Wednesday, 31 October 2007

More New Zealand

News - old news and new news...
I just wanted to let you know that things are going really well on my NZ trip - I'm outta here next Friday, but I have plenty of time before then if any of you are in the Auckand area and want to catch up. Guess what - I'm going to be on the radio on Friday!! There's going to be an interview between 10 and 11am on Rhema (Auckland 1251 am - not sure of the other frequencies...) and there will be giveaways if you want to listen out for that.

Later the same day there's an online chat at FabianSpace - 2pm on Friday November 2 for everyone in New Zealand, and for the rest of you, 9pm US-EST on Thursday November 1. It will run for two hours. Yes, New Zealand is 17 hours ahead of you! I think I told some people last week that it was at 4pm, well that was wrong, I'm sorry! I hope you can make it! All you have to do is follow the direct link from, type a username - anything you like, but preferably one I'll recognise you by! - and click the button to enter the chat room. I look forward to "seeing" you there!

here's some more pics to keep everyone happy...

Sheep grazing on an inner-city volcano slope

Auckland city and harbour seen from One Tree Hill at sunset. See those bumpy hills everywhere? They're all volcanoes. We have 63 of them in town...

I went to a wedding on Saturday - this is a church family I know rather well :)

Written in stone, a dedication in paradise (Great Barrier Island again)

Monday, 22 October 2007

The Best Part of New Zealand

This week I had the chance to visit one of my most favourite places on earth - Great Barrier Island. Not the Great Barrier Reef - that one's thousands of km away in Australia, and we're in New Zealand right now in case you hadn't noticed yet. :P I do wonder if it was the same explorer that named both, and must question his logic... Folk from GBI here in NZ often find that their mail goes to Australia before it gets to them!
Well, anyway, I lived on GBI for a few months in '01 and look back on that time more than fondly. I worked as a volunteer at a Christian camp called Orama, which is where I stayed this time too, of course. It's tucked away in a sheltered valley at the end of a long ocean bay, an hour's drive from the island's main airport.
I took some interesting video footage of the air journeys in a little 5-seater plane - can't upload that at present with the connection speed I have here, but watch for it in a couple of weeks when I get back to Germany.
Anyway - this location's great significance in my life includes the fact that it's where I began writing Faith Awakened. The first thing I wrote in my big hardcover notebook was the title - I knew that right from the start - and here I penned about a third of the original chapters. Not the prologue - that came last year in Germany. But hey. Here's where it began.

The Bark of the Bog Owl by Jonathan Rogers - CSFF Tour

Courage and a heart for adventure drive twelve-year-old Aidan Errolson, shepherd boy from Longleaf Manor. When the bark of the bog owl echoes from the forest and across his father’s well-tended pastures, Aidan dreams of wild places still untamed and quests not yet pursued. So begins the adventure that is The Bark of the Bog Owl, Book One in The Wilderking Trilogy. Written by Jonathan Rogers and releasing in September, The Bark of the Bog Owl follows Aidan’s progress from shepherd boy to national hero.

Aidan is the youngest son of Errol, a great warrior and landholder, descended from the first settlers of the land of Corenwald. The Corenwalders have always been a nation of pioneers and adventurers, carving a civilization out of the swamp and tanglewood of their island realm. But their success in taming the wilderness may prove the greatest threat to Corenwald's survival. In their new-found comfort and prosperity, King Darrow and his noblemen have begun to lose sight of the principles of freedom and justice on which their kingdom was founded.

Corenwald's deliverer, according to the old prophecies, will be not just a new king, but a Wilderking, who will ascend to the throne from Corenwald's wildest places. Only the Wilderking can balance his people’s civilizing impulses with the wildness that gives Corenwald its vitality. Aidan’s life changes forever on the day Bayard the Truthspeaker arrives at Longleaf with an astonishing pronouncement: it is Aidan’s destiny to be the Wilderking.

But not just yet. Many trials and adventures will mold the shaggy-headed shepherd boy into the man who can bring Corenwald back to its former glory. Aidan’s passion for adventure and heroism blossoms with his friendship with Dobro Turtlebane. Dobro is one of the feechiefolk—a tribe of half-civilized swamp dwellers who fight too much, laugh too loud, cry too easily, and smell awful. Aidan’s courage—not to mention his surprising talent for catfish grabbling and alligator wrestling—wins the feechiefolk over, despite their deep mistrust of “civilizers.” And when the warships of the mighty Pyrthen Empire land on Corenwald’s shores, it is Aidan who reminds his countrymen of a courage they had forgotten they possessed.

This initial installment in The Wilderking Trilogy is sure to capture the hearts of young and old, boys and girls alike. Written in the same fashion as The Lord of the Rings or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Bark of the Bog Owl, as the author says, will help “direct a God-fearing boy’s sense of adventure and warrior spirit – his God-given wildness.”

Check out these other participants on this tour:
Brandon Barr Jim Black Justin Boyer Grace Bridges Amy Browning Jackie Castle Valerie Comer CSFF Blog Tour D. G. D. Davidson Chris Deanne Janey DeMeo Merrie Destefano or Alien Dream Jeff Draper April Erwin Linda Gilmore Marcus Goodyear Andrea Graham Jill Hart Katie Hart Sherrie Hibbs Christopher Hopper Becca Johnson Jason Joyner Karen Dawn King Mike Lynch Rachel Marks Karen McSpadden Melissa Meeks Rebecca LuElla Miller Eve Nielsen John W. Otte Lyn Perry Deena Peterson Rachelle Cheryl Russel Ashley Rutherford Hanna Sandvig Chawna Schroeder James Somers Steve Trower Speculative Faith Donna Swanson Daniel I. Weaver Laura Williams Timothy Wise

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Now that I've been at home for just over a week, I'm beginning to remember the things that make us NZers something different. There are things to treasure in our culture, and I'm glad to be a part of it.

Did you know that a Kiwi is a native bird, round and stubbly? The famous Kiwifruit was named after it, I guess because it's round and stubbly too. We the people also call ourselves Kiwis, and the fruit is never called anything but Kiwifruit, except for very old people who used to know it as a Chinese Gooseberry, which is what it actually is.

Did you know that the word "taboo" comes from our native Maori language and originally meant "holy, untouchable"?

Did you know that the kumara is a national vegetable, like sweet potato, and it tastes best baked in an earth oven (hangi) buried with hot stones?

Do you know the difference between rugby league and rugby union, and can you discuss the pros and cons of each? Perhaps you've seen our team, the All Blacks, performing their haka (war-dance) before a game? I bet you didn't know that the words of the war-song describe a man emerging from a kumara pit where he'd hidden from his enemy.

I guess that's enough for today. The picture above is the upper end of the Waitemata Harbour, seen from a residential area in the central west North Shore. The one below is the wide part of the harbour just inside its opening, looking from the city wharf area to the southern North Shore.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

My Sea

Today I spent some time walking around town, and ended up at a small knobbly hill overlooking an expanse of beach on one side and the city harbour on the other. These are places I've had in mind while writing certain passages in Faith Awakened, although I was far away on the other side of the world when I wrote them. Originally, the story was set in New Zealand, but I shifted it to Ireland when it was half done, to increase global interest and give it a character perhaps more easily recognised by American readers.

Well, anyway, I was there on the beach and the hill, and suddenly I knew I wanted to come back here to live again. It was plainly obvious in the moment I jumped down from the promenade to the rough sand. Because this is my sea. Oh yes, I've seen plenty of sea elsewhere. It's just that it wasn't mine. These are the beaches where I played as a child, where I learned to swim and row. The smell of salt and seaweed hangs heavy in the air, and the wind whips my face and makes me feel alive again.

That's all, really... but I wanted to show you some pictures of my sea.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

FLASHPOINT by Frank Creed

“It’s just a little book,” I said to myself after opening the package, “I’ll get that read in an hour or so.”

How erroneous.

This “little book” is so chock-full of action that I had to give it far more time than would be usual for one this size. There are some scenes you have to read over again and again, just for that stunning visual effect in your mind. Ever heard of ground-breaking fiction? This is it. Hot stuff! I had to let it sink in for a few days before I could think about writing a review…

Christians on the run from state troopers who are authorised to lock them up. Brother and sister plunged into an underground they never could have imagined. Supernatural powers given to those who believe. Super-technical gadgets combined with holy extra-sensory perception bring the children of the King to their fullest potential. Matrix-style slow-mo bullet-dodging peppered with Bible quotes.

Yes, I can guarantee you won’t have come across anything like this before. Breathtaking action mingles with ultimate devotion, and reality can resemble a video game at times. Or was that the other way round? Hackers surf the cyber-world to outwit security systems. Love is still the greatest power in the universe.

Bursting with vivid neon colours and the sounds of the future, Flashpoint will take you places in your soul you’ve never been before. A treat not just for your mind and spirit, but for eyes and ears as well. A sympathetic array of characters has no other choice but to rely on divine connections to make it through each day.

One interesting aspect is the spiritual and technical reconstruction of the human mind and soul, making it impervious to fatigue, cold, heat, pain, you name it... and aware of the spirit world. If only it were really so easy… but whyever not? Why not combine spirituality with technology to create a super-Christian? This is heavy stuff, and our heroes are challenged beyond anything they’ve ever known before. But – and this is important – they sure do seem to have an immense amount of fun while they’re at it.

A tale that was ten years in the making is certainly something extraordinary. This huge investment of Frank Creed’s time is one that is paying off in the quality of his finished work. Let’s just hope the next one doesn’t take so long!

P.S. In the days immediately after reading this book, I was pursued by brightly-coloured sci-fi dreams, and one night even delivered a package deal: the main plot and concept for a new space-opera novel, complete with four main characters and several key scenes. Quite different to Flashpoint, but seemingly quite full of action. Look out for the Saga of the Seven Planets…

Grace Bridges, reporting from a 747 somewhere over Mongolia, but it's dark, so I can't say for sure... :)

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

FLASHPOINT - About the author

About the author - Frank Creed

Frank currently works two jobs. He is an associate
at Subaru of Indiana Automotive (builds Subaru engines) and when he finishes at SIA, he devotes
the majority of his waking hours to writing and promoting. Currently he is working on the sequel
to Flashpoint, War of Attrition and working with a small group of authors on other Underground
projects including Role-Playing Game designer Mike Roop on a Flashpoint-based RPG (due for
release in 2008). Frank is an active member of
FaithWriters, a Christian writing group and
participates in weekly writing challenges there.
The Lost Genre Guild™ is a group founded by
Creed to gather writers and artists and promote the lost genre of Biblical speculative fiction (sci-
fi, fantasy, thriller, cyberpunk, end times, time travel, etc. from a Christian world view). There
is a very good definition of Biblical speculative fiction at

Monday, 8 October 2007

Random Flashpoint Facts

You can get more information from a few of the interviews Frank has done:

      1. Flashpoint Interview
      2. Interview at Blog Critics by Carol McDonnell
      3. Interview at Novel Journey by Gina Holmes

Other Information:
      Frank has his own newsletter: The UNDERGROUND that can be subscribed to at
-this newsletter has been praised: "I honestly think that it's the best newsletter I've ever read"
said author Polly Harris
      The official website at
      Writers Blog at
      Book Review blog at
      Shoutlife page at
      His new book website at

Links for purchasing book:


The Writers Cafe Press:
if readers want free shipping within the US and Canada, plus a signed copy of Flashpoint

The book is also available at many other online stores. By using the ISBN, the book can be
ordered into a brick&mortar store as well, if it is not already on the shelves.