Are Readers an Endangered Species?

I hope not, for as Jeff Minick writes, “When we make readers of our children, when we ourselves read books, we help keep our culture and our civilization alive.”

Read the whole story here.

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When Hercules Nearly Died

Hollywood is like anywhere else, full of the good and the bad. Recent years have strained the public’s tolerance of the entertainment industry. Pandemics of abuse and cover-up, people trying to social engineer the rest of us, and those isolated in their elite bubbles trying to tell others how to live.

That’s why Kevin Sorbo’s book True Strength is a refreshing departure. Sorbo was a midwest guy with no special connections. He put in the time trying to get noticed in the acting business. He finally landed every actor’s dream: A role in a show — Hercules: The Legendary Journeys — that would become a world-wide hit. He had made it.

Then he knocked on death’s door.

True Strength is his story of three strokes nearly ending his life, and the struggle back to health he nearly lost. His story is inspiration to those who find themselves in a place of darkness and despair. If you think there is no way out, there is. If you think you can’t make it, you will. It’s also a story of commitment and love. Kevin’s wife Sam Sorbo never left his side or gave up on him, and put her career aside to help him. For those couples who want to throw in the towel when hitting the smallest speed bump, you may want to read this.

Darkness may derail you, but it doesn’t have to destroy you.

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Go Against the Tide with an Oxford Thinker

John C. Lennox, Oxford professor of mathematics, is a throwback to a time when universities were full of intellectual scholars intent on uncovering knowledge, finding wisdom, and promoting academic freedom. Unlike many self-proclaimed intellectuals, or anointed celebrity experts, Lennox is neither condescending, nor afraid of questions. An everyman intellectual, his books such as God’s Undertaker and Gunning for God, have explored the intersection of religion and science, and why the two are not — and cannot be — separate realms. He has often debated the foremost minds of our day who disagree with him. In many ways, he is the heir to the legacy of another great Oxford thinker, C.S. Lewis.

The documentary, Against the Tide, hosted and narrated by Kevin Sorbo, traces Lennox’s intellectual journey. They explore the science and reason behind his beliefs. A humble, yet brilliant scholar and debater, he lays out evidence for a designed universe that defies naturalistic explanations. He also shows why his religious beliefs aren’t rooted in blind faith.

He goes into far more detail in his books, but Against the Tide is perfect introduction for seekers of truth and wisdom. If you are curious about the nature of the universe, and your place in it, Lennox is an excellent guide.

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Will we Falter Like Our Ancestors, or Heed Their Message?

The historical record shows that after the establishment of democracy a booming Athens was suffused with energy and creativity…Love of liberty was a value of cardinal importance, which the democracy fed and watered. It was the foundation for rational inquiry and free artistic expression…Small wonder that this fertile soil produced a flowering of extraordinary personalities, and great art and thought…[it was] a briefly opened window of opportunity…However, for the time that the fates allowed, Athens made the most of her chances. – Anthony Everitt, The Rise of Athens

That era of Greek civilization that produced so much — democratic government, philosophical thoughts of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, art and drama, science and spectacular architecture, and much more — was a relativity short period of roughly two centuries. Centered in the city-state of Athens, it isn’t easy to determine how so much in one place, in such a short period, came together and became a pillar of time to civilization. To this day, that one city, that one era, has influenced our world.

In reading Anthony Everitt’s history of Athens, I couldn’t help to see the parallels to the history of the United States. In nearly the same span of time, the United States has affected the world in much the same way. In all the fields of culture and science, thought and politics, making democracy more robust in the form of a democratic republic, both in its successes and failures, it has been most impactful on the world. Unfortunately, there are signs of the same paths that led to the premature ending of Athens’s golden era.

Endless wars. Neglecting the precepts of democracy and the responsibility of ensuring it endures. Government abuses of power, and they only care — or appear to — for people just enough to maintain that power. The fostering and fanning of division among people. All of which makes a country ripe for collapse either by nature or by man.

We are often arrogant in the viewing our ancestors. We think they could not possibly have anything to teach us. Quite to the contrary, they have been down this road, many, many times. They have given us all the answers to the test. If we fail, it is because we have chosen to fail.

This is why history is so important to study, and why the nefarious rather you did not.

Athens wasn’t the first to crumble, nor the last. We took much of what they created and made it better.

What a shame if, sometime in the future, someone looked around and said words much like this archbishop of Athens did in the late twelfth century:

You cannot look upon Athens without weeping. It is not just that she has lost her ancient glory: that was taken long ago…Everywhere you see walls stripped and demolished, houses razed to the ground, their sites ploughed under.

[It is] a God-forsaken hole.

Contact and connect with Darrick here. Get your copy of Among the Shadows and choose a side. Will it be on the side of Light? Or Darkness? Book 2, Awakening, coming soon.

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Be Sure Not to “Follow the Science” Over the Cliff

If any one age really attains, by eugenics and scientific education, the power to make its descendants what it pleases, all men who live after it are the patients of that power. [They will be] weaker, not stronger…a few hundreds of men [ruling] over billions upon billions of men. The final stage is come when Man…has obtained full control over himself. Human nature will be the last part of Nature to surrender to Man. – C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man , 1947

C.S. Lewis, best known for Narnia and books like Mere Christianity, was nearly prophetic in his warnings on what the abuse of science could become. Even the horrors of World War II and not cured people of turning science into a religion, or of the belief that humans could be altered and improved to the point of creating a new species. Here, in our own day, eugenics and transhumanism threaten once again to cross from helping humanity, to replacing us.

The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society is a collection of essays on C.S. Lewis’ thoughts and writings which are all more relevant today. They are warnings we should not ignore. Some of his works best expressing his insight not only include The Abolition of Man, but his sci-fi trilogy, collectively (and uncreatively) known as the Space Trilogy

Warnings from seventy-four years ago, about the abuse of science, its replacement by scientism or scientific materialism, as contemporary as if they were written today. Will our ignorance of the past, and distraction from the present, deliver us right over the edge?

Unfortunately, history often repeats itself. Because we let it.

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Europe’s Lost Civilization

For centuries, people have marveled and wondered at Stonehenge. Who built it and for what purpose? Yet, Stonehenge is only one of thousands of monolithic structures across Europe. Across many regions, over thousands of miles, do they share a common culture? Is there some ancient and lost people or tradition that began raising stones? And for what purpose?

Many reasons for the stone circles and similar creations have been put forth. Burials, religious and cultural ceremonies, or astronomical observatories. Perhaps the most intriguing possibility is some of these sites may have been used to send messages and preserve information.

Were they passing down history to their own people, or did they have a message for us?

The more these structures are studied, the more I am convinced a large slice of history is missing. A forgotten people, supposedly primitive, raised difficult monuments. Perhaps they weren’t as unadvanced as we thought. Recent decades have seen history rewritten as we learn not all stone age people were a step away from cavemen. There is still much we need to learn.

If you want to explore this lost world further, start with Standing with Stones, a documentary by the Prehistory Guys. Then try the two part Secrets of the Stone Age. For even more fascinating exploration, dive into The Memory Code and Stonehenge Complete.

Something amazing happened across Europe and the British Isles in a time lost to us. We could be only a turn of a shovel away from remembering what has been long forgotten.

Contact and connect with Darrick here. Watch for newsletter sign-up coming soon. Get your copy of Among the Shadows and find another purpose of Stonehenge. Will it lead you to Light? Or Darkness?

Categories: Ancient Sites, Forgotten Places, Prehistory | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

History Speaks, We Don’t Listen

“The evangelists of freedom did all they could to sound the alarm amidst a fog of competing narratives, confusion, propaganda, and misinformation.” – Robert Lyman


I read Robert Lyman’s Under a Darkening Sky the other day about Americans living in Europe before WWII, who tried to warn all what was coming. Darkening Sky presents two lessons from history:

One, don’t ignore the lone voices in the wilderness just because they are not anointed by the mainstream. Second, when a country’s population and leadership are so completely divided, it doesn’t take much of a disaster (manmade or natural) to initiate their collapse (as France learned).

It’s like the past gave us all the answers to the test, and yet we keep failing.

Categories: History, Modern History | Tags: | Leave a comment

A Writer? So why aren’t you Writing?

This is the second in a series on marketing.

When writers start learning about how to reach their audience, they are told to build a platform across multiple channels to reach their audience. Then they get frustrated when no one appears to be paying attention to their posts, so they stop posting.

Big mistake.

Even if you aren’t a writer, but especially if you are, you must keep putting yourself out there. I’m tired of the word “content,” but content is exactly what you need to be producing. You must do this whether or not anyone is reading at all.

Think about it. How many television shows barely made it through their first seasons before they got noticed and became runaway successes? I can think of a few like Seinfeld and Everyone Loves Raymond. How many were canceled only to be reborn because the supporters — and writers — didn’t stop working the system? Star Trek, anyone? How many authors started out unnoticed only to become successful a couple of books later? What if they had given up after the first or second book?

No one may be reading your first attempts, but no one will ever read what you have to say if it never exists.

Realize you are competing for attention among millions of other people. Nathan Berry writes (via Russell Brunson’s Traffic Secrets), “There is so much content being produced that we can’t possibly discover it all. So we wait for the best to float to the surface after time. If step one in building an audience is to create great content, step two is to endure long enough to get noticed.”

Each social media platform is idealized for different types of posts, lengths of posts, and frequency. The first decision you must make is which social media outlets best suit your style and output. You don’t need to be everywhere, and to do so will just eat up valuable time. A regular website should be your primary home. This is where all your information can be found, your longer musings, and all other sites are a gateway back to the homeland. Then figure out which handful of other sites can benefit your brand. They may become more active as far as posts go, but have somewhere substantial as your foundation.

So how often should you write on your internet platforms? Some recommend every day. I think it depends on the type of site: Your main page should be at least once or twice a week. Sites like Facebook or MeWe, four times. Instagram, also four. I don’t like sites like Twitter or Gab for authors. Too short and flippant. Also realize I am talking about your author sites. Keep personal stuff on personal pages. While your home website is a better place for expanded content, if you find yourself posting quite a bit on non-author\writing topics, start another dedicated page. Most sites allow you to write multiple posts and save them for later, or specify a predetermined time to publish. This lets you write multiple posts in one sitting and have days or weeks of content ready to go.

Don’t be spammy. No one wants endless “buy my book” ads. This is the old way of doing things. Document your process. Detail your passions. Tell your Story. You convince readers to buy your book by not telling them to buy it. Rather, show them why your Story is so amazing. I once had someone try to sell me a product by giving me all the stats and figures — technobabble. I understand all that, but tell me why you are compelled to use that product. How did it change you? As an author, you tell amazing stories. Show people the path into your Story and why it will change them.

As Virginia Woolf wrote, “…in order to make you understand, to give you my life, I must tell you a story.”

Contact and connect with Darrick here. Watch for newsletter sign-up coming soon. Get your copy of Among the Shadows and choose a side. Will it be on the side of Light? Or Darkness?

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Patrick: Son of Ireland

Slave, soldier, lover, hero, saint,—his life mirrored the cataclysmic world into which he was born. His memory will outlast the ages.

St. Patrick’s Day comes and goes every year with its parties and parades, yet very few spend any time getting to know the holiday’s namesake. Why is one man, centuries later, so remembered?

This is where Stephen Lawhead’s novel, Patrick: Son of Ireland, paints a vivid picture of Patrick’s world long lost to us. It is true what little we know of Patrick comes from a few surviving writings by his hand, and from others passing down traditions. Lawhead uses this framework to fill in the details of Patrick’s slavery in Ireland which shapes his life to come. We also witness his escape back to Britain, and in Lawhead’s version, travels to Rome. Everything in Lawhead’s vision of Patrick’s life is detailed and plausible, transporting readers to these ancient eras. You will travel the stark contrasts of Celtic Ireland to the fading glory of late imperial Rome. We don’t get to see Patrick’s triumphant transformation of Ireland — we know that part of the story. This is the origin story on how he became that saint, that legend.

Categories: Books, Fiction | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Want a Free Book?

This is the first in a series on marketing.

That got your attention. Everyone likes free stuff, but authors hate giving away their work. I saw one writer get visibly upset when she saw me give away a book. I get it. Writing is hard work and most authors want to make a living telling stories. However, when you are just starting out, you need to invest in marketing your book.

Giving away free stuff is Marketing 101.

How many times has a retailer lured you in with BOGO offers or deeply discounted products (“loss leaders”)? They do it all the time, every day. It’s hard to see your book as a product, but you’re on the hunt for readers, right? Readers are your customer, and your book is your product.

I’m not saying you should give away all your books for free all the time. It should be part of an overall marketing plan. Free book contests. Donate them to local libraries. Have you ever see those little community book exchanges in parks and other locations? Keep copies in your car. You never know when the opportunity may arrive to give out your book, free or otherwise.

Running sales, just as all other businesses do, should also be part of your plans. Once you have multiple books published, deeply discounting the first — or making it free — gives a no-risk invitation to new readers.

Giving away your books shouldn’t be the only freebie in your arsenal. Think about what other free content you can give out such as excerpts of your books, or short stories set in the same storyverse. Consider putting these together in a low cost book format (paper or electronic) and give them out at events or on-line even to those who haven’t bought your book (especially to people who haven’t bought your book).

As authors, we don’t see ourselves merely as a business, or our readers as customers. We are looking for a deeper connection (and we will get into all that in future posts). Ultimately, getting your book out there requires a business mindset.

Most importantly, keep telling stories. Don’t stop until you Find Your Purpose, Find Your Story.

Contact and connect with Darrick here. Watch for newsletter sign-up coming soon. Get your copy of Among the Shadows and choose a side. Will it be on the side of Light? Or Darkness?

Categories: Books, Writing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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