A few weeks ago, I wanted to make a new Christian fiction short story. I had no idea that my efforts would blossom into inspiration for a full novel — and a Mindfire prequel at that!
Here's what happened: I reached out to a friend and we brainstormed for a bit one day. I brought three ideas to the figurative table:
1. This could be a completely new tale with new characters and environment;
2. This could be a story somehow related to Mindfire; or
3. This could be a story somehow related to the Jordan of Algoran series.
My friend recommended it be related to one of my previous books and we proceeded from there. For Mindfire, it seemed natural to do a tale with Steve and Sue Hamilton, Leia's father and adoptive mother. And for the Jordan of Algoran Series, there's a space in the second book, Jordan's Arrow, that's ripe for untold tales.
My intuition told me to go with the Mindfire-related story with Steve and Sue. I thought it would be good to write something that complimented the events in Mindfire without entirely depending on that book. Then I thought "what if we saw Steve and Sue's last adventure together as the superheroes Crusader and The Cat?" And what if it was a time travel story? That led to determining where to send them, further into the past or way into the future? Since sending them to the future ran the risk of running into spoiler territory, I decided it needed to be the past.
But when? My friend suggested World War I. It was a neat idea, but I was concerned because of another superhero story that was set in that era in a popular movie. On the other hand, I believed the 1920s and 1930s had lots of potential for storytelling. We narrowed it down to the 1930s, the era of the Great Depression. It was enough for me to work with and start building plot ideas!
Mindfire is set between 2013 and 2014. It also established that the AR-MEN superhero team were active for a short time between approximately 1990 and 1993. Crusader was one of the founders of The AR-MEN and The Cat joined later.
I created The AR-MEN as a homemade comic book series back in 1980. I wrote, drew and hand-lettered it regularly from 1980 until 2000, with a final issue in 2006. All of the superhero and supervillain characters in Mindfire were originally part of the comic book.
For the prequel novel, I didn't want to use the whole superhero team. I wanted to narrow in on Crusader and The Cat. I hoped to show their story before they married and left being superheroes behind (to become Christians and raise their family in peace). I also wanted to put them in a situation (time travel) where their superpowers would not be as as useful.
I've already outlined the whole book and I know its ending, and am about 10,000 words into writing it. It is called Unto Dust: A Mindfire Prequel.
The title is based on Genesis 3:19 (King James Version):
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Below is part of a scene featuring Crusader and The Cat from a 1996 issue of The AR-MEN (where they fought my parody of the Power Rangers team, The Mighty Dreadful Multi-Colored Shapeshifting Warriors). Crusader used his sun saber and The Cat was in full feline form.
Here’s a one-minute teaser trailer for my newest Christian fiction writing project, a Mindfire prequel called Unto Dust. Let me know what you think!
I want to wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas! I plan to enjoy time with my wife and kids. I can't believe 2021 is almost over, but I'm looking forward to the new year!
Update on my next Christian fiction novel, The Former Things. We now have a Summer (possibly July) 2022 release date. I revised the latest trailer to reflect that. And look for a cover reveal in the next few months. Things are moving along!
This is a teaser trailer I made for an upcoming project, a short story which will be part of a Christmas Christian fiction anthology for my publisher Ambassador International. Right now, we are aiming for Christmas 2022.
This is the third and final excerpt from my Christian Space Western short story "Sea Change." This is an scene between two main characters: Jivan Korda, a bounty hunter, and JeLae Lanna, the woman who had a bounty put on her. They're on an outer rim world called Ordax 5.
They were silent for a few moments, just sky gazing. When he did catch a glance at her, she looked longingly at the heavens. What was out there for her, he wondered.
“Did that Icerr raise you?” she asked a few moments later, quite casually. Jivan nodded.
“Rayzm did alright by me,” he answered. “I never missed a meal, always had shelter, things to do. He’s got his quirks, like anybody. But I got no complaints.”
Miss Lanna nodded. “I hope my daughter is as kind in describing me. Father of All knows I did my best.”
That got Jivan’s attention, pulling him out of his sullen mood.
“You a religious woman, Miss Lanna?” he asked. “I don’t hear too many folks talk that way.”
She shrugged. “My true love gave me some...religious texts as a gift. I read them sometimes and I’ve tried to follow those ways. I admit, though, I don’t fully understand their meaning. I’m no Wise One...far from it. I’m just trying to be a better person than I used to be.”
Jivan smiled. “That sounds nice. I wish I could aspire to something like that. Father and I are trying to make an honest living. And I admit, you’re not like I expected, Miss Lanna.”
Miss Lanna stretched her arms and yawned, even though no sound came out of her mouth. She got to her feet.
“You seem like a good kid, Jivan,” she said with a maternal glint.
Here’s a new book trailer I made yesterday for my current work in progress Queen of the Skies, Book 1 in the Steam & Mettle Christian steampunk series. Let me know what you think!
Here is my first trailer for my Christian Space Western short story called "Sea Change." I hope you enjoy it. Feedback welcome!
This last week, I completed final edits on The Former Things, my Christian fiction novel told from the perspective of an atheist. Now, it goes to formatting, cover creation, and a date for publication will be selected (there's more than that but this addresses the basics). For the last few days, I've had this feeling that ranges between elation and exhaustion.
As I've mentioned before, The Former Things was not a work I planned to do. In the midst of the Texas lockdown in April 2020, the Lord gave me the concept and main character for this story all at once during a prayer. It was emblazoned within me as something I had to write. And I did.
This tale took me way outside my comfort zone and made me exercise my faith in new ways, all with help and inspiration from the Lord. After all, it's not every day that a Christian fiction author writes a sympathetic atheist as a main character.
You might wonder how does a Christian author even qualify themselves to do such a thing? Does a Christian relate to an atheist or vice-versa? Not usually. This project required a lot of research and taking many perspectives into account. It took reading papers and viewing videos from a variety of sources, which was sometimes uncomfortable and even hurtful. But from that effort, I learned there are many kinds of atheists. And just like Christians and peoples of other belief systems, atheists have a wide variety of personalities, each shaped by their own experiences.
Most of all, it took prayer and persistence. In the midst of all my research and preparations, one idea kept shining through to me: The Lord loves everyone. And the Lord has a special compassion for atheists. He knows which ones will accept Him (and when) and which ones won't. God's love knows no boundaries. We can't fully comprehend it. The depths of God's love and compassion continue to fascinate and inspire me daily.
Sean Winter is a complex man who's been through a lot in his twenty four years. And yet, he is aspiring to improve himself and grow in spite of his past. But the past is a dangerous adversary. Memories haunt and dig scars into his psyche. It's made worse by not being able to tell anyone about it.
Writing Sean was another outside-my-comfort-zone experience. Sean is an introvert while I'm an extrovert. And Sean is pretty jaded at times while I'm pretty optimistic most days. As an author, I wanted to get inside Sean's mind and really bring him to life. It was an emotional journey for me as a writer and I had to convey viewpoints that I don't ascribe to for the sake of making an authentic character and experience. And at the same time, I had to trust in the Lord that this would end up glorifying Him. He wouldn't have given it to me to write if it wasn't for that purpose. God is consistent and He deserves every bit of the honor and praise due Him.
Now, I feel good about Sean's character development. And I'm confident that this is the story the Lord meant for me to write. I received much input, assistance, and encouragement from my wife. And when I tell people about this story, it immediately intrigues them. Sometimes it even floors people. And that's without even reading one word.
This is a special story. I feel that it's truly one-of-a-kind.
The Former Things may sound like a depressing story, but it's really not. It is cautionary, but it's ultimately about hope, redemption and finding peace with God.
I believe you will find The Former Things relatable, thought-provoking and enjoyable. I'll keep you up-to-date on its upcoming release.
“Wow, I can see why you have a problem with them,” someone says next to me.
It’s Keith! How did he get into my dream? It makes me mad and embarrassed at the same time. The intensity I felt towards him during the storm returns.
“There!” I shout, pointing at my inebriated family members. “You see why I don’t trust you? One day, you’re gonna turn out to be just like them. They’re Christians, too!”
Keith looks at me with concern and what could be pity. He takes in a breath and releases it slowly.
“They began the race, but they did not finish,” Keith tells me.
“What? What does that mean?”
“They didn't keep the faith,” Keith says sadly. “They denied Christ through their actions. They do not represent Him.”
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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