What book should you read next? What words should you write next? Whether you're a reader, a writer, or both, you need look no further for ideas and pointers to help you make up your mind. You might even get your next book for free!

Sometimes I even give away my own novels. My Inspirational romances and devotionals are pictured below and are detailed on my Books page. You can always count on a trace of humor in my novels and nonfiction. Whether you're a teen or a woman mature in years, I think these stories will ring true.

Read on, and discover some of today's most appealing Inspirational novelists, their latest books, and their words of wisdom and imagination. Enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Thomas Allbaugh and Free Books!

A man returns from a trip to Seattle convinced that his super power is subtlty. An English teacher finds he no longer has the language to communicate his love for his wife. Subtle Man and other characters in these stories sometimes are following—or are haunted by—a hunch they have of what their best life can be.

Before we meet today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the free copy of Lillian Duncan's suspense novel, Jane Doe, is:


Congratulations! We'll get your book right out to you. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right (above my list of books) in order to learn about new releases! U.S. subscribers are entered in the drawings a second time when they comment.

And now let's chat with Thomas Allbaugh, author of the short-story collection, Subtle Man Loses His Day Job and Other Stories (Resources—Wipf & Stock, September 2020).

Thomas Allbaugh is the author of Apocalypse TV, a novel, and The View from January, a chapbook of poetry available from Kelsay Publishers. His stories, essays, and poems have appeared in a number of publications, including Broken Sky 67 and Relief

He is a professor of English at Azusa Pacific University, where he directs the writing program and teaches composition and creative writing.

How would you classify the genre of your stories?

My stories are somewhat literary and slightly satirical. They are character-driven. A plot or set of circumstances arises out of character issues.

Please tell us one random thing we might not know about you.

I have played the guitar since 1970 and during the 1970s I often played in college coffee houses. During the 1978 spring semester, I played and sang during lunch hours, and after one session, a businessman approached me about becoming my manager. I declined because I was still finishing school. I have sometimes regretted that decision.

Aw, the pull of fame and the struggle with uncertainty! At least you made a decision. Many artistic people struggle with choosing a path altogether, and never get beyond that crossroad. I hope the occasional regret is easy enough to let go.

Since I usually feature novels, please focus on one of your stories and tell us a bit more about the plot. 

There are two interconnected story lines in this collection. One concerns a young man who believes his super power is subtlety. With such a quiet, unassuming super power, he must emerge in the title story somehow as he wishes to be seen. 

And then in the final story in the collection, we see his struggle through his girlfriend's eyes as he tries to figure out how to partner with a stronger superhero type--and his girlfriend has only so much time to convince him that she is his perfect partner. The collection ends with their growing romance. 

What is it about the Subtle Man character that will make your readers care about him?

Winky, or Subtle Man, is a strange character who feels great empathy for others, and he expresses it in ways that not everyone sees or understands. Monica, his girlfriend, does.

He sounds intriguing.

Share with us a quote you like from a book by a different author. What do you like about the quote?

My favorite quote is this:

“He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass.”

This is from the last part of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Nick Carraway is here shown trying to imagine what must have been Gatsby’s late thoughts after realizing that Daisy would not call—just before he is shot. This passage tries to understand Gatsby’s last moments after his great dream guiding his life has ended and he is there seeing things as though for the first time. How strange everything is—the ordinary, or the rose, formerly seen as lovely but now as “grotesque.” This is an amazing passage to me.

I agree. His arrival at the reality of losing Daisy--both physically and theoretically, as he dreamed her to be--had to be horribly sad and devastating. Those words, frightening, grotesque, and raw, do not describe an ideal reality at all.

What is the last novel you read that you would recommend?

I would highly recommend An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones. This novel presents very positive, complexly drawn African American characters facing a situation that so many people of color face today. We need to read these stories to better understand and find empathy.

I found that book moving. The characters are absolutely believable, and Jones really knows how to tell a story. I would caution my readers that it's definitely not a book for the Christian-fiction-only reader. But I agree that the characters are complex. They're human in their failings and in their ability to forgive.   

What are you working on now?

I am working on two projects now. My youngest son took his life in October, 2017, and I am finishing a grief memoir about him. I am trying to go where most Christians won’t go and ask questions about how this hurt and changed my family and me. 

Second, I’m working on a second novel called Radio Eden, which is about a pastor’s search for men in his church who went in search of Eden in response to his preaching, and were taken hostage by a terrorist group south and west of Israel.

I'm so sorry about your son, Thomas. Absolutely heartbreaking. Thank you for being willing to share information that might help others. I hope there's some catharsis in that. 

The premise of your new novel is fascinating. Blessings with it.

Where else can readers find you online?

I’m available on twitter at @tallbaugh1, and my newsletter sign up can be found at my website, at thomasallbaugh.com.

The book can be purchased online via the following button:

Readers, you can access a sample of the book HERE. Click on Look Inside.

Finally, Thomas, what question would you like to ask my readers?

How do you handle doubt? What you go through suffering, what helps you the most?

Thank you, Thomas, for visiting and telling us about yourself and your book. Readers, Thomas has offered to give away a free copy of his book. To enter, leave a comment and your email below in answer to his question, above. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. Remember that U.S. subscribers are entered an additional time in each drawing. The drawing is done by email, so leave your email address, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Only United States residents are eligible for the drawing, but anyone can subscribe to the blog posts via the GDPA-compliant Feedblitz box above my list of books, at right.

Also readers, I'd love it if you'd connect with me on Facebook. Just click on my name at the right of today's post title.

Annoying legal disclaimer: as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases; drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer, GDPA notice, and my Disclosure of Material Connection HERE

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