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Pondering the Nativity

The writing of What Will You Do

Most of us are familiar with the birth of Jesus from the biblical account. In Luke, we read that on that first Christmas an angel appeared to shepherds and tells them that the Messiah has been born in Bethlehem. They run to the village and see the baby Jesus.

While that account is beautiful, in both its telling and meaning, I’ve felt for a long time that it’s merely the surface layer of a much deeper story. Why did the angel tell the shepherds? Did Satan know about the birth? Did he try to stop the shepherds or even kill the baby Jesus?

Perhaps I will receive answers to those questions when I stand before God, but probably not while we’re here on Earth. Still, I wonder and, since I'm a writer, I took pen in hand and using the talents God gave me created an answer.

My story, What Will You Do, will appear in the Christmas in Time anthology coming out this October. Between then and now you can read more about the both right here. I hope you enjoy my contribution to the anthology along with the other six stories.


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Click on the following links to read my author bio, or to read more about this and other writing projects.

Facebook & Me

Most of the time I’m not fond of Facebook

A social media presence is all but required for authors today and because most people are on Facebook, that platform can be very useful. Facebook can also be very irritating—like throw-something-at-the monitor-and-make-them-go-away, exasperating.

Yesterday I decided to change the name of my author page to, The Facebook Home of Author Kyle Pratt. But Facebook has a rule that you can’t use Facebook in the name. Why? It is my Facebook author home.

But I’ve learned I won’t win arguments like that with Facebook, so I removed there name from the title and they approved the change in seconds. Then I noticed something surprising. The name of my page now reads, The Home of Author Kyle Prat. (One “T,” not the two that are everywhere else on the page!)

Now, Facebook tells me that I can’t change it for seven days.

Today, I really dislike Facebook.


Click on the following links to read my author bio, or read more about current writing projects.

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Merry Christmas

I’m working on a Christmas story.

Where I live, in the northern hemisphere, we’re less than two weeks from the official start of summer, but I’m trying to write about Christmas.

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Lately, it has been really nice outside, warm but not hot. The swallows and hummingbirds have returned and the rabbits and squirrels are very active. Many of the flowers are in full bloom. Out in the orchard, the flowers on the fruit trees have gone, but now you can see the apples, pears, and plums growing on the limbs.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting in this office trying to write a Christmas story.

My story is part of an anthology with seven other writers. The anthology is titled, Christmas in Time and my story is called, What will you do? Each story is set during a different time period. My story looks at the first Christmas through the eyes of Tovi, a shepherd out in the field on the night of Christ’s birth. Tovi believes in God, but life has beaten him down. So early on that very special day, he prays that God will help him understand why things have happened. 

I’ll finish the story this by the end of the month, earlier if the weather turns cool.


Click on the following links to read my author bio, or to read more about this and other writing projects.

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My Second Readers’ Favorite

Another reason for excitement!

In Five Stars of Excitement, a blogpost from earlier this month, I announced that Through the Storm had received a 5-Star review from the Readers’ Favorite organization. Shortly after submitting Through the Storm for review I also sent in Seekers of Earth. I am proud to announce that Seekers of Earth has now also received a 5-Star rating from Readers’ Favorite.

In her review, Sefina Hawke said that Seekers of Earth, the first book in the Guardian Knights of Terra series is “a young adult science fiction novel that would appeal most to a mixed audience of teens and tweens who enjoy books that take place away from Earth with aliens and alien cultures. A well-written story that left me interested in reading the rest of the series. I particularly liked the way that the author did not waste time ... catapulted me straight into the heart of things ... I greatly enjoyed this book and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series and uncover more about what is truly going on.”

Readers Favorite is the fastest growing book review and contest organization online. It’s used by publishers such as Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and the organization has received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors.

If you’ve read Seekers of Earth and haven’t reviewed it, please do. In many ways, average reader reviews are more important than professional reviews and good reviews really do help sales.

If you have left a review for Seekers of Earth—Thank you!


Click on the following links to read my author bio, or read more about current writing projects.

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I Need Your Help

I’m working on the last two chapters of a sidequel to Through the Storm—but I need your help with the title. If you’re willing to assist me you could win a signed first edition copy of this, as yet unnamed, story.

What do you need to do?

You don’t have to have read Through the Storm, but that would be helpful. You can look at the Amazon page for that book by clicking on the title. Then click on this special contest page link.

There you can read the back cover description of the upcoming novel along with the first two chapters and take the three question survey. That should take less than a minute to complete.

If you leave your name and email address you’ll have a chance at winning a signed copy of the novel when it is released.

Good Luck!


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Click on the following links to read my author bio, or read more about contests and giveaways.

Largest Ever Book Giveaway

Searching for your next Sci-Fi or Fantasy novel?

Look no farther! Each month I work to bring my readers exciting book discounts and giveaways. This month I’m announcing the largest single book giveaway I’ve ever held and it all starts today.

 Click to see all the ebooks that are available!

Click to see all the ebooks that are available!

For this ebook giveaway, more than seventy-five (75) authors have joined together including, Don Viecelli, Dani Hoots, Niel Bushnell, Sara Fields, Nicole MacDonald. All of these ebooks from both bestselling & new indie authors, including my own novella, Seekers of Earth, are available right now for FREE download!

However, this is a limited time offer, so click on the image or here to check them out now!


Click on the following links to read my author bio, or read more about contests and giveaways.

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Five Stars of Excitement

One more reason to be grateful!

When browsing, customers judge a book by the cover (despite the saying) and by the reviews. That is why I’m so very grateful that readers of Through the Storm have left overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Now I have another reason to be grateful. The Readers’ Favorite organization has given Through the Storm a five-star review.

In her review for Readers’ Favorite, Susan Sewell said that Through the Storm “is a thrilling, action-packed adventure. This superb novel has a gripping plot and outstanding characters. The onset of the storm sets off frightening events that are so realistic; the book is hard to put down ... frighteningly realistic ... a sensational novel filled with perils and acts of heroism, and is the first in what promises to be a stellar series. I recommend this phenomenal adventure to young adults and older readers who love cataclysmic novels with everyday heroes.”

Readers Favorite is the fastest growing book review and contest organization online. Used by publishers such as Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, the organization has received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors.

If you’ve read Through the Storm and haven’t reviewed it, please do. Reviews really do help sales. For everyone who has read the novel and left a review—Thank you!


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Click on the following links to read my author bio, or read more about current writing projects.

Conference Season

Right now I’m planning on attending two conferences.

I could add more, but in August I will be at the Oregon Christian Writers Conference and in September I’ll attend the Southwest Washington Writers Conference. So, why am I writing about them now?

Because the work and planning have already begun.

Kyle with the books for the Cascade Award competition

Oregon Christian Writers Conference (August 20 – 24, 2018)

I’ve attended the Oregon conference for more than five years and gradually become more involved. This is the second year I’ve judged short stories and flash fiction for the Cascade Award, presented annually at the conference. In 2015 my novel A Time to Endure was a finalist in the Speculative Fiction category. This year I’ve submitted three novels for consideration, Seekers of Earth and Through the Storm in the speculative fiction category and Recall the Earth in the young adult category.

Southwest Washington Writers Conference (September 8, 2018)

The other members of the board, Jennifer Vandenberg, Amy Flugel, and Pat Thompson.

I’ve been involved in the planning of this one-day conference since it began four years ago. Now, I’m on the board of directors for the Lewis County Writers Guild, the non-profit that runs the conference. Recently the board met to decide on who would speak and conduct workshops for the fifth-annual event. The struggle each year is to line up new and interesting speakers. The first, third, and fourth year I conducted workshops but bowed out this year to allow for new voices. Still, I’m involved with most of the preparations.

Kyle Pratt and his sticky notes

As you can see from the photo we used sticky notes on the wall to set up the presenters and schedule.

The work to create a successful conference can feel overwhelming at times, but I always enjoy the event.

If you attend either conference come up and introduce yourself. I’d enjoy meeting you.


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Click on the following links to read my author bio, or read more about current writing projects.

Save me from answering systems

I’m sure you’ve tried to call a business and ended up on their automated answering system. You know the type, “Press 1 for English, press 2 for Spanish, press 3 for Belarusian.

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Immediately after pressing a number the music starts and my stomach always twists into a knot. I’ve spent years with a phone against my ear while waiting for human assistance. Eventually, my ear starts to hurt and I’ll need to use the bathroom. That’s bad enough, but while waiting I’m forced to hear music that I would never listen to unless trapped in a dungeon, an elevator, or compelled to stay on the phone.

Then I hear a voice. “Your call is important to us; please remain on the line and we’ll be with you shortly.” It’s not a human, merely a disembodied demon sent to torment me in phone purgatory. If my call were important I would be speaking to an actual flesh and blood person.

More instrumental music.

“Please wait on the line and a representative will be with you shortly.”

Endless inane music.

Yes, I’ve been writing this while waiting on hold—but now I’m going to hang up and find a company that actually values my business.


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Win More eBooks

Have you read my novel Though Many Fires?

Recently I’ve been working with other authors to give my readers opportunities to download and win ebooks. Here is the latest chance for you to expand your library.

For a limited time, you can enter to win the book, plus 30+ fantastic dystopian & post-apocalyptic sci-fi novels from an amazing collection of authors like Craig Martelle, Jay Falconer and Steven Konkoly. You can also win a brand new eReader - along with a collection of FREE ebooks!

All you have to do is enter the contest by clicking here: http://bit.ly/dystopian-feb2018

When you’re done, leave a comment to let me know you’ve entered!


Click on the following links to read my author bio, or read more about contests and giveaways.

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The Moon Landing & Grandma

I’m old enough to remember the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Pearl Thornton Pratt with her husband James and first child William

I was in middle school at the time and my family lived in rural Colorado. Cable TV didn’t exist in my area and there was no such thing as satellite TV, so we did without.

Very early on the morning of Sunday, July 20, 1969, my father woke me up and together we drove down out of the mountains to my seventy-three-year-old grandmother’s home in Denver. Later that morning we sat in her living room and watched the moon landing on her small black and white television.

During the broadcast, I glanced over at my grandmother. I recalled her telling me that she homesteaded land in Arkansas with my grandfather when she was twenty years old. Years later my grandfather moved to Kansas to look for work. When he had a job he sent word and she drove a covered wagon with their possessions and children to join him.

Now, near the end of her life, she watched people walk on the moon. What an incredible life of progress, adventure, and marvel. But I never asked her to tell me her stories.

Recently, I joined a genealogy group at my Assemblies of God church. These last few weeks I’ve been trying to reconstruct her life, along with many others that have now passed on. Each of them might have told me so much.

I was young, shy and I did ask a few questions, but I could have asked so many more.


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The Olympics Got in the Way

It’s not my fault—it’s the Olympics.

Last month I said that I would take some time off to watch the Olympics—but writing will dominate my days. It didn’t quite work out that way. Oh, I did take some time off, but writing didn’t dominate my days.

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I’ve always enjoyed the bobsled, luge, skeleton, ski jumping, hockey, snowboarding—okay, I like many of the events, but during these games my youngest son and I both developed a keen interest in curling. The rest of the family found our interest amusing, but it really is a strategic game.

But the Winter Olympics are over now and I’m officially behind schedule on all of my writing and editing projects.

I hope to be done with a sidequel of Through the Storm by the end of March, more than a month behind schedule. In this story, I’m following Major Franklin through the same time period as Neal Evans. Into the Storm is the working title for this sidequel novella which should be released in May of this year.

The full-length sequel to Through the Storm is the other writing project I’m currently working on. This, as yet unnamed, novel will continue the plot of both the earlier books (Through the Storm & Into the Storm) and bring some of the characters together and they struggle to survive. I’m going to work very hard to have the sequel, and the sidequel, ready for release this year.


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Writing Every Day

February was a short month and I didn’t get as much done as I wanted.

Kyle with a month of edits to his stories

Nearly every working day of this month will be devoted to writing and editing the sidequel and sequel to Through the Storm. Okay, I will take some time off to watch the Olympics—but writing will dominate my days.

If I don’t write and edit each day I fall behind. In the picture I’m holding one month of edits for my current writing projects.

I hope to be done with a sidequel of Through the Storm by the end of February. Sidequel isn’t a real word, yet, but authors sometimes use it for stories that portray events that occur at the same time as the original work, (Through the Storm), but with different characters in a different setting. In this case, I’m following Major Franklin through the same time period as Neal Evans. Into the Storm is the working title for this sidequel novella which should be released in May of this year.

The full-length sequel to Through the Storm is the other writing project I’m currently working on. This, as yet unnamed, novel will continue the plot of both the earlier books (Through the Storm & Into the Storm) and bring some of the characters together and they struggle to survive. The sequel should be ready for release at the end of this year.  

Click on the link to read more about my upcoming books on the projects page of my website.


Click on the following links to read my author bio, or read more about current writing projects.

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Surviving the Winter

My bees have survived winter – at least so far.

 Kyle opens the hive.

Kyle opens the hive.

A few days ago the temperature rose into the low fifties. Between rain showers, I hurried out to inspect both of my hives. I didn’t have to open them to know the most important news, as of that day in late January both colonies had survived the winter. Individual bees were flying out and returning to both structures.

Before opening the hives, I cleared a few dead bees from near the entrance. This is normal. Worker bees remove the dead from the hive, but on cold days they don’t take the bodies far. Then I removed the top of the hive. Immediately below the roof is a box with a wire mesh bottom. On top of that is a cloth and resting on that are cedar chips. This collects excess moisture during our damp rainy winters. I was pleased to see that it was dry. 

Deep in the hive below, I heard the buzz of a healthy colony. I quickly returned the moisture box and roof to the hive.

In a few weeks, I’ll open the hive again and add food to tide the bees over until spring.


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Oh, Deer!

The days are getting longer now, but it seems to me that this is the coldest time of the year in the northwest. While it doesn’t always snow in western Washington State it has this year and that brings more wildlife to the house and barnyard area.

Click to Enlarge

My wife feeds the chickens daily, but they hate the snow and usually stay in their house. However, squirrels and an assortment of birds come to feast in both the chicken area and the barnyard. My wife makes sure they are well fed.

Meadows and pastures have little edible grass this time of year so deer are another common visitor to the barnyard. If they arrive early enough they eat bird food with the squirrels and birds. Whenever they arrive, the deer will often linger around the house. We grow some really nice apples, but I prefer my wife not feed those to the deer, so she started buying cooking apples to toss to them.

On this farm, she cares for all creatures, great and small.


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Massive Book Giveaway

Three FREE Giveaways of over 120 books!

I’ve teamed up with a multitude of other authors to promote our books and gain exposure to new readers. So, in conjunction with these authors, we’ve created three book giveaways of over 120 books going on right now. Download any or all of the books you like. However, these are all limited time offers, so act now!

Fantastic Voyages

This giveaway goes from now through January 15th and includes an incredible selection of over 100 stories. These novels and novellas are all in the science fiction and fantasy genre and are available for free download right now. In this group, I’m offering Final Duty, my science fiction novella. To check out these fantastic sci-fi and fantasy voyages click the image or this link, https://books.bookfunnel.com/freefantastic

New Year Thriller

The New Year giveaway goes until the end of January and includes fifteen thriller novels available for FREE download. These stories range from military to sci-fi, but they are all thrillers and free, including my own Through Many Fires. To check out these New Year thriller books click the image or this link,  https://books.bookfunnel.com/newyearthrillers   

Military Thriller

Looking for a military thriller novel to read? Look no farther!  These bestselling authors have teamed up to offer a FREE action-packed selection of books. All are available for free download until the end of January. This group also includes my novel Through Many Fires. To check out these New Year thriller stories click the image or this link, https://books.bookfunnel.com/militarypromojanuary2018


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New Year Resolutions

At this time of year, it’s natural to set goals.

Last year I called this blogpost A Janus Look. Janus was the Roman god of beginnings and endings. He looked both into the future and to the past and that’s what I do at this time of year, look back over the past year, evaluate what I’ve done, and set goals for the year ahead. So, here is my 2018 look back into the past and into the future.

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1. Complete a novella and novel in the Solar Storms Saga. I had planned to release the first book in this series, Through the Storm, in May of 2017. The release ended up being in September. However, as 2018 begins Through the Storm is doing very well and I’m working on a sidequel novella. In Through the Storm Neal Evans encounters Major Franklin in Lebanon, Oregon. Much of what I knew about why Major Franklin was there couldn’t be explained in Through the Storm so, after some urging from readers, I decided to write a Novella going into more depth about why Franklin was there and what he was doing. The working title of this book is Into the Storm.  

I also plan to release the second, full-length novel of the Solar Storms Saga in 2018. You can read more about this and other upcoming novels on the projects page of my website.

2. Complete the third book in the Guardian Knights series. As 2017 began I had completed the first novel in the series Seekers of Earth, a 39,000-word novella that ends in a cliffhanger. I wanted to finish the second book, Recall the Earth, and have both available near the same time. I succeeded in this goal. Seekers of Earth was released in March of 2017, and Recall the Earth was released in April.

However, I had hoped to finish the third book of the series, Return to Earth in 2017. Because the Solar Storm Saga books took up much of my time I didn’t complete Return to Earth. However, I’ve rescheduled the release of that book for late in 2018.

You can read more about this series on the projects page of my website.

3. Write 150,000 words in 2018. In order to complete Recall the Earth and Through the Storm I wrote about 110,000 words last year. As I mentioned above, I’m currently writing a sidequel to the Solar Storm Saga and plan to complete another novel in the series along with Return to Earth from the Guardian Knights series. Those plans require that I up my writing goal to 150,000 words for 2018.

4. Do more book promotions. Each year I try to do more, larger and better-coordinated book marketing. This last year I’ve also sought to find new venues where I can promote my books. Because I’ve been successful with marketers like Bookbub, NoiseTrade, and Book Funnel, readers can expect to see more of my books and at lower prices in 2018.

5. Make shorter blogposts. Two years ago my wife looked at my goals blogpost and said, “People don’t have time to read long blogposts.” In A Janus Look, my 2017 goals blogpost, I resolved to make these and other posts shorter. I’m still working on that goal.


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Reflection, Faith, & Family

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For me, Christmas and the week or so before it are a time for reflection, faith, and family. I try hard to work less and spend more time reading and with family. At this time of year, I try to read the first two chapters of Luke about the birth of John the Baptist and Christ. Yes, I’ve read them many times before, and even read it with my family, but it is the reason for the season.

I also listen to a lot of Christmas music with my wife. Most of it is older, traditional or classical music like Silent Night, Joy to the World, or the Hallelujah Chorus, but some can be more modern. I recently discovered the a cappella group Pentatonix. They don’t appear to be a Christian group, but they are talented and include many great Christmas songs in their repertoire. I’ve been lately watching them on YouTube.

So, that is my plan for this year, spend more time with family, read some from the good book and listen to good music. I’m thinking that is a perfect way to enjoy Christmas.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas. Immanuel hallelujah.


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On Christmas

I Guess I’m just old-fashioned.

In an age where saying “Merry Christmas” is considered a political act, and Christmas for many is just the holiday after Black Friday, I still enjoy this time with my family, a real Christmas tree and candlelight in church and home.

My son, Robert with his fiancee, Carol. In the middle is my son James and on the right is my wife Lorraine. I'm the old guy in the back. 

Where we live, in the Pacific Northwest, we often don’t have snow on Christmas, but it is cold. This is a time to stay inside, read a good book or the good book, and put another log on the fire, but most of all this is the to remember and reflect upon the birth of Christ.

The day after Christmas I’ll be back at my desk writing, but between now and then I’m taking as much time as possible to be with family and friends.

For all of my readers, I wish a very Merry Christmas and blessings in the New Year.


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Night of Writing Dangerously

 

I may never win NaNoWriMo, but I enjoy taking part.

During the month of November, several hundred thousand people worldwide take part in National Novel Writing Month or simply, NaNoWriMo. The annual writing event started in 1999, but I didn’t hear of it until about eight years ago. That year I joined with others and started typing away at midnight of November first. A bleary four hours later I went home. I typed at home and went to other NaNoWriMo events, but never finished the 50,000 story required to be a “winner” of the event.

Kyle Pratt receives a halo at NaNoWriMo event, November 2017

Freelance writer Chris Baty created NaNoWriMo in 1999. That first year the event was held in July, but the next year it moved to November “to more fully take advantage of the miserable weather.” Living in the Pacific Northwest I totally understand miserable November weather.

In November 2007, NaNoWriMo organization hosted a fundraising Writing event they titled, “The Night of Writing Dangerously” in San Francisco. Like NaNoWriMo, this event has grown and today hundreds of writers attend, drink lots of coffee, socialize and write.

Friends around the table at the NaNoWriMo event, November 2017

The pictures you see here are from a NaNoWriMo event held earlier this month by the Lewis County Writers Guild. The guild usually hosts at least one event during November and there are often more.

Over these last few years I’ve realized I’m not a fast writer, but I enjoy writing and being with fellow writers. So I continue to take part, even if I never win.


Click on the following links to read my author bio or read more about NaNoWriMo.

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