Archive for the ‘Culture and Politics’ Category


Simmer Starters – June 11, 2016

June 11, 2016

Lots of fantasy links and a couple of cultural ones this week! 🙂

Love and Comfort in Fantasy, or Why George R.R. Martin Isn’t the American Tolkien (John Adcox) – While I eschew Game of Thrones for the porn-fest it is, this article is beautiful and excellently illustrates why Tolkien, Lewis, Rowling, and other authors have written books more likely to be enduring and loved for generations.  It’s all about the love.

The Gospel Was Given for a Time Like This (Tim Challies) – I can’t stand it when Christians panic and go around flailing their hands over the state of the world “these days,” so I loved this calm and comforting post.

About Those “20 Minutes of Action” (Ann Voskamp) – Beautiful words from Voskamp about the rape scandal that’s been in the news so much lately.  “Son. When the prevailing thinking is boys will be boys — girls will be garbage. And that is never the heart of God.”

The Real Reason That Christians Don’t Read Fantasy (K.M. Carroll) – My friend Kessie muses on the root cause for the poor sales of Christian fantasy books.  “…Mostly kids are allowed to read mystery, talking animal adventure, and historical fiction. These kids then grow into adults who prefer to read the same things. They’re not interested in the darker, edgier fiction out there.  However, the Christian spec fic authors want to read and write adult books. They want sex, swearing and blood–all things that aren’t appropriate for kids books.”

Why We Need Christian Fantasy (E. Stephen Burnett) – Several reasons why there is value in the “Christian fiction” subculture.  Personally I am in favor of Christians writing for the secular market as well, but there is a place for Christian fiction too!

Why Your Character’s Goal Needs to be 1 of These 5 Things (K.M. Weiland) –  This isn’t a new post, but I happened across it and found it really useful.


Simmer Starters – June 3, 2016

June 3, 2016

Not a whole lot of Simmers this week…there has been a lot on my mind internally and I haven’t been reading very many articles!

Three Ways Superpowers Can Charge Your Story (Janeen Ippolito) – Three ways superpowers – magic – even special talents – add an extra oomph to stories.

Advice from Maggie Stiefvater – Wise words from an author. This part hit me hard, about needing to write fast, because: “Otherwise you as a human will change faster than your story gets completed, and your story will try to shift to accommodate this new person you are, and you will end up with something that is many things instead of one. That’s not wrong, either, but the more things a book is to you, the harder it will be to both complete and edit.”  Ain’t that the truth.

Rejecting Our Aesthetic Patrimony (James Griffin) – I admittedly skimmed this, and while it’s from a Catholic perspective, there are some interesting things to think about here.  “The fact that we deride beauty as vain or wasteful is one of many cancers in our church and society. By insisting upon plain, “humble” furnishings for our churches in the prosperous first world, on the contrary, we make a show of false humility, prideful in our shabbiness…”

Mind Your Own Womb (Nadirah Angail) – A heartfelt post about the pain others often carry that we don’t see.


Simmer Starters – May 27, 2016

May 27, 2016

Just a friendly reminder that #WIPjoy is coming up in less than a week!!!  Keep your eyes on my Twitter and Facebook pages for the upcoming list of daily prompts, and I might post them to the blog too. 🙂

And now, on to the Simmers!

Steps to Finding Your Story’s Hook (Brianna de Silva) – Good tips on that nerve wracking thing – talking to people about your story!

How Badly Do I Want Healing? (Your Other Brothers) – Targeted to Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction, this article is relevant to all of us.  “Do I really want complete healing, or am I satisfied being a lifelong ‘struggler’? Is the self-pity I’ve surrounded myself with for so long too hard to leave?”

The World is God’s Classroom (J.A. Medders) – I love this thinking!  Beautiful truth that is also applicable to writers and worldbuilders, in my opinion.  “Far from belittling theology, God provides unending object lessons for us. His world is filled with purposeful echoes of him. We didn’t luck out that the world helps us grasp the contours of God and his ways. God designed it this way. God embedded lines of code into the universe, revealing his attributes, teaching us how to think, feel, respond, love, taste, and behold — how to live for his glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). Our textbooks are his world, his word, and the Word made flesh.”

How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds (Tristan Harris) – This one was very thought-provoking.  While at times conspiracy-theorist in tone, and criticizing features of tech that I personally appreciate as useful rather than evil, there is a lot here to think about.

Reboot Your Phone with Mindfulness (Tristan Harris) – Related to the above article – I appreciated the kind, helpful tone of this post.  Simple, great suggestions to help us do what we all want to do…mindlessly check our phones less!


Simmer Starters – May 21, 2016

May 21, 2016

Our Respectable Sin – Laziness (David Prince) – Hard-hitting words here!  “We have come to believe that the reason we work is so that we can rest. Work in this way of thinking is a necessary evil, and that is too often the story we tell ourselves. But thinking in this way turns God’s work and rest rhythm completely on its head. Biblically, we do not work so that we can rest; we rest so that we can work.”

Beware of ‘Trans Movement’ as Patriarchy in Disguise (Pia de Solenni) – This! “Yes, some individuals suffer from gender dysphoria, but I am very hesitant to say that their struggle gives them the right to identify with the sex of their choice. As a woman, I cannot concede that being female simply means that one wears makeup, sexy lingerie, and a hair-do.”

Six Ways to Self-Edit and Polish Your Prose (Kristen Lamb) – Good self-editing tips to consider.

Why Referring to “Screen Time” May Not Be Helpful (John Charles Dickey Dyer) – A thoughtful article showing how there are different uses for screens, some more beneficial than others. It lists several categories of thinking “that can help us think more deeply about how we’re using our happy little glowing rectangles.” 😀

How To Write Faster (And Why Maybe You Shouldn’t) (K.M. Weiland) – K.M. Weiland presents a typical formula for becoming a bestseller, and then explains why the formula might be a good or bad idea for you to follow.

This is a Jar Full of Major Characters (Time Machine? Yeah!) – Great metaphor illustrating why it makes a huge difference to write diverse casts of characters into our stories.  This really stuck with me – good food for thought!


Simmer Starters – May 13, 2016

May 13, 2016

Since I missed my Simmers last week I had a lot of saved links to choose from!  There are some really good articles here. 🙂

Don’t Let Your Girls Grow Up To Be Moms (Gretchen E K Engel) – Don’t be turned off by the provocative title of the post.  There are really important things to say here (and they are things I intend to tangentially blog about in the near future).  “What happens when your daughter dreams of motherhood but is faced with its impossibility? What if she’s dreamed of marriage but finds herself alone?”

Why We Should Jettison the “Strong Female Character” (Alastair Roberts) – Very long but well worth the read.  “Within the kickass princess trope lurks the implication that, to prove equality of dignity, worth, agency, and significance as a character, all of a woman’s resolve, wisdom, courage, love, kindness, self-sacrifice, and other traits simply aren’t enough—she must be capable of putting men in their place by outmatching them in endeavors and strengths that naturally favor them, or otherwise making them look weak or foolish.  Herein lies a tragic failure of imagination that weakens both men and women.”

How I Gained My First 1,000 Followers on Twitter (Brianna da Silva) – Good Twitter advice be here.  I love Brianna’s tweets for her humor and encouraging advice – she’s definitely a good account to follow, and to get advice from on how to use Twitter.

Real Men Love Strong Women (Paul Maxwell) – “The real question we need to ask is: Do we want women to be weak? And the answer must forever be, on the basis of Scripture, ‘May it never be.’  Strong women are as vital as strong men to God’s purpose in the church.”

How Indie Novels Can Beat $4 Coffee and Chase Joy (E. Stephen Burnett) – This is a continuation of E. Stephen Burnett’s ramble against the “buy books and support indie authors” style of marketing – here he offers some great, positive marketing ideas.