to my husband talk about our farm, and sewing and dyeing stuff. I can sew clothes fairly well, but many times if I want a new outfit quickly, I just dye something I already own a new color. Currently working on a batch of teal blue for the summer wardrobe. Hope it turns out okay. is my go-to place for dye stuff, and they have yummy silk scarves.
What let you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller?
Regina: Oh, yes, as soon as I learned to write I started telling stories. My parents are quite eloquent in their remembrances of that fact.
Please tell us a little about your business, Chesterton Press. What led you to start that company?
Regina: Necessity. I needed to self-publish the sequel to my first two books, and I couldn’t find a Catholic company willing to publish them, so I did them myself. We officially became a publishing company when we took over a series that we had developed for Sophia Institute Press, John Paul 2 High, in 2011 (check out  We are an odd company in that we don’t accept submissions from outside authors (so sorry, everyone!) but mainly focus on developing new series that we start ourselves, working with authors we already know.  So I can’t look at your existing manuscript, but if you came to me and said, “I’m a talented and passionate writer and I’m willing to write something, anything,” I might just find a project for you.  But you’d have to be a really good writer, excellent about meeting deadlines, willing to work with odd editors, etc.
I remember the first time I read Shadow of the Bear, I was impressed by your obvious love of the classics and how you incorporated that love into your work. In your opinion, how important is reading to the life of a novelist?
Regina: Actually, that’s hard to say. I’m a television major, and my orientation is towards theatre and screenplays, so I’m kind of atypical for a novelist. I actually haven’t read most of the classics (though I am well-acquainted with the canon of Western theatrical literature, thanks to a great formation at Franciscan University).  And today I don’t read much fiction, though I do read a lot of nonfiction, particularly history and politics. However, I do love poetry of almost any kind – European, American, classical, modern—and it’s true that I have incorporated a lot of that into my books.   There’s a real overlap between poetry and the theatre, so perhaps that’s where I get it from?  If pressed, I would say that I think writing traditional metrical poetry is a good exercise for any writer, particularly writers of fantasy, because it trains you to have a good command of the English language. During college, I had a hard time writing fiction, but I started writing terzanelles – this very tricky metrical form, and I ended up writing at least a hundred of them by graduation, in my spare time.  Looking back, I think that really expanded and enriched my vocabulary, and made me aware of the sound of language in a way that nothing else did.  Of course, studying the performance of Shakespeare probably helped too.
Tell us a little about your newest novel, Rapunzel Let Down. How long have you been developing this idea? How did the writing of it compared to your previous work: more difficult, easier, about the same?
Regina: This is a very different novel from my earlier novels, and I actually have it labeled as adult fiction. It’s really for older fans of the Fairy Tale Novels, college age or above.  While all the books deal with moral darkness such as date rape or struggling with same-sex attraction, the earlier books did so ambiguously and subtly.  Rapunzel Let Down is different. This story, like the fairy tale that inspired it, is a cautionary tale against premarital sex. It’s hard to do a story like that ambiguously!  So I’ve been trying to put out the word that this is not a book for homeschooled fifteen-year-olds! It’s a book for parents and for older teens, or really for any teen who’s already learned the sad state of sexuality in this day and age and who is looking for answers and hope.
The story is about a prince who fails: who falls from grace. Instead of rescuing the maiden in the tower from the witch who imprisoned her, he kind of takes advantage of the situation. In the earliest versions of the story, the prince gets her pregnant.  I’ve read versions today that say the prince “married her right then and there in the tower.”  But marriage really is meant to be a public act, and if they were married, then why didn’t he bring her home with him?  The sad and unspoken answer is that the prince just finds the whole situation too convenient: no responsibilities, no need to explain to his parents why he’d like to marry a peasant girl imprisoned in a tower.
Rapunzel finally starts to suggest that she make a flaxen ladder with which he can get her down, and he never brings up the fact that he could easily get ladders, flaxen or otherwise, from the palace that he returns to every morning. But he never mentions it. Thus the prince is severely punished for his taking advantage of the peasant maiden Rapunzel. The witch traps him and he falls from the tower and is blinded.  Rapunzel wanders in the wilderness and gives birth to twin babies, which makes it clear what the nature of their relationship was.  The blinded prince becomes a miserable beggar in the wilderness, until one day he hears Rapunzel singing and goes to her. Then the true magic of the fairy tale becomes manifest: she weeps over him and forgives him, and through forgiveness, his sight is restored. Then “he is no longer lost” but recognizes that he is near to his own kingdom. He takes Rapunzel by the hand and leads her and their children to his father’s house, where he marries her and makes her his queen.  Forgiveness is the key to the happy ending, and the key to the conundrum of men and women, and the messiness of our relationships.  I feel this old tale has a lot to teach us today, and I could not resist telling this story in full.
 One really neat thing about this book is that for the first time, I’ve really been hearing from male readers. They’ve said they find the book extremely true-to-life, and very moving.  And one of my friends after finishing it exclaimed, “My seventeen year old son needs to read this book!”
Who is your favorite character in this newest novel and why?
Regina: This book is really a guy’s story, since it’s the prince who falls and who has the most lessons to learn.  My “prince” is Herman McCaffrey, nicknamed Hermes, who’s the son of a conservative Catholic pro-life senator.  Hermes has a good upbringing, but he kind of takes his faith for granted.  He falls for Raphaela, a girl who’s been raised by an isolated and very reclusive scientist, who happens to be a hardcore feminist.  Their secret summer romance (yes, in a tower!) leads to his fall.
Hermes is “all boy” with a robustly masculine Irish romantic imagination.  He’s sensitive to beauty, but he’s still growing, still immature in a lot of areas. He’s also very much a risk-taker with a good dose of pure Irish luck. But as he observes, when his luck runs out, it really runs out.
He was my first very sanguine hero, who is “not a serious guy, not by a long shot,” but who yearns to be a hero.  He was very interesting to write because he’s very transparent: his struggles were very obvious.  Also, he thinks on his feet and makes quick decisions, sometimes quite unexpected ones.  I love the way his character is transformed.  That’s all I can say without giving spoilers.
What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?
Regina: I’m finding I need solitude more and more, and that’s hard to come by these days, with three teens of my own and four little ones.  They need me too.  So it’s hard to find the sacrificial time it takes to write a novel.  That’s one reason why I’ve slowed down. I wrote most of the Fairy Tale Novels when my children were young and went to bed around 8 PM.  Now, it’s not so easy.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
Regina: Least favorite: the murky middle.  It’s really hard to push through and finish the first draft.  And it’s really hard to do a rewrite when you’re stuck. 
Most favorite: usually writing the climax of the book. I plan out the climax at the very beginning stages and it’s usually the part of the book I am the most clear on.  In fact, I usually can’t write the book without knowing the climax. I used to write it first, but now I force myself to wait until I’ve written the rest of the book. But by the time I write it, I’ve lived it in my mind so many times that it’s really satisfying to put it down on paper.  It’s my reward for finishing the book.

If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be?

Regina: C.S. Lewis. That Hideous Strength is my favorite novel.  That’s the short answer, since you forced me. J

So what is next on your publishing horizons? Can we look forward to more fairy tale retellings from Chesterton Press?

Regina: In a couple of years!  This is the last fairy tale I have completely finished: I wrote it in 2004, around the same time I was finishing writing Waking Rose and The Midnight Dancers. It will probably take me a while to write another one.  There are others, but they are much less finished.  In the meantime, I’d love it if readers checked out the other series we are developing and publishing such as John Paul 2 High, Catholic Philosopher Chick and the upcoming Ruah Chronicles. Find out about all these at and at our Facebook page.

Personally, I’d really like to start writing  a completely new series that I’ve been working for a while, but for that, I need time.  Fortunately, my teenagers love my books, including Rapunzel Let Down, just as much as the rest of you do, so that makes it easier.

Can you share a short snippet from Rapunzel Let Down?

Regina: Sure. As I said, this is a book for older readers, and there’s a lot of it that’s just not appropriate for all ages. But I think this is a section that is more appropriate, and may touch many readers.  It may perhaps help you understand why I chose to tell this story.


Thank you so much for being here today, Regina!
And Imps, I encourage you to give Shadow of the Bear a try. I really loved it, and I bet you will too! As for Rapunzel Let Down, some of you readers will love it as well, but Regina has kindly included this caution for her cautionary tale. Please do read it before deciding whether or not the newest Fairy Tale is for you!
About Rapunzel Let Down
A Cautionary Tale that needs a Caution for the Reader
I have received some questions asking why I am saying that Rapunzel Let Down is a heavier and harsher book than the other books in the series. In some ways, it's so very different from the other books that I seriously contemplated releasing it as a different series altogether.  However, it is still a Fairy Tale Novel, told in the same manner as the others, part of the same universe and involving some of the same characters. 
However, it is clearly a book for older readers of the Fairy Tale Novels, and I am happy that there are now so many of them who are ready for a book like this one. Although I wrote this book in 2004, I am only publishing it now, because I feel many of the fans have grown up and are facing deeper and darker questions about human relationships and the problems of human sexuality. This is a book for them.
I will try to inform you of the contents of this book without giving away the story. Please forgive the abstract and ponderous and somewhat allegorical language as I attempt to do so.  The story is hopefully not as didactic as it may sound below.
This book presumes that the reader has already become acquainted with the sad state of human sexuality, and knows something of the sorrows and the burdens of the loss of innocence, and the banal sexual depravity that taints so much of our lives. This is a book for readers who are searching earnestly for answers to those problems, even subconsciously, and who need hope.
What does this have to do with the fairy tale Rapunzel? Everything.
Rapunzel Let Down is the story of a young couple in love who falls from grace and innocence into mortal sin, which lacerates and divides them, seemingly forever. Consequences of their actions deal them a stunning blow that plunges both of them into suffering and drives them forward on a dark and lonely journey. Each seeks to escape that wound, and along the way each encounters cunning and dangerous dragons who promise to solve their problems, the problems of human sexuality.
The dragons come out in their full colors in this book: prostitution, pornography, forced abortion, rape, lesbianism, homosexuality, child molestation, and vicious hatred of the other sex all make an appearance. Characters speak openly about sexual aberrations using blunt and profane language. While very little is graphically shown, many things are frankly discussed as possible solutions to the problem of man and woman, and their genius for wounding one another.
As an author, I usually try my best to use veiled language to convey harsher topics. In my previous books I was able to touch on some of the above subjects obliquely. But when I set out to write this book, I realized I was writing for a different audience entirely.
This book is not for readers who are innocent of the above dragons. Parents, please do not allow me to initiate your child into these particular evils! I have never had a desire to be edgy in order to be cool, to push the envelope, or to give a tour of secret sins, even to warn against them. If your sons or daughters are innocent of any or all of the above topics, please don't let them read this story.  Read it yourself and judge when they will be ready for it.
But if your sons and daughters have already seen the dismal state of the human condition, if they are sad and struggling, if they are questioning and angry, then this is a good book for them. I hope to give some answers and some hope.
You see, my purpose is not to inform readers of these evils: I'm telling this tale for those of us who are already sick at heart over them. The only reason I'm offering to walk readers through this dark valley is to show them the passionate glory of the heights and mountains that lie beyond it. There is something of the epic about this tale, and perhaps that's why I felt that for once, the dragons had to be shown in their true size and shape.
Some stories just come along, seize the author by the throat, and demand to be written. Rapunzel Let Down was one of those tales. It was a terrifying roller-coaster of a book to write, and I hope it will be to read. And I would be grateful beyond words if it helps readers of either sex find healing, forgiveness, and courage in their relationship with one another.
Asking for your prayers, I remain
Regina Doman

Friday, May 17, 2013

Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #24


Welcome to the 2013 Summer Scavenger Hunt! (Beginning noon, Mountain Daylight time and not before.) This hunt has 32 stops and runs 5/17-5/19/13. You can make the loop, reading unique content from 31 different authors, and if you complete the loop, and fill out the Rafflecopter form at Stop #32, you'll be in the running for an iPad Mini (loaded with all our books), or one of two runner-up prizes---all 31 of our new releases in paperback. In addition, some authors are offering additional prizes, so be sure to read each post thoroughly to be in the running for all that are available. The contest is open internationally.
If you've JUST discovered the hunt, I recommend you begin at the beginning, Stop #1, found at But you can also begin here, and keep on going. Just be aware that you have to have the COMPLETED phrase in order, which you construct gathering the clue at each stop, within 24 hours of email notification from Lisa Bergren that you won. If Lisa doesn't hear back from you with the correct phrase within the time limit, she will move on to the next winner Rafflecopter draws.

 Ready? Here we go . . .

Introducing: John W. Otte

I am excited to host John W. Otte, an author of YA "weird stuff," otherwise known as Speculative Fiction! His debut novel, Failstate, combines reality TV and superheroes.

Didn't see that one coming, did ya?

But, seriously, how much fun is that? Mr. Otte is garnering notice for his clever, humorous, suspenseful writing, and his debut novel has even been nominated for the prestigious Christy Award (YA Fiction category). So you know you want to check out his work. Or, if YA is not  your genre, think of the young people in your life who would love this story of an unlikely hero in an outrageous circumstance. (Personally, I'm a YA fanatic, so this story is right up my avenue!)

Here's a little more about John Otte:

John W. Otte leads a double life. By day, he’s a Lutheran minister. He graduated from Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a theatre major and then from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. By night, he writes weird stories. He lives in South St. Paul, Minnesota, with his wife and two sons.

Today, John Otte is going to talk to us about superpowers. It's a great piece, and I hope you'll enjoy it. So allow me to present to you:


By: John Otte

In Hebrews 11, we have a list of heroes of the faith. Well, I got to thinking. Heroes usually have superpowers, right? I mean, except for Batman and Iron Man (unless you count stacks and stacks of money). And yet, if you know where to look, there are a lot of what could be called superpowers in the Bible. I did some digging and found what I think are five superpowers that come straight out of the Bible:

5) Super Strength – This one is the obvious one. If you’re building a superhero, you’re probably going to reach for superior strength. Just think of all the heroes who boast this power: Superman, the Hulk, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, Colossus,  or Power Girl. I could keep going. When I was creating heroes for my first novel, Failstate, you’d better believe I gave one of them super strength.
And if you’re thinking superpowers in the Bible, this is the one that you probably thought of first because of Samson. He of the perpetual Nazirite vow, empowered by God to take on evildoers and smite them, especially when he brought down the house on the Philistines in Judges 16:23-30. When people think Biblical superhero, their first thought is usually this guy. Hence why he’s here.

4) Teleportation – If you’re familiar with Nightcrawler from the X-Men, you know he’s hard to keep in one place. Nightcrawler has the special ability to teleport himself instantly from one spot to another, disappearing in a cloud of smoke only to reappear somewhere else almost instantly. Believe it or not, someone in the Bible beat Nightcrawler to that by two thousand years, namely the evangelist Philip.

We usually remember Philip for the story of the Ethiopian eunuch, how he happened to be in the right place at the right time to share his faith. But then, at the end of the story, Philip just vanishes from the Ethiopian’s chariot, only to reappear in Azotus (Acts 8:39-40). I can’t help but wonder if he made a “BAMF” sound when he did.

3) Heavenly Fire – One of the most memorable comic book fights I’ve seen was between Superman and Captain Marvel  in the epic “Kingdom Come.” The two of them were pretty evenly matched in terms of strength with Superman eking out a small advantage. And yet, Captain Marvel was able to level the playing field with the one power he has that Supes doesn’t. He can summon lightning, a devastating assault that almost let him win.  It’s the same reason why Thor was such an important part of the Avengers. Both can call fire from heaven.

And that’s what we see the Old Testament prophet Elijah do on more than one occasion.  When he faces off against the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel or he’s dealing with King Ahaziah’s men (2 Kings 2:9-16), he too can call power out of the heavens to deal with his foes.

2) Cognitive Abilities – This is an umbrella terms for fancy mental powers. Think Professor X, who can read minds. Or Isaac Mendez from NBC’s “Heroes,” who could paint the future. I even made sure to include a few heroes like this in my stories, like Veritas, who can see the truth in any situation.

We see the same sorts of abilities in folks throughout the Bible. Joseph, for example, could interpret dreams. Ezekiel, Daniel, and John were given strange visions. And countless prophets foretold the future (although, technically, it’s more accurate to say they “forth-told” the Word of God and revealed one possible future if God’s people didn’t repent. But that’s getting nit-picky). It’s hard to pick just one example.

1) The special gifts he gives us! That’s right, folks. God doesn’t just give special abilities to a select few. God gives all of us special gifts and abilities by the Holy Spirit for the greater good (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).

Now that may seem daunting, but let’s remember an important detail: God doesn’t call the perfect. Those men and women listed in God’s “hall of fame” in Hebrews 11 aren’t there because of how awesome they are. They were all messed up people. No, what made them heroes was God and His grace, the same grace He shows us through His Son.

So maybe you don’t have super strength or the ability to teleport from point A to point B. But God has given you some pretty cool powers to use for His glory.

John Otte's new release, Failstate: Legends, continues the coming-of-age trials of young hero Failstate (aka Robin Laughlin) as he faces the trials common to teenagers--girls, sibling rivalry, friendship issues, zombie apocalypse--all the while coming to grips with his new role as a licensed superhero and a superpower that is acting a little . . . strange . . . .

Will Failstate survive to become a true legend among heroes?

You should pick up the book and find out. (And pick up the first one if you haven't read it yet!)

Failstate: Legends is available at bookstores or online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christian Book Distributors.


Write down this clue: THINK

Have it written down? Great! Now head on over to John Otte's blog, stop #25 for your next clue.

Godspeed, scavenger hunters!


Or, before you move on, take a moment to add your name to this extra raffle.

I am offering an exciting giveaway: signed copies of the first FOUR novels in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, and Starflower! If you'd like a chance to win this four-in-one grand prize, simply follow the instructions below. (This bonus giveaway is a US giveaway only.)" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mark Your Calendars for a Scavenger Hunt!

Are you ready for some fun this month?
Lisa Tawn Bergren is hosting an epic scavenger hunt (in which I am participating) with the chance to win a fabulous grand prize! Here are the details:
If you make the loop around all 31 blog stops, you’ll be in the running to win:

GRAND PRIZE: An iPad Mini loaded with all of our new e-releases! (Estimated Value: Over $700; if you live outside the United States, you will receive the equivalent value in your country’s currency to the USD prize, to be used on Apple, Amazon, Book Depository, or Christian Book Distributors.)

TWO RUNNERS-UP: A paperback copy of each of our new releases, autographed to you! (Estimated Value: Over $300; if you live outside the United States, you will receive a copy of our books, but they will likely not be signed–sorry! International shipping is expensive, and we’ll be shipping via Book Depository.)

IN ADDITION: Many authors will feature additional contests along the scavenger hunt route!

Here are the 31 authors participating in May (I'm there, down at the very bottom!):
  1. Lisa T. Bergren, Grave Consequences
  2. Robin Lee Hatcher, A Bride for All Seasons
  3. Ronie Kendig, Talon
  4. Ruth Axtell, Moonlight Masquerade
  5. Stephanie Grace Whitson, The Message on the Quilt
  6. Tracy Higley, So Shines the Night
  7. Marta Perry, Lydia’s Hope
  8. Jill Williamson, Captives
  9. Margaret Daley, Scorned Justice
  10. MaryLu Tyndall, Forsaken Dreams
  11. R.J. Larson, King
  12. Susan Sleeman, No Way Out
  13. Deborah Raney, The Face of the Earth
  14. Winnie Griggs, The Bride Next Door
  15. Sandra Robbins, Mountain Homecoming
  16. Julie Lessman, Love at Any Cost
  17. Leslie Gould, Adoring Addie
  18. Vickie McDonough, Whispers on the Prairie
  19. Carol Cox, Trouble in Store
  20. Rachel Hauck, Once Upon a Prince
  21. Terri Blackstock, Truth Stained Lies
  22. Louise M. Gouge, A Lady of Quality
  23. Missy Tippens, Georgia Sweethearts
  24. Richard Mabry, Stress Test
  25. Lynette Eason, When a Secret Kills
  26. Patricia Hickman, Tiny Dancer
  27. Lorna Seilstad, When Love Calls
  28. Colleen Coble, Rosemary Cottage
  29. Maureen Lang, All in Good Time
  30. John Otte, Failstate: Legends
  31. Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Dragonwitch
To take part in the hunt, you’ll begin here, on Lisa T. Bergren's site, on May 17 at noon or later that weekend, and loop through each successive blog or site, and finish on the same site too, by May 20. There is no race—you can complete it at your leisure, through the weekend. So mark your calendars to stop by here again the weekend of May 17! YOU could win one amazing prize!
Don't believe me? Take a look at all these pretties!

So seriously, friends and imps, mark it in red on your calendar and be sure to join this fun romp!