Tuesday, January 30, 2024

I miss the snow

 What a bizarre "winter" we're having here in Minnesota. We had barely two weeks that could be called cold. In the last few days almost all the snow has melted, and the forecasted high for tomorrow is almost fifty above zero. My snowshoeing has gone right out the window. We went horseback riding on Sunday.

Minnesotans being what they are, you want to know the most common comment I've heard about this from the locals? "We're going to end up paying for this, one way or the other." Most people I know are expecting blizzards in March. One can only hope. I'm supposed to be going winter camping in March in the Boundary Waters in honor of the publication of Death on Disappointment Mountain. If that's going to happen, the weather will have to turn a little more winter-like in the last half of February to firm up the ice. We'll see. 

Fortunately there are other things a person can do in the winter besides snowshoeing and winter camping. 

Lisa and I spent some time last night preparing for the Kickstarter we're launching in March. This will be a new way to launch Wait for the Lightning, hopefully with significant crowd-funding support. If people step up to cover the costs of publishing, that frees our resources to focus on launching the book and getting it out widely.

I'm excited about this book. All my life, Genesis has been divisive territory. Seems like some people want to use it to bolster their position about how exactly God created the universe. Others dismiss it as fairy tale and focus on the Big Bang, carbon dating, and fossil records. We've been so conditioned to see Genesis as part of this argument it's hard to even think about it in a different way. 

That's why Wait for the Lightning is such a timely book. The subtitle is, "A fresh look at Genesis 1-12." It provides a different way to read these chapters that focuses not on the past, but the present. I believe with all my heart that we have been asking the wrong questions of Genesis. Instead of asking what happened in the past, I believe a faithful way to read these texts is to ask what the ancient Hebrews might have asked: Who are we? Why are we here? Who is God? What is he up to?

I'll admit, I also have a little fun in the book. It's written with some intentional humor. I know some people may find it a tad irreverent in a book about the Bible, but it's not intended to be disrespectful. I am hoping to keep the attention of people who are deeply conditioned to dismiss Genesis out of hand. 

If you've never been on Kickstarter, it's a fascinating place to look around. Tons of creative people are sharing their projects and hoping for your support. It's a chance to be a part of some fascinating things. In the next couple weeks we'll be opening up a pre-launch page that allows people to sign up for updates on this Kickstarter campaign. When that happens, you'll read about it here for sure. 

So if you're in Minnesota, pack the snowshoes away for the moment. Go for a walk without needing to wear your winter boots. Enjoy walking around in a sweatshirt. Sigh. I miss the snow. 

Monday, January 22, 2024

Something new

 If you're the kind of person who likes to try new things, here's something for you:

Ingram Spark is the company I use to publish books. They are, among other things, a print-on-demand service that has done an amazing job of helping me create books and get them out so people can read them. 

Just recently, Ingram Spark added a functionality to their repertoire. You as a retail consumer can now order my books directly through their website. If you'd like to try this to order a copy, 

click here and you will be taken to the sales link for Death on Disappointment Mountain at Ingram Spark. 

If you have any feedback about this service and how it works for you, please let me know either by commenting on this post or by using the contact me form at the top right of this page. Thanks!

Thursday, January 18, 2024


 Here's a shout out to a few independent bookstores that have agreed to carry Death on Disappointment Mountain. We're in conversation with a few others, but wanted to encourage you if you love books to support these stores:

Drury Lane Books in Grand Marais, MN

Fair Trade Books in Red Wing, MN (BOOK SIGNING there, 12-2 pm on March 23)

Valley Bookseller in Stillwater, MN

Piragis Northwoods Company Bookstore, Ely, MN

Beagle & Wolf Books and Bindery, Park Rapids, MN

The good news with each of these stores is that if they sell a few copies of my book, they'll restock it and may even begin to promote it a little more strenuously. So by all means, buy a copy! And if you don't see it there, ask them to order it.

It's hard enough for independent bookstores to make it these days. Online shopping has hurt so many small businesses, and it is tough for them to compete. When you have a chance, please support these great bookstores.


Saturday, January 6, 2024


 Every once in a while I get to chat with someone who has just finished Death on Disappointment Mountain. The feedback has been universally positive. Once in a while someone has a suggestion, or a criticism, but that's fantastic. It tells me they're really engaged with the material. Here are couple of the comments I've gotten back that I really treasure. (Didn't write them down immediately, so there's a bit of paraphrasing involved.)

I couldn't put it down. I read it really fast, because I wanted to see what happened next. But I want to go back and reread it slower, because there were a lot of profound things in the book that made me want to stop and think. 

At one point I thought, if the plot continues this way, I'm going to be so disappointed. Then the plot took a hard left turn and really grabbed me. I loved the way you handled that plot twist. 

This book was so true to the experience of going to the Boundary Waters. 

I love that you used real places to tell this story. I've been some of those same places, and it makes the story come alive to read about them. 

I want more stories about these people.

As a writer, it's so helpful to get feedback from people. It encourages me to keep writing and it makes me a better writer. 

One of the challenges for me as a writer is that I'm working in at least three different genres right now. Disappointment Mountain is literary fiction (and maybe what they're calling "cozy mystery" these days). Altered Vows is fantasy. (That one's still being edited, by the way.) And New Wineskins and From Slavery To Freedom are non-fiction books of biblical interpretation. 

Lisa made a comment last night that was really helpful. We were driving home from a gathering with a wonderful group of friends, and I talked about some of the challenges of writing across genres. She simply said, "I think you just have to be who you are, and write it." We talked for a few miles about that idea, and it really comes down to the challenge of finding my voice. I love to tell stories about this world and people who live in it. I love to help people dig into the Bible. I love to create imaginary worlds that shed light on this one. Who knows? I might discover other things to write about as well. 

My next book, Wait for the Lightning, is another non-fiction work. The subtitle is "a fresh look at Genesis 1-12." The cover designs are in, and I'm really excited about the way it looks. We just ordered some proof copies so we can make sure it's all ready for production. We are planning to run a Kickstarter campaign to launch this book, probably in early March. You'll hear more about that here in the coming weeks.