HOW GREAT IS THE DARKNESS–OFFICIAL RELEASE

51TKg6zYCtL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_I love the cover. It is a Caravaggio, and yes, it is plot-centric.

Today is the official release day for my new novel, How Great Is The Darkness. To say I am overjoyed would be an understatement. If you love me, you should buy ten copies right now.

Darkness is a continuation of Pastor Butch Gregory’s story. It is not a sequel, because sequels pick up the same basic story arc as the previous installment. Darkness has some of the same characters as earlier stories, but it is not the same story. This is the fourth publication in the Butch Gregory series and the second novel.

There will be no spoilers here, but the book is about a conspiracy to solve the problem of immoral pastors in the most dramatic way possible. I use this plot to address two different problems I perceive among churches today. One is the very serious issue of pastors who do not live gospel-centered lives. The other is the problem of misunderstanding the difference between the theocracy of the biblical word and the grace of the new covenant.

The “bad guys” in this book are women. This was an early, intentional choice on my part because of equality. In The Little Girl Waits I made Amber a central heroic figure because it always seems to be men who are the heroes in most stories. If a woman can be the hero, then it stands to reason a woman can also be the villain.  In this case its plural.

I have recycled some characters such as Lucy and Wyoming Wallace. I have also brought back an old character. The key law enforcement figure in Darkness is Detective Wright. Careful readers will notice he is the same person who interrogated Amber after her brother’s death in The Haunting of Pastor Butch Gregory.

Aside from the creepy violence of building the religious cult, the most fun I had was in creating Terence Harrison, Butch’s new-old friend. I think there might be more of me in Terence than there is me in Butch. Terence is a bookish introvert who balances Butch’s practical extroversion.

I also explore in this novel Butch’s assurance of his rightness. In TLGW Butch knows he is acting in the will of God. In this story, Butch thinks he is acting in God’s calling, but I leave it open to the reader whether he is or not. I hope the answer is a little muddled, because I find life to be like that sometimes.

I have uploaded what I think is the best trailer. You can buy the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other outlets. It is available in paperback and ebook formats. I will likely blog a free first chapter tomorrow, so be waiting for that.

THAT SOUND YOU HEAR IS ME BOUNCING UP AND DOWN WITH JOY

It has been a while coming, but I am pleased to announce that my new novel, The Little Girl Waits, is now on sale.  It is available in paperback, and will be available as an eBook soon.

The LIttle Girl Waits Cover
The cover is from a scene in the book

The story is a full length novel, and in many ways it is a sequel to The Haunting of Pastor Butch Gregory and other Short Stories.  It is a sequel in that it weaves together characters and background introduced in some of those shorts.  Yet, it is not precise to say it is a sequel because the novel goes in a very different direction.

The backdrop of the book is the crisis of child sex trafficking.  You have probably read or heard about this awful, horrible, terrible plaque.  The problem is global, as we have recently been made aware of the plight of those 300 girls in Nigera and the #bringbackourgirls campaign.  The novel, though, is set in the United States and focuses upon the issue at a personal level.  Most of us live our lives as if this problem is somewhere overseas, across the border, or only impacts certain kinds of people.  But that is wrong.  It is in every community and can happen to anyone.  We all have a responsibility to do something, and it is that responsibility that fuels the action in the novel.

Learn more at the book’s website, www.thelittlegirlwaits.com.  You can buy the book there, my publisher, online retailers (Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com), or directly from me.  I have a supply of books that I will autograph and send to you at $20 (that includes shipping) each.  Comment below if you want an autographed copy, or you can send a me private message on Facebook or Twitter, or you can always email me at jkgreenings@yahoo.com.  There is also a Goodreads giveaway contest for the book, as I am giving away 25 free copies.  You can click on the link at the books website.

If you read it and like it, I have one simple request.  Please take a moment to rate it and/or review it at amazon.com, Goodreads, and barnesandnoble.com.  Those ratings and reviews do make a difference.

I hope you like it.

 

Screenshot from barnesandnoble.com
Screenshot from barnesandnoble.com

 

TOP THREE BOOKS: CONTEMPORARY FICTION

If I have a weakest books category (I’m not admitting that, by the way, I’m just saying that if I had one) it would be contemporary fiction.  The reasons for this are manifold.  First, I prefer other genres of literature than the basic American contemporary novel.  Second, I spent too much time reading older books.  I believe in order to become a better writer I would do better to read the masters of literature.

The Most Influential Books

Top Three Books:  Classic Fiction

Third, I’ve devoted far too much time reading professional development and leadership books.  I have vowed to never read another one of those.  Never again.  Fourth, I find that after I read the dusk jacket or back cover for most contemporary fiction books I always feel so terribly dirty or bored.  I’m not really into books about relationships, detailed sexual prowess, or how horrible our parents are.  I’m not saying those are not important themes; I am saying that I don’t find them interesting and these seem to be the themes of a lot of contemporary fiction.  Fifth, most the time allotted for contemporary fiction in my reading schedule is spent on proofing or reviewing the work of other writers.  I love all of these writers and think you should too, but they do cut into the amount of time I have to read the current bestsellers.

With those excuses stated, here are my top three contemporary fiction.

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner
so good it almost feels like memoir

When I learned that The Kite Runner was the first novel Hosseini wrote I almost lost my mind.  How can a first novel be this amazing?  I find that the book is rich in prose and theme, but for my purposes here I will simply highlight one thing I really loved about this book, and that is the generational aspects of responsibility and redemption.

A Painted House, John Grisham

It is odd, isn’t it, that of all the Girsham novels I prefer the one not about lawyers?  Grisham is such a wonderful writer in the artistic work of developing characters.  All of the characters in this work are not only believable but they are, to me at least, knowable.  I have to admit a little bias here.  The setting for the book, some of the themes, and the culture represented are pretty close to my heart because it reflects a lot of my own adolescence and childhood.  Nevertheless, this is a great book.

Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

I probably should include this one in the sci-fi category, but that list is full and over represented because I tend to read a lot of sci-fi.  So, I stick it here because though it is speculative ficiton, it deals with the pernicious problems in today’s society of medical ethics, the value of life, and human freedom.  By way of evaluation, it also does a superb job with eternal themes of adolescence, discovery, and purpose.  Ishiguro can paint a picture with words better than just about anyone who has ever lived, and he excels in this book.  The world he creates is at once immediate and distant, transcendent and immanent.  They made a very unfortunate movie based on this book.  Do not watch it until after you read, and, if at all possible, avoid the movie altogether.

 

So those are my top three.  If you are skeptical of Never Let Me Go, then I would have substituted it would Robin Cook’s Toxin.  See how I did that?  I sneaked a fourth one in my top three list.  Clever, huh?

I’d love to know what your top three are, and believe me, I will take them all as reading recommendations.

 

 

 

TURN THE PAGE

This week I wrote the last words to my new novel about Pastor Butch Gregory and sent it to a couple of folks to proofread and also to a friend for his opinion.  The most important reader, Mrs. Greenbean, already read it and said she loved it.  So, to me it is already a success.  After these folks get finished and I make any corrections to continuity or plausibility, I”ll have to find a publisher!

Now, though,  I’m going to take a month or two off of writing before I start my next book and catch up on all my reading that I’ve  been pushing to the side.  “Let’s see, what have I got here in the pile,” he thought to himself  as he rummaged around the large stack of hardbacks, paperbacks, and magazines lying on the floor of his study.

Oops.  My bad.  Its hard to get away from 3rd person writing.  Anyway, what is stacked on my floor?

1.  A couple of Wayne Cordeiro books.  The Irresistible Church and The Divine Mentor.  Those will be great.  I love Wayne.

2.  Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage.   A friend gave that to me for Christmas.  I like Keller; and I forgive him for being a Calvinist.  Notice how much he looks like Captain Picard.  I do.

3.  Launch by Nelson Searcy.  Searcy is such a self promoting hack, but his books are always insightful.   I got that book to help me think through our Silverdale church plant.

4.  Oooh, I’ve got Dr. No, Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel, sitting right over there.  I might read that one first.  I’ve made it a project to read through all the original Bond novels.  So far I’ve been very surprised at how different Bond is in print as opposed to on film.  Its not quite the same.

5.  Viral Churches.  Some book from the denomination.  Looks infectious.  By the way, why do so many church books use medical terminology, and usually yucky terminology.  Why would anyone, on the face of it, want a church that was viral?  I blame Bill Hybels.  He started it by telling all of us should be contagious Christians.

He coughed as he wondered if he might not be  getting a fever; and then he thought about how much he admired Hybels.  If only he had hair that nice, maybe he too would have a large ministry.

Sorry, there goes that pesky 3rd person again.  Now, back to the list.

6.  The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1.  A friend gave me that as a gift.  It looks delicious; but it is so big that it intimidates me.  I haven’t had the gumption to start it yet.  It feels like the kind of thing that, if I started today, I might get finished by 2015.

7.  Oh, over there is the Biblical Archaeology Magazine I started last week.  I take a lot of magazines including Newsweek, National Geographic, and Christianity Today; but above them all BAR is my favorite.  Hands down.