06 PM | 25 May

Four Books that Influenced The Tuning Station

No idea comes out of thin air, and mine was no different. Listed below are the books that were most important to developing The Tuning Station.

Ender’s Game

Ender's Game (The Ender Quartet series Book 1)

“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.”

Ender’s Game is one of the most popular books of all time, and was even made into a major motion picture in 2013 (that did little justice to the novel, I’m afraid). The story’s themes of empathy and understanding had a huge effect on me, and I’ve incorporated those ideas into the very fabric of The Tuning Station.

Blue Like Jazz

Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

“Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.”

Reading this book was a life-changer; seeing Miller’s gentle treatment of people damaged by religion set the tone for what I wanted to accomplish myself. The idea that a person who is angry at religion, rails against God and openly disbelieves, is a loved child of God, worthy of our own love and respect, is sadly controversial – but expresses the very purpose of Jesus Christ as well as I’ve ever heard.

The Shack

The Shack

“Anger is the right response to something that is so wrong. But don’t let the anger and pain and loss you feel prevent you from forgiving him and removing your hands from around his neck.”

While I don’t agree with many of this novel’s proclaimed theologies, I’ve always loved it for its approach to a difficult topic in a way that generated untold thousands of worthy discussions among Christians. It is, at its core, a beautiful depiction of grace.

Passport through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances

Passport through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances

“…we think being a Christian means to go to church on Sunday and trying to be good through the week. Now I see it means suffering, being willing to let the hard things happen to you, so that God can use us to do His work on this earth!”

This is the incredible true story of Kimberly Smith, a normal woman who risks her life as a missionary in war-ridden Sudan. The stories she tells are heartbreaking – sometimes, so tragic they’re hard to read. Her tale shows exactly what it can mean to give oneself to God’s calling, and inspired two chapters in The Tuning Station.


05 PM | 07 May

Announcement: The Tuning Station is coming!

small cover

I’m excited to announce that my début novel has a release date!

On June 1, 2015, The Tuning Station will go live on Amazon, iTunes and other select sites. It will be available in both e-book and trade paperback. Price is TBA.

For current news, and I promise there will be some posts this month, check my website, Facebook, or follow me on Twitter via @crawwriter.

I also encourage you to sign up for updates on my Mailing list.

It’s been over two years since I started my book. I never expected it to take this long. But I’m really proud of the results. Thank you so much for your interest in my blood, sweat and tears, and I hope you enjoy it.


01 PM | 15 Jun

Not Forgotten: Writing Update 6-15-2013

It’s been a long time since my last writing update. It’s not for lack of writing, thankfully, just a lack of blogging. With trips out of town and other responsibilities over the weekends, I wasn’t able to be as productive as I’d wanted, but I was still able to get some writing done. I’ve also suffered with some burnout and writer’s block.

I’m sitting at 45,000 words right now. I expect the final length (before editing) will be around 110 words, so I’m getting close to halfway done. The rest of the book is mapped out and lightly outlined chapter-by-chapter; only a few holes are left to fill.

Unfortunately, I find myself at one such point this weekend. I had the first third of the book planned out, and the last third of the book  is very clear to me. The middle third has been tough – it’s where the major conflict occurs and key to the story, and I know the flow I need but am unsure of the exact content of some of the individual scenes. I’ve been trying to come up with an idea for two weeks now, unsuccessfully. I’m unable to write much this weekend; if I don’t come up with a more solid plan by next weekend, I may have to skip forward a few chapters and start writing from there.

I’m still on track for finishing the first draft by the end of the year. I can’t wait to be done!


11 AM | 30 Apr

Writing Update 4-30-20123

When I left off last sprint, I didn’t know exactly what the next chapter would comprise. You see, some scenes are important, a part of the plan from the beginning. Sometimes, however, you need to get a character from point A to point B. This was one of those latter weeks. I had a skeleton of an idea, but couldn’t figure out how to make it relevant. After three days of reflection, however, a stroke of inspiration hit! I have not finished the scene, but I seem to have gotten over that hump.

In the absence of actual writing, I found plenty to do to stay busy on my novel. I read through my existing work and edited it. I finally wrote down notes of future scenes and characters that have been swirling nowhere but my head. I also organized my ideas into a coherent whole, mapping the book scene-by-scene, so now I have an idea of how long the book will be and what scenes I still need to devise to fill the holes.

One useful tool I found is Aeon Timeline, a decent tool for developing multi-arc timelines for novels. By mapping out the events in my novel this way, I determined that some of my dates and times were impossible, and I was able to go back and fix them. It’s really easy to get lost in the flow of writing, so having a simple tool like this makes a big difference.

Finally, I’ve committed to using Scrivener to build the manuscript for my novel. It has its weaknesses, but it’s proven invaluable in organizing and building my project. I can even compile to formats readable on the Kindle and Nook.

I’d call this sprint a minor success. I’ve added about 5,000 words – less than half of the output of my last two sprints – but the organizational work puts me ahead in other ways. The entire book is now sitting at just under 30,000 words. With my new plan I think the end product will be somewhere between 100,000 to 120,000 words in length, so I’m making good progress towards my end-of-year completion date for the first draft.

Upcoming sprint: writing, writing, writing. I want to finish writing the current scene plus two more, comprising the next chapter. Fortunately, the next two scenes should be a little easier than the last one was.