What does it mean to be a “Servant Author”?

Servant Author?

I’ve started adding something to my bio lately that is important to me, but might seem a little confusing to everyone else. That’s okay. Sometimes a little confusion is good, because it gets people to ask questions. But I want to go out of my way to answer those questions now and set a tone for what I hope to do in the coming years.

How Did I Come to Call Myself a Servant Author?

Image copyright Natalie Collins

Image copyright Natalie Collins

I struggled with how I wanted to communicate my goals for this whole writing adventure, but I need to make sure I’m clear with myself now that The Outs is moving forward with publication. There’s a really deep well of thought that’s gone into this career path for me, and none of it involves ideas of fame and fortune. In fact, anyone who thinks being an author is the road to wealth and fandom really ought to start running the opposite direction, because “Here be dragons.”

Instead, my goals for this whole writing gig are, at least in my mind, a kind of service. My background is in serving and helping people. My Masters degree is in education. I spent thirteen years of my life working with teens–counseling, teaching, coaching, and mentoring–so for me, it’s always been about people.

The Power Behind a Servant Author

There is power in the written word. Words can bring whole worlds to life and crush them just as fast. Words can show the world the truth of a person, or spread the most damaging lies. And words can heal broken hearts and start a movement to bring good to the whole world.

I want to use the power of my words not because I think it will bring me something special. I want to use it because words have breathed life into me when I thought I would be broken forever. Others used their words to give me hope when I was hopeless. Words helped me see myself for what I am, and set me on the path that has led me here.

And now I want to use words in the service of other people’s lives the same. I want to serve the author community and build it up. I want to use my words as a service of encouragement for people who feel hopeless, and help them find the hope they need. I want my words to serve as guideposts marking the road I’ve been on all my life, giving guidance to others along the way.

A servant author doesn’t write for himself. A servant author writes because the words are in him, and they beg to get out so they can serve others.

I want to be a servant author.

You know…that thing where you’re just working on too much at once

Man…so much to do these days. Those of you who follow me on Twitter and such may have heard a lot about this project, then a lot about that one, then a little about one you thought was done…it’s all a little much to keep straight, right?

I’ve had people giving me confused stares lately, too. No, I tell them, that’s right. I was working on a different manuscript just last week. But that’s the way things work, right?

Making the transition to having multiple projects all swirling around in the pot at once has been hard. I’m still making some minor changes to my YA fantasy, DeadBoy and the Fires of Fear. I just finished the second draft of The Outs, a contemporary YA fantasy thriller (I’m so excited about that one). Now, I’m writing the first full draft of DeadBoy and the Forest of Shadows, and in the afternoons I’m doing some revisions on my adult sci-fi thriller Deeds as well. And, to top it all off, I have a new, super-secret project that’s taking up a little bit of time every day.

Before you ask, no. I’m not keeping it all straight. How can I? I’ve decided to hurry up and put a bow on Fires before I keep moving on the others. It will still need a solid editor to have a peek, but I’m feeling pretty good about that one these days.

Does anyone out there have any suggestions for how to keep it all straight when you have this much going on all at once? Feedbacks would be appreciated.

It’s been too long…

Dr. Who Ready to Go

 Sometimes things just take over. But I’m back now, so there’s that.

Okay, I know you’ve missed me, right? Of course you did! Without me updating you about all of the things that have been going on in my life, I know that you’ve been just dying to know what to think. That’s the way blogs work, right?

So maybe not. But I’ve missed you. And I’m back to update you on all the things that are going on in my world.

I’ve been working hard on so many projects that it’s hard to even know where to start. For those of you that have been following the status of The Fires of Fear, it is still on track and looking better than ever. Right now the biggest thing I want for Fires is more eyeballs to read over it and be ready to review it whenever it finally gets to see the light of day.

And Forest of Shadows is still sitting in my computer, marinating. Before I go any further with it, I want to get Fires in a solid, completed form, and that has to wait for my decision on editors and the state of publishing in general. I’m not one who wants to weigh in on the publishing world as it stands right now, so don’t ask, but I will say that I am evaluating all of my options for that manuscript very, very carefully.

But that’s not what I’m most excited about. Continue reading

Fires of Fear Character Interviews: Derry, part 1

The Fires of Fear Character Interviews
This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Fires of Fear Character Interviews

Below you will find my first character interview with Derry, one of the Rats from the acropolis. He was a real surprise, and I’m not sure that I will get much out of him in subsequent character interviews, but he was nothing if not entertaining. 

When I entered the room all the cookies were gone.

The little boy in the chair swung his legs back and forth, just barely skimming the ground with his bare feet. He was seven, maybe eight years old, light-skinned, brown-eyed, with greasy hair that clumped together as it sprigged out from under his tweed cap. His clothes were dirty, rags really, and were much too thin for the cold weather outside.

He grinned with mischief as I entered the office and sat down behind the desk. Continue reading