Thursday, March 26, 2020

Kevin Returned as a Guest on Lena Nelson Dooley's blog


Welcome back, Kevin. Tell us about your salvation experience.

It occurred in November of 1981. I was eighteen years old. Cindy and I had been married for about three months. We were home on a Wednesday evening, watching TV, when a knock at the door came around seven o’clock. It was the youth pastor from a local church and a friend we had gone to high school with standing on our front porch. I answered the door, and they asked me if this house was the address they had on their little note card. I informed them they were looking for the house two doors down. So while they were there, we struck up a conversation, and in the midst of it, they asked me “the question”: If I was to die tonight, would I know for sure I was going to be in heaven? I admitted I was not sure. As a matter fact, it was a different question I had pondered for over two years: Was there more to this life than working really hard, accumulating a bunch of money and assorted stuff, and then dying and leaving it all to your kids? I felt like there had to be more to this life than that, but I didn’t have a clue what that would be. If there wasn’t, then why bother to obey laws and rules? Why not eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die? I didn’t word it like that, but does that sound familiar? That’s how I felt. But something inside kept telling me such hopelessness was unwarranted. There was more to this life. That night, on my doorstep, as an eighteen-year-old newlywed who already owned his own house, I gave my life to Christ. Now, all these years later, I am rich. Not in money and stuff. But I am rich in the things thieves and rust and moths can’t touch.

I love to hear salvation stories, and yours is a good one. You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?



To read the rest of the interview, click HERE!



And don't forget about Kevin's latest novel!

You can read more about it HERE!

And if you read it, please consider leaving a review! Thanks!


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Author Behind the Story Blog Series - Matt Koceich


Okay, so full disclosure here. Matt and I go way back. We "met" on a Christian authors' web page over ten years ago (?) where authors with WIPs (works in progress) could submit them into this contest. It was a very unique contest in that there were stages. First, if memory serves, you started with the title of the book and the "logline" (which is a one-sentence description of the book...they also use those in films as well). People voted on the loglines, and the top however-many made the cut and moved on to the next round. The second round consisted of a Back Cover Copy blurb. Those that made the cut got to move on to round three, which was about submitting the first paragraph (or maybe it was the first chapter?). Anyway, you get the gist. I made it into the third round, if memory serves, before my work, which became my first published novel, The Serpent's Grasp, got axed from the competition. Ironically, it won the Selah Award in 2013, and I attribute that contest to helping me hone some skills and aspects of the novel.

Matt, on the other hand, won the contest with his novel, The Sending. Since those days, he has continued writing in genres which have proven to be right up his alley.

So, without further ado, let us welcome to the Florida Front Porch no stranger to heat and humidity and a Texas transplant, Matt Koceich! 

Matt, as we do with all our authors, give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, tell our readers who is Matt Koceich?

I’m a sinner saved by God’s grace. I am a husband and father. I am an elementary school teacher.

That's another thing we have in common (besides the sinner saved by grace deal). We were both in education back then during those contest days, and we still are today.

Speaking of education, what educational background do you have?

Picture the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter. I didn’t really have a choice about the high school or the college. They more or less chose me. I started the first part of my high school journey in Charlotte,

NC. I had gone to a private school from Kindergarten all the way up to 10th grade with the same kids. Then a wonderful thing happened (cue the sarcasm). My father came home one night and said he was moving the family to Florida. Joy.

I survived the move and finished my junior and senior year of high school in Tampa, FL (public school was a nice culture shock) and then went to Florida State for college. Again, the school chose me because FSU was the only acceptance letter I received. My SAT scores had a lot to be desired, and I guess the other colleges wanted to use their choices on other, more “promising” students. In the end, I am very grateful that FSU gave me the opportunity they did because I was the first in my family to go to college.

Fast forward a few years…I attended the University of North Texas where I earned my Masters degree in Education. I am living proof that everyone blooms at different times!

Oh, man...I didn't know that. I'm a Gator fan, so you just dropped a couple of notches on the faves list, dude. (Just kidding!) And as for blooming at different times, I get it. Same for me.

Let's shift gears a little. I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite. 

Favorite Song of All-Time: Zach Williams “No Longer Slaves.” These two lines say it all: I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God!
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): “The Jesus I Never Knew” by Philip Yancey. Yancey pulls back the curtain of stereotypes and gives the reader a beautifully refreshing, historically accurate picture of Jesus.   
Favorite Bible Verse: 1 John 4:16! It is a timeless comfort to know that God’s love for me is the ‘constant’ I rely on in this crazy world.
Favorite Movie: Casablanca!!! I absolutely LOVE the witty dialogue spoken by emotional characters who each pursue their own selfish goals, only to discover in the end that friendship is the best gift of all.      
Favorite TV Show: This is Us. I enjoy how the writers seek to remind the viewer that everyone matters.
Favorite Novel (other than your own): The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe. This story is a magical wonderland for the reader’s imagination and soul-inspiring with its subtle gospel messages.
Favorite Author (other than you): C.S. Lewis. The way he could write one story (like Narnia) and have it appeal to so many children and adults at the same time is special and timeless.
Favorite Sport: Baseball. My wife and I love to get old school and keep score during the games.
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): TX Rangers. They’re local so we’ve rooted for them over the years.
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: None. School was hard for me. 

(Isn't that interesting...typically, teachers are the ones who LOVED school! That's why they are teachers! They never have to leave it.)

Favorite Subject Now: Reading! I’m making up for lost time.
Favorite Time of the Year: Winter. I love Christmas and the long break to spend time with the family playing Ticket to Ride and doing puzzles.
Favorite Place to Vacation: Disney World. It helps you feel like a kid again!
Favorite Drink: Coffee. Dark roast. No cream or sugar. That is all.
Favorite Food: Any iteration of Italian…pizza, rigatoni, lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs. My mouth is watering!


Everybody seems to have a bucket list. Do you? If so, what’s on it? If not, why not? 

My number one bucket list item is to make it to Israel and see the places Jesus saw. It would fill my heart to be where he was and see the beautiful lands where he lived and ministered. I know that a trip there would really make the Bible come alive!

Do you have a crazy, interesting, behind-the-scenes story about the publishing world you’d like to tell your readers without boring them to death with industry gobbledygook?

About thirteen years ago, I was blessed to be a part of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. It was a great opportunity for me to grow as a writer. It was an online correspondence course, so I could enjoy learning from published authors all from the comfort of home. The course culminated in a 5-day retreat in Denver, CO where I had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to sit with Jerry and learn from him, one-on-one.

For someone who had sold a gazillion copies of Left Behind books, Jerry had (and still does) a huge heart to help writers from all walks of life. What a tremendous blessing that was to sit across the table and watch him eviscerate my writing. Jerry is the real deal, and I will always be grateful for his friendship. I would encourage everyone to look him up online and invest in his writing classes!

It says something when you can sit quietly while other authors "eviscerate" your writing. You have to have a thick skin in this business, don't you?

Of all the stories/books you have written, which one is your favorite? And what compelled you to write this story? 

Come, Follow Me. My 365-day devotional started off in the classic I wasn’t trying to write a book fashion. I remember feeling the need to inspire anyone on Facebook who wanted to read a daily devotion. I started writing one page a day and posting them. It started with the idea of what it would be like if God wrote me a letter…what would it look like? What would He say to me?

I had a difficult relationship with my earthly father, and for the longest time, and I was seeing God through the same cracked lens. I needed to dive into the Bible to see what God thought of me. The theme of God’s love quickly surfaced, and I was compelled to share what I found with the Facebook world through daily devotions.

After I posted about a month's-worth of devotions, a teacher friend who I had not seen in ten years said I should get the devotions published. I said something along the lines of “Great idea, but I don’t have any connections.” You know how it goes…sending out all those “please print my book” queries and getting the “keep your day job” rejections eventually take their toll.

The teacher told me to be patient. A few days later, she e-mailed me the name of her editor. Unbeknownst to me, my friend had been doing freelance writing for the ten years since I had last seen her! I sent her editor a batch of the devos I had written and got a contract soon after. 

That's a "God thing," as I like to call them. You didn't solicit it. It came to you from Him. Those are the most awesome moments, aren't they?

Tell us about what project you are currently working on.

I’m finishing up final edits on my latest IMAGINE book. This installment has the main character travel back to the tower of Babel. As with the other books in the series, the lead struggles with an issue that’s been affecting his/her relationship with God. This book deals with the struggle of wanting to fit in. Our identity as children of God plays a big part in this book. 

Knowing what you know now about writing, publishing, etc., what piece of advice would you give to the person thinking about writing that novel they have always wanted to pursue since they were young, or the person who believes they have a non-fiction book in them that would be helpful to others?

Write your story! No one else has the experiences you have. Like the Amazing Race, life will place a million roadblocks in your way, but you can do it!

Don’t worry about coming up with what you think might sell. Just write from the heart and everything else will fall into place. Please don’t drive yourself crazy trying to make something happen before its time. Write it. Give it to God. Move on to the next book.

Amen.

Besides being an author (Right?), what’s the craziest thing you have ever done?

Back in the summer of 2014, our family went on a six-week mission trip to Ethiopia. Part of that glorious African adventure included a week in the far southwest part of the country. We went to a jungle village called Makki. The ride down there was insane. We’d been cramped in the car for hours. Night fell, and we literally found ourselves “in the middle of nowhere.” Our driver was lost. Our phones didn’t work. We had no way of contacting the missionaries that were there waiting to meet us.

Then, when we finally made it to the village, we had to cross through a river on foot. It was late at night. We were all emotionally spent. The water was waist high and running at a good clip. All I could picture was a local alligator getting ready to eat me for dinner. When we walked through the jungle to our cabin, we couldn’t believe our eyes. The walls had big holes where the termites left their marks. It was something out of a horror movie. We could hear baboons jumping across the roof in the middle of the night. Stephen King couldn’t have written a better script!

And we complain when the power goes out for a couple of hours...thanks for the perspective check!

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

The story of the woman at the well in John 4. It’s a great story of second chances and redemption. I love how the encounter with Jesus completely altered the trajectory of the woman’s life. Before the well, she was covered in shame because of her past lifestyle choices. She was judged before she even did anything. She had to go to the well at a time when the other women would have been long gone so she could avoid ridicule.

However, all that changed after she met Jesus. Now, we see her running back to tell everyone in her village about Jesus. The Bible tells us that many believed because of her brave testimony. Jesus took her shame and threw it out the window. He breathed new life into her, and she became a leader who couldn’t contain her excitement to tell the world about the Savior.

Matt, it's been a pleasure having you stop by and share from your heart. We are going to have to somehow meet face-to-face someday, (possibly at a writer's conference?) and share some iteration of italian (I'm a pizza-holic, myself, with a debilitating need for calzones and garlic knots drenched in butter.) Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover? 

I would like to use this last entry to give the wonderful people reading this hope. I mentioned earlier that my formative years of schooling were not productive to say the least. My 7th grade teacher told my mother, that in her mind, I would not really amount to anything more than being a C student. That sounds harsh (and completely unacceptable) but based on my grades and work ethic, her opinion would have made a safe bet in Vegas.

I share that story only to remind everyone of a great line from Tenth Avenue North: “You are not the sum of your past mistakes.” Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has wonderful things planned for you. Don’t let the devil tempt you into thinking otherwise. If your dream is to write books, go for it. If your dream is to paint, go for it. If your desire is to help the homeless, go for it. Whatever it is, take the first step in faith. God will not let you down!

Awesome! 

Dear readers, if you wish to get to know Matt more, you can find/follow him at these locations:

Come, Follow Me Daily Devotional Journal

Imagine Series

Facebook


Until next time, may God bless America, and more importantly, may America bless God,

Kevin




Saturday, March 7, 2020

"What Makes a Writer Write?" A Podcast Interview with Yours Truly by Andrea Boeshaar


Excited about this! A couple of weeks ago, Kevin did a podcast interview with Author Andrea Boeshaar for her "Discover the Story" podcast. It went live March 7, 2020. 

Check it out under the "Episodes" section. The podcast is titled, "C. Kevin Thompson: What Makes Writers Write?" It was a great interview. 

Thanks to Andrea for having me as a guest!


To hear the podcast, click HERE and scroll down to the list of podcasts to find his!







Monday, March 2, 2020

"By the Book" Blog Interview with Yours Truly by Author Heather Greer


This was a great interview. We really got to answer some heady questions and delve into some great writing topics! Thanks to Heather Greer for the opportunity! And don't forget to enter the giveaway! Deadline is March 9th! - Kevin



"FULL OF CHARACTER" with C. Kevin Thompson


While I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting today’s guest in person, I get a strong sense from some of his interview answers and bio information that we’d get along well. I hope you enjoy his interview and then take time to check out his books. And don’t forget to comment on this post to be entered to win Kevin’s giveaway!
What character from the books you’ve read has impacted you more than all the others?

You can read the remainder of the interview and enter the giveaway before the March 9th deadline HERE!







Friday, February 28, 2020

Can't-A-Bury Tales (A Seriously Write Blog)


Gather around children, and I will tell you a tale of magic and wonder…of tome proclamations and essayist ratifications…

Once upon a land, in a time not so far away, was an author who wrote a story. The words, flowing from the deepest recesses of her mind, bubbled up and poured from her fingers. Soon, those words blended with the page, and they became as one. It was as if they were meant for each other, like two long, lost lovers, embracing once again after so many epochs of separation and loneliness. This story would never have been the same, the author believed, if the words found their way to any other swath of papyrus.

So magnificent were those verses, they began to multiply, and before long, an entire manuscript was formed, crafted, and molded like putty in the hands of an expert potter. The people close to her, stood attentive, admiring the prose, and chanted with one voice, “This must be for all people! Do not keep it to thyself!”


You can read the remainder of the story here!