Writing fiction in God's world

The problem with the parables is that we never know if they happened or not.

Writing things that could happen more than those that could happen at all. Fantasy is great and being realistic about what your magic system and dragons can do is important as an author. But I think there is a different kind of realism that writes a story that not only could have happened but did happen in its concepts if not its plot.

It's when the reality is suspended that we as writers get the strongest temptation to forget that God rules overall. Every square inch of the map, even ones that are drafted in fantasy and imagination. And the best way to avoid that is to write as if God is as present in Alagasia and Westeros as the dragons and their riders. 

So when it comes to contemporary stories, like the ones I write about kids in high school, I can avoid the fact that God is a character in everyone's story and write anything. Or I can write about the God in everyone's stores as if He's over everything. 

Writing fiction in God's world is like the parables we get told by Jesus. They become true enough to believe but also firmly enough in the reality of fiction to warrant exploring. Because a history of the halls of any given high school while graphic would be boring in aggregate, but a fiction based on those halls, focusing on one story and the God who reigns over it. That's where the real adventure and drama can unfold. 

Exploding Macgufins For Everyone!

First and foremost. There be spoilers for my next series The Legends Of Pyrerock ahead. I love spoilers but most people don't and I know I'm the weird one here, so watch out!

For the uninitiated, Macgufins are a literary device that acts as a sort of suspended disbelief in a novel. 

Dilithium crystals and warp drives are Star Trek's MacGuffin, and for that matter their artificial gravity. Thor's hammer is a MacGuffin. Excaliber is a MacGuffin. The Force is a MacGuffin. They hold the world together by making you believe something that isn't true or possible about the world the story takes place in. 

When I began even thinking of the Legends of Pyrerock, I knew I was going to have a MacGuffin, and it was going to be just as integral to the story itself as the character. I wanted a thing that could almost act on its own. something that would make certain people evil, and certain people, good. But most importantly I didn't want to have a Macguffin for its own sake.

Enter Pyrerock.

Pyrerock is a fictional Meteorite crystal that collects energy mostly from the sun and discharges it when struck or vibrated. Stike it too hard though and it explodes. Raw crystals are handled like the Bag of Sand and Idol that Indiana Jones held in the scene with the boulder. Also MacGuffins. Pyrerock produces an off-gas when it expels its stored energy that is light pink and smokey like the clouds during a red sunrise. This gas is much lighter than air and rises fast, giving the world the necessary technology for airships. Everyone's favourite Steampunk trope.

It also does things to people. When supercharged or heated it turns humans and other living creatures into living solar-powered monsters if they touch it. The crystal bonds with organic matter and lets the person or animal absorb energy and expel it at will. For more tension, I decided the transformation also affects the size of the subject and also gives them a narcotic-like need for sunlight or discharged crystal energy. 

We'll get into the pseudo-culture that spawns from this transformation later. 

The reason I decided on Pyrerock is that I needed a way to make steampunk believable. I love the steampunk aesthetic and setting but it's always in the category of plausible pasts or entirely fictional worlds. There are never any plausible steampunk futures. There is also a subtle inclusion of vampires and other pseudo humans as the baddies in these stories. an underlying grain of transhumanism. Of people becoming something else.

What I wanted to do was take the reason for the steampunk world and marry it to the transhumanism so prevalent in steampunk worlds, so they couldn't be separated without conflict. To take the airships and make them almost dependent on the monsters, if only or even by what made both possible. 

Then the hero couldn't just kill the monsters then. He would need to solve the problem of a world where MacGuffins are real. He would need to come to terms with the impossibility of the Macguffin in the first place and where he landed would be a place where that line between good and evil, monster and man would be stark and troubling. No idealistic ending, but no cliche conflict either. 

I hope it does the trick. 

This is the first in a long series of blog posts I hope to do on all my future books. why hoard all the un of world-building, amiright?

It's Christmas Time: What to get young writers for Christmas.

2020 has been a horrible year and as we wind down towards what might be the most disappointing socially distances and masked Christmas, I think we all should focus on the heart of the season. The giving of gifts to loved ones. 

Now some of you might have writers in your family or group of friends. Young ones too. Kids in high school who have been stuck behind a computer screen and webcam lense for the better part of a year, who might be a fledgling writer in waiting. 

Here are the 5 things to get them for Christmas to keep them on the path of future award-winning and best-selling novelist.

1: A copy of the Element of Style.

This is a non-negotiable part of being a writer, A tiny book that can be read in an afternoon, it contains the basic rules of our wacky English language and teaches people how to write good prose. I buy second-hand copies every time I see them as they are generally $5.00 or less and give them out to anyone who says they are a writer but doesn't have a copy yet. 

2: An absurd amount of their favourite Pen

Being left-handed I need to use a felt-tipped pen or they generally stop working. So it seems I am always in need of a sharpie fine point or seven. Getting your author a case of their favourite writing implement is a sentimental and practical way to keep them stocked with the tools of the trade.

3: Quite literally any notebook

Of course, your author might be picky and have a favourite brand and set up but one thing I know it's free often kills brand loyalty. Find your writer a well-made and sized notebook and they are sure to be appreciative of the sentiment. Lord knows we all have partially filled ones filling our desks and bookshelves alike. 

4: Anything off their Amazon wishlist or TBR 

Reading makes a writer better. Writers tend to read what they want to write. Amazon has delightful wishlists where your writer can show you exactly what they want to read. Low effort and maximum impact. What else could you ask for?

5: A day or two where the entirety is gifted for writing or related activities. 

This is the most meaningful option. Writers, especially ones with day jobs or classes to attend, don't have the most valuable resource to use when writing on their craft. and that is uninterrupted time. That's not just time behind the keyboard, it can be time getting inspiration or doing on-site research for settings. Gifting a writer a trip to a landmark they plan on writing about or just to a new bookstore or library than their usual can be life-changing and inspirational all in one fell swoop. Find out when and where they want to go and facilitate that need with support. It can be a car ride, bus pass, or plane ticket. Or even just the expectation that they can go without having to be home for dinner that night. To spend their time on their craft with abandon. 

Hope that helps and merry Christmas. 

Urban, Book 2 of the Moving Lives


When I started writing the Moving Lives Series I honestly thought it was just going to be one book. It wasn't even a series yet. But the ideas and plot points kept coming and before you know it I had a whole fictional world breaming with characters and stories to tell. 

Three stories came to a head and I really wanted to do them justice. Stories of what it's like to have your world changed by circumstance and choice and by God in the background. 

Like the book of Esther, these stories are raw, real and unapologetically rough around the edges. These aren't Christian books written for Christian audiences. They are books written about people in the midst of life, Christians and everyone else, with God being who God is, omnipotent, omnipresent, and often an afterthought. 

This wasn't prescriptive, but I did want to write a series that showed God from all the different angles of life. From the unchurched, churches and never churches perspectives. This is never explicit because quite often faith isn't explicit. It's implicit. And that difference often turns to cliche when trying to write good emotional fiction. 

Hopefully, at the end of each of these books, You see what I was aiming for.

Available today.


Book two of the Moving Lives Series. 

June Newsletter

So the mission for June is going to be to plant my first novel's seeds in as many Little Free Libraries and community bookshelves as I can.

Partly because I think they are wonderful as a concept. But also because I know that they are where young readers often go for books. Being an adult is nice sometimes as it lends itself to the use of a disposable income. Youth don't always have that and I want young people to read my books. 

I've found four of them so far that seem to be active, even post Covid, and hope to find more. 

In the end, this is just another distraction from actually writing, let's be honest, right?

As for writing the third book of the Moving Lives series is coming along nicely, over halfway done and the second book is slated for final edits in early August. Once done, I plan on taking a month off for some mental downtime. Then I'll be hitting November hard by writing the rough draft of next year's series for NaNoWriMo, The Legends of Pyrerock.

This will be a rewrite of the first novella I ever wrote back when I published under my real name, 

After the Moving Lives are done and I'm busy re-writing the Legends of Pyrerock 5 book series, I plan on trying a writing tips experiment on Instagram and Youtube so stay tuned. This is a bit of me testing the waters for an eventual online class for novel-writing that I'm hoping to pull together. If you follow me at all, you know I came to writing late in life. I had half a dozen jobs under my belt before I ever started blogging and was 30 years old before I knew that writing a work of fiction was even possible for anyone who wanted to. I spent most of my youth and early 20's thinking writers were these magical creatures with special story writing powers us mere mortals could never dream of having too. Man, was I wrong. One NaNoWriMo and I was hooked. So to save a potential grade eleven future Stephen King or another 20 something drywaller who should be writing crime novels, I want to gather all the tools and methods I've found and put them into a process a person could try out over a month to see if writing is for them. 

I don't know if the class will be free or a product you can buy. those details are still up in the air. ideally, I'd like to have a free component like Brandon Sanderson has in his posted lectures.

In the meantime, I have books to write, 

Get Them Words In, Writers!

Free chapter of my full length novel, Rural!!!


There is an art to a good sucker punch, and if I do say so myself, I am a third-grade macaroni sculpture in comparison to that art.
Tony Smith, however, isn’t. He’s a venerable Rembrandt of the sleazy move. One honed through his many years of repeated seventh grade and being the class asshat.
I walked out into the dark parking lot looking for Sarah and was too busy calling her name to hear the doors open and Tony step out to follow me.
The punch was preceded with a tap on my shoulder. I wasn’t expecting anyone behind me, so I spun around in the opposite direction, honestly thinking it might be Sarah. I was wrong. This only added speed to Tony’s fist hitting my gut and I doubled over from the sudden impact. My lungs emptying their breath and my knees buckling in concert, sending me to the ground.
Pure artistry to his credit.
“You know what I hate, new guy?” Tony said squaring up a few steps away from me. I couldn’t breathe or talk at this point so I’m not sure if he was waiting for an answer or being uncharacteristically rhetorical. “People sticking their nose in other people’s business.”
He wound up and kicked me in the side of the ribs. From the crawling position I was in I, didn’t see the kick coming and I swear I heard something crack in my side when his foot connected. Thank God he was wearing sneakers instead of real dress shoes to this semi-formal because it might have been the only thing that saved my ribs that night.
Tony wasn’t alone either. Two sets of hands grabbed my arms and pulled me up to face him. I wheezed out. “What are you talking about?”
“Fuck, you’re stupid for a kid who’s always studying with that nerd Sean.” He said. He began walking forward cocking his right hand back for a punch that was going to hit my face.
As he closed in, I lifted my leg up wincing with a tender set of ribs for the action but catching Tony in the face with the tip of my sneaker. He whipped his head back and grabbed his face as blood started flowing from his nose. Pro tip it doesn’t take much to make someone’s nosebleed in a fight. But then again it doesn’t really do much to them either. Just makes them mad and doesn’t help you win said fight.
His partners threw me back to the ground. I barely got my arms out to the sides of me to slow the fall and save the back of my head from the pavement. They didn’t wait though and began stomping on my chest and arms as I flailed trying to get away from their attacks. I twisted over during the barrage of shoe soles and tried to get into a fetal position to protect my head and face.
The kicks kept coming. I wondered how worrying about someone I barely knew, whom I had barely danced with, would set three guys off like this. And they weren’t stopping. Jeeze, they weren’t stopping! This was it. I was going to die, curb stomped at a crappy high school country music semi-formal dance? Of all the ways I had ever thought of going, this was not on the list and aiming for the bottom.
Then, the most satisfying sound in the universe rang out into the night and over the stomps and kicks to my rib cage and shoulders. Not a police siren or a principal’s voice from the school’s doors. It was a definitive crack of knuckles hitting a jaw and whoever was kicking me from the right-hand side collapsed like a sack of bricks clutching their face and groaning.
Jay had seen Tony and his buddies follow me out and extricated himself from the dance. He had caught the first curb stomper by surprise, the same way Tony had to me. He was laying on the ground a few feet from me clutching his face and understandably out of the fight. But Jay really didn’t need it with the second guy.
The bully swung wide as Jay dodged the punch and step too close trying to hit the farm kid, Jay then connected with an uppercut and sent the second bully to the ground as well. Tony was up now, his face a mixture of red and white from the light snow that was falling and my only contribution to the violence, his broken nose. He ran towards me hoping to get on top of me to finish his pummeling.
Jay caught him in a tackle, and they crashed into the snow beside me. I struggled to get up as they rolled around on the ground, both more acquainted to fighting than I was, frankly.
Jay being bigger managed to get on top of him, and crossed Tony’s face with a left hook further damaging his nose. Tony rolled over covering his now thoroughly bloodied face and Jay stood up and checked on the other two attackers, still writhing on the ground from his handiwork.
“I see you motherfuckers touch my Cousin one more time and you’ll be back on the ground with a set of broken noses before your lame ass posse can yell Worldstar!” Jay hollered to the writhing bodies on in the snow.
The door of the school opened, and a deep adult voice called out. “Hey!” and Jay grabbed my arm and ran me towards the parking lot.
We crossed the snowy pavement and hopped in his truck. Tearing out of the parking lot as we avoided getting properly seen or identified by Mr. Locksey and the school staff who were chaperoning.
My head was spinning from the action and Jay whooped into the cab of the truck. On an adrenaline high no doubt from successfully trashing three guys in one fight.
“What about Kylie?” I said.
“I’ll call her tonight and explain.” Jay smiled looking over his shoulder at me. “Let’s get you home and you can tell me what happened.”
We drove back to my house where the lonely light of the kitchen left on let me know that Mom was already asleep. On the way home, I told Jay the scattered facts that I knew, and we came to the stunning and rock-solid conclusion that Tony is just a jerk. With nothing better to do than pick fights at dances, I might add. I didn’t like it as a final solution to the problem but hey at least it was over.
“Good.” I thought as Jay dropped me off. The last thing I wanted to do was try to explain the fight that I honestly didn’t understand how I got into anyway to Mom.
I strained to get out of my clothes and inspected the large bruise beginning to form on my side from Tony’s kick and then crawled into bed.
As I drifted into a very painful and uncomfortable sleep, I couldn’t help but run through the scenarios of why Sarah would get scared, and why she would leave with who I assumed was Tony’s girlfriend. Also, why he would get mad at me for just asking Sarah where she was going. I didn’t hear anything or know anything. But that made me worth sucker punching with a posse of thugs for some reason. I began assembling a list I would later forget of things to ask Sarah about at school after the weekend. And drifted to sleep.

My first book as a pen name, Yay!

 This has been an incredible journey but seeing my first real novel online has been worth every late night and early morning. 

I can't wait to get working on the next book and to get my hands on the paperbacks which have been ordered this week.

The Moving Lives Series will be one of the best reads for teens just about to jump off into adulthood. I can't wait to see more of them get published and more people fall in love with the characters and stories.

Be sure to stay tuned for updates.


Coming Soon!

Comming Soon!

Peyton County High School


I wanted to write a young adult, high school, coming of age story and needed a place to do it. My inspiration for the book which turned into a series was John Green's Looking for Alaska. I have always loved the book and read it about once a year around NaNoWriMo to get me in the mood for writing. It was the soundtrack to both Rural and its sequel Urban as I wrote. In part, because it's a similar style of writing and genre but also because the world-building that John did in the book was something I wanted to try to do in mine as well. John created a fictional boarding school to work in and painted an imaginable world for Miles and Alaska to live and die in (spoiler.) That's what I attempted to do in Peyton county. 

Peyton County was the fictionalized version of my high school years all wrapped into one setting based in rural New Brunswick. It's paired with a fictional university and apartment complex in Edmonton Alberta, though many of the places mentioned in between those to points on the Canadian map.

I created Peyton as a way to fully flesh out the characters and composites of people I knew and could remember from Highschool while writing, being extra careful not to mention too much of the geography and local landmarks to actually give it away. Close friends and former alumni of my alma mater would be able to piece it together with a scant few actually knowing who they are or are part of in the books. 

Only one character is named exactly like the person in mind for that character and the chances of him reading the book are slim to none for the worst reasons, to be frank.

Here is a rough sketch of the county where Rural was set.

For the sequel, Urban, I used a similar approach and changed names and locations of popular Edmonton coffee shops and even of Grant McEwan university to give the setting for the book. While using real-life locations as well as the West Edmonton Mall and the nearby Misericordia Hospital. 

A map of that book would essentially be a map of Edmonton with highlights. I may do a walkabout one summer and get pictures of the inspiration for the locations mentioned in the book. 

Overall I wanted to let the characters tell the story in these books. I could have written the books to be set in rural Saskatchewan or back in the GTA but chose places I had either been or was living in currently to connect better emotions and expressions when having the characters react to the locations. 

Overall this was really fun. I highly recommend doing this write from your home towns perspective thing at least once.

Creating Some Worlds To Play In

One of the best things about being a fiction author is getting the chance to build a world in which you will write in. These can be anything and are only hemmed in by our imaginations. Which can be pretty rough and frayed at times. Still, world-building is fun.

What I wanted to do with my first novella was to create a steampunk world. I had always loved the pseudo victorian aesthetic of steampunk and to a lesser extent, the not-quite world war one feeling of dieselpunk too. But how to write good fantasy stories without their being a history to back it up. It's one thing for Tolkien to write about Elves in middle earth. Our minds kind of let go of the fact that the races and places he writes about don't actually exist so we can relax and enjoy the show that his words paint for us. But the victorian age was a real-time and place. Tesla was a real guy and much of what is written in steampunk is alternate history. While it's fun to imagine historical figures like Tesla and Lincoln in fantasy settings. we know at the end of the day that Lincoln didn't in fact kill vampires and Tesla was reclusive and died in obscurity.

But what we can get behind is fictional characters in real-ish world settings. the reason we believe that Bella Swan and Edward Cullen had a sparkly vampire romance, is that while the general world setting was a real one. (Earth + Vampires) We didn't know Bella like a historical figure or a celebrity is known, so we could pretend.

That's what fiction is all about, pretending. 

So I set about building some worlds to play in. 

Let's take a look at some of them. 

Guys, this is what I want to write about.

Since starting this pen name I wanted to focus on something that I thought was missing from the literary landscape of 2020 and beyond. 

When I look at the vast majority of young adult literature there is a tilt to one side that poses some questions and leaves room for what I'm hoping is an underappreciated market to write to and something that's sorely needed in today's world of books. It's a big deal to write a book that changes someone's life and without exception, there have been many that have changed mine that fit this bill but when I look at the wider picture I can't help but notice this theme and its potential importance to the culture at large.

That theme is the unambiguously and morally good, straight, male, character.

I know this is a hot take and a lot of readers and writers would take offence to this thought, but what I'm hoping to do is fix that knee-jerk reaction in the long run. 

How many male characters in YA literature are there that aren't special because of something they received that changes their fundamental abilities as a young man for the reader to consider? Let's take this all the way back to some early 2000's YA lit and talk about vampires. Excusing the fact that Edward Cullen is over 100 years old in the books, his portrayal as an angsty teenage boy comes at a cost of him being a superpowered vampire with a super-powered family. One with superhuman strength and speed and everlasting life. His counterpart for the rest of the love triangle Jacob Black is a shape-shifting werewolf with his own set of powers that made him special. Eragon from Chris Paolini's Inheritance Cycle is awash with magical powers and gifts that propel him through his journey a much as he does himself. Percy Jackson is a demigod. Harry potter is rich and magical. While I realize people don't want to read about boring dudes, something else is being overlooked here. 

Throughout the genre, there is a need to make boys something more to make them valuable to the reader. It happens to the girls too and even when we step out of the more fantastical settings of Hogwarts and the Hunger Games. But the idea of a morally good, heterosexual young man seems to grate against the rising popularity of nearly everything else. 

But I don't want to make this a post and more importantly the direction I want to take my books about what I'm against. Instead, I want to be unapologetically for this theme. To write stories that show how young men struggle, how they triumph and how they do so with the realities that confront us all. Not with Chosen one magical powers or circumstance. But a raw and real take on what it's like growing up to be a young man these days. On how to be masculine in ways that aren't toxic, including some ways which get slanderously heralded as such. To capture the emotions and motivations of a demographic that all too often gets relegated to tokenism or worse, moral ambiguity for the sake of being the base of a love triangle plot device.

Somewhere out there, there are stories that don't shrowd themselves in impossibility to tell of how young men can solve problems, fall in love, make and keep friendships, take chances, and suffer mistakes. One that doesn't give them a fantastic power to cope with the world's need for their potential greatness or if it does it shows the toll for such power and the need all the same.

Somewhere out there there are characters, begging to be put into the written word that shows healthy and probably more importantly the transition from unhealthy relationships, sexual ethic, attraction and affection.

I think that world existed at one point. One where Aragorn knew what it was to run from his crown and how to return to it. where Edmond fell for the tricks of the Witch's candy once only to stop Caspian and Peter from doing the same later. Where Sam Gribley finds his mountain, Alfred Brooks throws his first punch and Miles Halter learns that you don't mess with swans.

These things while present in today's literature seem to be partial or missing or even muted. And I don't think this is because of a preference for the views on gender or sexual orientation as if these were a bad thing. What I would never want is fewer stories out there, about any topic, simply because I don't want to or feel capable of writing from a certain perspective. What I want to do is write as clearly I can about the things that are important to me. 

Stories about young men, for young men. But perhaps not exclusively from young men on the page. 

More on that later. But at least you understand the use of commas in the title now, right?

Well Hi!

Hooray, first post.

But seriously, it's been a bit of a slog during this COVID-19 nonsense. If anyone would have told me that starting an author website while working a regular job and writing in my spare time would be this hard, I'd quit my job and just write more. 

I'm glad to finally get things rolling. Expect updates at least monthly if not weekly. For the fans from my other blog, you know who you are. Thanks for coming. 

Be sure to sign up for the email list for regular updates and release dates for any upcoming books and projects.