Angelguard wins 2014 Selah Award


I woke to some very exciting news this past Saturday with an email advising that Angelguard had won the 2014 Selah Award for Speculative Fiction.

The award was a great surprise and one that I am very honoured and humbled to have received.

The Selah Awards are held annually as part of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference that was established by author, Alton Ganksy.

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists. A list of the winners can be found at this link.


God answers prayer


Photo courtesy of Sura Nualpradid/

My pastor shared a wonderful message yesterday on the power of prayer. He particularly emphasized corporate prayer and used the example of Peter’s ‘release’ from prison in Acts 12: 1-19 as evidence.

Please take a few moments to read the passage. You may recall that Peter was the top dog in the Christian world at that time. King Herod realised if he took out the top guy then the church may get discouraged and fade away into the background. But the church had other ideas. They “earnestly prayed to God for him.” (v5)

And God answered.

My pastor mentioned the 5 amazing ways God answered their prayers. I thought this was a great way of both summarizing the passage and providing encouragement for all of us to remain fervent in our prayers.

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A Deleted Scene …


Photo courtesy of franky242/

Some of you may recall that Angelguard went through many iterations having started out as a 707 page first draft. Today, I thought I’d share one of many scenes that were deleted.

For those of you who’ve read the novel you may remember the car chase scene in Chapter 23 when Zhou Chau, en route to meet Jack Haines in Fontainebleau, avoided the roadblock where the enemy waited for him. In the original version, Zhou didn’t avoid the roadblock and was taken captive.

Here it is.


Somewhere north of Paris, same day

Zhou knew he wouldn’t get another chance. He hoped they would continue to underestimate him. Sure, he was only five six with a body that was unlikely to get him a spot on WWE wrestling, but he had done enough jujitsu as a teenager to look after himself.

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My interview with Jack Haines

A few months ago I shared a cup of spearmint tea with Jack Haines, the hero of Angelguard. My interview covered a range of topics including handling grief and loss of loved ones, how his faith has helped him through the struggle, confronting evil, to more mundane matters such as our shared love of all things football (soccer for our American friends).

In February this year Elaine Stock was kind enough to have me over on her very impressive blog: Everyone’s Story. Elaine has a real heart for sharing author’s stories behind the stories especially new authors. She was kind enough to have me over once again where I share a small extract of my interview with Jack.

I hope you enjoy getting to know Jack a little more. There’s also an opportunity to win Angelguard if you leave a comment under the interview on Elaine’s blog.

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend.

What’s in a name – Part 3


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This final part is long overdue. I do apologise. Unfortunately, I have been unwell and have been lying low for the past week.

If you are new to this short series on how I derived the names of the lead characters in Angelguard, may I suggest you read the first two parts. The first one features the human characters and the second, the angelic ones. In this post I will share a little about the lead demonic characters.

Military Titles

As I adopted an organised hierarchical structure for the supernatural beings I initially used military titles for some of the lead characters. However, over the lifespan of the manuscript’s development and the attention of Jan, my astute editor, some of those titles went away along with a number of characters being benched for this first act in the series.

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What’s in a name – Part 2?


Photo courtesy of “farconville”/

As I mentioned last week, I love naming the characters in my writing. In that post I took you through the three leading human characters. This week I thought I’d cover off some of the angelic ones.

Territorially I structured the supernatural beings along global regions. Much of the material I’ve read about them makes reference to a hierarchical structure within angelic and demonic circles so that was the approach I followed. As I mentioned last week, the novel started as three separate parts, each focused on one of the lead characters (Thierry, Loren and Jack) being a victim of a terrorist attack. The first attack was in London (Europe), the next in Los Angeles (the Americas) and the final one in Australia (Asia and the Pacific). Accordingly, I established angels and demons to link with each situation.

Over the course of many re-writes and edits, the cast of supernatural characters shrunk dramatically including some of the regional leaders. The cast as outlined in the prelude to the novel reflects about 50% of the characters that have been created. I expect some of those who missed the final cut will attempt to push their way into making an appearance in subsequent Chronicles.

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What’s in a Name?

AGbook3dOver the next few weeks I’m going to share a little more on some of the characters that make up Angelguard. Some of them will be re-appearing in the second installment of the Angelguard Chronicles: Wrestling with Shadows. More of that later down the track.

A question I’m often asked is how do you come up with the names for all your characters? Particularly as Angelguard has so many many of them.

Naming characters is a lot of fun and I can spend a great deal of time on particular names. I especially enjoy finding names for the angels and demons as does my wife, who was invaluable in helping me with the Angelguard cast.

I won’t go through the background of all of them, just a handful. For those of you who’ve read the novel and may be curious about a particular character, feel free to ask me a question in the comments below.

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The Power of Prayer


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This has been an especially terrible week for Bostonians and Americans with terrorism and a freak massive explosion occurring within days of each other.

My heart has cried out especially for those who have lost loved ones and for the injured.

A number of people have mentioned the similarity in the Boston bombings to some of the action in Angelguard; the senseless destruction of innocent lives.


How should we respond?


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Angelguard has Landed!


Photo courtesy of “tungphoto”/

I returned home on Monday to an unusual package sitting at my front door. I wasn’t expecting anything to be delivered.

I ventured inside noticing the address label indicated the parcel had come from the United Kingdom. Hastily I opened it and to my surprise were copies of Angelguard.

Finally, I can hold this baby that has been so long in arriving. Even though it has been available in the US for a few weeks, it has been a little hard to grasp that the novel has actually been released without seeing it for myself.

It’s also been a delightful experience for my family. They too have only “seen it” virtually and being able to see and hear their reactions of its arrival has been especially wonderful.

This morning I took a copy to my dad, who has been recovering from a stroke. It was a lovely tender moment for the two of us to share.

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Treat your story as a gift

Photo courtesy of "anankkml"/

Photo courtesy of “anankkml”/

The contract was signed and now we had to complete the final draft. Lion Fiction had kindly provided me with an experienced editor to work with to tighten the manuscript. In addition, I had to lose an additional 20% of it, that being 30,000 words or 60 pages.

It was now 8 years since the first 700-page draft. It’s incredible how many scenes and characters I’ve deleted including entire sub-plots. I hope one day some of those characters may make a re-appearance. In particular, there were a number of angels and demons that I let go. I think of like the casting call for a movie or TV show. Some actors get the nod, many don’t. Those that missed out were just not right for this publication but may well be in a future one.

My experience of working with editors has been exceptionally rewarding. Both Claire, who worked on the original draft, and Jan, on the latest one, took the opportunity to teach me how to write. They re-wrote a small sample of the manuscript, say a few pages, explaining why they made each change. I was then able to incorporate those methods in the rest of the manuscript.

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