My short story, “Basilica Obscura” is part of the anthology Wonders of the Galaxy, a Christian sci-fi anthology from Elk Lake Publishing. The first story description listed is for “Basilica Obscura.” Enjoy!
WONDERS OF THE GALAXY
A COLLECTION OF COSMIC TALES
Inspired by biblical parables, these nine short stories set in the wonders of the galaxy are sure to delight and inspire …
… When a mothership carrying the solar system’s survivors malfunctions, teens from different factions must lead their people to their promised land, the planet Eden.
… After losing his fortune and his fleet, a renowned space pilot finds himself returning home to a planet run by the father he’s disowned. Will the father choose mercy or justice for his son?
… When earth’s greatest scientist pursues his dream of creating life on a new planet, he finds more than he could ever have dreamed of.
… Moena-P wants to uncover the truth–does the outer-galaxy planet called Kharis and its independence-granting king really exist … or just rumors by the opposition?
… When a remote widow star system is threatened, only persistence and resilience can win over a wicked galactic arms dealer.
… Heartthrob Alex Powter trades in his superstar status for a secret agent when an unlikely group of rebels recruits him to save the galaxy.
… As the sun enters its final phase, Garrett is faced with a choice—should he enter the portal and start over, or stay behind and join the resistance?
… Dax Mor, a poor Lezian farmer on a mission to provide for his family, will discover who his friends truly are in this journey among the stars.
… When an alien race arrives bent on using humans as reproductive hosts, Earth’s only hope rests in a group of eight experimental heroes.
We are a people of stories. Without exception, every culture and civilization has used story to entertain, teach, and instruct. Whether it be a cautionary tale to keep children from wandering too far into the woods, or an elaborate fiction to explain the formation of the magnificent landscape, story has been the way we connect to each other, how we promote societal values, and how we pass time.
Parables, especially, have a dual purpose. Not only do they keep us entertained. They also point out significant cultural understandings. Consider Aesop’s Fables—tales of anthropomorphic animals learning valuable lessons about life. But Jesus used parables, too. His audience was hungry for spiritual understandings, but they could not understand the spiritual principles at work. So, he did what every great teacher does: he leaned into the power of story. Using common characters and conflicts, he wove tales that illuminated significant spiritual principles in a way his audience could understand.
Collected for you here are several parables set in far-away galaxies, fascinating planets, and the coldest depths of space. Characters. Conflict. Enlightenment. Enjoy.
Click here to listen to Jason William Karpf as guest on the March 17, 2021, episode of “Step Into the Light.” Jason talks about his Hollywood upbringing, marketing, Brimstone 1, and finding Jesus.
Brimstone 1: is a fun story. It’s a secret race to space, to meet an incoming alien artifact, sent in response to scripture being broadcast into space. There’s enough mystery that you’re a good way through before you really know who’s ‘good’ and who isn’t. There’s a hint of romance, without being the main focus.
Science fiction at it’s finest, because it honors God instead of pretending he isn’t there. This book is well written, entertaining, and includes scripture. Conversations and choices occur, with a reference to ‘because of _‘ with a scripture reference so you can look it up. I loved this, because it ties everyday actions to God’s Word, and encourages us to do the same. And somehow, the author does this without it feeling preachy.
I am looking forward to the sequel. This one is satisfactory in its ending, but leaves just enough clues to know that book two is coming, and it’s going to be good!
While it isn’t written for teens, I would recommend it to anyone 14+ to read with a trusted adult, as it might lead to some important discussions related to viewing materials, getting caught up under a charismatic leader whose goals are less than honorable, what it’s like to be a mole when it hurts the ones you care about…
I received a copy of this book from the author, and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.
When I began writing Brimstone 1, I came to two important conclusions. The pilot would be a woman, and she would be the best in her field, a status only reachable after many years of achievement. These character requirements intersect in Jana McAlister, age 48. Per historic precedent, she came to the astronaut program by way of the military. Jana was a US Navy fighter pilot who flew F/A-18s over Iraq and Afghanistan in her early career and F-35s on special missions at the end. In 2020, five years before the events of Brimstone 1, Jana led a covert raid to destroy a banned nuclear weapons facility. She overcame a ground-based EMP weapon—electromagnetic pulse, designed to fry her jet’s systems—and downed three advanced MiGs guarding the base.
But exploits in the atmosphere wouldn’t be enough. Ever since watching Sally Ride as a first grader, Jana wanted to be an astronaut. She earned engineering degrees and won a slot in the astronaut corps. She was a young payload specialist during the Space Shuttle’s last days. In the 2020s, she flew twice to the International Space Station, the final trip in a new mini-shuttle that will be used as Brimstone 1’s orbital vehicle. Billionaire Baxter Moore III, the builder of the first Christian rocket, hires only the finest. Jana McAlister, with decades of service to God and country, meets the standard.
When I was a young screenwriter, my mom taught me to ask “What does the character want?” Jana is a world-class aviator, but she doesn’t rest on her laurels. She is committed to the success of Brimstone 1, naturally. But what lies beyond? Jana plans to retire after touchdown and start a Christian equine therapy ranch in her hometown of Clovis, NM. She endangers that dream by declining a grant from a company covering up its defective products. Baxter leverages her setback, replacing lost funds to fortify her promise to keep Brimstone 1’s secrets, her resolve wavering after viewing a startling video from space.
Mom would like the drama of Jana’s “want,” a contrast from her high-flying past, grounded and selfless but opening her to compromise. But she wouldn’t have me stop there. As the countdown approaches, Jana falls in love—with a man two decades her junior. She has much in common with protagonist Elijah Lindstrom. Both are brilliant engineers. Both fly drones for professional pursuits and personal enjoyment. Both are single and Christian. As a teen, Elijah idolized Jana when she was spokesperson for a national science club, initiating a life of discovery that leads him to unravel the first Christian rocket’s mysteries.
Jana fights the feelings. A man who had her standing—late forties, famous, boot-camp fit—would be expected to attract a gorgeous twenty-something and complete the conquest. Jana doesn’t count on such encouragement. She broke barriers in military aviation. She flew flawlessly in outer space. But she can never be “one of the boys.” She kisses Elijah furtively in sub-basements and on mountaintops. His heart races. Hers does too—and that’s the problem. Jana tells Elijah that loving him is the craziest thing she’s done outside of a cockpit. And “crazy” is unseemly for a mature Christian woman routinely given great responsibility.
Mom would approve of godly, capable, complicated Jana. She is the right person to pilot the first Christian rocket, a deliberate departure from the trope of the steely-eyed, male space jockey.
In identifying Scripture to embody Jana, I first selected Joshua 1:9 (NLT):
This is my command-be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
She opens her naval aviator’s Bible to this verse after returning the multimillion-dollar grant. The words have previously comforted her before combat and space flight.
1 Corinthians 15:10 (NLT) also symbolizes Jana. Substitute “pilots/astronauts/men” for “apostles” and the story of her achievement becomes clear, with all glory given to the Lord:
But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me-and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.
The same verse applied to Mom who struggled at home and in Hollywood with diminishment and disappointment. Through the trials, she believed in Jesus, a belief that finally took root in me when I met another incredible woman, my wife Anni, in 2004.
“Character” signifies both a person and the overall quality of a person. “Strong female character” provides specifics. The fiction/reality duo of Jana McAlister and Elinor Karpf-Hager has propelled Brimstone 1. As a woman, you can demonstrate your own strong female character. Think you don’t have what it takes? Think again. Romans 5:3-4 (NLT) explains:
 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
Jana and Ellie have backstories filled with refining fire. Review yours. Rejoice in proven endurance and resultant character. Note the keyword “endurance,” the ability to last, the passage of time establishing context. Jana is 48. She needed every minute of existence, the smooth and the turbulent, to become the pilot for Brimstone 1. (Please join me in resisting calls to make her younger in any movie adaptation.) This is my first novel, published upon my 59th birthday. I needed all those years to become a Christian sci-fi author. God blessed me in His good time.
Turning away from the past, do you worry about the future? Are your fears or dreams “too big?” Do you dare not speak of either? Silence is not strength, as 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT) teaches:
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
Weak, and proud of it. Being honest and vocal is the ultimate gutsy move for a strong female character. Admit what frightens or inspires you, and give it to God. In His name, I’m pursuing my passion in middle age, joyful and focused. Being seasoned is not just a “guy thing.”
I thank God for the presence of strong female character in my life. Thank God for its presence in yours.
Jason William Karpf is an author of Christian Sci-Fi and professor who lives in Minnesota with his wife, Anni. A history and trivia aficionado, Jason was a four-time Jeopardy champion. Brimstone 1 is available in ebook and paperback at Amazon and your local bookstore.
Guest Post By Jason William Karpf
Isaiah 61:3 NLT
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.
Ashes. The sign of destruction. Growing up geographically in Southern California, I saw ashes as the recurrent symbol of the brush fires that would obliterate the wilderness ringing the megalopolis, raze homes in those scrubby hills, and rain smoky residue on the flatlanders. Growing up economically and spiritually in Hollywood, I thrashed in the ashes of incinerated show business careers—my mother’s and my own. Ashes meant destruction literally and failure figuratively, a cosmic stopwatch hitting zero. Three decades of assignments and produced credits for Mom was a better window of opportunity than most get, more than I got as she tried to hold the window open for me at the end.
Isaiah presents a crown of beauty, a glorious replacement for the ashes that settle on our heads and swallow us eventually. Mom was a believer but did not divine this promise when the metaphoric flames overtook our family. The fallout of failure entombed us. I struggled to dig out—enraged, bitter, my brash bet of dropping out of college to make music and write scripts not paying off. It was easy to blame Mom, and I did. She accepted the pain and shame too willingly, her contributions ebbing in my final push to sell a script—any script—to put us back on the map. In the mid-1990s, a parent myself now with two young children, I walked away from Hollywood and Mom, shaking the dust from my shoes.
Isaiah 48:10 NLT
I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.
Had I read the prophet in those distant decades, I would’ve understood fire belongs to God, not Satan. The father of lies said I failed. Actually, my Heavenly Father was recasting me (Hollywood pun intended). Burning away the dross, the waste product of Malachi 3:3, takes heat, pressure, and time. The young man’s alloy of fury, woe, and entitlement sloughed. The born-again man stepped from the crucible, finer metal showing. Ashes were strewn about but not smothering me, simply evidence of my Father’s flame.
Today, as I approach my sixties, I’ve returned to creative writing. My novel, Brimstone 1, is a sci-fi/action tale of the first Christian rocket. It would’ve been impossible to write without the intervening years—going back to school, learning marketing, becoming a teacher, and most importantly, finding Jesus when I met my wife, Anni, in 2004. It would’ve been impossible without my Hollywood past, when I fell in love with Twilight Zone and James Bond and strove to tell stories that followed suit. And it would’ve been impossible without Mom, now resting in Jesus, who always did her best for me, even when I thought it wasn’t good enough. Forgiveness settles the ashes.
Your ashes are not a wasteland. They mark the Lord’s workshop. You may be in midlife like me, a season when the ashes have accumulated. Praise the heat, the destruction of the destructive, the refinement of the positive. Here is a process to take inventory of God’s glory in you:
Forgive. The Bible has a wealth of lessons on the subject. Our energy is precious in midlife. Don’t waste it on anger or fantasies of revenge. Recognize the gifts entwined with sorrows. You can’t separate them. My anger at my mother for home life and career deficits ignored the blessings of her intellect, creativity, and teaching. That’s unrealistic and unchristian. Everything in my being that gives me purpose and satisfaction comes from her. Thank you, Mom. Thank you, God.
Dream. I hated myself for daring to dream as a young man, only to see the vision vanish. Life without dreams is sackcloth and—yes—ashes. This public penitence never works. I didn’t stabilize by stifling my heart to offset my giddy days. Dust off the old dreams. What form do they take after the refining fire? As I entered middle age, God turned my love of writing into a career in marketing and PR. How can your dreams be applied anew?
Plan. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah show good things happening after prudent thought and hard work. God’s grace and glory drive us to action in his name. How can you convert the first, small part of your refined dream(s) into reality? In 2000, I learned about the marketing industry and going back to college as I plunged into a new life. In 2020, I learned about Christian sci-fi and book publishing before making my next leap. In the 1980s and early 1990s, my goal was to become the next James Cameron—or else! I’ve modified the dream today, not losing its essence, but receiving great joy during the process of planning and executing, a joy absent in my youth.
Technology has given us tremendous access to knowledge, networks, and tools. Need to learn more about the technology needed to learn and grow? Make that first on your planning list. Resources and support abound.
Pray. My actions and aspirations as a young man lacked God. Today, I do everything in His name. Still, I constantly forget to pray. Luckily, my wife, my pastors, and an in-box of daily devotionals remind me. Midlife has brought new confidence and excitement, but I must remember these qualities are gifts. My gratitude and humility are good. Deprivation is not. I deprived myself of God’s love and strength for much of my life. Reconnection and renewal are a short prayer away.
Ashes. The scorched hills of Southern California surround me. The old infernos are exhausted, the charred remains deep, cold, and quiet. This is my framework, my establishing shot in the ancient argot. Step free of your ashes but don’t worry about tidying up. As you shine in God’s radiance, you look good against the backdrop.
Jason William Karpf is an author and professor who lives in Minnesota with his wife, Anni. A history and trivia aficionado, Jason was a four-time Jeopardy champion.
MUSIC WE LOVE
Fires – Jordan St. Cyr
Beauty For Ashes – Crystal Lewis & Ron Kenoly
Grandfather Jason William Karpf remembers his mother, Elinor Karpf, sharing cinematic fare like “Planet of the Apes” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
Jason William Karpf on Feb 25, 2021
I stood in Times Square, gazing at the Empire State Building mere blocks away. The year was 1968. This was the closest I’d ever been to King Kong’s last stand.
Then my mother pulled me from my vantage. At this moment, Times Square’s family-friendly makeover was still years in the future, so the nighttime sidewalk was not the best hangout for a six-year-old.
Besides, another famous primate movie was about to begin.
How I discovered the original Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes, the sci-fi hit of early 1968, filled the screen. Even before a single ape charged into view, I was hooked, intrigued by the auroras streaking cockpit windows of the spacecraft Icarus while its skipper (Charlton Heston) finished his audio log and entered suspended animation. I asked Mom questions—like: What did it mean when the apes wanted to “geld” Heston’s character?—and received whispered answers. I enjoyed the film, right to the surprise ending at the shattered Statue of Liberty, another landmark of the city I was visiting.
As we left the theatre, Mom elaborated on the nuclear war that had destroyed civilization. Radiation had obviously mutated apes into the talking masters of the post-apocalypse.
This may have been heavy subject matter for a youngster. But my mother, hippie-era screenwriter Elinor Karpf, deemed the story suitable for her son.
Why my mother introduced me to fantastic stories
Mom loved speculative fiction, especially sci-fi movies and TV shows, and shared that love with me early and often. This tradition started before we relocated to Los Angeles when I watched King Kong on Chicago TV while keeping open the lavishly illustrated book Prehistoric Animals to cross-check the fauna of Skull Island.
By 1968, the tube also brought weekly installments of Star Trek and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, with flexible bedtimes on those nights. Mom thought Star Trek was brilliant but chided Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea for monsters and plots that lumbered. Still, not long after our arrival in California, she took me to the 20th Century Fox lot to meet stars Richard Basehart and David Hedison. And if that wasn’t enough, I was regularly squired to the local newsstand for latest issues of Marvel comics. Back then, nobody realized this “kid’s stuff” would be the basis of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters in fifty years.
The decades when sci-fi began delving deeper
During this year, sci-fi reached an inflection point between the cheese of the 1950s and enlightenment of the current decade. But not everything from Mom’s adolescence was passé, proven by broadcasts of Forbidden Planet, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and The War of the Worlds. These atomic-age parables warned against man playing God, just as the novel Frankenstein had a century-and-a-half earlier.
But were we outgrowing God now that we could trespass in the heavens? George Pal’s version of The War of the Worlds provided an answer. Pastor Matthew says of the invading Martians, “If they’re more advanced than us, they should be nearer the Creator for that reason.” Then he approaches their war machines in peace, reciting Psalm 23, only to meet a heat ray. By the end the Martians also die, succumbing to bacteria “which God, in his wisdom, had placed on Earth.” The meek had already inherited said planet. We held our inheritance because the Lord was on our side.
So how much speculative fiction could one boy take? Turns out quite a bit more. The next big sci-fi release eclipsed Planet of the Apes, and we were in line to see it. 2001: A Space Odyssey debuted as a masterpiece of the genre and cinema in total. This time I had plenty more whispered questions, but six-year-old children weren’t the only moviegoers trying to figure out the story.
After the ending, Mom told me the aliens who sent the monolith had captured Dave the astronaut for study. That conclusion aligned with later explanations from director Stanley Kubrick and novelist Arthur C. Clarke.
“But why did they turn him into a giant baby?” I asked.
“Rebirth,” Mom said. “They turned him into something new.”
“Dave died,” I said. “Was that him in heaven?”
“What do you think?”
Mom always wanted me to think and play with the stories I watched with her.
That is the interactivity of speculative fiction—the gaps we fill as fans. These stories leave something to the imagination and stretch our vision. We’ll come back for more. Revivals and reruns churned the great sci-fi movies and TV shows during my formative years.
Then a new film finally outdid 2001’s groundbreaking special effects.
As a high school freshman, I returned with Mom to the 20th Century Fox lot for the sneak peek of Star Wars. The showbiz audience shed its professional cool and screamed like teenyboppers.
One parent’s legacy through decades of sci-fi
A quarter-century after the night in Times Square, I took my son, Brian, to the Famous Monsters of Filmland Convention. Later, The Twilight Zone marathons became the daddy-daughter tradition with his sister, Amanda. Now my grandson, Mason, is ready for the journey. I have Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea on Blu-ray with a Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea throw blanket (yes, there is such a thing) to warm us during the binge.
In 2013, Mom went home to Jesus. If she had stayed, she would be leading the latest watch parties. She would cheer her grandson’s critiques, so like her own, and tell her granddaughter about seeing The Twilight Zone first-run while in college. She would encourage her great-grandson to point out the “monkeys,” from the hominids circling the monolith to the big one battling biplanes above Manhattan.
My mother’s love and lessons are framed with speculative fiction and etched in scriptural truths. In my memory, it will always be 1968.
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.
Jason William Karpf grew up with storytelling. The son of a screenwriter, he was a child actor, guest starring on classic TV shows such as The Courtship of Eddie’s Father and Bonanza. A history and trivia aficionado, Jason is a four-time Jeopardy champion. He lives in Minnesota with his wife, Anni. They attend Life Assembly Church in Maple Grove, MN, where Jason plays bass and guitar in the worship team and Anni is part of the Care Ministry. Jason is author of the Christian sci-fi novel Brimstone 1.
FEATURED BOOK: Brimstone 1
AUTHOR: Jason William Karpf
PUBLISHER: Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.
GENRE: Christian sci-fi
SERIES OR STAND ALONE: First of a trilogy
TARGET AGE: late teens to seniors
(readers who love the Lord and are fans of Twilight Zone and James Bond)
IT IS MY PLEASURE TO WELCOME AUTHOR JASON WILLIAM KARPF TO THE OVER 50 WRITER. JASON SHARES A WEALTH OF INFORMATION ABOUT A CRUCIAL ASPECT OF ANY SUCCESSFUL WRITING CAREER – MARKETING.
JASON IS OFFERING A GIVEAWAY! SIMPLY LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO ENTER THE DRAWING FOR AN EBOOK COPY OF BRIMSTONE 1.
Today’s media and marketing empower the Over 50 Writer
by Jason William Karpf
I grew up in the entertainment industry, the font of youth culture (not quite the same thing as the Fountain of Youth). Everyone wanted to hire young writers, cater to young audiences, and look younger while doing it. But I didn’t succeed as a young screenwriter trying to follow my mother’s footsteps. By my mid-thirties, I quietly buried my dreams and moved on.
How could I return to fiction as I approached my sixtieth birthday? I had two compelling reasons. The desire to write science fiction and thrillers glorifying Jesus finally overwhelmed my fear and excuses. And I had new means to tell stories and seek audiences, empowerment that didn’t exist when I was young. My intervening experience in marketing told me so, twenty-five years of applying my love of storytelling in ways that paid bills and imparted lessons.
When I was a young writer in the 1980s and 1990s, the gatekeeper system was in effect—a relative handful of well-funded organizations controlling the production, distribution, and promotion of creative content. This system constituted “barriers to entry” for anyone wanting to write a book, make a movie, or record a song to be enjoyed by perfect—and paying—strangers. Digital technology has lowered the barriers. In the twenty-first century, production, distribution, and promotion are within anyone’s grasp.
But what about making real money? If I’m a novelist, doesn’t that mean a contract with a big publisher? As Over 50 writers, we’re cursed with nostalgia. Reality: being a self-sufficient scribe has always been difficult. In the “good old days,” hefty advances only came to a fortunate few. A daunting percentage of produced works (books, movies, TV shows, etc.) flopped in the gatekeeper era as the big companies had no secret formulas. The phone stopped ringing for writers saddled with blame as success has always been provisional. And these novelists or screenwriters with careers poised on the knife’s edge—like my beloved late mother—were still the “lucky ones.” Today, legacy media are even more cautious in what they greenlight with audiences even more fragmented and fickle. Easy Street is a couple of blocks from the Fountain of Youth.
Why the history lesson and pep talk? Because if you were born in 1971 or earlier (highly likely if you’re reading this blog), you should be writing. But that requires the additional responsibility of marketing your work. Don’t be afraid. Be grateful you can now assume that responsibility. Don’t think you can do it? If you can tell a story (again, highly likely if you’re reading this blog), you can market.
So now I’m going to tell everything you need to know to market your writing? No. Guest bloggers have a set word limit on The Over 50 Writer and besides, you have to put in the work of learning as well as executing marketing. You can learn this on your own. You can do this on your own. Explore these topics as you turn yourself into a marketer:
Target marketing: Who are your readers? Your subject matter and genre are key determinants. Find articles and websites identifying readership for your type of writing. Describe your readers by demographics (age, gender, ethnicity, income, education) and lifestyle. Create reader personas, hypothetical versions of ideal readers crafted from these identifying variables (marketers frequently develop personas during planning).
Promotional mix: The promotion mix represents the traditional methods of marketing outreach: advertising, public relations, sales promotion (contests, discounts, giveaways), direct marketing, personal selling. You don’t have to use all elements. Some may not be appropriate or effective for your target markets. Some may be too expensive. Determine which parts of the promotional mix you will use.
Media selection: Your target markets will prefer certain media. Research the ample data on these preferences. Devote your efforts to these media.
Content strategy: Treating marketing communications as content—informative, valuable, actively sought by customers—is a dominant marketing trend. Websites that attract users with useful content epitomize the strategy. Social media is also all about content strategy. The Over 50 Writer blog is a perfect example. So is my guest post on the blog. I want you to find value in the very content you’re reading, motivating you to buy my novel, Brimstone 1.
Budgeting: Decide carefully where you will spend money on marketing. Domains and hosting are obligatory expenses for web presence. Options grow from there. Will you need a designer for website or graphics? Will you need an email service like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp for direct marketing? Advertising costs money—be VERY careful here.
Scheduling: Time is money, so track the time you spend on marketing. Set deadlines for marketing actions. Establish a calendar for regular social media activity. Consistency is key.
Evaluation: Track results. Reinforce marketing actions that prove effective (e.g., an email message with higher percentage of response). Revise or eliminate ineffective marketing.
Relationship Building: Marketing is about relationship, a willing exchange of value. It is not about shouting “Buy, buy, buy!” Connect with your readers. Nurture the relationship.
You’ll notice I haven’t provided how-tos, such as how to use Instagram or how to operate a WordPress blog. Instruction is widely available—books, videos, courses, networking groups. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t be impatient. If you’ve waited fifty-plus years to find your true voice as a writer, you can take time to learn digital communication basics. But don’t be overcautious. Don’t wait until you “get it perfect” before you go live. You can always revise and improve your marketing.
This is a great time to be a writer. Seize the production, distribution, and promotion of your work. If you happen to be over fifty, rejoice in the wisdom you bring to this new era of storytelling. Celebrate barriers lowered.
Joshua 6:20 NLT
When the people heard the sound of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it.
Blurb for Brimstone 1
Christianity’s greatest revelation in twenty centuries is coming from the heavens—in the belly of a spaceship marked for destruction!
Billionaire Baxter Moore and his family have broadcast scripture into space for eighty years. Now, a UFO heads to Earth in response. Brimstone 1—the first Christian rocket—will intercept, piloted by NASA veteran Jana McAlister. A young engineer, Elijah Lindstrom, unravels the secrets and falls in love with the beautiful astronaut. As the countdown approaches, an anti-Christian militia plots the annihilation of Brimstone 1 to end the extraterrestrial evangelism.
An apocalypse looms as timeless scripture, futuristic technology, and worldly conspiracy collide. Will Elijah become “the new prophet” as Jana proclaims? Will humanity find rebirth or chaos in the revelation aboard Brimstone 1?
Patti’s review of Brimstone 1:
This sci-fi page turner explores the possibility and responsibility of Christians to spread the gospel beyond our own planet Earth to outer space. This has been the objective of three generations of Moores, all three named Baxter, backed by their multi-billion-dollar media enterprise, for close to a century.
Engineer Elijah Lindstrom and world-famous astronaut Jana McAllister are key players in the mission to launch Brimstone 1, a rocket meant to retrieve a message from outer space. Opposition from the anti-Christian Humanist League leads to a showdown of good versus evil.
Author Jason Karpf has crafted a story that promotes the theme of sacrifice and faithfulness of Christians to stand up for the sovereignty of Jesus Christ as Lord as they strive to spread the gospel.
I would recommend this book to sci-fi fans who enjoy futuristic stories that deliver suspense supportive of Christian values and enhanced by technical jargon.
Amazon Buy link http://ow.ly/oCMx30ry9Ga
DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE PLACED IN THE DRAWING TO WIN AN EBOOK COPY OF BRIMSTONE 1 BETWEEN NOW AND SATURDAY), MARCH 6TH AT MIDNIGHT MST.
BY LEAVING A COMMENT, YOU GRANT PERMISSION FOR YOUR EMAIL TO BE REVEALED TO THE AUTHOR IF YOU ARE THE WINNER TO FACILITATE RECEIPT OF YOUR BOOK.
Jason William Karpf grew up with storytelling. The son of a screenwriter, he was a child actor in the early 1970s, appearing on classic TV shows The Bold Ones, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, and Bonanza. Screenwriting became his calling from his teens to early thirties. In 1994, he wrote the book Anatomy of a Massacre, the true story of the era’s worst mass shooting.
Today, Jason is an author, speaker, college instructor, and marketing/fundraising professional. His blogging and nonfiction writing brings a Christian perspective to marketing and communication. He is author of the Christian sci-fi novel Brimstone 1, released in 2021 by Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.
Jason and Ann, his wife, live in Minnesota and have three grown children. When he’s not writing, speaking, or teaching, he’s making music, playing bass and guitar on his church’s worship team. A history and trivia aficionado, Jason was a four-time champion on the TV game show Jeopardy.
Learn about Jason and his novel Brimstone 1 at www.brimstone1.com.
Brimstone 1 by Jason William Karpf
Mankind has been trying to find evidence of life elsewhere in the universe for decades. In Karpf’s novel set a few years in the future, a Christian does exactly that. Starting some eighty years ago, Baxter Moore, founder of a Christian media empire, began sending Scripture recordings into the sky. Years go by and finally a reply. Some intelligence exists and is sending something to earth. Son and grandson of Moore make plans over the ensuing years, crafting a spaceship to capture whatever is coming.
This is a very interesting novel aimed at teen through college age readers. There is a good emphasis on science, such as a robotics contest. There are advanced drones and an exciting piloting of a jet caught in deadly turbulence. I appreciate that the Christians have no fear of science or of what might be found when sending the gospel out into space.
There is lots of action in the novel as a group of anti-Christians are trying to stop the work of the Moore media empire and specifically the success of the spaceship. The ruthless leader will stop at nothing, including mass murder.
This is a good novel for Christians who appreciate science fiction. Karpf’s writing style is good, the characters are engaging, and the story maintains a good pace. We’re left hanging a bit at the end of this novel so it will be interesting to see if more is revealed in a sequel.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Jason William Karpf grew up with storytelling. The son of a screenwriter, he was a child actor in the early 1970s, appearing on classic TV shows The Bold Ones, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, and Bonanza. Screenwriting became his calling from his teens to early thirties. In 1994, he wrote Anatomy of a Massacre, the true story of the era’s worst mass shooting.
Today, Karpf is an author, speaker, college instructor, and marketing/fundraising professional. His blogging and nonfiction writing brings a Christian perspective to marketing and communication. His science fiction and thriller novels put Jesus first.
Karpf and his wife live in Minnesota and have three grown children. When he is not writing, speaking or teaching, he is making music, playing in the worship team of his church. A history and trivia aficionado, he was four-time champion on the TV game show Jeopardy.
Elk Lake Publishing, 225 pages.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the author. My comments are an independent and honest review.
February 2016 at the Hollywood Bowl, my son, Brian, and I watched J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot as the L.A. Philharmonic played the score live. The music swelled in perfect synchronization when Capt. Kirk led Enterprise against the giant Romulan ship Narada. Phasers fired, the artificial black hole opened, and new versions of the classic Star Trek heroes were victorious.
As the audience of thousands cheered, I asked myself: Why can’t we have stories like this glorifying Jesus? I mulled the hardware, the action, the romance, the beckoning beyond—tenets of science fiction and its variants like space opera—with the Savior at the center. I wanted to make thousands cheer this kind of tale.
Research Came First
I did my research. I knew speculative fiction—the overarching term for sci-fi and fantasy—existed within Christian writing. I read encouraging examples, primarily by a noted genre author whom I met before moving from California to Minnesota. But that move, and the new life I had to create with my Anni in her beloved home state, took precedent. There are always reasons not to write, even worthy ones.
Once settled in Minnesota with my job situation stabilized, excuses dwindled. I started writing Christian instructional books, outgrowths of my adjunct teaching at Christian universities. I considered fiction but worried about being sufficiently commercial. Was my first love, science fiction, too much of a stretch in the Christian marketplace? I had written without success in the past—screenplays in my twenties never produced, a true-crime book in my thirties that crawled to a second printing and stopped selling.
What Would Christians Do With A Rocket?
Then the spark—what would Christians do with a rocket? Private spaceflight is a growing industry, thanks in large part to billionaires Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson.
A Christian tycoon could build his own spacecraft. He would need a reason and an enemy with equal reason to stop him. I didn’t want a Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne-style hero. The protagonist would have to be someone other than the billionaire, an underdog serving as the reader’s senses and conscience as he stumbles onto the secret project. Of course, the rocket had to be secret.
Every time the ideas flowed, I pushed back. Should I be writing Christian sci-fi? Brian flew to Minnesota to surprise me for my fifty-seventh birthday in 2019. He’d married his high school sweetheart just before we left California and would tell me later that year I was going to be a grandfather. I shared my thoughts about writing. The talk was less about writing and more about marketing, the subject I taught. I insisted on heavy research into trends and readership before putting any time into a book.
I Get the Best Writing Advice
Brian cut me off. “Shut up and write,” he said. If sci-fi was my passion, write the story of the Christian rocket. He had the genre adoration and blunt wisdom of his screenwriter grandmother, my original writing teacher. I heard my late mom Ellie’s voice in his. Still, I had to be sure. I asked pastors “Shut up and write.” I asked Anni.
“I love you. Shut up and write.”
Brimstone 1 took shape after that. I wrote a short story first as a hedge. Again, Brian channeled Grandma when he told me to go back and write a novel. I sought teachings and encouragement on writing Christian speculative fiction. I was delighted to discover like-minded communities online, illustrating the vibrance and variety of Christian writing. I published another Christian instructional book on Kindle after finishing the short-story version of Brimstone 1. Finally, I jumped into the novel.
By mid-2020, the first draft was done. Before submitting to publishers, I looked for an editor. A colleague who’d published a novel counseled me to make this investment. I found a trove of Christian editors online, much like discovering rich communities of Christian speculative fiction writers and fans. Amid correspondence about process and rates, I received a book contract from one of the contacts who had read my manuscript.
Self-Doubt About Releasing My Book
I had a lengthy phone conversation with my publisher. Brimstone 1 was “hard sci-fi” with spacecraft, drones, armored vehicles, and lots of action. My publisher enjoyed the same type of sci-fi that I did.0
I pointed out the sexual situations and the older woman/younger man romance between the protagonists, all depictions PG-13. The publisher said her mission to tell powerful, honest stories to Christian audiences. She was fine with the subject matter.
Soon, I realized I was filled with self-doubt when it came to signing the contract. Should I allow this book to be published? Would it glorify Christ as I intended? “Shut up and write” became “shut up and sign.”
A Targeted Audience
With the new year, Brimstone 1 is being released along with a free study guide. I’m marketing the book to homeschool families, English instructors, and church small groups as a unique means to study Christian truths.
I’m a student too, learning about publishing, writing, and my walk with the Lord. I don’t know how this story ends. But thank God, it has begun.
Jason William Karpf is an author and professor who lives in Minnesota with his wife, Anni. A history and trivia aficionado, Jason was a four-time Jeopardy champion.
Brimstone 1 is available in e-book and paperback at Amazon and your local bookstore.