Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dragons In Christian Fantasy?

    A few days ago, I posted on Christians involving themselves with magic in books and writing. View that post here. Now, I want to post about dragons.

    This is a hot topic. And one that all of you are probably familiar with in some aspect or another.
    Some of you may be familiar with Bryan Davis' contemporary Christian fantasy book series, Dragons In Our Midst, followed by The Oracles of Fire, and Children of the Bard. DIOM and its off-shoots all have dragons (or dragon hybrids) as main characters. Now, some of you may be thinking that anything that has dragons in it must not be Christian, but if you've ever read the first book of the Dragons In Our Midst series, then you should have noticed that the book is explicitly a work of Christian fiction from a Christian mind.
    A little while ago, Bryan Davis himself addressed the matters of dragons in Christian Fantasy fiction. You can see that post titled In Defense of Dragons here.
    Personally, I agree with what Mr. Davis had to say in defense of dragons.
    If you pay close attention in the Bible, then you'll notice that:

1. Dragons did exist.
2. God created them.
3. If God created them, then they, like angels, could be either good or evil. (E.G. before Satan and his third of the hosts of heaven fell, they were all angels that served under God, but they then turned evil.)

    Now, just because Satan used the essence of a dragon, does that mean that all dragons are evil? No. Not in my opinion.
    Like Mr. Davis said in his post: "The Bible uses a dragon to symbolize Satan, but God also describes Leviathan as one of His greatest creatures in Job 41, and this creature is clearly a fire-breathing, scaly monster that is strikingly similar to the dragons in my stories. It seems to be used in the Bible in multiple ways."
    Not only is the dragon used to symbolize Satan, but the lion is as well (1 Peter 5:8). Does that mean that all lions are evil? Of course not! Like dragons, lions are beasts of great ferocity and majesty. Satan is also called an "angel of light", but that doesn't mean all angels of light are evil.
    To me, dragons are great beasts of power, grace and majesty, but they can also be the opposite of that.
    So, should dragons be used in Christian fantasy fiction stories? Sure! Why not? They can be used either as good dragons or bad dragons, it is up to the writer.
    I really hope that this post was helpful in either helping you to confirm to yourself where you stand on the subject, or vice versa. If you would like to read a more in-depth post on the subject then you can visit Bryan Davis' post on it here.

    This is my opinion and I do not claim in any way that it is the right opinion or that it is fact.
    As always, the comments are open for you share your own thoughts and opinions.

God bless,

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Book Cover of the Week - #6

Welcome back for my sixth Book Cover of the Week post!

And this week's winner is...

The Last Temple: Book 2 in The Last Disciple Series by Sigmund Brouwer and Hank Hanegraaff.

Why did this particular book cover win? Not because I've read it and love the book (though I really, really want to), but because it is just EPIC looking! Is it not? It promises action and adventure. If it is coaxing me to buy it, then it's doing its job!

    I really hope you enjoyed this week's BCotW!

God bless,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Black or White; No Gray Side

Today, I was involved in a debate on the Go Teen Writers Facebook page on the topic of Christians being involved in books that focus on magic, whether that is writing them or reading them.
    I haven't really expressed my opinion of this on my blog very much. But that is about to change. I will warn you, though, that this post will be very controversial, and if you would like to express your opinions, please do so in the comments below! I'd love to hear from you about this.
    First of all, I will express my opinion on it. Magic is witchcraft. No matter how you look at it, the devil created it. Some of you may be wondering now what the difference between the Starcrafters in my book and magic is. Well, it's this: Starcraft is a gift from God to a group of people.
    Satan created magic to try to ensnare people and bring them down, ultimately leading them to hell, if they continue with magic. Now, I'm not saying that by reading books such as Harry Potter, you will go to hell. Unless, of course, you let it influence you. How do you think modern-day satanists, witches, wizards, mediums, psychics, (etc...) got started? It isn't like they woke up one day and decided to become a witch. It was a gradual opening of a door in their lives that should never be opened - especially by Christians.
    Christians who read and/or write things that focus on magic or allowing an area of compromise into their lives. What happens to a chair if one of its legs is broken? What happens to a house if its foundation crumbles? The same thing that happens to us if we allow our Biblical foundation to be compromised.
    The Bible says this:

"There must not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through fire, a diviner, a soothsayer, an enchanter, a sorcerer, a spell-caster, a consulter of ghosts or spirits, or a necromancer. For whoever does these things is detestable to God, and these and because of these abominations, Adonai, your God, is driving them out ahead of you."
Deuteronomy 18:10-12

    You can see what the Bible says about magic. If you're a Christian then you MUST obey the Bible. You can't change what it says to fit what you want. The Bible isn't something that can be taken out of context at a whim. God is unchanging, and the Bible is God's Written Word.
    The way I see it, you have two options.
1. Write your story differently. Let God guide your writing and your reading lifestyle. Make the magic in your stories be not magic, but spiritual gifts from God.
2. Or, ignore what the Word says and hope that the door of compromise in your life doesn't open wide enough to allow Satan a foothold in your life.
    There's black, or there's white. There's no gray side. 
    Please, do not take offense to anything contained in this post.
    Ask yourself this question: would Jesus read Harry Potter? Would Jesus write a story that delves into the magical world?
    Feel free to leave your opinions, protests, and thoughts in the comments below. If you would like to ask me a question in private, or request prayer, or anything like that, then you can email me at join_the_starcrafters@yahoo.com.

God bless,

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Writing Inspiration

Today, I want to share with you all some of the works (books or not) that have inspired my writing of The Starcrafters' Saga, among other stories.

    Those are just some of the books that inspired my writing. (I couldn't fit my brother's box set of The Chronicles of Narnia into the picture).
    Other books that inspired the writing of various stories, including my horror Point of Darkness, are Travis Thrasher's Solitary Tales; Ted Dekker's Skin, House, Boneman's Daughters, The Paradise Novels; Eric Wilson's Jerusalem's Undead Trilogy; Jerry B. Jenkin's and Tim Lahaye's Left Behind: The Young Trib Force; Robert Liparulo's Dreamhouse Kings Series; Bryan Davis' Echoes From the Edge series; Tom Pawlik's Vanish, and Valley of the Shadow; Estevan Vega's Arson; Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games Trilogy; Veronica Roth's Divergent Trilogy.
    Those are most of the books that inspired my various writing projects.
    Tell me, in the comments, of some of the authors, books, or movies that inspire your writing, or got you to start writing?

God bless,

Friday, August 17, 2012

A New Blog Feature

If you have noticed the recent changes to my blog's layout, then I do hope that you like them. I had decided that I wanted a newer look for my blog. :)

Also, I have just put up a new blog feature, which should be interesting and helpful for all involved. My blog is now open for critiques of your writing! Go here for more information.

I am open for submissions the rest of today, until midnight tonight Pacific Standard Time.

I do hope that you enjoy this new feature and the new look.

God bless,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth - A Book Review

One choice... decides your friends...
One choice... defines your beliefs...
One choice... determines your loyalties - forever...
Once choice can transform you. 

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor the honest, Erudite the intelligent, Abnegation the selfless, Dauntless the brave, and Amity the peaceful. On an appointed day of each year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will dedicate the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

    When I went to the book store that is very near to where I am staying at (I'm on vacation), I knew exactly what I was looking for: Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I saw them on the shelves and I was excited. When I got back to my grandparents, I immediately went on Goodreads and marked it as "currently reading" and started reading it. From the first chapter, I was enthralled with the character, Beatrice "Tris" Prior, her life, the world, and everything about the book.
    I loved how, like Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games Trilogy, Tris was strong-willed, but what I loved about her over Katniss was that she wasn't afraid to be a girl either and that she had compassion and shied away from weapons or violence, though that was partly because of her upbringing in Abnegation the Selfless.
    Veronica Roth's character development of Tris and even Four (an amazing character himself) was incredible.
    Even though Divergent is in the first-person point-of-view (POV) Ms. Roth had no trouble describing the setting with eloquence and a sense of perfection.
    Tris was made a very a perfect character because of the flaws that Ms. Roth gave her.
    The plot was fantastic, its twists and turns perfectly placed.
    There is a bit of violence. A boy is stabbed in the eye with a butter knife, another boy jumps off of a ledge to his death, and there are repeated severe injuries from their training in fighting. Dozens of people die.
    There is very little language. "h*ll" is used repeatedly, but that is as far as it goes. The only other cuss word is a made up word for the members of Abnegation "Stiffs", which if you want to know what that means, then you'll have to read the book.
    When Tris is bullied she later tells Four that the bullies "touched her" and Four mistakes that for the inappropriate alternative. The bullies pull Tris' towel off, but she immediately re-covers herself with it. It is said several times that she "looks like a child" because she has "not fully filled out". One male character is man-handling her and says something to the effect of "I wonder what she has under there [her clothes]".
    I recommend this book to 13-year-olds and up.
    I thoroughly enjoyed Divergent, reading it in less that 24-hours, and am now reading Insurgent.

5 of 5 stars!
God bless,

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Raising Dragons by Bryan Davis - A Book Review


Action, adventure, inspiration as two teens meet their dragon past...

A boy learns of his dragon past; a girl has known of hers for years. They combine their faith, courage, and love to overcome an evil slayer who seeks to bring an end to dragon heritage, forever.
    The kids at school call Billy "Dragon Breath" for good reason. His breath is bad! It isn't normal, morning-mouth bad; it's hot-as-fire, "don't-you-dare-get-near-me" bad. Trouble erupts when his hot breath sets off the fire sprinklers in the boys' restroom at school, and his parents learn that they've kept their secret for too long.
    Billy finally discovers the secret. His father was once a dragon! Now that's a piece of news a guy doesn't deal with every day! Billy feels betrayed, alien, lost. When the dragon slayer traps him on a cold mountaintop in West Virginia, Billy learns to battle with weapons of steel and spirit while relying on a power he doesn't understand, a power that helps him learn to trust again.
    Bonnie, an orphan, tries to find a home, someone to lover her, even though she feels like a freak because of a body feature that she calls a deformity. But this unusual feature becomes a life-saving attribute as she discovers that her love for others and her faith in a creator hold the answers she's looking for.

    When I took the first step to reading the Dragons In Our Midst series and borrowed it from my cousin, I was slightly wary, considering I didn't have a perfect experience with the first book of his that I read, Beyond the Reflection's Edge (you can read my review here). But once I started the book, my attitude toward his writing changed. I couldn't believe the skill and grace Bryan Davis showed in managing to intertwine a Godly, Biblical message with an contemporary fantasy story about dragons and dragon hybrids! Unlike Beyond the Reflection's Edge, Raising Dragons, was in no way confusing to me. I was able to understand the entire story and I was able to put myself in the character's shoes. That is a rare trait that I hope to see more of as I continue to read Bryan Davis's works and the Dragons In Our Midst series, Oracles of Fire series, and Children of the Bard series, among others!
    No inappropriate content. No language whatsoever. There was mild gruesome content, Bonnie is beaten by the dragon slayer, "knights" are repeatedly burnt to a crisp by the dragons, Billy's head is sliced open by a sword, Bonnie's wing is injured as well as other injuries. Bonnie is manhandled by the slayer.

5 of 5 stars!
God bless,

Book Cover of the Week

It's that time again! I know I've been quite absent as of late, but I'm on vacation. I think I am entitled to a vacation. :P Just kidding. ;)
    Anyway, I just bought Divergent and Insurgent Veronica Roth and that helped me to decide this Sunday's book cover of the week. Instead of telling you, I'll just show you.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

When I saw on her [Veronica Roth's] blog the cover for Insurgent I fell in love with it, even more so when I felt the book in my hands and saw the shiny jacket and beautiful emblem and text. I can't wait to read it!

God bless,