Go outside and look at the sky. Light a wood fire. Inhale the scent of woodsmoke, fresh grass, loam, and misty air. Throw on some bacon and a pot for coffee. Watch the clouds scud across a painfully blue sky and listen to the trees whisper in the breeze. Birds call as they dart about and insects drone in the background. Sit on a log next to your best friend and talk about dreams, possibilities, and the last cool book you both read.
Pretty cool, huh?
That’s part of literacy. What killed it?
Was it the schools? Something else? Technology? Well, we could go on for hours. My friends and I, blue collar all, spent many hours discussing all the books we read. Years and millions of words flowed by in our conversations.

What happened? I have asked and they all say the same thing: Nothing new out there they want to read.

Why? The shelves are full of good material. 

I think that a vast population of mostly male readers may have been left behind by authors and publishers.

For us: 

  • Creative forays into science-based speculations are cool.
  • Space opera is not. 
  • Apocalyptic scenarios are cool.
  • Nihilistic dystopian is not.
  • Extraordinary protagonists with uncompromising ideals are cool. 
  • Protagonists with more flaws and psychological baggage than the villains are not. 
  • Triumphant climaxes with a true resolution of conflict are great. 
  • Weak partial victories, not so much. 


Where are the men and young men who read? We’re still here. These are the guys I am trying to write for. Yeah. Guys who get their hands dirty read. This is why Westerners still enjoy popularity. But not all of us are into cowboy action. We want a good solid story with strong protagonists, despicable villains, and triumph of good over evil. And I am sure, from past looks at demographics, a lot of ladies and young ladies would also enjoy some good solid Epic Fantasy and High Adventure with some Sci-Fi speculation woven into the mix.

So. Here we are. 

I do not write “Christian Fiction” although my fiction has Christian Characters who speak about their faith. My fiction also includes people of other faiths in addition to different Christian denominations. As a foundation, I believe stories which ignore people’s spiritual beliefs miss the core of the Human Experience. And stories which focus on a single belief structure do not gain converts as much as they alienate everyone outside that faith domain. 

Good storytelling is fun to read. It reaches out and grabs the reader. It does not use graphic sex, violence, and profanity to do so. For me, this takes away from the story by focusing the reader on the detailed descriptions and profanity instead of the story. It is lazy writing (if you ask me).

Gritty not graphic is my mantra. Good stories can, and should, stay at the PG-13 level or lower. I mean, should you write a story you would not let your kids read? 

I love to explore the “What If’s” which is why I gravitate towards Science Fiction and Fantasy. You can say “Speculative Fiction” if you prefer. I don’t mind dystopian but the current crop of that is too nihilistic for me. I prefer endings which show triumph and a true resolution of conflict rather than “we killed the villain, the story is over, we’re still alive, but life still stinks.” 

So, if you like a Wild Ride in the tradition of true High Adventure, stick with me and I will be writing, posting, publishing, and recommending. 

Read my next post on Knights, Paladins, Defenders.

Read my book: Wrought Iron, Book I of Merlin’s Message.