Flames Over Black Forest

I have been absent for a long while, and that is due in part to a fire that broke out in the Black Forest neighborhood. My home. I still remember standing in my driveway and feeling a flake of ash drift into my eye.

I could see the glow of flames from my house as we were evacuating.

I could see the glow of flames from my house as we were evacuating.

As I am writing this, the fire is 85% contained, but has done plenty of damage. It was human-caused, but we have no word yet as to whether it was accidental or deliberate. Two people were killed. It spread across 14,000 acres. Over 500 homes have burned, more than in any other fire in Colorado’s history.

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Many of the places that have been a regular part of my life have been destroyed, while others still stand (fortunately, R&R Coffee is among those homes away from home that is still there). I myself had to be evacuated, but God be thanked, we are back in our house right now. Many of my friends weren’t so lucky, and they’ve lost their homes.

Kind of surreal seeing it so close to home.

Kind of surreal seeing it so close to home.

Please do keep your prayers with everyone who is still evacuated or has lost their home in the wake of this disaster.

There may have been a tremendous amount of damage wrought by these flames, but we will rebuild. Black Forest, CO is a wonderful community, and its spirit shall never be crushed. May God bless everyone, protect them, and lead them through this rough time.

A great deal of unexpected rain showed up over the next few days, and helped contain the fire. Thank you, God.

A great deal of unexpected rain showed up over the next few days, and helped contain the fire. Thank you, God.

If you want to help out or need some assistance, you can go here to learn more.

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Writing from the Ashes

One of the favorite motifs of fiction is resurrection. Characters redeem themselves (or try to), the past catches up for better or worse, and there are phoenixes everywhere ascending from ashes. My own book is called Revived. History itself is given a legacy of resurrection, thanks to Christ rising from His grave.

Resurrection was also the theme of the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. Even better than last year’s event, this was an unforgettable time to make new friends and meet with old ones.

To wit:

To the right is DeAnna Knippling, critiquing guru and author. On the left is Amber Benson, who played Tara from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and is a novelist as well. Both of these ladies are AWESOME human beings! And lots of fun to hang out with.

To the right is DeAnna Knippling, critiquing guru and author. On the left is Amber Benson, who played Tara on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and is a novelist as well. Both of these ladies are AWESOME human beings! Lots of fun to hang out with.

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Libba Bray, being her crazy self. Hilarious, friendly, and just plain likable.

My friend Joseph Smits. I can't think of many writers who make me laugh as hard as this gentleman. And Amber photobombs like a pro!

My friend Joseph Smits. I can’t think of many writers who make me laugh as hard as this gentleman. And Amber photobombs like a pro!

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My good friend Rob Killam. Did I mention he writes zombies like no one else? This guy’s gonna go far someday. Guaranteed.

And here's a picture of some chicken. Marriott staff took very good care of us. Which is good, since we writers are high-maintenance.

And here’s a picture of some chicken. Marriott staff took very good care of us. Which is good, since we writers are high-maintenance.

Aaron Michael Ritchey, Libba Bray, and Amber Benson led the way with keynote speeches. Inspiration filled the air like an inviting perfume. I got the sense of openness and fellowship that I’ve been missing for so long in my writing life.

Oh, and I should mention I pitched the fantasy novel, and the agent requested 20 pages. That’s always good news! [But I did realize I played up the sci-fi aspect of it like the book was a half-and-half blend of fantasy and sci-fi, when it’s more like 2% sci-fi and 98% straight up fantasy. So I almost screwed up the pitch unnecessarily. Oh well. 20 pages is still good! :)]

Thanks for your time, everyone! I’ve got a sequel to my sci-fi Kindle story to work on, and twenty pages to prepare for official submission. Carry on, and remember: It’s never too late to rise from the ashes.