Me and my father, Joe Steadham, in 1989
Today would have been my father(Joseph Edwin Steadham)’s 79th birthday. He passed away from cancer in 1997, five days before his 56th birthday. It really is hard to believe it’s been twenty-three years. I’m named after him: Joseph Allen Steadham.
My father was first and foremost a people person. He loved being around family, friends or even complete strangers. He went to the grocery store almost daily as an excuse to meet and talk to people. Whether at work as the head of the Microbiology Laboratory at Texas Health and Human Services or at the church where he was a Deacon, he treated them like small towns. Everyone was a neighbor, friend or family.
Speaking of work, he was an overachiever. In addition to working for Health and Human Services, he maintained a Pharmacist’s license and worked some evenings and weekends at a pharmacy. It was all to provide for his family, for us.
We were always at the forefront of his thoughts and emotions. He dearly loved his wife, my mother, almost from the moment they met. They were married for thirty-two years. Like any marriage, it wasn’t perfect, but there was no doubt they loved one another.
The doctors gave him six months to live when his cancer returned in 1995. He lived eighteen months longer than that, mostly to spend time with his first grandson, my son Adam. On his final morning, even though he was so weak that he couldn’t move and on incredible amounts of pain medication, he waited for my mother to wake and come see him. He wanted to see her one more time, his final expression of love for her. Then he let go and it was his time.
My father taught me so much, some things directly and some through osmosis. He was a fine example of a husband and father. He taught me the beginnings of cooking; how to drive; basic car maintenance; how to have a savings account; and how to balance a checkbook. He encouraged me to work part-time once I turned sixteen, which allowed me to buy my first electric bass setup (guitar and amp) and save up for a Journalism class field trip to New York City and Boston. I developed a work ethic that I have passed down to my children.
He and I didn’t always see eye to eye, but in the last few years of his life, we formed an incredible bond. We had no unresolved issues at the end. I’ll always be grateful for that.
I do miss him still, but I have comfort. He had the opportunity to know his Savior, Jesus. And my father lives on through me, my sister, and my children.
It’s a bit ironic. As a teenager, I was a “lone wolf” by choice. I would do anything for my close circle of friends and didn’t much care what anyone else thought of me. But once I fell in love with my wife, Angel, and especially after I gave my life to Christ, I blossomed into a people person myself. I don’t think I’ll ever reach the level that he was, but that’s okay. He did what came naturally to him and I’ll do the same.
There are things I wish he could have been a part of: Dad didn’t get to see Adam grow up into a kind, talented, hard-working young adult. He didn’t get to meet my son Jonavinne or my daughter Jeyli. He didn’t see me develop an Information Technology career. He didn't see me co-create a non-profit organization and run the org as its Director for eighteen years (but he did inspire me). He didn’t see me go from (labor of love) comic book creator to published Christian author.
But that’s okay. I accept that everything happened how it was supposed to.
He saw enough. My parents were there when I married Angel and they were present at Adam’s birth. They saw Angel's and my changed lives when we became Christians. As I said before, Dad and I had gotten close. We weren’t just father and son, we had become good friends. I’ll always treasure the time I had with him.
Just now, I told Adam that I was writing this tribute to my father and he said something special enough to repeat.
Adam said “You’ve told me lots of stories about your Dad. I’m gonna tell people stories about you. There’s a lot to tell!”
And thus the torch passes from one generation to the next.
Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you.
UPDATED: The Cover Reveal event for Jordan's Deliverance (Book 3 in the Jordan of Algoran series) is coming Friday, May 29, 2020 at 2:00 pm Central Time/3:00 pm Eastern Time. Parker J. Cole and I will discuss the book and cover in a BeLive session.
Here is the link to the Facebook Event page.
Jordan's Deliverance is scheduled for a Fall 2020 release. I'll give you the exact date once I have it!
This is an excerpt from the first chapter from my new Christian fiction slice-of-life novel. It's still in edits, release date to be determined in the future. But I wanted to give you a quick glimpse.
In the following scene, the main character, Sean, was training with his coworker, Keith, at a Call Center during a severe thunderstorm. Their supervisor is named Jessica. She is mentioned but does not appear in this scene. The training was interrupted when the building lost power. When they heard a tornado unleashing destruction very close to their building, Keith said a prayer at what he thought was a low volume, but Sean heard him and was offended. With tensions understandably high at the Call Center (with everyone stuck where they are until the danger passes), Sean and Keith try to maintain a civil dialogue to pass the time.
This is told from Sean's point of view in first person narrative.
(Beginning of excerpt)
“Yes, I am a Christian,” Keith replies slowly. “What about it? Why does that bother you so much?”
I release the armrest and clench my fist in my lap.
“It bothers me because I don’t see how anyone can believe in a fairy tale like that.”
Keith waits to respond again. In a way, I’m grateful. It gives me a chance to calm down a little. The tornado sounds are gone now. All I can hear is the rain lashing against the sides of the building and occasional thunder. Most of our coworkers are out of sight, probably still under their desks. I can hear some of them whispering now and then. I don’t see Jessica. She must be out of the Call Center. At the same time, someone must have a live feed from a news station, a female meteorologist is telling people how dangerous this storm is and to stay inside or get into a storm shelter. That’s not doing us a lot of good right now, but maybe it’ll help someone else.
Just then, Keith slowly leans forward in his chair. He’s actually pretty calm.
“You’re an atheist then?” he finally says.
“If you don’t believe in God, that’s your choice,” Keith continues. “And I respect that.”
That’s surprising to hear.
“But let me ask you something, Sean: Why does it matter to you if someone else does believe in God?”
What? Did he really just ask that? Is he stupid? This is making me madder.
“It matters to me if I see someone is choosing to be a mean, selfish hypocrite, yeah.”
“So all Christians are mean, selfish hypocrites to you?”
I stare at him, my irritation simmering. I take a few deep breaths.
“There is no evidence of any supreme being ever existing,” I tell Keith. “But there is plenty of evidence to support rational and scientific explanations for what used to be attributed to superstition, gods, and other silly belief systems.”
“Science has helped us understand a lot of things,” Keith acknowledges. He’s serious at first. Then he smiles, amused. “We know the Earth isn’t flat, for example.”
I sigh. “We know a lot more than that.”
“Do we know everything about everything?” he asks.
If the power ever comes back on, I’m asking Jessica to sit me with someone else.
“No, of course not,” I reply. “But we’re learning more all the time.”
“Granted. Will that be enough?”
What is he talking about? “Enough for what?”
“Enough to satisfy human knowledge and curiosity. Will we ever know it all?”
He’s carried this debate further than I thought he would. Maybe this isn’t such a bad way to pass the time.
“No, I doubt we’ll ever know it all,” I suggest. “Humans will always have questions and seek knowledge.”
“I agree,” Keith adds. “But is intellectual knowledge enough to satisfy us humans? Can we live off of knowledge alone? Or do we need more?”
That’s an interesting question, I have to admit.
“I suppose we need emotional satisfaction also,” I answer.
“How do we attain that?” Keith inquires.
I give that some thought.
“By accomplishing goals we set for ourselves.”
“Like what — school, work, marriage, and family? Things like that?”
“I guess. I mean, not everyone wants to get married or have kids. But there are all kinds of goals people can set for themselves.”
He looks as intrigued by this discussion as me. It’s also relieving to hear the rain finally dying down outside.
“And what if a person fails to achieve their goals?” he asks me. “Are they a failure and doomed to be miserable for the rest of their life?”
“Obviously not,” I counter. “If one goal doesn’t work out, a person can always make up new dreams to follow.”
“New dreams,” Keith repeats, nodding. “What’s your dream, Sean?”
(End of excerpt)
My apologies for going almost a month without a new post. Despite the craziness affecting the world during the COVID-19 virus crisis, I have actually been busier than ever!
On March 5th, I was inspired to start a new Christian fiction novel. It is not related to Mindfire, the Jordan of Algoran series or my upcoming steampunk trilogy. I didn't expect it, but I was compelled to undertake it immediately. Fortunately, I have had plenty of time to write and concluded the first draft of the story on April 8th. Now it is going through edits and revisions before I send the manuscript to my publisher Ambassador International.
This last Monday (April 13, 2020), I began a Christian science fiction short story. It is part of an upcoming anthology from my publisher. It has been planned for some time, but my editor contacted me and asked if I still wanted to be a part of this project. After some thought and prayer, I decided that I did want to do it. I completed its rough draft yesterday (April 17, 2020). It is also going through edits and revisions before being submitted.
I ask my wife, Angel, to read through all of my stories and offer her input before I submit my work to the publisher. It is important to me to include her in every part of the author process, from first draft to publication. She does not co-write with me, but she provides insights that I find extremely valuable.
Besides all this, I have been collaborating with the Design Team at Ambassador International on the cover for Jordan's Deliverance, Book Three in the Jordan of Algoran series. Once that work is done, I will make an announcement for its cover reveal. Believe me, you're going to want to see this one!
Once I send in the manuscripts for the new stories, I will resume work on the Christian steampunk series.
I am giving more detailed updates and personal messages in my newsletter, which I have decided to update weekly, starting Monday April 20, 2020. If you haven't signed up for the newsletter yet, you can do so at this link! You'll get a free short story just for subscribing.
Thanks for reading this! I'll update again as soon as I can.
A new update regarding my live readings days and times:
I will be doing Facebook Live readings on the following days each week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday
The planned time right now is 10:00 AM Central Time/11:00 AM Eastern Time. However, these times may need to change. If that happens, I will let you know as close to 24 hours in advance as possible. I will also post a reminder the day of the reading.
The order of reading is still the same:
MINDFIRE (Chapters 3 through 5 starting Monday March 23, 2020)
Jordan's World (Chapters 1 through 5, starting Saturday March 28, 2020)
Jordan's World (Chapters 1 through 5, starting Monday April 6, 2020)
A surprise bonus reading (possibly in two parts)
All of these videos will remain on my Facebook feed and the full series will be on my YouTube channel.
Starting tomorrow March 21, 2020, I will read a chapter from my books every other day at 10:00 am Central Time (11:00 am Eastern Time). It will be a Facebook Live video which I will then post to YouTube and Twitter. I may do separate Instagram Live readings, but I haven't decided that yet.
Below is the order in which I will read:
Chapters 2 through 5
Chapters 1 through 5
Chapters 1 through 5
This will provide thirty days’ worth of book reading (with breaks in-between) and give you a feel for each book.
If we’re still dealing with COVID-19 social distancing/stay home issues after a month's time, I will see where the Lord leads me. I’m happy to read to y’all and I hope you enjoy my stories.
The entire series will be available on my YouTube channel. The first video in the series is below (and on my Videos page).
I interviewed Ariel Paiement, an author of Christian speculative fiction (including fantasy and science fiction). She tells us about her life, her faith and her new novel On Twilight's Wings in the video below.
Her social media:
The following is an excerpt from the Prologue of Jordan's Deliverance, Book 3 in the Jordan of Algoran series.
FIFTEEN YEARS AGO ON EARTH
Kayla Lewis stood at the bottom of the stairs and looked up at her husband, Mark, with some concern. He was carrying two stacked and very full moving boxes in his arms as he carefully descended the stairs. And he was obviously straining.
“Mark, put one of those boxes down! You’ll throw your back out again,” Kayla warned.
“I’m using my legs. I’ll be fine,” he answered.
Neither impressed nor persuaded, she walked over and grabbed the top box. She angled her lips and blew a long strand of brown hair out of her face as she walked past him towards their minivan. The rest of her hair was pulled back into a long ponytail.
“You’re not twenty anymore, Mark, and you don’t have to impress me.”
“I wasn’t trying to impress you, honey. I just thought I could do it.”
“My point is you don’t have to. I’m right here. I can help.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he replied with a hint of sarcasm. They’d had this conversation more than once before.
Kayla Lewis was forty-eight years old and her husband was a year older than her. They had been married for twenty-eight years and owned a graphic design company called Markayla Designs. She was the artist while he managed the business. It had been profitable enough over the years, allowing them to buy a house, own two vehicles, pay the bills, and provide for three daughters.
But maintaining and growing the business had been very stressful. Kayla had barely kept it together when Mark suffered a mild heart attack at the age of thirty-nine. Her own vision had suffered from her habit of working late into the night with less than ideal lighting. She ate when she remembered to, though it was at irregular intervals. That had been fine when she was a teenager. But time and having children had altered her metabolism, causing her to steadily gain weight.
Still, Kayla was more concerned with her husband’s well-being than her own.
The back hatch was already open, and their storage area was half-filled with boxes. The vehicle hovered a foot above the ground using magnetic propulsion technology which hummed quietly. Virtually all transportation had been clean, electric, and wheel-less for over a decade. The van was slightly oval-shaped, large enough to accommodate up to six passengers with room to spare for hauling items.
Kayla put her box on top of one of the others. Mark put his next to hers, but it slipped from his grip. Falling to one side, its lid popped off and she heard him sigh in frustration.
“What’s wrong?” Kayla inquired, pushing her glasses back up her sweaty nose. She knew his sigh was about more than a moving box. She was beside him now, one hand resting on his left arm while observing his wistful expression and furrowed brow.
“I just can’t believe they’re both gone,” Mark lamented. “First Mom...now Dad. They lived together in this house ever since Mom...got back.”
“I know,” Kayla replied, nodding in understanding. “Your dad was a father to me a lot longer than my own. But they had a long life.”
“At least they got back together,” Mark added. “That was the best decision they ever made.”
“And they got to know their grandkids,” Kayla remarked with a sad smile.
Kayla decided to grab the moving box that had fallen to the side and lined it up with the others. Grabbing its lid, she glanced inside the box and something caught her eye: a gray, metallic shoebox-sized object which looked extremely old.
“What’s this?” she asked.
“Hm?” Mark turned to look at her.
“This metal, um, container. I think I’ve seen it before—”
“Oh, that? It was Mom’s. She kept it on the mantle above the fireplace with the family pictures.”
“What’s in it?”
“I don’t know. I thought it was just an old jewelry box or something. I’ve never looked inside it.”
“It looks sealed or something.”
Mark nodded. “Yeah. Mom and Dad both tried to open it a few times over the years but never managed to. I think I even attempted it once. But there’s such a long family history with it, we kept it.”
Kayla picked up the old plated box and looked at it with fascination. She smiled.
“Seems a shame to put an old keepsake like this in storage. I doubt we could sell it if we don’t know how to open it,” Kayla noted, looking at Mark. “Do you think your mom would mind if I held onto it?”
Mark paused and then made a slight shrug. “Knowing Mom, it would probably make her happy for you to have it. Go ahead, keep it. Where do you want to put it?”
Kayla held the box close to her chest. “For a family heirloom like this? Your mom kept it on the fireplace, so I guess I’ll do that, too!”
Mark smiled. “Sounds good. Now, let’s go get those last few boxes and take all this to the self-storage facility.”
“You go on up and get one of the boxes — and I mean only one!”
She put the family keepsake on the front passenger floorboard of the vehicle. As she exited the passenger front seat and stepped onto the driveway, she paused to watch her husband enter the house.
“I’m gonna call Jo and have her meet us to unload this stuff,” Kayla stated.
“Won’t she be studying for midterms?”
“This is our oldest daughter we’re talking about. She’ll either be gaming, eating pizza, or writing a new song.”
“Right. Then she’ll cram the night before and probably ace it.”
“Exactly,” Kayla answered with a proud chuckle.
Kayla pressed a button on her wristband as Mark went back inside. A holographic interface appeared.
“Call Jo Lewis,” Kayla told the device.
While the holo-interface on her wristband was attempting to contact her daughter, Kayla looked towards the front of the van. She was surprisingly captivated by the idea of that ancient artifact. Just then, the holo-screen flickered and displayed the words “Connection Established.”
Kayla’s daughter appeared in the waist-up holo-display. She was twenty-three years old and a junior in college, working on her Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. She was tall and average-sized, wearing a dark blue t-shirt. Her hair was shoulder-length, frizzy, and half of it was covering her eyes. The apartment, which she shared with another female student, was only lit by the small amount of sunlight peeking through the blinds of one window.
“Oh, hey, Mom!” Jo smiled in recognition. “Sorry, I just got up.”
“It’s two in the afternoon,” Kayla replied with measured patience.
“Izzit? Oh, wow. We went to see Eventually Watermelon in concert last night. After we got home, we binge-watched a bunch of sci-fi.”
Kayla pushed her glasses back up her nose again. This time, it was more to show her annoyance than to be functional.
“Your Dad and I have been packing up stuff from Grandma and Grandpa’s house. We’re about to take the boxes to storage. Can you help us unload? I don’t want your Dad doing too much.”
“Oh! Um, which storage place?”
“The one at Milea and Condor.”
Jo looked unenthused, so Kayla gave an insistent stare. After a moment, her daughter gave a surrendering shrug.
“I can be there in twenty minutes. Is that okay?”
“Sure. Thanks, Jo! Love you.”
“Love you, too, Mom.”
Kayla pressed another button on her bracelet and the holo-interface dispersed. As she walked inside to see if her husband needed any assistance, she couldn’t help but reminisce for a moment. She thought about Mark’s parents, memories with them in that house. And then suddenly, Mark’s older sister came to mind. It had been over thirty years since she’d last seen Jordan. Sometimes, she still wondered how her sister-in-law was doing on that faraway world of Algoran.
I have recently done some redecorating at my YouTube channel, rebranding basically. I've also consolidated quite a few short videos into combo videos, editing them together, adding music as well as the intro/outro segment above.
Please feel free to check out my channel below. Like and share the videos and subscribe to the channel. There are plenty of new videos, too, and I'll be adding more content soon!
Allen Steadham's YouTube Channel
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian, happily interracially married since 1995. 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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