Tag Archives: writing

Aachen, a Coming of Age Novel Set in Medieval Europe

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My historical fiction novel Aachen is finally available for purchase in either trade paperback or Kindle. It will be exclusively Amazon for the next 90 days, after which I will make it available on Nook, iPad and other outlets.

Check out the “Look Inside” feature or download the first couple of chapters free on your Kindle, and tell me what you think! If you do like it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon.
I hope you enjoy it!

The life of an 8th century peasant is, as they say, “nasty, brutish, and short”.

Young Stephen of Orlans, though indentured and in poverty, has been raised from childhood to want something different. He longs to be a man of learning and dreams of studying at Charlemagne’s famed Palace School at Aachen.

After returning from a traumatic campaign, Stephen has the chance to attain his dream. But how can he take monastic vows when the sins of war have shattered his faith in God? And how can he leave Orlans when he is falling in love with a beautiful milkmaid with a scandalous reputation?

In the 8th century, scandal and betrayal are concealed by the thinnest of veils, and the path to reaching your dreams may be the most treacherous path of all. In his quest for redemption, Stephen will be forced to make decisions he will likely soon regret.

Decisions he will have to live with forever.

Back Cover Blurb for my Novel: What Do You Think?

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The Cathedral at Aachen

I’m deep into the process of having a cover done for my historical fiction novel Aachen, and I need a blurb. I would love to get your feedback!

Here’s the best blurb I’ve come up with so far:

The life of an 8th century peasant is,  as they say, “nasty, brutish, and short”.

Young Stephen of Orlans, though indentured and in poverty, has been raised from childhood to want something different. He longs to be a man of learning and dreams of studying at Charlemagne’s famed Palace School at Aachen.

After returning from a traumatic campaign, Stephen has the chance to attain his dream. But how can he take monastic vows when the sins of war have shattered his faith in God? And how can he leave Orlans when he is falling in love with a beautiful milkmaid with a scandalous reputation?

In the 8th century, scandal and betrayal are concealed by the thinnest of veils, and the path to reaching your dreams may be the most treacherous path of all. In his quest for redemption, Stephen will be forced to make decisions he will likely soon regret.

Decisions he will have to live with forever.

Stay tuned. I’ll be soon posting a poll on the top 5 designs from my book cover contest at 99designs.com!

Thanks for the feedback!

I’m Writing a Novel ?!?

Yes, I’m writing a novel, and that effort is telling me a lot about my faith and family life.

I wrote a novel once before. It took me 6 years to write, spans about 450 pages, and still sits in a file on my computer, untouched now for more years than I’d like to acknowledge. I’ve been told that it’s good, and I am finally doing the hard work to clean it up for publication, but my point is this: my novel is like the light under the bushel basket. Regardless of its merits, the book is no good to anyone sitting on the hard drive of my computer. For anything to be of value, it has to be shared.

Here’s the other thing: I wrote that book the way I cared for my spiritual life at the time, in fits and starts. I would set aside a Saturday and work feverishly for four or five hours and make tons of progress. Then I would let it sit for weeks, revisit it, and decided I needed to rewrite what I had done. As a result, progress was achingly slow. In the same way, I would pray. Sometimes. Some days I would forget to pray. Some days I would put it off. I would start a spiritual book, but never finish it. I would read scripture, and then I would put it down and not pick it back up again.

Now? I am writing every day in short bursts, two to four pages per day. It’s not a huge amount, but it is daily progress that adds up quickly. Shockingly quickly.

Another difference between then and now is that then, I fit the writing time around my otherwise worldly schedule. I couldn’t miss my TV time. After all, Xena Warrior Princess, or Star Trek might be on. I couldn’t sacrifice my football viewing or my other hobbies. I couldn’t sacrifice anything. I fit it in during weekends where I didn’t have much else to do, and so it dragged on, and I thought I would never finish.

With four kids, I no longer have time where there is not much else to do. My days are packed from waking to sleeping. And so I sacrifice. Each night, after the kids and my loving wife are sound asleep, I sit up for a half an hour or an hour, getting my time in. And I make progress.

That’s how a spiritual life should be too, making sacrifices to grow spiritually. We have to spend the time every day in prayer and in scripture and in spiritual reading. We have to sacrifice our other activities to make that happen every day. We have to take time at mealtime to say grace. We have to take time before we start a task to pray and offer it to God. We have to take time to start and end our day in prayer, especially in union with our family.

And then we have to take the fruits of our spiritual life, the graces we receive, and we have to share those with the world around us. We have to get that light out from under the bushel basket, just as I have to get that book off my hard drive.