3 Questions Wednesday with Allen Steadham

Allen-Steadham-author-2018Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday!

This week’s guest is developmental editor and fantasy author, Allen Steadham.  Welcome to the Inspired Prompt blog!

First question—Who is your favorite author?

Allen:  David Mack (Star Trek author)

He does write great fantasy books.  Now, second question

If you could write about anyone or anything fiction/nonfiction who or what would you write about?

Allen:  I think I would enjoy researching and writing about one of my ancestors (on my mother’s side), Benjamin Franklin.Benjamin Franklin, 1767, Writer, Natural Scientists

How interesting… 🙂 That brings us to question number three—

If you could spend time with a character from your book or another book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Allen:  I think it would be interesting to spend time with Steve and Sue Hamilton from Mindfire (the main protagonist’s father and step-mother who raised her). They’re both Christians who used to be superheroes. I think just spending a day hanging out and hearing about both their adventures as superheroes and their testimonies would be fascinating.

Sounds like a very adventurous day!  Thank you so much for stopping by!

Click to Tweet: 3 Questions Wednesday’s guest is Christian fiction author, Allen Steadham.  Learn more about him and his book, Mindfire, and leave a comment for a chance to win a ebook via @InspiredPrompt.  #amreading

Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a ebook version of Mindfire.


 Mindfire

Mindfire hi-res cover_sm

“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”

Leia Hamilton can move things and set them on fire with her mind.

Leia’s father and step-mother tried to hide their past: a time when they were part of a team of superheroes. But despite being disbanded for over twenty years following a series of tragedies, their problems were passed to their children and Leia finds that her future collides with their past.

In the diverse world of human and superhuman, heroes and villains, friends and enemies, some of Leia’s choices have terrible consequences. For Leia, this leads to a personal crossroads and a search for redemption.

Not your normal superhero novel, Mindfire isn’t about secret identities, costumes, or evil plots endangering the world. Instead, self-discovery and adaptation is at the forefront as the reader follows the lives of the characters who are unafraid to show love and explore spirituality.

Can redemption and renewed grace weather the flames of absolute power and superhuman strength?

 


Allen-Steadham-author-2018Allen Steadham

Allen Steadham created comic books and webcomics before he started writing novels. He has been married to his wife, Angel, since 1995 and they have two sons and a daughter. When not writing stories or drawing comics, Allen and his wife are singers, songwriters and musicians. They have been in a Christian band together since 1997. They live in Central Texas.

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Twenty Years of Grandma Status

by Betty Thomason Owens

Bill Clinton was the POTUS in 1997.

In China, they slaughtered 1.25 million chickens due to the bird flu. Tony Blair was Prime Minister in the UK, and Princess Diana was killed in a car crash.

For me, the fall of 1997 launched a new era, as I became a grandmother for the first time. My granddaughter was two when she called me grandma, and I thought that was truly the most beautiful title in the world.

The next two decades would bring five more granddaughters and two grandsons into the family. The first time they call me grandma still warms my heart.

Another life-changing event happened in the last twenty years. I began my publishing journey. I never set out to write books. If someone had told me I’d one day be an author, I would’ve laughed. Uproariously.

If the publishing industry had remained as it was two or three decades back, I may not be a published author today. I started out as an Indie writer.

Kindle and the entire e-book industry changed the publishing world—turned it upside down. Publishing exploded, as it became more accessible to the average, or not-so-average writer. It became a race. Some authors tried to write really fast to keep up with their readers’ demands. The more they wrote, the more they sold. Write fast. Sell ‘em while they’re hot.

But not everyone. Those were mostly romance writers. I started out writing inspirational fantasy adventure. They sold, but not like romance. Romance sells like IHOP pancakes. Stacks and stacks. All you can eat. Really good romance, mixed with suspense, will fly off the e-shelves.

Well, I’ve swerved off the twenty-year topic here. You can see what an intriguing subject Indie publishing is.

So, back to me, and my journey. After publishing those two fantasy books, my historical fiction novel was picked up by a small publisher. Then I sold another historical fiction to the same publisher, so I now have two series going on. Currently, I’m finishing up the first series, book number seven for me. I have almost as many books as grandchildren.

The name “author” feels pretty good. “Published author” sounds even better, and “award-winning author” (thank you, Grace Awards), is the thrill of a lifetime. But I think the name Grandma is still my personal favorite. Listing published book titles is fun, and claiming an award is a great honor, but naming all my grands and trying to remember their ages is the most fun of all. And perhaps the greatest challenge.

CLICK TO TWEET: Grandma and published #author: both are titles I’ve earned in the last #20years.

Writing Prompt: Take a look at the picture below. What comes to mind? Does it inspire you? Write a caption, or start a story, using this photo as inspiration.

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Genre: Is Fantasy Just an Escape?

By Jill Richardson
Jill1I admit it—I saw the Lord of the Rings movies before I read the books (now multiple times). In that theater, shortly after 9/11, when the pain was still raw, the fear still thick, the sense of shock that our familiar world was obliterated still overwhelming, I fell in love with the characters, the story, and the words such as Gandalf’s timely reminder:

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Many people wonder, why read fantasy? Isn’t it just escapism? Shouldn’t we be more concerned with this world, rather than events that aren’t even real? Especially in times that seem to require a focus on grim reality.

Yet something deep stirs in you when you read about dragons and fairies and other worlds where battles are fought and wrongs are righted. Perhaps that “something deep” is a response to fantasy’s ability to tell a story that can be our own—a story that reflects serious beliefs and values in its pages of “escape.”

What is the purpose of reading (and writing) fantasy? Here are at least four.

To combat unbelief and cynicism

One hallmark of the Millennial generation is cynicism. Constantly courted by ads and pollsters, this generation is wary of being marketed to, and distrust is their default. This has its good and bad points.

Fantasy, with its emphasis on heroes and battles for good, enters that cynical atmosphere with a new conversation. Maybe, there is such a thing as a hero who isn’t self-serving. Maybe there is, as Sam argues, good in this world worth fighting for.

Even a lowly Hobbit can change the course of the world by destroying the Ring. That is the appeal of fantasy. In our modern world where politicians prove corrupt, large corporations rip off consumers, and terrorists kill ordinary people going about their daily lives, the traditional quest fantasy provides an antidote to cynicism.” (Rowena Cory Daniells)

To bring hope

Fantasy is hardly escapist, when you think about it. Awful stuff happens. Hundreds die on Pelennor Fields. Hermione must choose to lose her parents forever. Thorin and both his heirs die.

But in the end, life goes on. The hero wins. Though what has happened won’t be forgotten, there is a sense that it was not for nothing—good did triumph. Life will be better.

Fantasy does not deny or diminish the existence of sorrow and pain. The possibility of failure is absolutely necessary for the “piercing sense of joy” one feels when victory is finally won. Fairy tales all offer the hope that a happy ending is possible—and we need to believe this. Fantasy denies ultimate despair. It holds out the hope for a better world and signposts the way.” (Kate Forsyth)

To give us weapons for our own battles

Life is tough—but then we see the intelligence of Bilbo, the quickness of Pippin, the courage of tiny Merry, the loyalty of Sam, the calm wisdom of Hermione, the persistence of Harry. With that sight? We realize that those are tools accessible to us.

When a writer creates a hero who is afraid or feels unequipped, that hero looks a lot like me. To witness that hero’s struggle and the ultimate victory over not simply a tangible enemy but over oneself is to believe we can stoop down and pick up our own sword or bow and take on our own fears.

To show the world as it was/is meant to be

Tolkien famously defended fantasy by saying that there is nothing wrong with a prisoner who wishes to escape his prison. By that argument, this broken world is our prison, and looking elsewhere for a portrait of what our world was meant to be is the most normal, sane thing one can do.

“I coined the the word ‘eucatastrophe’: the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears. It is a sudden glimpse of Truth, your whole chained nature feels a sudden relief as if a limb out of joint has suddenly snapped back. It perceives that this is indeed how things really do work in the Great World for which our nature was made.” (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Against all odds, good, love, and peace win. The underdog triumphs. Is this escape? Or is it the world as it was intended? Good fantasy brings us back to the beginning and invites us to participate in the renewal of what was always meant to be.

Writing prompt: Dorothy knew she had been told to follow the yellow brick road. But the girl who had run away from her overprotective old aunt had no intention of listening to a woman who rode in a bubble. She looked at the red bricks intertwined with the yellow ones. They looked interesting . . .

Jill Richardson is a writer, speaker, pastor, mom of three, and author of five books. She likes to travel, grow flowers, cause trouble, and research her next project. Her somewhat unnatural love for hobbits and elves comes from her time as a literature teacher and as a lifelong reader of great stories. Her passion is partnering with the next generation of faith. She blogs at http://jillmrichardson.com/.

Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World9781938499913.jpg

Hobbits, elves, dwarves, dragons, and wizards? Are epic-sized adventures just for fantasy? Or can they happen to you, too? Tolkien’s famous and immortal characters of Middle Earth are great for film, but the surprising thing is, they’re more real than you think. Within every “average” teen there’s an epic adventure waiting to be discovered—and this book just might help you discover yours. Look at the lives of your favorite characters, compare them to how God sees their journey, and see how you, like Bilbo, might  find out, “There is a lot more in (you) than you guess.”