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Saturday, December 10, 2016

The only gift we ALL need...

Look, I know that you are not stupid. And I know that you are probably wandering through life, in many ways, just like I am. You know something's not quite right. You know the world isn't the way it's supposed to be. There's too much pain; too much suffering, and not enough love, not by a longshot.

You've been to church. You've met so-called Christians. You WISH there had been more to it, but were left feeling empty. So now, you disappear into the routines of every day. Step 1 thru Step 9, and then you go to sleep and start it all over again. You wish there was something more, but science has proven there isn't. So you just go on, doing the best you can. And as Henry David Thoreau put it, you "live a life of quiet desperation."

There's a part of you, bruised and battered because every time it speaks up, you hit is with your fists until your knuckles are raw and bleeding. But this part will not be silent, not completely. It whispers to you: "There is more." It makes your skin crawl with the idea that this life is not all there is. And somehow, some way, you know you were meant to travel on, to be transcendent. That the grave will not consume you whole, but will let some inner part of you go.

I wish I could reach out to each one of you and somehow change your heart. But all I can do is tell you what I've seen and what I know. As the apostles said, "Gold and silver, I do not have but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk."

That's right. Walk. You think all this life has been is walking. No. This life is a long distance crawl, and worse, it's like Atlas pushing that stupid stone world up the hill, only for it to come rolling back down around us or over us. You're so right. This world SUCKS. This world is NOT what it should have been. And this world is NOT all there is.

Jesus came and picked me out of a strawberry field. That's my story. I was working at one of those pick-your-own strawberry patches, and it was my senior year at UMCP. An old old friend came out that late afternoon to pick strawberries. He ended up picking me. He simply asked "How are you doing?" And somehow, against my better judgment, I did not respond with the usual, "Fine, how are you." Instead, I said, "I'm actually awful."

And that was such a strange thing for me to say. I had just graduated near the top of my class. I had letters of recommendation that made me blush because of the high praise. I was quite certain of a teaching position and quite certain I would become the next Stephen King. But God revealed to me that I was broken. I left a relationship with a very sweet young lady, in the worst possible way. And the future, to me, looked more of a burden than anything else.

I had this pressure on my chest. I can't explain it. But it was like God pointed His finger directly into my pectoral muscle. All day long, I felt it. And I cried out to everyone I trusted, trying desperately to explain what I was experiencing. But the only person who had a clue about what I felt was the old friend who came out to the strawberry field.

He said, "Wayne, could it be that God is trying to get your attention?" He went on to babble a TON about Jesus and being born again and all that. And I nodded a lot. But, honestly, I didn't really care "what" he was saying. But I was absolutely captivated by the peace that he wore like a glow in the dark suit. He had, I knew, something I had never ever had. There was peace and security and well, a sense of love and belonging that I'd never thought possible.

So we agreed to meet together to read through the bible's book of Romans together, and I read Romans 7 and it hit me over the head like a sledgehammer. It was a full color portrait of me, but written 2000+ years before my birth. I was stunned. And I prayed that Jesus would forgive my sins (many, many, many sins). And I believed in Jesus for eternal life.

My life didn't instantly become a JOYFUL merry go round. It has been a struggle. I have doubted more than God deserves, and I have struggled and fought, and came kicking and screaming back to the realization that God. IS. REAL. That, JESUS, IS. REAL. And that He is both GOOD and LOVING, and calling out to all of us. The transcendence I feel in my deepest heart, I now realize is eternity calling. An eternity with Jesus in a world that knows no pain, no tears, no sickness, and no death.

When my father died last October (2015), the bottom dropped out from under my feet. Suddenly, death was something real and for those left behind, crushingly permanent. Look, you can deny it all you want, but you are going to die. You may be hitting the gym and eating kale all the time, but still, the death ratio is 100 to 0. No matter how much fun you can fill your life with, it's going to end. And likely, people you love will be taken before you, and you will feel the aching emptiness of that loss. This is no joke. This isn't funny. No movie, no book, no alcohol or drug can take away this truth: you will die. And though you invest in stocks and bonds, though you have the greatest life insurance known to man, though you have given careful thought to the legacy you will leave are still leaving.

There's a place in you, battered like your bloody knuckles, a place that is weeping quietly that everything you've done in this world, every single act, every memory, and every experience, will melt away when you die. There's a divine melancholy that hits you at the end of every birthday, every Christmas, every Vacation. A very real sense that what should be....didn't last as long as it should have. And, if you're honest, you'll see that this feeling is real.

All I'm saying is this: I'm 48, the wrong side of forty. You might be fifteen, thirty, twenty-four, or sixty. It doesn't matter. Time will kill you. And after? There will be eternal life. One way or the other. You will not disintegrate and be no more. You will live on. I beg of you, look for Jesus. Read the book of John or read Romans and see. Taste God and see that He is good. He's not closed minded and intolerant as the modern press would preach. Instead, He offers eternity to EVERYONE who would believe in Jesus and what He did on the cross, saving us from our sins.

I hope I've got a lot of time left. I want to see my kids graduate high school and college. I want to see them get married and make a dent for good in this world. I want to write a gazillion more books. But more than anything else, I want to see people believe in Jesus and be forgiven. I want to see you all in the GREATEST PARTY IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE. In heaven. That's our real home. As much as this world doesn't feel quite right, Heaven with Jesus will feel like the far off country we've always felt rumor of. And it will be ours to share with the Lord forever.

If you've read this and believed in Jesus, please message me. If you have questions, doubts, flaming rebuttals, etc, message me.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Review of Theocracy's New Release: GHOSTSHIP

It's no secret that Theocracy has been my favorite band since, well, the first time I heard Mirror of Souls off their 2nd CD. There's something about this band's unabashed Christ-centered message coupled with extraordinary musicianship and vocals that has resonated with me since the first listen.

If you don't know the band or their style, I'll do my best to explain them. They are considered Progressive Power Metal. That means they play hard-rocking music with uber crunchy guitars, thundering drums, galloping bass, ethereal keys, and stunning vocals. But rest assured, this is not heavy metal as it's been described by people who slam the genre. Theocracy's music is filled with beautiful melodies and each CD has such a mix of styles. One song might be a power ballad. Another, a 10+ minute epic. There are some tunes that are soaring anthems, and there are some that have a cathedral like worship quality. And yes, there are some MELT YOUR FACE OFF flat out thrashfests too. But no growling. Nothing vexes me more than a fantastic progressive metal symphony ruined by a Cookie Monster vocalist. But, I digress.


I give the CD 5/5 Stars. Yes, it's that good. And, to me, it does what so many bands fail to do: it progresses. Yes, there are echos from their first three CDs, but they don't stagnate. They hew and hone there sound so that it is at once "The Historical Theocracy" but also "The 2016 Theocracy," better, stronger, faster, and more meaningful than before. So that's my generic overall review. The CD is fantastic. So, if that's all you needed to hear, just go get the CD. You won't regret it. Here's the Amazon link for it:

The rest of this review is a more formal track-by-track evaluation. I kinda feel like I should say {SPOILER ALERT} because I'm going to be very specific about each of the songs.

The song begins with a very Iron Maiden-esque choral guitar lead, but with a serious thrash beat. At first I didn't think I'd like it because of the thrash, but then, as usual, Theocracy changes tempo. Matt Smith's vocals enter with a very haunting tone, made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Seriously, this song is like a visit from Jacob Marley, warning all Christians to snap out of self obsession, entitlement, and invented dramas—all things that keep us from loving God with all our heart, mind, and soul, as well as, loving our neighbors as ourselves. "The narcissist machinery, forging a self-made victim's society..." BAM, talk about a sledgehammer blow to the solar plexus. The thing is, that's where our society has gone. Everyone's offended by everything. Everyone's a victim. Everyone's entitled to pretty much everything. Paper Tiger tells us Christians that we're supposed to be above that. It's a message hard to endure but so needed. The chorus is a bit of a paradox because it soars with the sound of hope, but lyrically delivers a scathing reprimand. The 1st solo is solid, leading into a CRUNCH FEST of cool transitions. The 2nd solo follows and it's melodically righteous...with a little more homage to Iron Maiden's twin guitars. What follows is a vocal onslaught. Set to another beat, it could be a killer rap, but this is just hardcore, in your face indictment of American Christians being poisoned by the snakes in the dark, decrying how hard life is on us while our brothers and sisters in other nations are being murdered for their faith. 4/5 Stars.

The title track opens with a sonorous guitar attack with some sort of audio effect in the background, sounding something like a warning siren. Once the vox kick in, there's a great bed of delightfully creepy gothic keys beneath that set the tone nicely. There's serious power in this song, and the chorus comes crashing in like a rogue wave. "Pay the piper, here we go, got a ticket for a one way journey, Slay the viper, come follow, even if you're ordinary." And this is the heart of Matt Smith and Theocracy for GHOST SHIP: all you out there who feel like you don't fit in, all you misfits, the uncool, the left behind—God has room for you aboard His ship, and once you're with Him, we will shake the world. The solo in GS is really interesting, a blend of some serious tapping, sweep picking, and some blues hooks. Then comes a part I can't wait to hear live because they most definitely will pull the audience in to sing "WHOA OH OH!" The abrupt crunch ending is genius. 5/5 Stars.

Big guitars and drums open this 6.5 minute track, and I though I heard a little Randy Rhoads in the slide rhythm. Lots of guitar breaks between the lyrics here, and it just works. One of the best lines of the whole CD comes in stanza 3: "Hear the fool's soliloquy: cannot grasp, it cannot be." WOW. This song is about the amazing paradoxes in the scriptures and in Jesus Himself. But the fool doesn't understand them and so claims they cannot be. Have we forgotten how far above our minds God is? Instead of denying the paradoxes, revel in the wonder of it all. Die to live. First will be last. Give to receive, etc. What a magnificent message. The solo of Wonder Of It All is virtuoso beauty. I don't know what makes a solo's tone change so drastically, but the melody of this solo is spoken in such a reverent, ethereal sound that it made me long for a whole track of just that kind of guitar work. 5/5 Stars.

Some nice Pirates of the Caribbean keys open up this tremendous tune, giving it a serious nautical vibe. And for those who think Christians are all holier than thou, judging non Christians, listen to this song (and Paper Tiger). Wishing Well is all about lip service. We talk a good game and offer a hearty "I'll keep you in my prayers," but when do we actually get up of our collective butt and go out and help people. One of the catchiest choruses on the CD, Wishing Well's will stay with you. But this song isn't just indictment. It, like many of the psalms, opens with broken hearts and terrible practices, but ends with hope, returning to God to take action and help those in need. 4/5 Stars.

This is my favorite track on the CD for a hundred reasons, but to summarize, this song is personal to me. It's as if God lifted Theocracy's pen to speak directly to me. The song begins with a nostalgic music box melody that reminds me of the musical teddy bears my mom gave to each of my children when they were young. So yeah, ten seconds into the song, and I'm misty eyed. The opening lyrics reached out to me at a heart level: "Hey weary traveler, have you finally lost your way..." Uhm, yes, that's me. I've been a Christian since 1991, and there have been times when it was so easy to believe in Jesus and the scriptures. It was as if I finally could see the world clearly because the Word of God made sense! But then, time passes, and we get bogged down in a thousand directions, some good, some bad, but the next thing you know, you're living a double minded life, going through the motions of serving, worshiping, etc. but in our hearts feeling a 1000 miles away from God. A perfectly timed ticking clock introduces the instruments, and this is one unique song. It's part power ballad, concert hall AOR rock, but has these lovely CRUNCH moments to remind us, hey this is Theocracy here. And again, another part of the lyrics crush me: "Grace has a way of building hope out of despair..." Wow. Theocracy wants us to know that salvation is ALL ABOUT JESUS. We can't work for it. We can't climb to it. We can't build a bridge to it. All we can do is surrender to His love. "Grace alone is free, so rest in Me." A story to tell about the solo on this track (my favorite of the whole CD). At the risk of TMI, I'm one of many Christians who, from time to time, suffer through seasons of clinical depression. I had an awful bout of it this summer. And one day, I open up facebook, and Matt has posted a behind the scenes video of Jon working on a guitar solo for the new CD. I clicked the YouTube vid and the solo just brought me to tears. I felt like I heard Jesus in that solo, a rising, soaring, upbeat thrill of hope. It just broke me wide open that day in the best possible way. And then, to finally get the GHOST SHIP CD and realize that that very solo was on Around the World and Back, well, it kind of blew my mind. The chorus is rousing and hopeful, and the lyrics near the end tell us "Be not afraid; Your price is paid." I've kept those words as a kind of mantra to fight back when the doubts creep in. 5/5 Stars.

Stir the Embers begins with an in your face guitar barrage. Supremely cool. Righteous transitions of tempo here. The whole concept of crying out to God to stir the embers, kindle once more the flame of faith is so needed in the church today. "Walk with me, I'll never be the same again I know." My son's favorite lyric. This is just a skull crushing, kick butt ROCKER, and it ends appropriately with the sound of a newly kindled fire. 5/5 Stars.

From the opening licks, this one blew me away. I thought I heard a little homage to Dokken's George Lynch in this tune, for me at least, a very good thing. Loved the rhythms and the solo. Val, were you paying a little tribute to Lynch there? The chorus, while catchy as can be, somehow didn't fit the song. There was so much great hard groove in this song, and then the chorus sounds a little sing-songy, like a camp song. The lyrics are great. But for a real metal call to arms, it just didn't fit. Still a strong tune overall. 4/5

This song caught me by surprise. The opening rhythm definitely had echoes of older Theocracy material, but whoosh, that fast, they transition to a slower, more melodic sound. They're telling the stories of two people who have lost hope to the point of wanting to end their own lives. It's a little dark and very heartbreaking, but it's reality today. I'm a middle school teacher by day, and I hear WAY too many stories of suicides or attempts...and it just underscores the point that we're living in a bankrupt world, if we try to live it without God. After a fine lead break, Matt does something tremendous with his vocals. He's telling of a man who thinks he's blown his whole life. Listen to the emotion in Matt's voice when he sings, "Checking out, 'Cause no one will miss me now." Very few vocalists can evoke that kind of emotion. Matt does it time and time again. But for a song this dark and melancholy, there just had to be a payoff in the chorus, and WHOA, Theocracy comes through with a soaring message of hope that will echo in your mind for weeks. 5/5 Stars.

Not sure how I feel about this song. Lyrically, I love it. I mean it tells the story that most every Christian feels from time to time, that of being left behind by friends or family or even by God. It's about being ridiculed by the world for believing in Christ and understanding that this world isn't our real home. We are all just pilgrims passing through. Musically, the skill is all there, but it's a style of power metal that I least enjoy. And that's all preferences, right? 3/5 Stars.

This is the epic song on the CD, clocking in at 9:53! And it really is an epic retelling of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The remarkable achievement in this song is that the music completely compliments the lyrical content of each section. From the mournful, dirge like opening where the disciples are destroyed at the loss of Jesus to death to the confusion of "But He promised" and "What now?" It's all there, and then "GLORY GLORY hope is alive!" Such an uplifting component of the song. You'll be singing that out loud! Interesting is that this song has close to a 3 minute interlude where the band just jams! It's a masterpiece. The final section is a conversation between God and his brokenhearted disciples. They are despondent and lost, but God reminds them of His promise to rise on the third day. It reminded me of the Lord talking to Peter. Peter, do you love me? Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. Jesus asked Peter three times, and in Easter, there's an element of that same loving and repeated reminder: my promises are true. Then, just when I thought this song couldn't wow me anymore than it already had, at 8:50 there's this wonderful Queen Bohemian Rhapsody harmonic section that just gave me chills. Lots of songs have been written about the events of Easter, but this may capture the emotion of the time better than any other.

In summary, GHOST SHIP is an amazing achievement. I can only imagine the countless hours Matt and the band put in to craft such a masterpiece. But, I'm so glad they did put in the time. It glorifies God and helps fellow weary travelers like me.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Point is NOT who Won the Election.

November 9th, 2016

America awoke this morning to the news that Donald Trump will be our next President. For Hillary supporters, I suspect there is doubt, depression, despair, and a myriad of other emotions. If the results were otherwise, I would likely have similar fears and feelings. And even though I hoped, if one of them HAD to be elected, it would be Trump, I still feel a wide range of emotions.

For me, in the end, I gave up my faith-driven “write in vote” plan and went for Trump after all. It was, for me, a question of Prolife, Supreme Court Nominations, and other conservative issues. Instead of trusting God with the vote my conscience urged, I took matters into my own hands. If Trump turns out to be a murderous despot, I will regret my vote for the rest of my life.

But for me, there is no victory today. It feels more like a stay of execution. America is in trouble. More personally, the people who make up the nation are in trouble. We are at a moral and spiritual crossroads. And I appeal to history as my witness. From the late 1950’s to the present, America has changed from a Christian nation to a Humanistic Nation. And the result? Our foundation has become one of no ultimate meaning. Nothing matters ultimately because, if there is no God, no moral standard higher than our own whims, we are utterly hopeless and alone in this world.

We are teaching children that marriage isn’t important. We are teaching our children that their physiology doesn’t matter, that they can simply “choose” to identify as whatever sex they want. We are teaching our children that they are all evolutionary byproducts, that by some mathematically mindboggling series of unlikely fortunate events, we people just are. No one outside of the natural made us. We have no ultimate point or purpose other than to make the best of our situations and try hard to ignore the looming specter of our own inevitable deaths.

I feel as if the dynamic of Romans Chapter 1 is happening in America: that we have been given over to our sins. We asked for abortion. We got abortion. We asked for Gay Marriage. We got Gay Marriage. We asked for Wealth. We got Wealth. And at a very deep and secret level, we’ve been begging to have no rules and to have life revolve around ourselves. And, to a degree, that is happening now. And from a parent’s perspective, I grieve for our children. Day after day, I hear of suicides or attempts. Day after day, I hear of addictions or overdoses. And day after day, I hear the hollow clanging of death bells for untold millions who are murdered before even having a chance to live.

I’m heartbroken by where we’ve come and what we’ve become. And I know of NO other solution than Jesus. Love God. Love your neighbor. Follow Jesus and yes, even love your enemy. Go to God with your personal selfishness and repent. Lay it all on the cross, and ask God to help you to love, to give, to help, to hope, and to try.

Hillary supporters: I am sorry for judging you. We are all broken. Trump supporters, I am sorry for judging you. We are all selfish. But now, America: I beg of you: turn back to God, rediscover HIS moral standard, and press on for this nation to live within that standard. Turn to Jesus, watch His example of loving some of the most despicable and downtrodden members of His society. And hear Him as He cries out from the cross, not insults and condemnation to the people who have nailed Him to the cross, but rather, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Today, like so many of you, I feel a grim weight pressing down upon me. It feels like we are inevitably headed for self destruction. Our political system is inferior, likely corrupt, and unreliable. But our God is not. Take hope in our God. Take hope in His love, in His promises, and in His infallible standard. May America truly be great again, but not because of Trump or Hillary or any of those. May America truly be great again in this way: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Creation vs Evolution: The Debate RAGES on. But, maybe there Should be Less Rage.

I'm a Christian and a creationist. I believe that God created the world. And frankly, I think it's immature how some evolutionary thinkers act like creationists are stupid or insane or both. BUT, I'm even more concerned by Christian creationists who are beginning to represent evolutionists as stupid or crazy or both. We Christians are supposed to know better than that. Love neighbors as yourself, right?

I think we've already lost the chance at an honest discussion if we characterize those who believe in evolution as idiots. It's insulting, and, for the most part, it's just not true. Evolution believers run the full spectrum of intelligence just as creationists do. There are some absolutely BRILLIANT people on that side of the argument. Don't kid yourself. These are people who, at the highest levels, if engaged in an informal debate with most of us, would undress our arguments in record time.

And don't laugh off the evidence for evolution. There's TONS of it, much of it at the microbial level which most of us wouldn't even begin to understand. HOWEVER, their intelligence and the metric tons of evidence don't prove evolution is true. All it proves is that if you have a predisposed bias toward a naturalistic explanation of the world, THEN, evolution is the Inference to the Best Explanation. They see the fossil record, the similar DNA, the similar biological features...and they conclude: common ancestor.

Our side, the Creationist side, is the same. Brilliant folks here too. And metric tons of evidence for Creation. And, I believe, it's built so much more on common sense. Our predisposed bias toward a supernatural explanation of the world leads to creation as our Inference to Best Explanation. We see the fossil record, the similar DNA, the similar biological features...and we conclude: common Artist.

The trouble comes when either side fails to grant that the other side might have a shred of intelligence and an inference worth at least considering respectfully in an open dialogue. The secondary trouble comes when either side mistakenly represents its argument as FACT. Both Evolution and Creation are theories...inferences, conclusions drawn from evidence.

In addition, if we're ALL honest, both sides of the argument are really engaged in a belief system. Evolution's religion = naturalism. Creation's religion = Christianity (among some others). None of us were alive when everything began. And none of us lived long enough to confirm or deny what we believe happened over time. In fact, if you go back far enough, both evolutionists and creationists believe in a type of supernatural creator. Evolutionists / naturalists go back to an eternal particle or element, from which everything evolved. Christians go back to an eternal God who created everything.

Rather than shot insults at each other, maybe we should begin with those things that we have in common. My .02. 

Monday, March 07, 2016

Upcoming Book Signings and Author Events!

Hi, most excellent and admirable hob-er, readers!

I've been pretty cloistered with writing for the last six months, but the time has come to hop into the Batmobile and head out for a booksigning or six. 

Here's the schedule:


1) Author Night/Ice Cream Social event at Liberty Christian School on March 9th from 7-8:30pm.
Address: 11303 Liberty Rd, Owings Mills, MD 21117
Phone:(410) 655-5527 (ask for Amy Huey)

Note: Free Ice Cream. Yeah. Nuff said.

2) KIDZPO. Health and Fashion For All, benefitting Children's Chorus of Carroll County March 19, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Batson Signing and Tons of other Booths with Local Vendors and Crafts!

Grace Lutheran Church,
21 Carroll St. Westminster, MD
Tickets - $12.50/person

To purchase tickets call 410-925-4392 or go to

For you West Coast Folk:

3) Dramatic Readings and Booksigning at Auntie's Bookstore of Spokane, Washington, 7pm, March 30th

Auntie's Bookstore
402 West Main Avenue
Spokane, WA 99201


For Floridians:

FPEA Annual Conference: May 26th thru 28th, Orlando, Florida at the Gaylord Palms Hotel and Convention Center.

I'll be out on the floor signing books all three days, but I have teaching events on Friday, May 27th, 1:45 and 2:35pm

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Isle of Stars is HERE!

The wedding of Griffin "Cat" Thorne and Anne Ross is on! Or is it? Captain Tobias Dredd, the infamous pirate "Toby Scratch," has been scouring the South Pacific, searching for Father Carroll, a member of the clandestine holy warriors known only as The Brethren. When Dredd's ship, The Red Corsair, levels a Brethren monastery, Declan Ross and the crew of The Robert Bruce are called upon to pursue Father Carroll and maintain his safety at all costs. The hunt for Father Carroll is on between Ross and Dredd. At stake: the lives of everyone involved and a treasure worth three times the world. For Father Carroll alone knows the location of The Isle of Stars, and he knows its secrets. 

Isle of Stars is the long-awaited sequel to Isle of Swords and Isle of Fire. But it's more besides. Each Christmas season, I post a poll on my writing blog asking readers to vote on a "Gift Story." I give readers several options of books I'm willing to write, and the story concept with the most votes wins. This year, there was a bit of a glitch in the Matrix. Not a tie, exactly, but two stories needed to win. And so, what you have in Isle of Stars is a legit sequel but also a bit of a mash up with cameos of favorite characters from other Batson books. It's honestly the strangest story I've written. I hope readers will enjoy the adventure and also can't wait to see if they can find all the cameos, references, winks, and nods that I've included in the story.


March 4th thru March 8th. That's the FREE ZONE peeps, so hit it then! After that, $2.99. Here's the link:

In addition, I will be making Isle of Stars available in Paperback. Not sure about pricing yet. It's between 35K and 40K words, so should be pretty cheap as far as paperbacks go. Also, Amazon does a price match bonus where if you buy one version, you get the other version for next to nothing. 

Thank you, dear readers, for your patience. This "Christmas Gift" story is more like an "Easter Gift" story! Hope you enjoy sailing once more with Declan Ross, Cat, and Anne!

What Should I Read Next?

Is your TBR pile dwindling? And, come on, is the TBR pile ever NOT in need of a few more books?

I humbly submit the Bat Book Collection, all the titles I've written and published over the last 12 years. Enjoy!

CLICK on the Links to Explore Other Books by Wayne Thomas Batson…

The Door Within
A secret hidden in his Grandfather’s basement sends teenager Aidan Thomas on the adventure of a lifetime. *Dragons Included.

Rise of the Wyrm Lord
Antoinette Lynn Reed is headstrong, bright, and ridiculously good at martial arts. But will it be enough to overcome a legendary, shapeshifting creature? *Knights Assembly Required.

The Final Storm
Aidan, Antoinette, and Robby discover that there are some enemies that even the stone walls of Alleble cannot protect against. If anyone will survive the final storm, the cost will be great. *Believe Only As Directed.

Isle of Swords
Three clues: a sparkling green jewel, a rusty iron cross, and a lock of red hair lead a young man and a feared pirate’s daughter on a quest for his identity, as well as, a legendary treasure. *For Piratical Use Only.

Isle of Fire
What happens when bloodthirsty pirates and flame- throwing Vikings join forces? Declan Ross, his fiery daughter Anne, and her friend Griffin “Cat” Thorne will find out in this high seas adventure. *May Explode If Read Improperly.

Curse of the Spider King
Tommy, Kat, and a cast of five other teenagers have two things in common: 1) they all seem to be developing superhuman powers and 2) they are all being stalked by dark, trenchcoated figures with fiery eyes. One wrong move and any of the teens could be caught in the web of The Spider King. *Drefids May Be Closer Than They Appear.

Venom and Song
The Seven Elven teens are whisked away to Whitehall Castle where they’ll be trained as elite Vexbane soldiers. But without learning the secret of the Rainsong, they have no hope against the Spider King. *Elven Personnel Only.

The Tide of Unmaking
Seven years have passed since the Lords of Berinfell - Tommy, Kat, Jimmy, Johnny, Autumn and Kiri Lee - watched the horror of Vesper Crag wash away, as well as their fallen kinsman, Jett Green. But with Grimwarden in exile, the realm of Berinfell finds itself ill-equipped to weather the coming storms. A consuming terror appears on the horizon: an unstoppable force that threatens to devour all creation and all hope. Nations will crumble, loyalties will be tested, and even the might of Berinfell’s Lords may not be enough to stem The Tide of Unmaking. *No Admittance Except on World-Saving Business

Sword in the Stars (Fall 2016)
The wise and powerful Shepherds of Myriad are hearing dangerous voices on the wind. A washed up former assassin and the legend he believes may not be enough to stop a jealous king from unleashing a world-ending war. *Sword Where Prohibited.

The Errant King (Fall 2016)
Ariana wants nothing more than to escape the nightmares of her past. High King Lochlan wants nothing more than to escape the dreary prospects of his future. But when ancient, legendary creatures attack from east and west, trapping Ariana and Lochlan in the middle, the past and future are in jeopardy for all. *Side Effects Include: Insomnia, Bouts of Dread, and Spontaneous Dueling.

Mirror of Souls (Fall 2016)
King Lochlan is in exile. Heroes of Myriad’s past are presumed dead. A scattered remnant army must evade Morlan’s overwhelming Dark Shepherds and Cythraul’s Bone Ministers. And, as the Convergence ticks closer, all will come to fear and dread. For something else is about to return from across the Dark Sea. *Do Not Disturb Things Worse Than Dragons.

Fourteen-year-old Archer Keaton discovers that dreams are much more than they seem. And nightmares? Worse still. Called upon to join the powerful Dreamtreader Order, Archer must face not just his own fears but those of every man, woman, and child living on earth. *Dreamtread for a Limited Time Only.

Search for the Shadow Key
Betrayed by a friend, Archer Keaton must confront a new Lord of Nightmares. The fabric of the Dream Realm is fraying, and a breach is imminent. Two worlds threatening to collide, Archer makes an ill-advised deal with Bezeal, launching a series of devastating consequences.  *Do Not Feed the Nightmare Hounds.

War for the Waking World
When the Dream and Waking Realms merge, the chaos of unbridled imagination begins to tear everything apart. Archer Keaton is arrested and due to stand trial before the Master of All Dreamtreaders. The fate of worlds rests in the hands of Archer’s prodigy little sister, Kaylie and the Nick Bushman, the Dreamtreader from Down Under. The secret of the Wind Maiden is exposed at last, and there are subtle hints that a mischievous little rogue might turn out to be the most perilous villain of all. *Don’t Drink the Water, Especially if it Contains Gort.

John Spector, aka GHOST, isn’t your ordinary investigator.

He carries a shiny badge, a billfold ID, and a mysterious silver suitcase. His mission? Seek the forgotten ones, the abandoned ones, the ones no one else can or will help. Visit blunt force trauma upon the world’s blackest souls and deny the devil his day by any means necessary. And never stop. Never.

For more than a decade, the "Smiling Jack" killer has been posting photos of his victims on the Web, daring anyone to catch him, daring anyone to care. But when no missing person files match and no victims are ever found, the FBI closes the case.

Years later, a digital camera washes up on shore, and GHOST finds it. Each macabre photo becomes a clue that will lead GHOST and FBI Special Agent Deanna Rezvani on the trail of one of the most diabolical killers of this world…or beyond.

"No one gets away with murder. Not for long."

NOTE: This book is intended for mature reading audiences. The appropriate reader age is: 16+ *Warning: this product may contain traces of terror, death, and hope.

Short Reads (10,000 to 25,000 words) by Wayne Thomas Batson…

• The Blackwood (a Door Within Tale)
Nock and Mallik are on the trail of something wicked lurking in Yewland’s famed forest. *Authorized Door Within Readers Only

• The Misadventures of Strylun and Xerk
What happens when Myriad’s two most famous bounty hunters are each given the charge to arrest the other? Bad things. And funny. *War Hammer Included.

• Forget Me Not
If a strange old man warns you not to enter a certain part of his vast garden, you should stay far away. But Lisa and her college friends don’t listen, tumbling into the war between the Hemlocks and the Broadleaves. *Forests Subject to Change

• Law of the Land
Do this. Don't do that.
Twelve-year-old Jeremy Townsend is sick of rules. Sick of being told what to do. Sick of being punished. But that's his life. That is until Jeremy follows a seldom trodden path in the woods and plummets into the world of Y'Chrana. In Y'Chrana, there are no rules. Stay up all night. Sleep all day. Eat whatever you want…all the time. It's a dream come true. But Jeremy's Y'Chranian friend Neil is hiding something. And everything isn't as it seems. *Living in a Lawless Land Can be Hazardous to Your Health

• Storms Captured
Before he wrote fantasy and adventure novels, he was a poet. Into each person’s lifetime, storms will come. Through wit and verse, the author explores the vital issued of heart and mind. *For a Limited Rhyme Only

• The Dragon in My Closet
When 16 year-old Cassandra McKellen brings a special keepsake home from the Renaissance Festival, she has no idea how special it is indeed. Awakened in the middle of the night by scratching sounds and eerie flickers of light, Cassandra realizes something fantastic is alive and living in her closet. She tries to feed the creature: cat food, lunch meat, and even steak, but discovers that this beast requires a diet of a very different kind.  *Crystal Ball Sold Separately.

• The Skeleton Project
Mysterious circumstances lead the FBI to form The Skeleton Project. The most secretive branch of the Bureau, the Skeleton Project searches out the paranormal and supernatural cases that are far beyond the means of regular law enforcement. In these four episodes, you'll meet two of the Skeleton Project's finest agents: obsessive, bend-the-rules Special Agent Oswald "Oz" Pershing and his trigger-happy new partner, Agent Rachel Minnis. Join them as they investigate things that go bump in the night. *No Aliens, No Creatures, No Service.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Want to Vacation?

On this snowy day, you might be thinking about...VACATION! Summer, sunshine, surf, and sand! WOOT. But to get a nice vacation place for summer, it's best to start planning now. 

It gives me great pleasure to announce that our family's Topsail Island beach townhome, "A Glimpse of Heaven" is open for rentals!! Here's the link:

A Glimpse of Heaven is a beautiful 3 Bedroom townhouse in northern Topsail Island, North Carolina. Topsail has the beauty of Myrtle Beach without the commercialism and the serenity of the Outer Banks without the huge cost. 

Bonus for Bat Book Readers: If you rent "A Glimpse of Heaven," mention the code phrase "Never Alone" in your rental comments, and I'll send you a free signed book of your choice!

God has blessed our shoes off with this place, so we hope you'll let us bless you by hosting your vacation at A Glimpse of Heaven.