Archive for the ‘the Bondfire Blog’ Category

Angel Dreams

Posted on: July 26th, 2015 by bondfireadmin

A grieving World War II widow in search of a long-lost daughter finds herself drawn to a small Wyoming town. A crippled and mute orphan boy has a wondrous dream every Christmas Eve where he walks, talks, sees his mother, and meets a mysterious girl who becomes his best friend. Reality and fantasy converge in this wonder-filled tale, beautifully crafted by authors Chris Schneider and Michael Phillips.

Q & A with Michael Phillips

Posted on: June 4th, 2015 by bondfireadmin

Heaven is a popular subject these days. How is Heaven and Beyond different than so many other books out there on the afterlife?

This is a work of fiction. I make no claim to have had a “vision of heaven” or anything resembling it. I do not present this story as a theological treatise, still less as predictive of what anyone may or may not experience in the next life. It is a “story” which I hope will be meaningful in unique ways to those who read it.

It’s a monumental topic, heaven. Tell us why you decided to tackle it.

My emphasis on this as imaginative fiction . . . does not diminish the fact that I have also written what follows to stimulate our thoughts, perhaps prompt discussion, and in the Apostle Paul’s words to “widen our hearts.” George MacDonald speaks often of the vital role the imagination plays in helping us know God and his ways. As C.S. Lewis says in the preface to his classic The Great Divorce, we do not and cannot know what the afterlife holds. Yet our imaginations have been created by God to point us toward him.

This being so, it has seemed to me that drawing upon a wide range of what Lewis calls “imaginative supposals” will guard against imbalance or over-emphasis on any one theme, and may in the end “widen our hearts” to possibilities awaiting us in heaven. As I have done so in this fictitious glimpse of the future, I should make clear that the narrator in what follows is not intended to represent a specific likeness of me any more than do the atheist and the gardener in the companion volumes of this trilogy, Hell and Beyond and The Garden at the Edge of Beyond. Hopefully readers will find themselves in these pages more than they find me. This is an imaginative fantasy and should be read in that light.

You’re a prolific author, having penned over 60 books with sales in the millions. What made you write one more book?

Mostly it is my desire to give hope to both the living and the dying—hope to believe the eternal truth expressed by George MacDonald’s brother on his deathbed, that “this is nae the end o’ it.” If this little story can encourage a few souls to anticipate the transition out of this life into more Life with greater faith, renewed hope, even joy, I will have succeeded in what I set out to do. As for the rest, borrowing from MacDonald himself, I hope you will enjoy it “for the tale.”

Viral Post Inspires E-book

Posted on: December 5th, 2014 by bondfireadmin

The day after his marriage of 16 years ended in divorce, Gerald Rogers sat down and wrote a heartfelt Facebook post. In it, he expressed deep regret and outlined 20 principles he wished he’d lived by as a husband. Much to his surprise, the post went viral, and was picked up by media outlets around the world, including Huffington Post and The Today Show, on which he later appeared.

In his new e-book, The Marriage Advice I Wish I Would’ve Had, Gerald expands upon the principles in his original post, offering with both wit and wisdom practical ways to create an EPIC marriage, that is, one with deep Emotional, Physical and Intellectual Connection.

Q+A with Carol James

Posted on: February 20th, 2014 by bondfireadmin

Recently, Bondfire had the privilege of releasing Rescuing Faith: A Novel by first time author Carol James. Carol was kind enough to answer some questions about the story and her journey as an author.

1) Tell us about how this book came about and why you decided to write it.

I believe God gave me this story to write. Rescuing Faith was born out of years of watching beautiful, accomplished, godly women struggle with feeling inadequate. Had they been loving enough wives, attentive enough mothers, faithful enough employees, good enough Christians? And when real life didn’t turn out to be an episode from Leave It to Beaver, they often blamed themselves. Surely there was something they could have done better.

Society and self place many demands on women today. Airbrushed images all around us are constant reminders of unrealistic goals and expectations that can never be met, yet are held forth as ideals to strive toward. And, as women, we often buy into it all. But now for the good news: who we are is not defined by the world’s standards. We are image-bearers of a perfect God.

2) What’s been the biggest thing you’ve overcome as a writer and what would you say to other writers who are struggling?

For me, as for most writers, I think the biggest obstacle is just making yourself keep writing in the face of rejection. Pursuing publication can be an extremely discouraging process. Rejections are many and quick. And giving up is easy. But you just have to find that one person who believes in your work.

My advice is:

  • Surround yourself with other writers. They understand what you are going through.
  • Join literary groups. I have found authors to be an extremely encouraging and generous group, and the networking opportunities and advice are helpful.
  • Enter your work into contests where agents and publishers that you would like to approach are the final judges. Even if you don’t final, the feedback you receive from the first round judges can be very valuable. And, if you do final, you’ll bypass the query process and your work will be moved to the top of the stacks of inquiries waiting for responses.
  • And while you are waiting, keep writing. Strive to improve and perfect your craft.

One time when I was struggling, a fellow writer sent me a quotation that is push-pinned to the cork-board above my desk, and many days, my eyes rest on it and absorb the wisdom:

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you until it seems that you cannot hold on for a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time when the tide will turn.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe

3) Tell us four things about yourself that people may be surprised to know. 

  • I cannot walk or drive past a used bookstore without stopping and browsing, at the least.
  • I collect antique children’s books.
  • I’m probably the only Texan who doesn’t own a cowboy hat or pair of cowboy boots.
  • I have walked among the huge monoliths of Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, the replica slabs at Permian Basin Stonehenge in Texas, and the gray painted steel representations at Carhenge in Nebraska.

4) What motivated you to begin writing?

My interest in writing began later in life for me than for most. About three years ago, I began writing inspirational/Christian romance. My goal? To encourage others the way Christian fiction writers had encouraged me. But, my writing journey really started ten years earlier, when the idea of writing anything, much less a novel, sounded as grating to me as fingernails on a chalkboard. I needed to change jobs, and when the opportunity presented itself for me to move to a new position I knew that by leaving teaching I’d be giving up more than a job. I’d be losing what had been my personal ministry for eight years.

One morning I sat in a local park reading my Bible. I came upon Isaiah 43:18-19, and on that day, at that very hour, that passage was meant for me.

 

“Forget the former things;

    do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing!

    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness

    and streams in the wasteland.”

God had something new for me to do. I just had to find it. After a decade of trying various ministries, the idea of writing to encourage others began to nudge its way into my heart. A song? A poem? A novel? Surely not. Anything but writing, Lord . . . Yet when I typed the first words on the first page of my first manuscript, I knew this was the “new work,” my “stream in the wasteland.”

Thanks for your great answers, Carol! Remember, you can like Carol on Facebook and get your very own copy of Rescuing Faith at Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes and Noble.

Q+A with Andrew Lam

Posted on: January 9th, 2014 by bondfireadmin No Comments

What do you do after a long day in the operating room? Renowned eye surgeon, Andrew Lam, writes books, and we at Team Bondfire are glad he does.

Before the holidays, we had a chance to chat with Dr. Lam about his latest historical novel, Two Sons of China.

1. Why did you write this book? How did the story come about?

Like a lot of people, I’m fascinated by World War II. I also love watching sweeping, romantic war movies where we get to see how cataclysmic circumstances affect ordinary men and the women they love. I wanted to write a novel like this, but set in a place completely new: China.

Too few people know about the war in China, and after I learned about the many Americans who served there, it felt natural to center this story on an unlikely friendship between an American soldier and a Chinese Communist guerilla fighter who, despite their clashing convictions, form a bond of brotherhood in battle.

 

 2. American soldiers in China during World War II? Tell us more.

World War II actually began in 1937, when the Japanese invaded China. Thousands of Americans served in China, supporting Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist armies and hoping to keep as many Japanese troops as possible busy in China instead of fighting in the Pacific.

What’s special about this story is that it’s based on a little-known, real-life expedition called the Dixie Mission, in which American soldiers ventured north to Mao Zedong’s stronghold of Yenan to see how effectively the Chinese Communists were fighting the Japanese, and to consider arming them with U.S. weapons. Anyone who learns about the heroic Americans who went on this mission will be enthralled, and I hope my novel helps to spread their story far and wide.

 

 3. You’re a successful eye surgeon and bestselling author. That’s a pretty rare combination. Tell us a little bit about your passion for both and how they intersect.

My two passions are history and helping people. The latter might sound a little cliché, but it’s the reason why, after studying military history at Yale, I decided to go to medical school and ultimately became a retinal surgeon who fights to save sight every day.

My goal as a writer is to shine a light on stories that deserve to be more well known. In my first book, Saving Sight, I profiled medical innovators whose inventions were ridiculed but ultimately saved the sight of millions around the world.

With Two Sons of China, I hope to bring attention to unsung WWII heroes who served America with honor in a difficult and distant land. That, and captivate readers with an action-packed, romantic tale of love, betrayal, honor and sacrifice, of course!

To get your very own copy (e-version or print) head over to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iTunes and grab a copy. You won’t be disappointed!

Two Sons of China Media Attention

Posted on: December 19th, 2013 by bondfireadmin

In honor of the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, we recently released a World War 2 novel. Written by eye-surgeon Andrew Lam, Two Sons of China is a fascinating tale of love, friendship, war, and survival during a little known battle in China. The media attention has been fantastic. We wanted to give you a chance to read what others are saying:

Here’s a great review from Asian Books Blog.

 

Allen Yeh, a professor at Biola, also shared his thoughts.

 

Here’s a four-star review from blogger Irene.

 

If you’re not convinced this book is worth reading, make sure you check out what our friends at Amazon are saying. You can get your copy for only $9.99.

Q+A with Rob Stennett

Posted on: November 7th, 2013 by bondfireadmin

Recently, we got a chance to hang out with The Living and the Undead author Rob Stennett. We’ve gotten quite a few questions about this book. Amish Vampires? What kind of novel is this? We thought it best you hear it right from the man who created this incredible story.

1. Why did you write this book? How did the story come about?

I thought of combining the two-bestselling elements on the market and creating a Vampire Amish mashup. But when I started writing it I realized that someone who has been forbidden for his entire life from committing any sort of violence—and now he has to kill to survive—is the beginning of a great thriller.

Even if Eli’s nature wanted him to kill I think the way he was raised would not let him just start acting like a full-blown vampire. I guess that’s part of what makes this story so different. Most times a person is bit and then they start acting like a vampire the next day sticking their fangs in the necks of anyone who walks. But this lifestyle goes so fully against Eli’s worldview, I don’t know if he would ever willingly kill someone to survive even though that’s what vampires are “supposed” to do.

2. Why should people read TLAU? What do you hope we take away from it? 

I’ll give three quick answers here:

1)    The story. When I read something I want it to be a great story, to keep my interest, and to be surprised by the ways the characters twist and turn.

2)    It’s episodic. You can read the full story in the time it takes you to watch a season of TV. This is so different for a novel series. Harry Potter lasted around 10 years; it took a few years in between each Twilight book; it took 36 years between the Shining and Dr. Sleep; but this story happens so quickly you can engage with it. You can read and episode, guess what is going to happen next, and a couple of weeks later another episode is released. It lets the reader experience fiction in the same way we experience other episodic story telling. And that’s exciting.

3)    I think in life any of us can have certain desires that we know are disastrous, or at the very least they go against the way we were taught to behave, but those desires are still there. How do we wrestle with those things? What does that say about us? This is story that explores those questions.

He has to learn what it means to be a vampire. And here’s the thing: If you or I were turned into a vampire we would have some idea of what we’re supposed to do.

But he’s Amish. He didn’t grow up reading Ann Rice or watching Dracula. He has no idea what vampires do—let alone how to act like one. I think you’re going to be surprised by some of the ways he reacts to what he has become.

 

Thanks Rob! Now, is your curiosity piqued? Lucky for you, the book is available for only $3.99 at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes. And check back in just a couple weeks for Episode 2 to be released. You’ll find out what happens to our favorite Amish va… Oops. Don’t want to give away too much!

Promoting Your Book: Resources and Tips for Every Author

Posted on: September 11th, 2013 by Patton Dodd

Note: This post contains a bunch of terrific links to blog posts and affordable books/ebooks that amount to a terrific, actionable set of resources for learning how to promote your book, developing a specific plan of action, and executing that plan. If you’re in a rush, skip this intro and head straight down to the list of links–we won’t be offended (much). 

We spend a lot of time around here planning and executing book promotions and marketing, and that work can take many forms: running newfangled ad campaigns, sending mass emails to targeted lists, partnering with high-traffic websites, leveraging social media accounts, and doing contests, giveaways, press releases, and so on. We’ve dropped postcards in coffee shops and bars. We’ve announced book endorsements from A-list authors. We’ve had authors stand up in front of 7,000 people and announce their book launch.

Depending on the title, we can do a lot for our authors. But there’s one thing we can’t do, and that thing is perhaps the single most important factor in their book’s ultimate sales: We can’t make them promote their own book.

Fortunately, most of our authors are happy to do the work of promotion. That’s good, because author-led promotions are powerful. In many cases, authors are the biggest difference-maker in a book’s performance. Read publishing news sites, book blogs, and industry interviews with successful authors, and the constant theme you’ll hear from top-sellers is that the authors got involved and stayed involved with the promotion of their books. Some best-selling authors were already celebrities or authors with strong writing credentials and deep experience. But many of today’s top authors were relative nobodies who (1) had a killer book and (2) simply did the quiet, careful, and (at times) frankly ordinary work of book promotion.

But what is that work, exactly? Especially for lesser-known writers? How can authors help sell their own books if they don’t have 50,000 followers on Twitter and a million fans on Facebook? What can be done by the writer whose speaking opportunities are few and who won’t be getting an invitation from Terry Gross anytime soon?

Lots, actually. The links at the end of this post will point you in many useful directions. To begin, however, it’s important that you don’t ignore the obvious assets you already have at your disposal. No matter who you are, if you have a book that’s being published (even if you publish it yourself, though we hope you’ll talk to us first), and you have any sort of network of friends, family, and colleagues, then you already have the two starting points of any successful book promotion: your book, and your network.

Your Book

Don’t overlook the obvious: If you think about it the right way, your book itself is a powerful sales tool. The title, subtitle, and cover were designed with the book’s value in mind. Every good book makes a value proposition to the reader: If you read this book, you will . . . X. Your job is to solve for X. You will laugh. You will cry. You will turn pages until the wee hours. You will learn about the history of China. You will be inspired to make more money. Make less money. Teach underprivileged children. Become a better mother. Stop drinking. Start cooking. Understand economics. And so on. Every book makes a promise of bringing some value to the reader’s life.

The best book promotions make value propositions clear and specific. They can be stated simply and succinctly. To promote your book successfully, you must know your value proposition backwards and forward. Look to the title and subtitle you chose for clues–and make those better and clearer if need be. Think about the marketing description that was written (or is being written) for the book’s landing page or back cover. Isolate the terms that are most likely to move people, to meet some felt need, to answer some aching desire or question.

Write it down. If you read my book, you will X. You’ll be stating this in a variety of ways as you talk, Tweet, blog, and etc. about your book, so you want to know it backwards and forwards.

Your Network

The other powerful sales tool you have right now is your network. Whether that’s a huge Twitter following or simply a list of email addresses in your Contacts folder, it’s important to recognize it and decide how best to use it. You likely need to build a bigger and stronger network in order to really maximize sales, but it’s crucial to start with what you’ve already got.

So, capture it. Make lists of the people you know. Think about the categories of your life–family, work, church, gym, neighborhood association. You can’t and should not treat all these people in the same way–it might be appropriate to force your sister to email-blast all her friends with a link to your book’s Amazon page, but your coworkers might not do the same favor–but you should familiarize yourself with the size and reach of your network so you can begin to think about its full potential.

With those two basic assets in hand, you’re ready to learn about the many tasks of book promotion that you might want to do.

To educate you on those tasks, we’ll give the mic to 7 (mostly) short posts, in order of reading priority. (If you read only one, read the Hyatt post.) If taken seriously and applied, these resources will help you to sell far more copies of your book than you would otherwise. Some of the guidance you’ll find here is general, some of it highly specific. Some of it won’t apply to you, depending on your situation. All of it is malleable–a set of suggestions that you should adapt and put to use in a way that makes sense for you.

1. “How to Launch a Bestselling Book” — Michael Hyatt

2. “Let’s Get Visible” — David Gaugrahn (promo page for his ebook, which we highly recommend)

3. “A Checklist for Marketing Your eBook” — Jane Friedman (skip down to the subhead “Promotion” in particular)

4. “Why Is My Book Not Selling?” — David Gaugrahn

5. “The Ultimate Guide to Goodreads for Authors” — Joanna Penn

6. “Stats from My Latest Book Launch” — Nathan Barry

7. “How Readers Discovered a Debut Novel” — “Otis” at Goodreads

 

I Feel Beautiful When…

Posted on: August 19th, 2013 by bondfireadmin No Comments

When we released one of our newest books under the title Beauty and the Bitchwe were unsure what the reaction would be. Thankfully, we had the brilliantly talented Jan Meyers Proett at the helm of this honest and vulnerable book, and she delivers on both the honesty and the promise of the book’s subtitle: “Grace for the Worst in Me.” And it took no time at all for positive reviews to begin pouring in. Not only that, but our Facebook page as well as Jan’s were flooded with stories of readers’ experiences with both beauty and bitch. As Jan says, bitch can overwhelm beauty, but if we let it, beauty always wins.

So it got us thinking—when do you feel beautiful? Is it when your family enjoys dinner at the end of a busy day? Is it reading a book to your kids before bedtime? Is it when you reach the top of a mountain you’ve climbed? Or maybe it’s when you’ve completed a new painting? All of these moments, along with countless more, blend together to make up the beauty inside each of us. Beauty is not celebrated enough. We want you to tell us when you feel beautiful.

From now until September 2, we want you to send us a picture, a story, a short phrase, a video, or however you want to express yourself finishing this sentence: “I feel beautiful when…” Once we get all of your submissions, we’ll highlight them on the website and our social media streams. We want to take time to celebrate beauty, and we want your help.

You can send your submissions to Rachel at rmueller(at)bondfirebooks(dot)com, post them on our Facebook page, or tweet at us using the hashtag #celebratebeauty.

 

 

Interns Wanted!

Posted on: August 16th, 2013 by bondfireadmin No Comments

We’re looking for creative people to intern with us. We’re currently accepting applications for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters. If you’d like to apply, please submit your resume to Rachel at rmueller(at)bondfirebooks(dot)com.

Check out the job description below:

If you’re an innovative and creative person who loves books and technology, put your talents to use for an up-and-coming publishing company located in the heart of Colorado Springs. Bondfire Books is looking for insightful, motivated interns who have an interest and passion for publishing, marketing, and digital/social media. We work with everyone from New York Times bestselling authors to first-time authors. Our passion is good books, and our mission is to help shape the future of reading.

We’re a small company, so you’ll get experience in a wide range of areas. Our company provides a casual and friendly work environment. We can work with you to establish flexible working hours that suit your schedule and keep you on track academically. This is a great opportunity for college students to build their resumes and establish themselves in one of the most exciting new media markets.

Some of the ways you’ll help us:

Social media marketing communications on Twitter, Facebook Fan Pages, forums & blogs // Conducting research on articles associated with new marketing best practices // Compiling and analyzing consumer demographics // Market and competitive research // Brainstorming new book campaigns // Administrative duties

If this sounds like you, please apply. Requirements include:

Excellent writing and communication skills // Proficiency in all Microsoft Office applications // Familiarity with social media and blogging applications // Good organizational skills  // Interest in social media marketing // Able to commit 10-20 hrs per week // A great sense of humor is a plus!

Compensation: College Credit (with approval of your institution)