Sunday, November 25, 2007

Frank Creed

Friday, November 16, 2007

Vanilla Warning

You know the saying "All that glitters is not gold"? or "You get what you pay for"? Well, here is a warning I thought I'd pass on to all you cooks (as well as those who eat what the cooks whip up!) . . .

Ever heard about or seen those HUGE bottles of vanilla extract in Mexico? You know the ones, 1 quart for $5 . . . what a deal!

We use vanilla in baking all the time and only buy the pure extract which is pricey. While in Puerto Vallarta we were taken by the cheap bottles of vanilla and the only reason we didn't bring one (or a suitcase full, as we would have liked to!) was fear of the glass bottle breaking.

However, just read something alarming to be aware of when purchasing vanilla in Mexico:

Courmarin, the bad guy of the vanilla industry, is a flavouring similar to vanilla but derived from the Brazillian tonka bean. It is used extensively in Mexico to make synthetic vanilla, but it is a known carcinogen that can cause liver damage and should not be used. If you purchase vanilla in Mexico, steer clear of the bargain-size bottles and make sure it is labelled "courmarin-free."

(Source: Canadian Living Magazine, November 2007)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lest We Forget

The poppy became the symbol of Armistace Day (now Remembrance Day) in Canada and Great Britain in the last year of WWI. Moina Michael was so inspired by the poem below that she led a campaign to have the poppy the official symbol of remembrance. "In a high moment of white resolve, I pledged to keep the faith and always to wear a red poppy of Flanders Fields as a sign of remembrance and the emblem of 'keeping the faith with all who died."

The poppy remains a prominent symbol in Canada and gymnasiums fill with public school children during Remembrance Day ceremonies take place before this national holiday. The poem that inspired this tradition "In Flandaers Fields" was written by a Canadian John McCrae, a surgeon attached to a field artillery. After a brutal time fighting in France, the Canadians moved to Flanders in mid-April, and were positioned around the Belgian town of Ypres.

On April 22-23, in their first major battle, they distinguished themselves by holding out against the first German gas attack of the war while others around them fled. Dr. McCrae wrote this poem after giving the funeral service for his friend.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It's Here!

The first good news is that the printer has completed Flashpoint and the book looks great! the 2nd good bit of news is that it is available at amazon. com (and elsewhere, of course) --must be record-breaking time!

. . . the reviews are pouring in and they are stellar-plus . . . only six appear at amazon so far, but after next week's blog book tour there should be another 10 or so! The blog tour central is at blog.lostgenreguild. com. But more about that next week.

Here is the synopsis for those of you unfamiliar with Frank Creed's novel:

Flashpoint: Book One of the Underground is the story of an alternative future where patriotism meets tyranny, the Patriot Act waxes Stalin-esque and the violence of terrorism has united the world. Set in 2036 Chicago against the backdrop of a global government, the only threat to the One State's absolute power is non-sanctioned religion—fundamentalist beliefs of any kind have been pronounced illegal and treasonous.

We meet main characters David and Jen Williams as they flee peacekeepers busting their home-church. This sparks a Flashpoint in the Body of Christ (BoC), living in the abandoned parts of the Metroplex. Through the use of brain-wave technology, the saints living in the underground are re-formed. David and Jen are uploaded with mindware, and take code names: Calamity Kid and e-girl.

With the aid of high tech gadgets and non-lethal weapons, Calamity Kid and e-girl's terrorist cell in the BoC set out to free imprisioned family, friends and neighbors before they are brainwashed—or worse.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Party!

Your ticket to Frank Creed's online book-launch party at Come meet new friends, win prizes, receive a special offer!
When 7:00 p.m. Pacific, 10:00 p.m. Eastern--Saturday, September 29th.
Where Flashpoint's a cyberpunk novel--the party will be in a 3-D virtual world on the Web, of course!
secondlife. com

  • If you're not a secondlife member, download free software and register at:
  • Already a SL'er? Here's the SLurl
  • Newbie-rookie-cubbie-pups--after you join, simply paste that address in your browser bar. It'll take you to a web page with a map of the area and a link to click. All you gotta do is click it--your SecondLife program will open, you log in, and automatically join the party.
  • Frank's SL name is Cal Kidd, and his publisher set him up with a striped-tail fox costume! Just point and laugh.

Frank Creed's Biblical cyberpunk/ end times fiction.
Advance orders at thewriterscafe. com, order before October 15, get free shipping and a gift

Coming soon: Forever Richard, Sue Dent's sequel to Never Ceese.
Biblical vampire-werewolf fiction from The Writers Café Press
Advance orders available.
Disclaimer: The Writer's Café Press will not be held responsible for shoppers not wearing a cross.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Flashpoint BookTrailer

Just in the nick of time . . . FLASHPOINT: Book One of the UNDERGROUND has a book trailer. You can view it, if you like, at YouTube.

Thanks goes to The Writers’ Café Press, and to Clank who creates his own "Robo-Mechanical" electronic music, for the use of his awesome BeatWave.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Is it too Edgy? Light at the Edge of Darkness

The new anthology, Light at the Edge of Darkness, has been described as edgy, and in fact is edgy, although that was not the authors' goal. Light gives Christian readers of secular sci-fi, fantasy, horror an alternative: entertaining well-written fiction from a Christian perspective.

The authors of Light write speculative fiction or spec-fic (fantasy, sci-fi, cyberpunk, horror, etc.) that is scripturally sound; it is intended for the Christian audience. It does not evangelize but neither does it cloak Christian beliefs in euphemism and analogy. So, what purpose does Biblical spec-fic serve?

Founder of the Lost Genre Guild, Frank Creed, says this: I'm a longtime fan of spec-fic, especially sci-fi. When shopping Christian bookstores long ago, it didn't take long to realize that there was nothing in my favourite genre on the shelves--so I turned to secular sci-fi. I grew tired of the [often] anti-Christian underpinnings in sci-fi, but the only other option was to quit reading fiction altogether; so I gritted my teeth and ignored anything pointedly anti-Christian. Later, I put my hand to writing sci-fi and fantasy from a Christian worldview. It stood to reason that there were other Christians readers out there who would be interested in a good story that was respectful of Christian values.

Biblical spec-fic, and by extension, Light at the Edge of Darkness, is not white-washed or diluted secular fiction. The good stuff must be able to hold its own as far as plot and characterization goes. It must be "real" in the fictional sense. It must be meaningful. Let's give an example:

"Undeniable" by Canadian horror writer A.P. Fuchs, is horror. It tells the story of a man and son incarcerated in a Chinese jail; the two characters have a choice: renounce Christ or be tortured. These are strong Christians who chose the latter. The torture is palpable and provides the reader with meaningful depictions of the lengths to which the torturers and the strong Christians will go. Without this imagery, it is doubtful that the author would have successfully made his point: how far would you go before compromising your values and beliefs.
"Undeniable" can hold its own in the secular world as quality entertaining horror and at the same time is Christian in nature! Is the violence depicted in this story gratuitous? No. Is it meaningful? Yes. (The difference between gratitous and meaningful is a whole other issue).

Light at the Edge of Darkness contains sci-fi, fantasy, horror, endtimes, time travel, cyberpunk, dystopia and more. The stories are well-written and have been thoroughly enjoyed by fans of spec-fiction. The stories are edgy; they don't succumb to the writing guidelines of the big Christian publishing houses that intimate that their readers are all delicate butterflies who will perish if they read meaningful description--in the words of one large publisher: "sometimes it is better to tell, not show."

The stories in Light do not break this fundamental rule of writing, rather, they are edgy in the sense that they are written from a Christian worldview yet still maintain the writing quality of secular fiction--these writers, along with many others, are edging Christian fiction into something that is real, something that is entertaining, something that is well-written.

If you are a person who does not like the spec-fic genre in the first place, will you like this book? Debatable. Is it fair to judge this book or indeed, a story like "Undeniable" according to your reading tastes? I say a resounding "no." But . . . are Light at the Edge of Darkness and other novels coming from the Lost Genre Guild too edgy? That answer depends on each individual's reading preferences.

--definition and discussion of Biblical speculative fiction can be found at Wikipedia

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