Parker J. Cole from the Write Stuff podcast participated in the cover reveal event for my Jordan's Deliverance novel.
Jordan's Deliverance is Book 3 in the Jordan of Algoran series. It will be published by Ambassador International during Fall 2020.
This video was slightly edited for brevity.
Racism is on a lot of people’s minds right now. Most of us have either seen or heard about the terribly disturbing video showing the death of Floyd George. And many of us are aware that such injustices happen far too often, particularly to African-American men. There is understandable anguish, anger, and outrage. That outrage has spilled over into violence, with at least thirty cases of arson in Minnesota. The Fire Department reported that their equipment sustained damage from rocks being thrown at Fire Trucks being sent to put out the fires. Protests, both peaceful and violent, have spread to cities throughout the United States. This has led some city governments to impose curfews and other lockdown procedures.
This wasn’t only about Floyd George, though his preventable death should not be minimized. There is fear mixed with this anger: Fear for African-American men and women’s lives. Fear for the loss of good people — sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers — all with hopes, dreams, and limitless potential. There have been abuses of power by those in authority, as the video of Floyd George’s death certainly showed. Such anger and despair also arise from overt cases of racism like the murder of Ahmaud Arbery by a white father and son in Georgia as well as Amy Cooper calling the police on Christian Cooper in New York City’s Central Park. Instances like these don’t always make the news, but they happen across the country every day.
Another element of this is the history of white-on-black racism in the United States. Words cannot do justice to the grief, pain, fear, and resentment this has caused. And while progress has been made towards acknowledging that history and making changes for the better, there is room for improvement. As we have seen in recent years, there are people of all races who hold onto the poison of prejudice.
Before I continue, I need to state that as a white man married to a black woman and the father of three biracial children, I have a unique perspective on this. My in-laws, who I love dearly, are African-American. Many of the people from my church, many of my brothers and sisters in Christ, are African-American. I understand their fears and frustrations.
I won’t claim to have definitive answers; I can only offer my perspective as a Christian husband, father, and writer. These tragedies should not occur. They happen because evil is in the world. Racism and prejudice are most often taught through example. And people can respond to one example of racism with their own racism. It begins in the mind and heart. It leads to malicious thoughts. Those thoughts eventually manifest in some outward display, whether hurtful words, actions or even violence. The atrocity of racism festers in the corners of every ethnicity on the planet and no one is immune. Because it can grow so rapidly, fueled by emotion, it has to be guarded against.
It can seem hard to love others when faced with this kind of problem. There’s been so much pain caused by so many bad things happening to so many people over the years. This can make a person want to withdraw from others or just be around people like themselves. But that kind of thinking is divisive. It creates self-segregation, where people mainly (or only) hang around others from their own ethnic group, whatever that ethnic group is. It is my opinion (based on experience), that if someone is only exposed to their own ethnic group, it leads to ethnocentric behavior and ultimately, some form of racism. Whether it’s in one’s social circles, work environment or even church, this can happen.
Some of this is caused by fear of the unknown. Some of this is caused by a need to be around what one feels comfortable or safe with. And some of it is caused by privilege and feeling one does not have to go outside their comfort zone. Whatever the reasoning, it creates an insulating culture and that is not good.
In contrast, deliberately becoming involved with people from all kinds of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures is very effective at combating and even preventing racism.
My concern, and the reason for my writing this, is that people are becoming consumed by their emotions due to these terrible circumstances. I share the hope of many that the justice system will prevail and those who have done these wrongs will receive appropriate punishment. However, no matter what happens, my prayer is that people will not let their hearts be infected and darkened by these events. I want to see people show more kindness to one another as human beings, not as this race or that race. We all have hearts and we all bleed red. We can get along and thrive if we keep making the effort to. That's not wishful thinking. I (and others) have lived it, I know it can be done.
Outrage in the face of a travesty is normal, it’s human. We should be upset when someone is treated unfairly. But then what? We have free will. We can make choices. Will we control the anger and turn it around into something positive? Or will we let the anger control us? Only you and I can decide that.
I’ll finish this with a scripture. In Matthew 5: 43-45 (KJV), Jesus said:
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Thanks for reading this.
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:
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.
The Allen Steadham Newsletter
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