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We’d like to introduce you to one of our new members, Dr. Melissa Munro-Boyd.

Melissa Munro Boyd, is a wife, mother of 3, Clinical Psychologist, and officer in the United States Army. Dr. Boyd has spent much of her clinical career treating service members with behavioral health disorders, to include PTSD. Prior to the military, Dr. Boyd worked with children in the Philadelphia School District. She is a proud graduate of Hampton University in Virginia where she earned her Bachelors in Psychology. Upon graduation, she attended La Salle University where she obtained her Master’s and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Through it all, God and her family have been a constant source of strength and motivation.

Find Dr. Munro-Boyd’s books on Amazon

Dr. Melissa Munro-Boyd

Hello everyone,

A couple of months back, I approached the owner of a local coffee hot spot called Coffee in the Valley. The owner agreed to host my Meet & Greet from nine to noon on Saturday, May 21, 2022. She is allowing me to take up a corner of the restaurant and sell my books.

I started advertising on Facebook a month ago. This process included making a new audience called Local. This audience included readers, book topics, and coffee drinking. I set the demography to our town plus ten miles. This covered neighboring communities. I boosted a second time for a week and today added a third for the next twenty-four hours. I copied several local FB groups to help spread the word. I have a dozen people marking interested in attending.

My darling wife created a flyer showing the coffee house, me, and my books. I posted these flyers in as many establishments as I could for people to see generically. Wherever I go for the past month, I mentioned the book signing and the coffee shop hoping for a good turnout. With god’s grace both the coffee shop and I sell more product.

My wife then made a poster for me this past week. It has the background of our small community with a picture of me and my books with a brief description of them. The print shop laminated it to a stiff board for displaying and calling patrons to my table. Again, she knocked the design out of the park.

My nerves are under control as of writing this blog. But, I think tomorrow around nine in the morning that will change. My life has been filled with moments of gaffes and faux pas over the years. Please pray that I remain calm, cool, and collected while maintaining a personable disposition for my potential readers.

Did I mention my dog is a Karen? Ginger, our dog is nine years old and that equates to sixty plus in people’s years. Like any being reaching their sixties, she has become a little grumpier as the gray starts showing under her chin.

For the previous nine years when I roll over in the morning that was her clue to jump on me to rise and shine. The other morning I stumbled out of bed and spotted her giving me a death glare for waking her up. However, with Ginger being a Karen, it did not end there. The rest of the day I got the cold shoulder from her. Then it became worse. I called to her for an ear scratching and she turned a strutted off with her tail lightly flicking from side to side in defiance and retaliation for waking her ten hours before. Not only did I receive the cold shoulder, but I also got the cold butt too.

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God bless,

Danny Mac

Disney Princesses v Marvel image by Danny Mac

Hello everyone,

This is a story for the fathers of daughters, please share with them although moms will also find humor in it.

I had a daddy’s little girl. As an infant, I curled her up in my arms during her worst moments and she became peaceful. It drove mom crazy to see how she calmed down instantly. I read to her every night before bedtime starting early on. Her favorite was the Disney Princesses books my mother bought her. It was not enough to just read to her and I made up voices to go along with the story.

Around five years old, I mentioned Ariel sleeping until the prince kissed her back to life. “No, dad that was Aurora, not Ariel,” came at me with authority and indignation. This comment proceeded with a five-minute lecture on the differences between the two. Only after satisfying her concern over the lack of my knowledge of Disney Princesses did she relent and allowed me to continue with my day.

Fast forward to my thirteen-year-old and not my little girl anymore as we watched a Marvel movie together. This movie introduced several other characters into the plot with another faux pa by me going into a commercial break. “Is that Poison Ivy?”

With an extended eye roll, “Poison Ivy is DC. (Duh, a two-year-old knows that) That is Natasha Romanoff. Don’t you know anything?” Luckily the commercial break was only three minutes long or she would still be lecturing me to this day. Apparently, DC and Marvel may not interchange at any time. Her brief sermon on the devastating effects of combining them compared to a fire and brimstone preacher on the end of the world.

Did I mention my dog is a Karen? For the past three days, Ohio shivered through near-freezing temperatures. The previous three days we enjoyed eighty-degree weather. (28 to 0 for my metric friends) During the warmer nights, I opened the window to allow fresh air into the room for sleeping. Sleep came blissfully as the cool spring air wafted over the room and all was right with the world.

Until about twelve-thirty in the very early morning. Ginger, our ever-watchful Karen starts with a quick “Arf,” in her sleep. Several more proceeding “Arfs,” as she wakes from her slumber. I think what is she yapping about when I hear the call from the coyotes off in the distance and coming closer.

The whole of the house awakes to her singing the song of her people out the window at the coyotes. “Arrrrrooooorrrrooo” streams from her mouth only stopping for another deep inhale of air. It culminates in me slamming the window shut and yelling at her to go back to bed.

She lays down for almost thirty seconds and then decides it time to go out. Mom hollers out, “No go back to sleep.” Ginger replies with the nastiest and foulest of gas attack she could muster. Our resident Karen gets her way when mom lets her out.

Learn more about me at my website:

God bless,

Danny Mac

“We are very thrilled to announce the release of our latest project SONGS OF EASTER – created almost entirely during lockdown – 16 psalms, hymns and songs reflecting Easter hope and light. This will provide an exciting addition to our ongoing ministry.” ~ Roger Jones, Christian Music Ministries

Watch on YouTube

An introduction to Songs of Easter, the February 2022 release from Christian Music Ministries. 16 songs by Roger Jones and friends. Premieres Feb 15, 2022.

Tuesday evening (15 Feb) 8pm – join them on the YouTube premiere as they play extracts from the songs. Many of those who have taken part in the recording talk about what it has meant to them:


A new children’s book by Fred Ash.

“Behind him he thought he heard Dog’s paws hitting the pavement. He even thought he heard Dog’s voice say, “‘Tommy, don’t run away; stop and play!”

“He thought he felt Dog’s breath breathing on his neck. But Tommy was afraid and ran on.”

Facts about “The Dog Who Wanted to Play”

• Dog spelled backward is God.

• The story is inspired by The Hound of Heaven, an epic poem by the English poet Francis Thompson.

• The little boy’s name in the story is Tommy Francis, in honor of the poet Francis Thompson.

Get an early copy right from the author!

–send an email to Fred at:

Read more books by Fred Ash on Amazon

Benjamin Collier talks about growing up with autism

Benjamin Talks About Growing Up With Autism

My first video discussing autism is now up on YouTube! A bunch of people sent in questions for me to answer Q&A style, and despite delays from some tech hiccups (and starting a little thing called NaNoWriMo) I finally got the video uploaded!

(I do have more to discuss on my experience in this year’s NaNoWriMo in an upcoming blog, but I just couldn’t wait to talk about this video any longer!)

People sent in some great discussion topics like the emotional impact of my diagnosis, communication challenges, social needs, preferred entertainment, and personal accomplishments. I also got on a tangent describing my formative years and gradually learning what it meant to be an individual in a world that included other minds besides my own.

You can check out the video at this link. And if you have any questions you’d like me to answer in a future video, you can leave a comment under this blog post below, or leave a comment under the video itself on YouTube, or you can even email me directly at

Talk to you guys again soon! 

~ Ben

Other posts by Ben —

Existential Quandary

Read more of Ben’s blogs at

NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month

 by Carolyn Wilker |  Posted in: Articles 

stack of books

If you are a writer looking for encouragement and help with your writing, you are in the right place. For my newsletter this month, I asked fellow writers about how they handle a big challenge like a novel for NaNoWriMo.

How do you handle such a challenge?

Those who signed up for NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month—will be approximately half way through their writing project now, if all goes well. I thought it was a good time to pose this question to fellow writers how they tackle a big project such as a novel for this challenge:

Do you write an outline first, and write from that? Or are you a pantser? One who figures things out along the way, seeing what the characters do and where they take you?

These are their answers.

Carol Elaine Harrison replied that she has “a brief outline with the timeline for the book and some things that need to be included, but nothing too detailed.”

“I’ve taken part twice,” writes Donna Mann, “and each time I’ve had an outline of action-consequence identifying (in real time) resulting emotion.”

“I’ve written probably 6-8 novels during assorted NaNo years,” says Valerie Comer. She said that she writes them the same as any other book she works on by doing as much work in advance on setting, character and theme. Then she jumps in and writes.  She’s written “about 55 books this way, 45 of them published.”

Suzuko Martha Shigemitsu replied, “When I signed up for NaNoWriMo, I used it as an opportunity to expand my already existing plot or idea and worked from there. I was able to complete two novels doing this. I even used it as an opportunity to write a novel in a foreign language (Japanese). It was a good experience.”

Not everyone who joins in the November challenge writes a novel. Blog posts, memoir and short stories are possibilities.

Lynne Collier responded that she wrote the bulk of her memoir for NaNo last year. She wrote creative nonfiction. “It’s entirely up to writers if they want to do something different. The goal is 50,000 words of anything. This year I’m writing four shorter stories instead of one big one. Part of a series. She mentioned that rough drafts for blog posts are another option. You’ll be called a NaNoRebel.”

Lynne added: “I’ve tried both approaches. I’ve found I need my skeletal plot down and a rough idea of character personalities and the main characters’ names. I don’t worry about details much and find I can write more fluidly that way. I revise in January-February.”

This year I decided to take the plunge and write a middle grade novel and perhaps another short story. I’ll declare it here: I’m a pantser. I will be figuring things out along the way.

I’ve tried a novel and a poetry challenge. The idea of NaNoWriMo is to make time for creativity and to carve out time to write.

Carolyn is a writer, editor, writing instructor. and storyteller from Kitchener, Ontario, with publication credits in articles, op-eds, devotionals, poetry. She is a member of the Editors’ Association of Canada, The Word Guild, The Baden Storytellers’ Guild, the Energetics Toastmasters, Tower Poetry Society, and a Friend of CANSCAIP. She blogs at

Carolyn’s books include Sophie and the Giant Boy, her newest picture book, Discover Your Story,  Travelling LightPiece by PieceLes arbres de HarryHarry’s TreesOnce Upon a Sandbox.

She is also a contributor to anthologies including Good Grief PeopleHot Apple Cider with CinnamonWisdom of Old Souls and Grandmothers’ Necklace.

Hi Authors. Translate your book with Ednilson S. Santos.

Are you interested in having your book translated? Do you want to obtain a quality translation? You can have it! I’m a translator and also fluent in English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Hebrew, and Italian and can translate manually and carefully from any of these languages to any of the others.

My fee is just $3 USD per page, no upfront, payment only upon completion…I don’t translate works with more than 250 manuscript pages.

If you want to translate your book, send me an email to

To view some samples of my work please go to:

One of the books which I translated:…/dp/B07QH8ZWK3

 Pennie Mae Cartawick (Author),  Ednilson S. Santos (Translator) 

Book translation by Ednilson S. Santos
Translation by Ednilson S. Santos


In the beginning, creation was all “good” … until God announced Adam’s situation was “not good.” Join the rhyming romp as Adam’s search for a compatible companion leads him beyond scales, fur, and feathers, back into the hands of his more-than-capable Creator.

A blend of Scripture and smiles, Adam Plus One gently portrays God’s perfect plan—the partnership of woman and man.

Fun picture book for 3-8 year-olds.

See it on Amazon.

Visit for free supplemental activities.

Happy Reading!

G. K. Chesterton: “Looking back on a worldly and wasted life, I realize that I have especially sinned in neglecting to read novels.

That’s an interesting comment from a man who penned some great fiction, including creating the priestly detective, Father Brown.

I cannot—will not—compare myself with Chesterton, but as one who has worked in journalism and public relations all my career, I am well versed in the non-fiction field. I have covered major stories from air crashes, to Royal Tours, to the return of Vietnam POW’s and (peripherally) the US moon landings. I know non-fiction. I understand that writing it is critical for the knowledge and understanding of people today, despite the naysayers who prefer to stick their heads in the sand, ostrich-like.

But I have learned to love and appreciate good fiction. The great writers have used stories as a teaching tool as much as an entertainment vehicle. The essence of their work is to show human beings in settings that test their internal drivers as well as their external circumstances. Well written stories offer hope even in the worst situations; they provide well rounded protagonists who show character flaws in the midst of their struggles. Good fiction also provides the most evil antagonists with good attributes and show that, from the evil-doers perspective—his or her actions are internally justified.

Let me give an example. In my second thriller, The Lucifer Scroll, I introduce a thoroughly despicable and power-mad killer as the main protagonist. From his ‘religious’ perspective, ordering his followers to massacre people is justified because his intention is to bring what he believes is a better form of leadership to society. After a hard day ‘at the office’ doing sacrifices and the like, he relaxes by sitting at the piano and playing some jazz. He epitomizes the authoritarian who has no problem with believing the ends justify the means, no matter what moral or judicial laws are destroyed. But hey, jazz is cool! Little things, but I think it brings a dash of reality to the table as readers assess this character. We all know someone like this in our workplaces or in our political landscape.

It’s the same with protagonists. One of my main heroes is a workaholic who pushes people away. He doesn’t allow people inside the armour plate that envelops his psyche. He ranges from pride in his work mixed with depression and insecurity. He struggles with his insecurities but he has a determination to do his best; he too likes music, but only as a consumer. And, in contrast with the antagonist in question, he prefers classical. In short, just like all of us he has his ups and downs, his good points and his bad.

———————The Lucifer Scroll by Barrie Doyle———————

All this applies whether you are reading modern fiction, historical fiction, thrillers, westerns, romances, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries or avant garde literature. Well written stories in any of those genres will have the same impact. Bottom line, it will make you a better, more well founded person.

To me, reading fiction is important to my understanding of people and why and how they do the things they do. In fact, researchers in the United States and Britain have shown that fiction contributes incredibly to the reader’s growth as a human. Here are some of their findings:

1.      Reading fiction helps develop empathy. Living through a character’s situation vicariously, stirs empathy for the characters and those impacted by the story’s plot line. Developing that trait is then easily extended to real life.

2.      Reading fiction develops vocabulary. All of us have a general vocabulary for everyday use. Fiction exposes us to new words, their meaning, their implications and their usage. We then incorporate those words into our own vocabulary.

3.      Reading fiction helps relieve stress. Nothing is better to relieve stress in a doctor’s office, for example, than reading a good story while you wait. Your own worries and needs diminish as you get caught up in the story.

4.      Reading fiction is a ‘reality simulator’.  Pilots learn to fly their planes in times of crisis by training in a simulator. They learn about all kinds of scenarios and how to handle them. Same with reading fiction. We see how the characters deal with their situations and we adapt that for our own all too real lives.

5.      Reading fiction keeps us mentally sharp. New worlds, new images, new techniques, new knowledge can be absorbed through fiction. You can read a step-by-step DIY non-fiction of course, but fiction can make learning fun as well as keeping our minds sharp.

There are many other benefits to reading fiction in addition to these.

All in all, reading fiction is nothing more than a technological update from the times our ancestors sat around fires at night and listened to the bards tell tales of great derring-do. We learn about heroes to emulate as our forebears did. Tales of goodness and courage stimulate us now as they did then. Our society was built on the skeleton of story-telling. Jesus spends much of his teaching time telling his followers stories—we call them parables—that taught them how to relate to others and to help strangers and outcasts (remember the good Samaritan?),

My Welsh ancestry tells tales of bards going from village to village, earning their living by singing and telling stories. Such stories related the history, showed how justice should be applied, how people should treat others, and nurtured a bond that pulled people together, linking them with both the past and the future.

I write fiction now. I read fiction all the time. I am richer for it.

As the old cereal ad said: “Try it, you’ll like it!”

~ Barrie

Read more on Barrie’s Blog

Barrie Doyle photo
Barrie Doyle, author, actor, speaker and media journalist

The Bible says that in the last days, humanity will have lost their sense of direction and be seeking but never finding, “always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:7.

sand by CSalem on pixabay

There is no doubt that today’s post truth culture has no way of knowing left from right or forward from back, denying any wrongdoing, canceling history, conflating genders, believing critical race theory will heal racial tension and claiming morality is subjective.  This generation is witnessing the complete self-destruction of any responsibility or ownership for its actions.  From the absurdity of government leaders who facilitate abortion to the tune of 73 million abortions per year worldwide, to the social acceptance of the sex trade and pornography, society’s moral compass is badly broken and is beyond repair.

We must acknowledge that child trafficking, prostitution and pornography would not be viable businesses if there weren’t a massive consuming clientele.  Its basic supply and demand economics.  We live in an age where the tail wags the dog and any concept of God is treated as superstition infused with mysticism.  Religion is vilified as the worst evil known to civilization with extreme religious terrorism captivating the fears of society. Those that do believe in God attempt to reduce him to some all-accepting, fluid, spirit that tolerates all things, and is in all things and evolves with all things, in order to distance themselves from anything perceived to be fundamentalist groups.

Without absolute truth there can be no absolute morality.  Without absolute morality there can be no right or wrong.  Without right or wrong there is no meaning and no purpose.  And with no meaning and no purpose, sadly we become disillusioned and confused. It is an exercise in futility to think we can debate the existence of an objective moral code when our ability to debate is a result of that same moral code.  C.S. Lewis said, “When you are arguing with God, you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all.  It’s like cutting off the very branch you are sitting on.”

As our culture walks on eggshells in the name of political correctness, terrified of offending racial groups or genders, values have become blurred and revolution is touted as a catalyst for change without accountability.  Religion is a soupy mess that is viewed as intolerant and restricting so it must be adapted to the times, replacing priests and pastors with life coaches and motivational speakers as woke churches try to keep pace with the shifting sands of society.  Afraid to offend, the gospel has been replaced by the establishment of the all-inclusive genre of the progressives and prosperity preachers who attempt to shift the blame for sin from man to God. 

In a classic knee jerk reaction to the fire and brimstone sermons that used to make religion like getting cleaned up to take a bath, the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme where anything and everything goes.  There is no city on a hill, no salt of the earth, no being chosen out of the world to be citizens of heaven.  In fact, blending in with the world seems to be the plan by reverse engineering the church, sin and all, to include heaven.  We are making God in our own image.

So what of the Christian Church?  The Pope has a political agenda of melding the theologies of Christianity, Islam and Judaism into one church of Abrahamic faith, an amalgamation that would comprise of over 4.1 billion people.  Will the watered down, lukewarm church of Revelation 3:14-16, so prevalent in western culture even notice?  Will the drowsy half asleep believers in the land of plenty remain silent thereby forcing the rocks to cry out in defense of the true gospel of Jesus Christ?  Or will Christianity cower in the face of radical climate activists and critical race theory?  Has the life been drained from the Body of Christ?

While traveling through Samaria, Jesus stopped at Jacob’s well near the village of Sychar.  As he was resting, a Samaritan woman came to draw water in the heat of the day.  Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”  John 4:8.  In early first century Judea, Samaritans and Jews despised each other, and a Jewish man speaking to a Samaritan woman was considered a societal taboo. 

“The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman.  How can you ask me for a drink?’ Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’  ‘Sir, the woman said, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep.  Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?’

Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” John 4:9-14. 

Jesus never backed down from sharing the good news.  He never shied away political opposition, religious piety and in the case of the Samaritan woman, racial tension.  Christ never compromised the truth of God.  As our mentor, he was a faithful servant of the Most-High God.  Faithful to death, even death on a cross.

Will today’s Church rise to the occasion when its hour of testing arrives?  Will springs of living water well up into eternal life in the face of great tribulation?  The hour is late and the signs are everywhere that we are living in the last days.  When the Shofar sounds will the body of Christ be ready?  So many believers today are placing their hope in a pre-tribulation rapture to escape the unpleasantries of the Great Tribulation and the rule of the antichrist. What if the bridegroom is delayed? Will they have enough oil in their lamps? Will they have the religious fortitude to stand and be faithful to the end?

The bible tells us the rapture will not happen until the seventh trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:16, Mathew 24:31, 1 Corinthians 15:52, Revelation 11:15-19) after the antichrist takes power of the earth. Is the true Church prepared to go the distance? No one knows the day nor the hour however, Jesus warned us with the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids to be ready to persevere. We all ought to pay attention to the full gospel rather than cherry picking the most promising parts.

Jesus Christ held nothing back when he laid his life down for us, while we were still enemies of God.  The Christian Church today must be of the mindset that we are prepared to do the same for him.  We must not conform to worldly values, be uncompromising in our conviction and loyalty to our Redeemer, and without doubt as we stand ready to defend the faith in the face of a generation that cannot discern good from evil, dark from light or bitter from sweet (Isaiah 5:20).

The Bible is the absolute truth and only moral standard. Apart from God’s truth there is no truth. Apart from God’s morality there is no morality. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35.

It is time to put on the full armor of God and prepare to defend the faith as a warrior on the day of battle.  The harvest is ready.  There are more people alive at this moment than have lived in all of human history combined.  “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” Revelation 14:15.

~ Clinton

Read more on Clinton’s blog

Photo of Clinton Bezan
Clinton Bezan, author and blogger

Posted on May 31, 2021 by benjaminfrog

A castle, an angel and a knight.

Thanks for checking out this series! If this is the first blog you’re reading on ‘Writing Speculative Fiction as a Christian’ then please see my intro on post #1 for context on the reason I’ve put this series together.

We’ve just about covered every topic by now, but there are a couple of subjects that Christian writers tend to struggle with most frequently when writing speculative fiction, and I’ve saved them both for last.

What about magic?

Christians who are also fans of fantasy tend to fall into two categories when it comes to the use of magic in stories, there are those who see no problem whatsoever, and those who panic at the first sign of anything feeling even remotely occult. Very few find themselves in a balanced place in between. I myself lean very heavily toward panic, and that’s why my advice on this subject is going to be more on the play-it-safe side and perhaps not as balanced as it should be. Keep that in mind and take everything with a grain of salt. I’m coming from a position of greater caution, but I also recognize the importance of proper balance.

The tension between the cautious and the carefree exploded with the rising popularity of the Harry Potter books. It has settled a lot since then but hasn’t entirely gone away, and the simultaneous re-popularization of the Lord of the Rings franchise raised a fair question that we don’t all know how to answer…

Harry Potter is a wizard. Gandalf is a wizard. What’s the difference?

Most Christians on the cautious side (or even the balanced side) will say that the difference is between magic as a make-believe power (Gandalf) and magic as a real-world occult power such as witchcraft (Harry Potter). Gandalf’s powers are endowed to him as a natural result of his being since he is actually a Maya in disguise, a privilege not everyone can access. Harry’s powers are learned through lessons and texts on witchcraft, something anyone can actually do.

There is a defense that can be used, a strategic approach to implying “magic” into your story, even in a real-world context, while getting the panicking Christians off your back, and that’s to avoid direct references to actual occult research. A lot of the Christian outcry over Harry Potter came from the assumption that what was being taught in the books was actual witchcraft.

Having not read the books myself, I cannot give an educated confirmation on that one way or another. I can say that as far as the films I did not see much that set off my own personal alarms (apart from one scene on divination in one of the films). The only question left in my mind as far as the material in the films is the words (or incantations) spoken by characters in order to perform spells. I’ve avoided learning any actual spells myself, so again, I can’t confirm if the spells spoken in Harry Potter are real or made-up incantations.

Which brings us to the specific subject of spoken words. As far as I am aware, there is nothing wrong with making up your own words and having characters speak them out, if you’re using a fictional language made up for your story. The only remaining issue is that some members of your audience may still be uncomfortable. I myself get uncomfortable if I don’t know what language is being spoken or what a character is saying. In Chronomancer, my counter to this issue was to include an appendix at the end that includes language origins and meanings for every fictional word in the book. That way, if a reader was uncomfortable with not knowing what a character had said, they could look it up in the appendix.

Keep in mind that heading to the end for an appendix isn’t an option in films or television, and that some members of your audience may still be uncomfortable with a character chanting something in a foreign language, even if it’s a made-up language, because made-up languages are not always immediately apparent. It’s safe to say though that any incantation-like chants that sound Latin will raise red flags.

Back to the primary subject though – is it okay to have magic in your story if you’re a Christian writer? I would say yes with an Asterix. As long as the type of magic you’re using is purely fantasy-based in nature, and not based on anything resembling witchcraft or other occult powers, then you’re good to go. A big question that arises, and that you’ll have to address for the sake of your Christian readers, is what is the source of the power?

Again, Gandalf was essentially “born” with his power because of the kind of being that he is. The same could be said of elves and other fantasy races. In Chronomancer it is mentioned (or implied?) that magic ability was something bestowed on a few select creatures and individuals in the early days of that world for the purpose of helping to shape it, and that inborn power has been passed on to even previously non-magical races like humans through cross-breeding.

It gets trickier when you make magic into something that can be taught or given to individuals who don’t already have it inborn, because that’s where it gets dangerously close to sorcery. My recommendation would be something like suggesting that magic can be contained in substances like potions, and that characters can gain the potential for it that way, rather than it being something that can be gained purely through study.

It gets especially tricky if your story is set in the real world. In fact, to avoid confusion I would avoid using the term “magic” at all if your story is set in the real world, unless you plan on specifically taking the time to show or explain the distinction between the power being used in your story and real-world witchcraft. Otherwise, I suspect many Christians would start to feel uncomfortable with the content.

What about references to various mythologies?

It’s common for writers of both science fiction and fantasy to make references to old-world mythological figures, particularly from Greco-Roman and Norse mythologies, in order to add meaning to something using names that most educated audience members are familiar with. For example, if I call something “The Eye of the Basilisk” people would generally know that it’s a reference to death, and if I talk about rising like a Phoenix then people generally know that it’s a reference of new life coming out of death.

Where some Christian writers and audiences draw the line though is references to entities which in those mythologies were worshipped as gods. We are told in scripture to not even have such names on our lips (a figure of speech, since the scripture itself mentions many of these entities by name, but the clear implication is that we should not be praising or celebrating these things).

What are referred to as “gods” in these mythologies are what Christians would refer to as idols, and sometimes we would leave it at that and say that these are purely fictional things not even worth talking about. Paul says as much, in part, (1 Corinthians 8:4-6) but he goes a bit deeper (10:19-20) to explain that these things are representations inspired by demons, and that these idols are the demons’ way of being worshipped. This is why God is against it.

There are ways around this issue. If you’re writing fantasy then your own world may have its own completely different set of entities with different levels of power. I think this is okay as long as the entities are not referred to as gods or worshipped as such.

This was Tolkien’s approach when it came to Middle-earth. (Apparently not in his earlier works, because when Christopher Tolkien published them more or less as-is they used the term “gods” even though those terms had been abandoned in his primary works prior to publication.) I think he understood the issues his widely Christian audience would have with such terms and understood how to work around it. This has been my own approach as well.

There are benefits and drawbacks to such an approach. On the one hand, if the things in your story have nicknames based on your own invented mythos, then you don’t have the benefit of the audience knowing right away the meaning behind these names.

On the other hand, more hardcore fans may delve into side information like appendices (if you include them) and look up the meanings for themselves. Seeing that you have an entire mythos built into your fictional world really reels in deep-thinking audiences who are drawn to that kind of depth of world-building, as long as your story is interesting enough to be worth investing in in the first place.

Also, I would say that not all names and creatures in various mythologies are named after the deities of those cultures. I mentioned the Basilisk and Phoenix creatures earlier, neither of which are worshipped, they are simply creatures that inhabit those worlds. If you’re not sure, then I would recommend looking up info on such creatures online, particularly name meanings and etymology, since that can give you an idea of whether or not a creature’s very name is something to be avoided.

You can also stick with Bible references and use popular names from those stories instead of mythologies. Many Biblical names are well-known and have recognizable meanings when mentioned. The risk on that side is accidentally saying something sacrilegious, so be careful to give respect where it’s due.

The End

This is the final post in this series, at least for now. After this I will have covered every topic that comes to my mind at the moment in terms of the aspects of speculative fiction writing that Christians sometimes wrestle with. I am absolutely open to doing more posts along these lines though if more subjects are brought to my attention. Are there any topics you feel I haven’t covered in this series? Leave a comment and let me know – I may do some additional posts in the future. But for now, thanks for checking out this series, and stay safe out there!

~ Ben

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