Featured in Edition 1 of Mavguard Magazine

Staff Pick - M.J. Neal "Interlace"

Featured - Brian Guthrie "The Man Who Cured"

Featured - Fred Boehm "It Fell Like Snow"

M.J. Neal, "Interlace"

M.J. Neal is a Tolkien inspired writer, poet, and Christ Follower, humorously reported to be found in Rohan.

For many years M. J. has been spinning yarns, reading voraciously, and scribbling stories on notebook paper, often supplementing writer’s block with large quantities of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Continuing to practice writing on the side, she was a horse professional for several years while simultaneously pursuing a degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico and crafting the first few drafts of her debut novel, Dreamer.

Dreamer is an unpublished fantasy novel and is the first in the Awakening series. It follows the fate of a shepherd boy afflicted by nightmares that threaten to throw light on the truth behind a dark and perilous mystery, one that has been sleeping for five full centuries and contains a secret that even the wisest dared not hope for.

Three of her non-fiction works may be found in the anthologies Transformed, Echoes of Mercy, and Fresh Wind published by CLASS Seminars.

She is the creator of Elanor and Evermind, a devotional blog for storytellers, which includes poetry, prose, devotional fiction, and heartfelt attempts at humor.

M.J. is currently hard at work as a writer, wife, and mother. She hopes to soon publish Dreamer, and is also creating multiple other works of fiction. She enjoys deep conversations with her bay horse, affectionately known as Captain Airhead, and she often stumbles upon some of her most unique story ideas while dreaming. Pastimes include: horses, hot tea, and dancing. She lives in the Sandia Mountains with her husband and son. Soli Deo Gloria!

How much do you write every day?

The amount of time per day that I spend writing has tended to vary wildly over the years due to works schedules, school, and now life with a little one at home. However, my strategy for beating resistance is a daily “twenty mile march.” It means developing the habit of marching twenty miles every day in rain or shine instead of going maybe fifty miles when the weather is fair and simply staying home when it’s not.

Recently, I committed to write a minimum of one to two pages a day (roughly an hour of writing). If I was able to do more, that was great, but at the least I had to complete that baseline amount. With smaller projects, I could commit to write and edit one poem or blog post a week. The ability to recognize limitations and set reasonable goals is half the battle, and the rest is left up to plain old fashioned discipline. To me, the amount of time I spend is less important than meeting my goal and asking myself, “What’s my twenty mile march,” and doggedly pushing off from there.

What inspired you to write "Interlace?"

As a writer, I often feel as though I have entire universes trapped within my one mind, and therefore it feels constantly filled to the brim with all manner of thoughts, whether profound or silly, that often overwhelm me. Writing is one means by which I can sort through the chaos and communicate what I feel, but sometimes it is not enough. I desire peace, which I know is found in the presence of my Heavenly Father, but I tend to clutch madly at needless anxiety, pain, and fear in a vain attempt at being in control, and this is the struggle of the Enemy.

Very basically, “Interlace” is a metaphor for life in which we grow toward the Sun, but struggle with the effects that the wind and weather of the world have on our growth. We worry about being good enough, we fear the coming storms, and we allow anxiety over the future to consume our hearts and minds. Yet there is no darkness that can remain untouched by the light, and even the storms of life have the ability to grow our tree stronger if only we will root ourselves in Love and Truth rather than believe lies.

Want to know more? Follow M.J. at Elanor and Evermind

Brian Guthrie, "The Man Who Cured"

Based out of Germany with his wife, daughter, and two cats, Brian Guthrie is a serial author of science fiction and fantasy. He is currently writing and publishing his Future Worlds series on JukePop Serials and will begin publishing that series digitally in 2015. He also plans on writing another science fiction novel, a bit of historical fiction, and many short stories set in the Future Worlds universe. He holds a Bachelor’s in History and a Masters in History with honors, as well as degrees in Arabic and Intelligence Technology. He enjoys cosplay, volunteering, video games, all things geek, and can be found at many fan conventions across Europe and the US.

Want to know more? Find Brian online at JukePop Serials

Fred Boehm, "It Fell Like Snow"

Twenty-three year old Albuquerque native, and Sandia High School Graduate, Frederic Boehm published his first poem at age eleven. In high school he continued in the fine arts by studying drama and performing in competitive choir. Frederic combines his affinity for music and singing with his compassion for humanity often in his written work resulting in rhythmic, lyrical poetry that he hopes will both entertain and encourage the reader. Love God, love people is a primary goal for Fred. When he isn’t penning poems, Fred can be found gaming with his younger brother, relaxing with his two rescue kittens, or worshipping at his local church. He also makes a serious bowl of guacamole.