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A Christian Writer Who Does not Write “Christian Fiction” by Michael Potts | Obedience Book Tour and $25 Amazon GC #Giveaway | #Horror

Obedience by Michael Potts is on virtual book tour.  The horror stops at Readeropolis with an author guest post and an e...

Obedience by Michael Potts is on virtual book tour. 

The horror stops at Readeropolis with an author guest post and an excerpt. 

Be sure to enter for a chance to win the giveaway for $25 Amazon GC and follow the Silver Dagger book tour (for other dates see the link at the bottom of the post).

[Are you participating in the Sweet Southern Reading Challenge hosted here at Readeropolis? Obedience is set in Tennessee so it counts toward the challenge. 👍]

A Christian Writer Who Does not Write “Christian Fiction”

Writing should never be preachy. The story, both plot and characterization, are key—the principle, “Show, don’t tell,” is one every writer should follow. The reason so much Evangelical Christian fiction is not well-written is that much of it is preachy and didactic, precisely the opposite of good writing. No reader wants to be lectured! There are exceptions—Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, and Billy Coffey, for example, are fine writers who tell good stories without the preachiness—and I wish other Evangelical Christian writers would do the same.

There are also writers who were devout Christians who did not write what is today labeled “Christian fiction.” J. R. R. Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic, and his religion shines through in his great work, The Lord of the Rings, but indirectly and not in a preachy way. The world of his novel is pre-Christian, but there are echoes of Christian thought in it—Frodo as the suffering hero, Sam, faithful to his Master, Aragorn, the king, as healer, Galadriel, who is similar in some respects to Mary the mother of Jesus. Dean Koontz can be preachy at times, but his plots are often so suspenseful that one does not notice the traditional Catholic world-view that clearly comes through. William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist, is explicitly Catholic horror—however, if one reads the novel, one finds that it is not didactic at all.  I doubt, however, that the average Evangelical Protestant would recognize it as “Christian fiction.”

My works reflect a Christian world view, but they are not “Christian fiction.” I am a devout, traditional Christian, a member of a theologically conservative church, the Anglican Catholic Church. My novels, however, are too edgy, have too many “cuss” words, have explicit sexual scenes—all of which would turn off some Evangelicals, perhaps most. Yet if I write a character honestly, the character’s speech will reflect who that character is. If I am writing about a smart-mouthed teen originally from Brooklyn (like the character “Susie” in my horror novel, Obedience), she is going to use foul language. When my character, Jeffrey Conley (in another horror novel I wrote, Unpardonable Sin), is angry with God, he curses God with about every curse word there is, including calling God a “mo… f…er.” That goes way too far for most Evangelical Christians to accept. I refuse to be dishonest to my characters in the name of some Puritan standard.

I also try to avoid preachiness and tell a good story. If you read my novels to the end, you will find that they clearly reflect a Christian world view, but my hope is that you find it revealed through the story, rather than through some preachy character’s direct speech. To be didactic is to betray the art of writing, and that I cannot in good conscience do.

A member of a non-Christian religion or an agnostic or atheist can read my books and enjoy them. If they see the Christian world view shining through, great; if not, that’s fine—but I hope all people of all persuasions will conclude they have read good and gripping stories.

by Michael Potts
Genre: Horror

It is a lazy summer day in the Appalachian foothills of Tennessee; much like the day before, and the day before that. Everything seems normal - at least on the surface; like an idyllic, pastoral painting; the sky dyed with pastels of blue and white, the ground carpeted with dark green fescue and bluegrass, a clapboard farmhouse resting on top of a hill, sugar maples, oaks and Eastern red cedars providing welcome shade from the heat of a Tennessee summer sun. You can almost see moving images of little children running barefoot through the grass; an era before tweeting and texting and the triumph of technology over all.

Alas, appearances lie.

Behind the clapboard farmhouse sits a red barn, all bright and new looking; fresh enough to lull a casual observer into believing it the benign keeper of hey for cattle and shelter for goats. A closer look reveals the color to be not barn red, but blood red.

Locals tend to close their eyes when passing by that barn. Something is just not right about it. Some say it is unnatural. Some say it's obscene and evil. But they don't say such things out loud, for the owner of the barn is Sheldon Sprigg, a well-respected man of the cloth, the preacher at Hare’s Corner Church of God Incarnate. Sheldon is the most upright man in these parts. He keeps the law religiously, and makes sure his wife and teenaged daughter do too. After all, to obey is better than sacrifice.

Still, there's just something that not right about that barn.

Michael Potts grew up near Smyrna, Tennessee and is currently Professor of Philosophy at Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. His undergraduate degree (in Biblical languages) is from David Lipscomb University. He also holds the Master of Theology from Harding University Graduate School of Religion, the Master of Arts (in Religion) from Vanderbilt University, and the Ph.D. in philosophy from The University of Georgia. Michael has twenty articles in scholarly journals, nine book chapters, six encyclopedia articles, six book reviews, and he co-edited the book, "Beyond Brain Death: The Case Against Brain Based Criteria for Human Death," which was published in 2000 by Kluwer Academic Publishers. He also has over fifty scholarly presentations, including one presented at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at The Vatican in 2005. Michael is a 2007 graduate of The Writers Loft at Middle Tennessee State University and a 2007 graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. His poetry has been published in Journal of the American Medical Association, Iodine Poetry Journal, Poems & Plays, and other literary journals. His poetry chapbook, "From Field to Thicket," won the 2006 Mary Belle Campbell Poetry Book Award of the North Carolina Writers Network. His creative nonfiction essay, "Haunted," won the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Award, also sponsored by the North Carolina Writers Network. Besides reading and writing, he enjoys vegetable gardening, canning, and ghost investigations. He and his wife, Karen, live with their three cats, Frodo, Rosie, and Pippin, in Linden, North Carolina.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Inside the barn, Satan, back in his true form, rubs his snake-like scales. “Don’t rush things, Sheldon,” he hisses. “All in good time.” His voice changes to Frank Sinatra’s and he sings, “I’ll do it my way.” Satan laughs. “My theme song.”

Satan loves the portal in Sheldon’s barn. Thousands of years ago, he passed through the portal and entered the world of the Shawnee tribe of Native Americans. But they only hunted in this area, and they avoided the portal as if it were a charging herd of mad bison. Satan figured the portal was a waste of time-- until the Scotch-Irish arrived. Their descendants accepted a harsh, legalistic Christianity that Satan liked.

Once I twist their religion to my liking, Satan thinks, I can snag any soul I want. The Spriggs have been good feastings over the years.

Sure, I have to put some effort and creativity into it. Sheldon was easy to snag, but not so easy that he became boring like Hollywood actors. Make them lust, their faith goes bust. There are others who make actors seem hard to tempt by comparison: lawyers, journalists, politicians, artists, college professors, and the easiest of all, college administrators. But the Sprigg family, they’re refreshing. They require me to use my imagination, and when I finally ensnare a Sprigg, he tastes so good, like a pig roasted on a spit. Time for a good Sprigg pickin’.

Satan laughs. Sheldon’s legalism is his downfall, he thinks. God, I’m brilliant—you were such a fool to kick me out of Heaven. Now I’ve created my most brilliant idea yet; to shape-shift into some silly nineteenth century artist’s view of Jesus and convince Sheldon that I am Jesus. It was almost too easy, though I softened him up for six months before I finally appeared to Sheldon. The stupid fool forgot that Jesus was a Jew and not the western European in those – ha ha ha - “God- awful” paintings. Sheldon and I will have so much fun in hell. There I won’t look like his European Jesus.

Satan follows the curve of his lip as he traces the perpetually sarcastic smile plastered on it. First things first. I’ve set ole’ Sheldon on the path to killing Ginny. She’ll hate him when she dies, so I’ll snatch her soul, too. Sheldon needs a little more persuasion before he gathers the will to kill Ginny, but this man’s soul is in the bag.:”

I guarantee it,” Satan says, his voice one of some sleazy salesman on a bad TV ad, “or your money back.”


  1. Thanks for the guest post. Best of luck with the book and book tour! I included the tour in the Saturday, Feb. 02, 2019 edition of The BookTube Your Shelf Daily Reader:

  2. Thanks so much. I hope that people read the post and check out the material on the book.

  3. That's a interesting looking skull head there took me a second on that one.

  4. I like the cover. Great cover.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

  5. The cover leaves me curious - can be bad as there is a key (to what....what is hiding in the area of the lock); it how you will be if you are not Obedient? Is it a training manual (lol). Will have to read to find out more! Good color and graphics.

  6. I am not a Christian, but I like fiction as much as the rest of us. The book looks intriguing!

  7. I usually shy away from Christian lit but I'm always game for a good story.

  8. Thanks for the post. Awesome cover! Want to read more

  9. This book looks super creepy. I'm not a fan
    Addictedtorodeo at gmail dot com
    Ashley c

  10. The cover has a really cool, dark, vibe. I dig it!

  11. I like the skull and also the colors of the book cover

  12. An exciting book with a great cover - a must read!
    thank you

  13. I really like this cover. The color, layout, fonts and artwork are very striking. It looks very spooky.

  14. I have no questions for the author.

  15. the cover makes it look very scary.

  16. The cover is creepy, but the excerpt is good.