The Blog/Diary of Novelist Sam Batterman

Welcome to my blog. Please feel free to make yourself at home, look at my postings, visit my friends links and contribute your own comments. 

Thank you for visiting!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Book Signing at the Alma-Mater

On Friday, December 4, I had the opportunity to do a book signing at the college I graduated from: Bob Jones Univeristy. It was successful in as many ways as you could measure:
  • 100 books sold in 2 hours
  • got to see the faculty members who gave me my great education
  • saw old and new friends
  • spent time with my sister, who works down there.
The young lady in this picture is the daughter of my Youth Pastor from high school, Randy David.

Here's me and my Computer Science professor, Dan Wooster. He's a huge supporter of my work and has sure encouraged me over the last year.

In closing off this post, Glenn Young over at his excellent blog: Faith, Fiction, Friends included me in a list of books he describes as the "Best Books he Read in 2009."
Here's his Fiction List...spin over to his site and check out the other categories:

Fiction:
· Providence by Chris Coppernoll
·
Dogwood by Chris Fabry
·
Chasing Francis by Ian Cron
·
Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove
·
Lost Mission by Athol Dickson
·
Return Policy by Michael Snyder
·
The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner
·
Summer of Light by Dale Cramer
·
Wayback by Sam Batterman

Blessings,

Sam

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Alien Relic

Stephen King once referred to the first draft of any novel as an "alien relic." I couldn't agree more.

As I plow through the manuscript of my next novel, tentatively called Maximal Reserve, I am face to face with adverbs (words ending in -ly), broken and grammatically, mangled sentences, mismatched character names and redundant paragraphs that seem to indicate I was smoking an illegal substance at the time of the writing.

To make it worse, I have some early readers providing me thoughts and feedback. I need feedback! I need validation, but this process is exceptionally (look, another adverb!) humbling.

It's a good thing I have great friends!

I also see a lot of places where the plot needs to be tighter and more connected for the reader. This part reminds me of the medieval torture of being drawn and quartered. There is so much tension in the book and the chapters are so intricate in feeding information out as needed that I feel like the whole thing will fly apart.

One of my friends said that she found it interesting to see a book at this stage--fresh from the brain. That pretty much sums it up.

People may like sausage, but no one really wants to see how it's made.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. As life gets hectic and crazy-busy heading toward Christmas, here's a holiday that literally forces the breaks onto my "run-away" life and makes me turn inward for a moment and reflect on what God has done for me. I'm thankful for so many things: my wife, my children, my church , my friends, my job and for writing.

Being a published author affords me many opportunities that I would never had experienced before. In the last month I've met three authors that are struggling through the same "find a publisher--finish the book" experience that I went through over a year ago. It's a frightening process that's very alien to people not working in the publishing industry (like me). It is great to share my experiences with them and try to encourage them to keep going. I hope they will.

A fellow author (and college alumnus) reviewed Wayback recently and posted it on his fine author blog. By permission, I'm re-posting it here. Adam is the author of Fatal Illusions, a thriller that takes place in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (or the UP as the natives call it). I hope to have a review on it soon.

My Review

I was delighted to read this new novel by author friend and fellow BJU alumnus
Sam Batterman. I have always been fond of time travel stories and was especially interested to see how Sam would treat this classic but somewhat worn plot device. (From H.G. Wells to Michael Crichton, we've seen a wide spectrum of time travel sagas, not to mention numerous movies and TV shows.)

What I discovered was a novel that is really a carefully executed balancing act between suspenseful plotting, scientific research, and biblical truth. This technique is risky. Does the scientific information weigh down the plot? Are the biblical ramifications of what the story's characters experience lost in the plot? I thought Sam did a good job of striking the right balance, and he certainly put some hard work into this project. The list of sources Sam consulted for his bibliography is nothing short of amazing. This guy did his homework, and it shows!

Beyond the obvious creationism message, I was especially intrigued by scenes that describe the garden of Eden and Noah's ark. I've often wondered what the inside of Noah's ark looked like; Sam does a good job of giving readers an inside look. The main storyline of researchers sent back in time to the time of Noah's flood gains further complexity by a group of terrorists who plan to alter history in an unexpected way. I won't give away the subplot or their diabolical plans; you'll need to read the novel for yourself. The ramifications of their plans and how Sam probed the possible outcome of choices unique to two time periods definitely gave a new spin to the time travel concept that I hadn't thought of before. What a fascinating, thought-provoking read! With just enough hooks to keep the story moving forward while taking readers down a path of new possibilities and into a world we've read about in the Bible but only imagined,
Wayback is definitely a worthy, suspenseful, and educational read. Definitely check it out!

Additionally, there should be a few other reviews coming in the next month or so.

I will be at Bob Jones University Campus Bookstore on December 4th for the "Light the Night" event and signing books from 7-9PM. If you are in the area, please stop by and say "Hi!"

I've started the second re-write of Maximal Reserve, my newest thriller, which I hope will be published in 2010. I have some early readers digging into it and I'm sure the story will only get stronger after they feedback to me. This novel is longer than Wayback and in some cases more complicated. I still have work to do, but I love the story so far. Can't wait to share it with you.

Blessings,

Sam

Monday, November 9, 2009

Engineering a Book - Maximal Reserve

Well, the first draft of Maximal Reserve is done. This means the general story, characters, chapters, length (and depth of the book) and basic tone of the book are complete. This doesn't mean that the book is finished, but it does mean that how the book starts, runs and ends is essentially done.

Unlike Wayback--where, to be honest with you--I had little to no idea what I was doing until the edit stage, Maximal Reserve started with the foundations that I learned along the way with my first book. I tried to take the criticisms of Wayback and my strengths from Wayback and combine them. People generally liked the story of my first book and the scene descriptions were called out as strengths with character development and dialog being areas that some felt could use work.

I agree. So, on Maximal Reserve I focused on Characters--characters that I now love. In Wayback, the science team was the protagonist (or perhaps Jim Spruce was depending on who you ask) - in Maximal Reserve you get to know the protagonist, warts and all, from the very beginning. It has the same twists and turns that my first book was known for and additional dimension -- better relationships, better romance, better emotion--better everything.

People ask me what it's like to write a book and I suspect each one is a bit different, but now I focus my answer on what I relied on for the last seven months--structure and engineering.

How can art be engineered? It has to be to work. Fiction has structure - whether it's conventional, contemporary fiction or literary fiction - there is a formula that must be considered. It's not enough to have a good start or prologue--is there enough "ummph" to make it 80,000-100,000 words?

For me the challenge is around 30,000 words where the transitions occur and the middle of the book feels like it's sagging. It takes focus and rewriting to tame a manuscript and get to the resolution in a meaningful way.

Here are some things that I kept asking myself all through the writing of Maximal Reserve:
  • Is there tension - everywhere?
  • How are the transitions handled between Act I and Act III?
  • How does the protagonist grow during the book?
  • What is the relationship between the antagonist and the protagonist?
  • Do the subplots slow down the story, or support it?
  • In my case, does the science overwhelm the story, or support it?
So, with 90,000 words in the bank, I can now share the synopsis of Maximal Reserve...more news will be coming...What's next? Well, I have a whole raft of early readers and critics lined up to shred the manuscript (from a critical perspective).

Will the story change as a result? Undoubtedly. This is an early look at how the book will be perceived by the rest of the world. I can't wait to hear what they think...good or bad.

Phillip Channing was just an ambitious college graduate who wanted to make his mark on the world. He didn’t know that mark would be the greatest oil discovery of all time–in the wrong place. Phillip finds the largest oil reserve in history, dwarfing the lucrative reserves in Saudi Arabia, and threatening to change the balance of power and wealth in the favor of the most unlikely country of all.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

New Interview on CWW

A new interview is up on Christian Writer's World -- Characters who grip your heart. This site is run by Lena Nelson Dooley, who has dozens of books to her name. It's a great site and I'm happy and humbled to be a part of a group with such great authors.

As to Wayback news, I will be doing a book signing at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina on December 4 from 7-9P at the campus bookstore. That evening they have a special event called "Light the Night" where they turn on the Christmas lights for the season -- there are typically over 10,000 people in attendance at these events.

My second novel, tenatively called Maximal Reserve, is now hovering around 80,000 words. The first draft is done and I'm having some close friends take a reading of it and shred it. Another couple of drafts will likely insue as I get it to the best place as I can. Keep coming back to find out publishing news and date of release.

Blessings,
Sam

Friday, September 11, 2009

CHRI Ottawa Family Radio Interview

My interview with Ali Misener on Sept 9, 2009 is up.

Download it for your MP3, iPod or Zune Player here:
MP3

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Internet Audio Interview on BooksALatte.com

The Internet Audio Interview I did last week with Takiela Bynum is up check it out:

You can click on the Audio File here and play it on your Media Player or download it for your iPod or Zune:
icon for podpress

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Reviews and More News


Greetings,

I hope you're enjoying the fall weather that is sweeping over the landscape. The weather here in Pennsylvania has been absolutely beautiful. I love the crisp, clear mornings of September.

The bookstore of my Alma Mater, Bob Jones University has Wayback prominently displayed. It's great to have their support. Here's a pic that my Computer Science professor snapped and sent me:

A great review came in from Jill Williamson, the author of the new fantasy novel By Darkness Hid, and editor of Novel Teen Reviews. Jill is an amazing author and her first book is doing quite well in the marketplace.

Here's the review, but make sure you visit her site - she has an excellent collection of literature that's suitable for the Youth and Young Adult Literature set in your life.

Review by Jill Williamson

Two Roads Corporation has been busy. They’ve discovered a way to transport people back in time. But an expedition to 100,000 BC ended in disaster as if such a time never existed.

This leads Two Roads to believe that everything modern-day science believes about how old the earth is could be mistaken. The company plans to send another team to a time period that might answer some of their questions. The team is recruited and sent to 2300 BC, the time of Noah’s Ark and the great flood. What they discover will change science forever.

I adore books that present theories of Intelligent Design and Creationism. Men and women willing to stand up against the “proof” that Evolutionists claim is so absolute are brave. I think the public should view science like a jury views a man on trial. Unless it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, it is not fact. And as of right now, no scientist can prove how the world came to be beyond a reasonable doubt.

This book was a joy to read. It starts out with the gripping premise of time travel and takes us to earth, 2300 BC, before the flood. I enjoyed reading what earth might have been like and experiencing how things might have happened. This is a book I will keep around for my kids to read as they get older, to keep their minds open. This book has some great characters from all spectrums of scientific beliefs, which brought great conflict to the story. I liked the antediluvian city and people. I liked that they were advanced and that the Garden of Eden was still there. There were so many interesting ideas presented here. It was so interesting.

The book shifted characters a lot. I prefer a few main characters to follow that I can really grow to care about. Also, the first few chapters simply explained how everything worked. I supposed that was necessary, but it slowed down the story in the same way Michael Crichton’s scientific descriptions tend to go on and on. So if you loved that about Crichton, you’ll love that about Batterman. Once the team went back in time, I was hooked. I recommend this book for anyone looking to open their mind to a Biblical view of creation and the flood. It was well-written, well-researched educational entertainment. Very fun.

Age Range: 16 and up
Genre: Science Fiction
Part of a Series: No
Pages: 315
Publisher: VMI
Released: 2009
4star1


I also had an Interview with Takiela Bynum of BooksALatte.com - it's an audio interview and it should be up very soon.

Next week I have an interview with CHRI - Family Radio of Ottawa, Canada on September 9 from 4:40-4:45pm.

From a sales perspective, Wayback has climbed (crawled?) to 2nd place in the Futuristic Fiction category on the STL-Distribution site. This is across all publishers in the Faith Community that STL services, so I'm pretty happy about that.

I am continuing to work on MidCycle, the sequel to Wayback. The word count is around 80,000 words and I'm still going. MidCycle will be a longer book than Wayback.

The book will explore the following areas that I just barely touched on in Wayback:

  • Who were the men with sloped foreheads – why were they in positions of authority?
  • What happened to Cameron and Alicia and why couldn't they come back to the present for 30 years?
  • Why the USS Liberty was spared – and the implications of that action.
  • The map that was found in the Ark library, what were the other cities like?

I'I' I'm also working on a book called Maximal Reserve (tentative working title). This is not related to Wayback and it's a pure techno-thriller. That book is hauling along nicely and I'll share more details about it as the fall comes into focus.

BleBlessings!


Monday, August 17, 2009

A Nice Review from Beth Murschell on Facebook

I just finished Sam Batterman's debut novel, *Wayback*, a futuristic Christian novel published by VMI which hits the finish line at 315 pages.

The plot: Indiana Jones meets Stargate Atlantis meets Jurassic Park meets Noah's Ark meets the Time Machine. Seriously. An evolution/intelligent design/creation debate is framed by a plot-driven time travel device.

The gist: A team of specialists travels back in time to witness key moments in the earth's history. What they find changes everything.

What I liked: unique plot, memorable moments/visuals, and concrete detail (seemingly authentic--either an impressive amount of research or a fertile mind, probably both).

The early chapters were a bit text-heavy in part because of the debate material, but by the last several chapters, the pace had quickened.

Characterization was a bit sketchy in favor of plot. Understandable, as there's a LOT of plot. :-)

In the main, he resists the impulse to over-spiritualize the way many Christian authors do. I may quibble with the occasional premise, but there's a lot of food for thought here. John Morris of the Creation Research Institute gives him props for authenticity.

On the whole, I'd say Sam has a good first outing, and I look forward to reading his next book, whatever it may be. Go get a copy of Wayback and see what you think.

http://www.amazon.com/Wayback-Sam-Batterman/dp/1933204877


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happenings in August - Reviews (Good and Bad)

Well, this summer has flown by. Wayback seems to be doing pretty well. It's bouncing around on Amazon like a ping pong ball, but when I look at the other titles that are adjacent to it, I feel like something is going right.

I'm also starting to get emails from people finding the book on chain bookstore shelves like B&N, Borders and others. That's a good thing.

Three more reviews came in recently. Dave Mincy wrote a nice review here.
Sam’s excellent background research, plausible plot, and well-developed characters make for a time-travel adventure I found to be both exciting and thought-provoking. While entertaining, this book also strongly confirms the biblical record and magnifies God’s Plan for the universe. The idea of being able to go back in time and see Noah building the ark, real dinosaurs, and the wickedness of an unexpectedly advanced civilization…what an amazing journey that would be! If you’d like to know more, I highly recommend reading Wayback.

Congratulations, Sam! I’ll be waiting for the next one.


Dave is a muscian (and married to an artist - so imagine the art program in that household!). Here's a link to his newest CD. We have his first work and can't wait to hear this new one.
Another review came in over at the Near-sighted Bookworm:

This new author contacted me to see if I would be interested in reading and reviewing his first release. It was not a disappointment. From first page to last page, I was kept wondering about what was going to happen next. The research that went into this book is amazing, which makes me excited to see what he writes next! If you are looking for a book that will make you think and keep your attention, this is it!
Those are the easy ones to share. Sharing bad reviews...not so much. I struggled about whether I should share this. In the end I decided that baring my soul would be a bit cathartic.

One of the things about being an author that's most difficult is taking criticism. When you first start writing (or painting or driving or anything), you get feedback. This feedback can be jolting and even just plain rude, but your attitude is the all important player here when you get that kind of feedback. No one has arrived. There is not a single person doing any kind of activity, be it business, school, athletics, or otherwise that can't attempt to do these tasks better with more refinement and better skill. If you look at the sports world (an area I'm not an expert in) people like Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and others all talk about pursuing excellence-getting to the next level. It takes hard work.

The hard part of the journey is that some people, even with all the hard work you put in, won't like your stuff. Early on I wanted people - all people - to enjoy my storytelling. I wanted everyone to be excited about Wayback, the way I was. In the end I learned you can't please everyone and in the end you have to write to the population you hope will enjoy your story and wait for your next work with baited breath.

So that brings me to the review at ChristianFictionReview.com. This was an important place for me as an new author to get a review. I was confident in my product; having had hundreds of readers to this point and good reviews to this point.

I wasn't prepared for the review and it blew me back quite a bit.

In the end, I'm convinced God allowed this happen to keep my pride in check - to make me small again and to allow me to receive criticism in a way that I can apply it to my craft and get better where I can and not worry about a group of people that may disagree with the messages of the books I write.

The message underlying the book is important, in my opinion. I know there's a debate in the Christian writer's community as to how overt to make faith and the message of the gospel in the books we write. We don't want to come across as "bible-thumbers" or lunatics or crazy people, but in the end, in a Christian fiction novel, the reader needs to have something to connect to the words of hope we find in the Bible, otherwise you should publish the book to the secular market and widen your reading audience.

I believe that your worldviewpoint will be imprinted on your work whether that work is a "normal" 9-5 (does anyone just work from 9A to 5P any more?) job and doing that job excellently as to the Lord, or writing a novel or even a facebook status. What we are and who we are comes through.

Let's change subjects. I'll be at a booksigning at the Gifts from Above Bookstore in Scranton, PA on September 17th from 6-8PM with 16 other authors. I don't know who the other authors are yet, but when I know, you'll know.

A read a book while on a business trip the other day and literally raced through it in about 24 hours. The book is Havah, the story of Eve by Tosca Lee. I had to read this book. It deals with the story of the first woman in a first person form - through her eyes. Since Wayback has some dealings with the Garden of Eden 1600 years later I was interested in what she would explore in this novel. I was not disappointed. As a male reader I was not expecting to get drawn into the emotional side of the book like I did. I never really thought about what enmity (Gen. 3:14-15) really meant in Genesis until I read this book. Again, going back up this blog post. A good Christian fiction book makes you think and review and go back to the Bible to think about the subject being written about.

Havah does that.

For the record, Tosca does take some "artistic license" that may be controversial to some. For example, she uses a storm in the Garden and rain to create a very dramatic flight out of the Garden. The Bible is rather clear that the water cycle was quite different before the Flood. The storm does heighten the the situation in a very dramatic way, it was a calculated risk to do it (and I'm sure she knew that going in). Based on my experience above, I suspect she'll get some mail about that choice. It's still a great book.

This book is not for the younger set (17 and younger in my opinion). It contains sexuality in terms of a husband and wife - nothing graphic mind you - but you do have a naked man and naked woman in a pefect garden setting. Hello! Things will happen in that situation. If you read this book, I'd be interested in your feedback...

MidCycle, the tentative title for the sequel to Wayback, continues to plod along. The first draft is almost complete - around 75,000 words right now (Wayback was 94,000) and I still have a ways to go. It will definately be bigger (word count wise) than Wayback. After that, the rewrite begins to get everything accurate and tied together and then an initial edit. So, there's still a ways to go. I'm also working on another novel that's unrelated. I'll talk a bit about that in a few weeks.

Thanks for your time.

Blessings,
Sam

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

ICRS 2009 Denver, Colorado

It was nice to return to the state I grew up in. I had forgotten how much I love mountains. ICRS – the International Christian Retail Show—is the largest Christian Bookstore show in the world. Bill Carmichael, the president of VMI Publishers, invited me to represent them with two other authors. From the moment I received the invitation to ICRS I was conflicted – excited about seeing what the business was really like and a bit scared about being the “low man on the totem pole.” After a day of making it out to Denver, I met Bill Carmichael for dinner with his lovely wife, Nancie Carmichael, who has a huge list of books to her own credit, and the two other authors I would be signing with.

Michelle Rae Eich has written an interesting novel called Wolf Boy: A Case of Mistaken Identity. It’s a modern day allegory and it takes a very creative approach. I instantly liked the idea upon hearing it. Dr. David Gustafson was the other author. He’s a Senior Fellow and a scientist at Monsanto in St. Louis and his book was called Reaping the Real Whirlwind: A Christian Response to Global Warming. (You can hear an interview from David here). Regardless of your views on this very controversial subject you owe it to yourself to hear his viewpoint.

One of the things that’s neat about ICRS is seeing the “famous” authors signing and walking the floor. For example, Josh McDowell (Evidence that Demands a Verdict), Oliver North, Terri Blackstock (my sister is a huge fan and it was cool to get a signed copy for her), Jerry Jenkins (he wrote a little series called Left Behind) were all there—even Marie Osmond made a showing (Whoop-dee-stinkin'-doo).

I was able to do two interviews – one with the Dish Network and one with Destiny Internet Radio. Destiny will be up in a few weeks and I’ll provide a link from this site once it’s available.
I gave out 24 copies of my book to influencers and bookstore owners from all over the United States and my signing gave out another 100 or so. It was neat to tell people the pitch of Wayback and watch their expressions as they began to imagine the world contained in my first book.

Here are a few pics from the show...

Here's Terri Blackstock and yours truly


Josh McDowell of "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" fame.

The man who changed it all - Jerry Jenkins of "Left Behind"

My Signing Poster

Sara Peters and the gals from the Living Word Bookstore in Lousiville, KY - they are some of my biggest fans! It was so cool to finally meet them in person.

Waiting for the line to form - will anyone come?
Me, Michelle Rae Eich, Dr. David Gustufson, Coach Bill McCartney

...and then they came. *Whew*
...100 books gone in 45 minutes!


What did I learn?
As I’ve written here before, I really enjoy the storytelling aspect of writing. I love the research, the plotting and developing the characters ... and I really enjoying hearing a fan or reader tell me what they liked - as if they have mentally gone to the place that I did in the book.

But – and that’s a BIG but!
It has to sell to allow me to write more books. This is a business that’s insensitive to new authors and isn’t really trying to acquire new, un-proven talent. Publishers are staying with the big bets – authors that sell thousands of copies in a predictable fashion. So, now it’s up to the author to do a great deal of their own marketing and brand management. That means developing a fan base and an audience for your work. This won’t happen for me instantly – nobody yet knows me in the author capacity, so I have a long way to go. I am learning on the go how to do marketing, promotion, salesmanship and how to develop myself as a brand. It’s hard work and no one has the exact formula for success.

God helping me, I am going to continue down this road. Hope you enjoyed this post.

Blessings,
Sam

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Quick Summer Update

We are now officially into the summer and while Pennsylvania is getting a lot more rain than normal, it's been a good one so far.

Last Monday night, my wife and I enjoyed our first book club meeting where we discussed Wayback with Pat Webster's friends. We go to church with many of the members and it was a fun night. It was really neat to see how the scenes that had originated in my gray matter over two years ago came alive to those that read the book and to find out what they liked and disliked. It was very energizing.

Reviews are continuing to come out and you'll want to keep your eye on a "big one" coming from Christian Fiction Review over the next few weeks - Wayback will make an appearance there. Good reviews also continue to come in on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The Facebook Fan Site is also continuing to grow at a healthy pace.

I am diligently working on the sequel to Wayback, tentatively called MidCycle. I'm about 80% of the way done with the first draft and I like where it's going so far. Someone once said that a sequel must be similar to the original work to be considered a sequel and different enough so that it really is a different book. That's a challenge.

I will be in Denver on July 12,13 & 14 to attend the International Christian Retail Show, representing STL Book Distribution with Wayback. This is the largest Christian Book Show in the world, so I plan on making the most of it (looking for an agent, looking at different publishing houses, networking and even meeting some of the best Christian Fiction authors).

As more news comes out this summer, I will post it here. Enjoy your summer!

Blessings,

Sam


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Book Sightings!

While my book has been available on-line for over a month now, it's finally starting to show up on physical book store shelves around the country. I received an email from a reader in Michigan who found one at Barnes & Noble and I got a note that Master's Mercantile was beginning to carry it. On Saturday, June 6th, we loaded the family into the mini-van and drove over to the local Master's Mercantile and found four copies.



















This is the kind of stuff that puts a fire under me to complete the sequel as fast and best as I can. If you find a copy on a shelf and snap a photo send it to me and I'll post it here (sam at sambatterman.com - replace at with, well, '@')

Blessings,

Sam

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A few early reviews from the Blogosphere

Now that we are a few weeks out from the launch, I have a few reviews that are staring to roll in. Here are three that I thought I'd share:

From Tammy Litke at Three Different Directions:
One can tell just by reading the first couple of chapters, that a lot of research went into this book. Some of the topics discussed kind of went over my head a bit (lol!) from a scientific point, but the writing is very good and kept me engaged throughout.

The book includes lots of action, a good plot and a great dose of science fiction all told with a creationist perspective. It's like Indiana Jones meets Stargate meets Answers in Genesis. Really!

Batterman's first novel can be considered a success. His writing skills should make him a popular author in the future. I'm sure we'll be seeing many more of his speculative fiction books to come.
Here's another from Glynn Young at Faith Fiction Friends...
"Wayback" by Sam Batterman is a novel, a thriller and a movie all rolled into one. I haven't had this much fun with a book since "Jurassic Park." 

Utilizing work developed by Nazi Germany as it was collapsing, a group of American scientists has succeeded in creating the means to travel in time. They've run into a problem, however; trying to go earlier than about 3000 B.C. ends in spectacular failure, with the deaths of the crew. More recent times don't represent the same problem. And so they confront a question -- what if the earth didn't exist before 3000 B.C.? Could the account of creation in the book of Genesis be accurate after all? So the scientists assemble of a team of experts, and travel to the approximate time of the biblical account of the flood. 

Enter some terrorists, bent on changing history -- recent history. They're aiming for the 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel smashed the military of Jordan, Syria and Egypt. The terrorists would like to change what happened. 

The two stories track and parallel each other, as the tension mounts in both and the reader is propelled into the action. Batterman has an extraordinary gift of describing settings and landscapes -- the reader can see and almost smell what's going on. And it doesn't matter if the landscape contains a gigantic boat or rows of fighter jets and tanks in the desert. 

The research undergirding the novel is mindblowing -- not only the sciences of geology, botany and physics but also the history of the Six-Day War and the speculative description of the antedeluvian world. The research makes the novel come alive in a way that's extraordinary. And "Wayback" would be a great basis for a movie -- it's that visual. 

What a story! And what a storyteller!
Here are a few more impressions from his great blog...
Here's a nice one that was posted on Amazon:
I picked up this book the night before boarding a 6 hour flight to the West Coast from back East. I literally had it completed 2 hrs after landing. My main complaint is that I started the night before the flight and did not get much sleep as it was such a page turner. It is a rare book these days that keeps you from turning out the light when you are exhausted. 

In my opinion the "time travel" theme can be very campy, however this novelist did not get lost in the technology or predictable plot line of many science fiction genre writers. 

Very unique story, and strong character development make this a great summer vacation read that will appeal to those that desire a good fiction escape with a healthy dose of a positive message. 

At the end, you find yourself wanting more story (in a good way), and desiring to find out what happens NEXT. Clearly Wayback and the main characters have some franchise potential if done properly by the author. If you want a book that literally makes "time stop" while you are reading, pick this up and it will not disappoint.
There are more on the way, but wanted to share these out. 
Blessings,
Sam




Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's going on?

Wow - it's been a busy two weeks since the books starting shipping. I've sent about a hundred and fifty influencer copies into the world (literally - some going to the Caribbean, Australia, Canada, etc.) and I hope to start seeing both reviews and "influence" on blogs, Facebook sites and even major Christian Fiction Review Sites.

The economics side of the book publishing process is very different from the solo-creative part that preceded it by over two years. It really is all about networking. Finding people who have a bazillion friends on Facebook and are willing to spread the word about your book, or finding that Reviewer that reaches thousands of people --- these are the people that can seriously impact book sales.

I'll keep you posted on reviews and such over the next two weeks or so as they start popping up, but hey, what about you? Will you write a review on Amazon for Wayback? Perhaps consider joining the Wayback Fan Site - it costs nothing - while you're at it, suggest it to your friends - again, totally free.

I had my first book signing at my church last Sunday night. I'm blessed in that my Senior Pastor, Scott Wendal, at vfbt.org is a big supporter. They are carrying it in their church bookstore.

Is yours carrying it? If not, drop me a line to find out how to remedy this: sam@sambatterman.com

Blessings,

Sam

Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's Here!

After two long years, the day I have dreamt about is here. Wayback is now available to the public. I hope you enjoy it, but perhaps more to the point, I hope it creates a lot of discussion.

Today had a strange sense of finality to it - somewhere between the graduation of high school and college and less intense than the birth of a child. This is the end of the creation process and the beginning of promotion and sales. The book ended up better than I could have hoped.

Here I am opening the first box of influencer copies...















Two dozen "Waybacks" all nestled together!















The gratuitous "author and stack of books shot."



















I even had a well-wisher on-line from my editor, Rachel Starr Thomson

Blessings,

Sam

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Timeline for Writing Wayback

Since this blog over time becomes a kind of diary, I wanted to post the timeline of events that led to Wayback being published. I know that during the process I always wondered what was next and how long that particular task would take, so perhaps this will help other writers who are curious.












Oops, blogger doesn't give us much space here - here's an enumeration of the events:
  • May 2007 - Manuscript started, originally titled "Chronology"
  • May 2008 - Manuscript submitted to Manuscript Submission Network
  • July 18, 2008 - VMI Publishers extends contract
  • Endorsements - from Aug 2008 to Nov 2009
  • Edit - from late November 2008 to Feb 15 2009
  • Web Site development - from December, 2008 to Feb 2009
  • Typesetting - March 2009
  • Printing - April 2009
  • Available to the public May 1, 2009!

Blessings,

Sam

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

All Systems are Go! T-Minus 8 days!

I just got a note from the publisher that the books are almost done with printing and will be shipping out to warehouses and booksellers on May 1,2009 (which was the originally planned ship date).

If you've not already ordered your copy you can go to any of the following sites to order it...

...and many, many more.

If you'd like a signed copy you can click here.

If you enjoy the book, consider supporting me by doing any or all of the following...
  • Send an email to your friends and encourage them to read the book.
  • Write a review on Amazon.com
  • Have your local church bookstore or private school library get some copies for their shelves
  • Ask you local Christian bookstore dealer to carry some copies
  • Join the Facebook Fan Site and socialize with other fans and read fan reviews.
If you enjoy the book, send me e-mail (sam@sambatterman.com), I'd like to hear from you!

If someone needs ordering information (a bookstore proprietor, etc.), here it is...

Contact STL Distribution (http://www.stl-distribution.com
Phone: 1-800-289-2772
Fax: 1-800-759-2779

Be sure to check back often at www.sambatterman.com for news of other books and how Wayback is doing.

Blessings,
Sam

Monday, April 6, 2009

Covers - what might have been

It's always interesting to consider "abandoned" paths in life - as long as it doesn't cause discontent and fixation on that path.

Since the cover is now done and the book is at press I thought I'd show everyone what the covers could have been...I'm very happy with the "Blue Concept" choice that we ended up with...but the others are interesting too.













Enjoy,

Sam

Full Color Cover of Wayback

This is it! The book is off to the presses!

Here's the full color cover...














Blessings,

Sam

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Galley Arrived!!!

The "Galley", which is the official term for the typeset and edited manuscript ready for the press, arrived in email yesterday. This is my final chance to proofread it and look for any last minute defects (spelling errors, glaring issues, etc.). 

I'm amazed how much the typesetting impacts the look of the page. I think it turned out great!

Just a quick check and off to the presses...




















Blessings,
Sam

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wayback is going to Press!

I just got the email from my publisher informing me that the book is preparing to go to press. After a quick pre-production run, thousands of copies will be run off for warehouses, bookstores and websites to move to the public. 

Here's a shot of how many versions preceeded this "real" run - the manuscript changed a lot in two years time and I can truly say that the end result is better than I could have hope for when I started.





















Blessings!

Sam

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's it like to write a book?

Over the last two years as I have worked on my book and discussed it with others, I hear the same questions over and over - "How did you do that?" or "What's it like to finish a whole book?"

That's a hard question to answer because there is so much to the answer. I'm not classically trained in writing, so much of Wayback emerged from what I read and observed that work well in the thriller genre (thank you Michael Crichton!)

I came across a video the other day that while not a perfect analogy somewhat shows the process of writing if I were to compare it to painting.

So, take five minutes and watch the video and then let's continue the conversation...



Here's the finished product - "Above the Timberline"












By all accounts this painting is an amazing vision, but look what it took to pull it off. The artist talks about a lot of tasks that occurred before he painted - the creation of the main character, pencil studies, research into polar bears, composition - this doesn't just happen - it was well planned - well executed. The artist even talks about the "camera" - something you don't hear about in painting - Viewpoint, yes -- camera, no. He talks like it is a movie or a book in his head and he is bringing it to life - an act of pure artistic creation. But the parts of the video that I really like are when he stops and does more research - more investigation for a glint or reflection on a goggle or a specific shape or brush stroke that he applies to a polar bear.

He talks about "anchors" that help him feed off that element visually - bold and subtle. Plot is like this - but so are characters and even scenes. It is like this in writing - what is finally published has almost no bearing to early drafts, or possibly what was originally envisioned or planned. Yes, I like to work with an outline, but the "sketch" of the story allows me to venture into wild territory and discover things that make the book more interesting. Unlike painting and drawing where you are filling in a physical canvas, writing entails sentences and paragraphs that can be almost infinite in detail - sometimes going deeper or holding back to get an idea across is the hard part. Sometimes I have to stop completely and research something over and over from many different perspectives. In Wayback, that involved lots of looking into what the Antediluvian world would have been like, what would the Flood have felt like and looked like, even the modern portions of the book that entail the Six Day War or a private think tank building an amazing machine took rework and research. The words don't just fly out of your fingertips (at least for me) it is a slow and arduous journey, but very rewarding and fun!

Blessings!

Sam

P.S. the typesetting process for Wayback should be done this week.