It is my very great pleasure that FIghtingeveryday is a a stop on Lex Allen’s guest blog tour. Lex is a fellow writer and is releasing No Heaven, the first in a trilogy where religion, politics and the fate of the world rests in on man’s hands.
THE MAKING OF IMAGINE
by Lex Allen
I was raised a Southern Baptist—those who don’t dance, wear make-up, swear, or drink– those who fornicate strictly for procreation, and smile only when spreading the Gospel. Back then I couldn’t define the word hypocrite, but I certainly saw its application demonstrated countless times… from dancing to fornicating, these Baptists paid no attention to the correlation between their words and their actions. As soon as I was able, I got out of there – the religious environment and the home.
I’ve always been a voracious reader. Reading was my escape from life’s miseries, real or imagined. Before I discarded religion as BS, I read the Bible a couple of times from front to back. Although I couldn’t get on board with the Christian teachings, I was fascinated with Jesus – the man. I didn’t believe he was the Son of God or that he saved everyone from sin by dying on the cross. No, my fascination dealt first with the miracles and later–much later–with what his true message might have been. IF Jesus had been a real person and the Bible’s New Testament equaled the Old Testament for excellence in fantasy fiction; WHAT might his true purpose have been? A virgin birth didn’t happen, so WHERE did he come from?
Many years later, the advent of the computer and the internet exponentially expanded my reading habits and topics. I was now reading about quantum physics, Buddhism, spiritualism and psychic phenomena. The works of Dan Brown, Michael Crichton and James Rollins led me to religious, political and societal conspiracies. I was subconsciously building what would become the Imagine Trilogy.
When I actually started writing that first novel, I quickly realized that, perhaps, I’d bitten off more than I could chew. My writing experience to that point had been a few short stories, song lyrics, and a couple of years writing flash and collaborative fiction on the internet. I also had two lead female protagonists, but I know “jack” about women – how they think or act, especially intelligent, self-confident women, as Dr. Washburn was, and Kate Barrow became.
I went looking for a female co-writer and found a great one, but lost her due to her conflicting responsibilities. I found a second co-writer, only to lose her as well. I was almost two years into the story by then, and the stress from work, family, and losing two co-writers were more than I could overcome. I quit writing. The story sat in a file, untouched for more than six months.
I couldn’t get the story out of my head, but I couldn’t make myself sit down and start writing again. There was a tiger in the writing room. As long as I had been going in there, feeding the creature every day – all was well. When I stopped, and the tiger began to get hungry – I became afraid to go back in there.
I can’t recall the dream that served as catalyst, but one morning, I awoke around 4 A.M. I opened the door to the writing room, grabbed that tiger by the neck, and slung him into a corner. Then I sat down and started writing. Just like that.
The words flowed like a river, sometimes lazy and slow; but occasionally in a torrential flood for the next five months. I wrote every morning, from three a.m. until I left for work around seven. Then it was done—the first book in the trilogy was complete.
Now what? Naïve and supremely confident in my own English and grammar skills, I began submitting query letters to agents and publishers. I was confident that my story was the best work of fiction since…well, the Bible. I knew I would quickly land a righteous agent/publishing deal.
Sigh. We’ve all been there haven’t we? The wait, the rejection slips – some no more than a mere form letter; the re-writing of synopsis – query letter – pitch and still… nothing. Like hundreds of thousands of other hopeful writers, eager to become the next Stephen King or J.K Rowling, I decided to join the “Indies” and self-published. The adventures of becoming an indie author are fodder for another blog, at another time. Let me, however, leave you with this:
After self-publishing, I learned the hard way about identifying your target audience – I finally did and the result was an immediate change in the title, from The Second Advent: Disciples to No Heaven. After several months with very few sales, I learned the necessity of finding an editor. I found a lady in England and she’s fantastic. And finally, hooking up with Ampersand H Book Design and Marketing became the turning point in an otherwise fruitless effort. Now, I’m two novels and a few thousand words into the third of the Imagine Trilogy. The conclusion, “No Religion” will be published before the end of the year and then…
I think that Eloah and several other characters in the Imagine Trilogy will have some new and exciting adventures on other universes, in different times. I hope that you will stay tuned.
Born in San Marcos, Texas, Lex Allen was raised in the Bible Belt towns of Corpus Christi and Austin. At the age of 17 he began an extensive military career with the U.S. Army. The Army took him to Germany where he met his wife, raised a family, and remained after he redirected his career into a civil service position with the U.S Department of Defense. During this time Lex also wrote, performed, and published fourteen songs with MCP Records in Austria that led to accolades from the European Country Music Association as “Best Band and Best Album” in 1997. In 2012 he left his civil service career to pursue his passion for writing – this time trading the 12-note musical scale for the 26-character alphabet. He has since published the first two books in The Imagine Trilogy as well as an anthology of horror stories, “Lovably Dead”, published under the pseudonym Alex Eldrich.
Lex’s views began to take shape in a stereotypical Southern Baptist home in the Bible Belt of America. An astute and eager student, he studied alternative views on spirituality and quickly became disenfranchised with the organized religion he was presented with at home. A lifetime of contemplation and over a decade of intense research into the history of Christianity, alternative spiritual philosophy, and quantum physics provided the foundation for The Imagine Trilogy. Allen has used his research and personal spiritual journey to sculpt a work of fiction that presents a thoughtful and plausible alternative dogma and religious conspiracy in a fast-paced, thriller format.
Lex currently resides with his wife of 30 years in a century old Bauernhaus in Germany where he spends his days feverishly writing the anticipated conclusion to The Imagine Trilogy, “No Religion”, scheduled for publication in late 2013.
About No Heaven:
The first time He walked our Earth, He came to teach people the way to inner peace and everlasting life without fear of death or oppression by those with religious or political power. He failed.
In the streets of Germany, a mysterious man appears proclaiming himself to be Jesus. In the middle of the afternoon mass in Kölner Dom, this man shocks the masses with unfathomable healings and miracles. However, this Jesus is different from the stories and age-old traditions. He claims to have returned to Earth to save the human race from impending nuclear war and rebukes the religion sculpted around his name.
With the help of the skeptic blogger Jack Schmidt, university film student Kate Barrow, and theology professor Dr. Beth Washburn, Jesus races to save the world’s fate as political and religious forces attempt to stop him at every turn.