A New Review, a New Interview

I love my friends. And my fellow-writers are some of the bestest!

Yesterday, Janet Sketchley posted a review of my new release, The Story in the Stars, on her blog. After reading it, I’ve decided I need to ask Janet to write the blurb for my next book, because she did a fabulous job summarizing the story line. She said it way better than I could myself!

Thanks, Janet, for your lovely review!

And today, Tessa Stockton shares her interview of me on her gorgeous blog, Pressing Through. Tessa and I have the same publisher, and her debut novel, The Unforgiveable, is amazing and memorable. If you haven’t already read my review, check it out. Thanks, Tessa!

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City of Prophecy (Forgotten Kingdom series)

Peter Dudek. Mild-mannered software developer by day, self-published speculative novelist by night. And lunch hours.

I recently read the books he’s published, and reviewed the first in my previous post.

The second book is City of Prophecy. The first in the Christian Speculative Fiction series, Forgotten Kingdom, it’s currently the only one of the series yet released for sale.

City of Prophecy
(Forgotten Kingdom series)
by Peter Dudek
Publisher: Carnation City Press
Kindle File Size: 516 KB
Hardcover: 316 pages
ISBN-10: 0615232019
ISBN-13: 978-0615232010

Arvalast is a mythical realm ruled by a good king who is strangely absent. He appoints governors to rule the various cities and regions of the land on his behalf. In the hands of the king’s loyal subjects, small phials of light called illumina give these towns protection and direction.

Wrathar, ruler of the southern land of Shieth, wants Arvalast for his own. Using the force and intrigues of his powerful servants, he corrupts the people in Arvalast that are loyal to the king. His minions carry a crimson light instead of the white light of the king’s illumina.

A prophecy speaks of three warriors of light whose coming will presage the downfall of Wrathar. After Wrathar learns of this prophecy, he tries to complete his takeover of Arvalast and kill the king before the prophecy can come true.

That’s the backstory. The story itself involves three teenaged boys from the city of Woodend in Arvalast’s Northern Forest. They, along with most of the townspeople, are at first unaware of the terrible happenings to the south. About the time they begin to hear strange rumors of horrible events along the forest roads, mysterious men from the north come into town, claiming to be heralds of the king. These heralds warn that the city is in danger, and that the threat comes from within its own walls.

Though the author says he didn’t intend it to be, the story is clearly an allegory — but that’s not a bad thing! The illustration it provides is scripturally faithful, and the tale is engaging. The book is billed as being for adults. However, with the main characters being teens, and considering the simple, light writing style, it seems more like a Young Adult story.

And that’s good, too. It’s all G-rated, and I seriously doubt a kid would find it boring. There’s plenty of action, weird and creepy people as well as nice ones, puzzles to unravel, and even a cute girl or two. What’s not to like?

It all works together nicely, weaving a tale that portrays some pretty important truth. The only problem I can see is… it doesn’t resolve! It appears that this story, in the fashion of Lord of the Rings, is only complete when you read all three books.

So bring on the rest of them, Peter!




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Bugs, Bullies & Baseball Cards

Peter Dudek. Mild-mannered software developer by day, self-published Christian speculative novelist by night. (And lunch hours.)

I recently read the books he’s published. I’ll review both today, but will put them in separate posts.

First (listed in the order I read them), a Young Adult e-book. I’ll review the other in my next post.

Bugs, Bullies & Baseball Cards
by Peter Dudek
Publisher: Carnation City Press (April 22, 2011)
File size: 54 KB

Just before five-year-old Ryan’s grandma dies, she gives him a special notebook that had belonged to his Grandpa Bob. The notebook is full of Bible verses, and she tells him it will help him when he has to a decision to make. Because of whose notebook it was, Ryan names it Bob.

In addition to his grandma, whom he misses very much, Ryan also likes baseball cards; and his parents help him build his collection as a way to take his mind off his grandma’s passing.

One day he has a run-in with the neighborhood bully, Vince. A local store had a raffle, with a fantastic collection of baseball cards as the prize. Ryan enters the drawing, confident those cards will be his, but Vince won. And he wasn’t very gracious about it.

For the next few years, Ryan tries to get his revenge on Vince any way he can, but all his plans backfire; and usually, that notebook, Bob, has something to do with it.

This book is easy reading and fun. I laughed aloud a couple of times, and smiled almost all the way through it. I would think any kid would enjoy this book, and I can’t imagine any parent objecting to it. It’s good, clean fun with a kid-appropriate and non-preachy message. But if your son reads it, don’t be shocked if you see him taste-testing bugs afterward.

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Interview on Novel Journey

Here’s a picture of hubby (in the blue shirt) with son-in-law Scott, granddaughter Avery and grandson Bennett in the new treeless tree house hubby built last week. (It’s basically a playhouse on stilts.) It still doesn’t have a roof, but that’ll be added on our next visit, which will be in July.

Meanwhile, can you stand another author interview with yours truly? This one’s on my other blog home, Novel Journey. The interviewer, Mike Ehret, is a great guy, but I have a bone to pick with him: why’d he go and include TWO photos of me? Urgh…

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Thoughts on Christian Fantasy

I’ve written on this subject before (see The Bible and Fantasy Fiction Parts I and II), but it’s worth revisiting.

For starters, check out fellow-author R. L. Copple‘s well-articulated thoughts in a guest post on another writer’s blog.

While I understand some Christians’ reticence to accept fantasy fiction, I think we need to get real (pardon the apparent contradiction).

If God didn’t approve of the use of fantastic imagery to illustrate His truth — which is, bottom line, the only truth — then why does He, Himself, tell of a talking donkey (Numbers 22:21-35); the destruction of a multi-headed dragon (Psalm 74:14); a disembodied hand writing on the wall (Daniel 5:5-6); a lion with eagle’s wings (Daniel 7:2-4); a four-headed winged leopard (Daniel 7:6); angels who unlock prison doors and break open leg irons (Acts 12:6-17); out-of-body experiences (2 Corinthians 12:1-6); a plague of locusts arising from a pit like smoke who are shaped like horses in battle armor, with human-like faces and lion-like teeth (Revelation 9:1-11); war in heaven between angels and demons (Revelation 12:7-10); a beast arising from the sea with seven heads, ten horns, the feet of a bear, and the mouth of a lion that speaks great things (Revelation 13:1-5); or…?  I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

Yes, we live in the real world. A world in which we don’t ordinarily see those things. A world in which magic is absent and (unless God miraculously intervenes) natural law prevails. However, God through His word makes it clear that, beyond our sight, a spiritual realm exists just as surely as the chair you’re sitting on, which is as real as gravity, and affects our everyday lives. Because we can’t see these spiritual things with our mortal eyes, we need illustrations in order to grasp them; and those illustrations abound throughout the Scriptures.

Yes, there is grave danger in twisting Scriptural truth to suit our own fancies. Agreed, modern stories (whether cartoons, movies, or books) put far too much emphasis on demonic power and tend to ignore God’s truth. I don’t deny that too many Christians today are more interested in being entertained than edified. But let’s not throw out the whole idea of fantasy fiction because of the abuses of some.

The prophets told fictional stories to get God’s point across when the direct approach might create conflict (for example, see 2 Samuel 12:1-14). Jesus told parables to illustrate difficult truths (such as in Luke 7:36-50). And, as we’ve seen, God uses fantastic imagery throughout the Scriptures to help us understand that there’s more to reality than what we can perceive with our human senses (see, for instance, 2 Kings 6:8-17).

We merely follow Christ’s example when we tell stories to point the reader to Him, to edify the believer, or to move readers to consider truths they’d never grasped before. But, like Jesus, we must bathe our stories in prayer and remain faithful to the truth God reveals in His word.

Failure to do so hands a victory to the enemy. A small victory, to be sure — having read the end of the book, we know Who ultimately wins, of course. But if we’re in Christ’s army, we need to be in His camp, all the way, and all the time.

So, Christian fantasy writers, get on your knees; and when you then rise, pick up your pens and fight!



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I Am a Lazy Blogger

Well, no, I’m not exactly lazing around in a hammock. I’ve been busy, honest! But I haven’t been busy blogging, as you can see from the time span between my posts.

And because I’m still behind on everything and don’t know when I’ll get around to composing an original post again, I’ll take the lazy way out and let my friend Pam Meyers do all the work.

She recently posted a review of my book, The Story in the Stars, along with an interview with me. Check out her blog.

Thank you, Pam, for all the nice things you said about my book — and thank you, too, for providing something for me to link to so I don’t have to get off my lazy duff and write something myself!

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