Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Steadfast - Guest Blogger Roger Bruner

Happy Wednesday! And welcome Roger Bruner. Thanks for being my guest. I love your story and, readers, so will you.

Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to pursue his dream of writing Christian fiction full-time. He sings in the church choir, plays bass guitar on the praise team, and participates in the weekly nursing home ministry. He enjoys reading, writing songs and playing his guitar, web design, mission trips, photography, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Kathleen. 

Roger’s new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, released this past November. His two Young Adult novels, Found in Translation and Lost in Dreams, came out in 2011. He’s also published a small book of his shorter, older works, Yesterday’s Blossoms. Eight completed novel manuscripts are waiting to be discovered by some discriminating acquisitions editor.

Roger's story - A God thing.

For many years I wanted to write a novel someday, but thought it probably wouldn’t happen until I retired, and that was years in the future. But then my unexpected downsizing from a company I’d worked at for nearly nineteen years left me filling in the time to retirement at the register of a nearby Target store.

But the part-time hours gave me the time I needed for writing, and God provided a novel-worthy story idea. Writing the novel was fun. I was hooked.

I knew that finding a traditional publisher might take years, though. As an award-winning English major, I felt competent to self-publish. I doubt seriously that I consulted with God before proceeding.

That novel may have had very few grammatical errors, typos, and misspelled words, but what a mistake I’d made self-publishing it. I was too interested in writing the next novel to work hard enough at marketing the first one, and it wasn’t until I started consuming writing books by the dozen and attending Christian writing conferences that I realized how horrible the first book was. Novels had changed quite a bit since I graduated from college in 1968.

Not wanting future readers to judge my writing by that book, I withdrew it from availability and pretended it had never existed.

I kept reading writing books, attending conferences, and writing. Although my writing was improving, I wasn’t making much progress using my appointment times at conferences to land an agent or an publisher.

I talked to a Harvest House acquisitions editor who invited me to submit some sample chapters of whatever I was pitching at that conference. But Kimberly Shumate, a different editor who’s no longer at Harvest House, wrote back and told me they didn’t publish that kind of Christian novel.

However, God used her to encourage me over the next few years by graciously reading a sample of this and a sample of that. Even though she couldn’t use those manuscripts, either, she kept telling me how good my writing was and assuring me that my day would come.

At one writing conference, I was pitching a Young Adult novel called Found in the Translation, based very loosely on my daughter’s mission trip to Mexico when she was eighteen. When I asked popular writing instructor James Scott Bell to look at the first page or two, he told me I hadn’t even started with a scene. Bummer!

God urged me to take Jim Bell’s comments seriously, and I ended up cutting the first fifty pages—oh, did that hurt!—and writing a new beginning. But the result was much stronger.

Not long after that, I asked Kimberly if she would look at Found in the Translation.

“Sure, send me fifteen pages.” That was on a Monday. “ On Wednesday she asked for the whole manuscript, and I gladly emailed it to her. On Friday, I received a message that said, “Roger, read this message from the bottom up.”

I did. It consisted of a number of back-and-forth messages between her and several other people and the news that Mr. Terry Burns of Hartline Literary had read Found in the Translation, agreed with Kimberly that it needed to be published, and became my agent without my having to go through the usual submission procedure.

I couldn’t believe it! God had used an editor who couldn’t publish my manuscripts to find an agent for me when I had failed so frequently to find one myself. Definitely a God-thing.

Although it took Terry a year to place Found in Translation with Barbour Publishing—they kept my original title, but dropped the “the”—I never lost sight of the fact that not only was my writing “for God,” but everything about it was in His hands.

What a beautiful example of a teachable spirit. You worked, you listened, and then you worked some more. Way to go!

Roger's Newest Book

B.L.ZeBubb became the laughingstock of Heaven when he failed to win Pastor Gus Gospello's soul years earlier. He's determined to succeed this time.

Gus is obsessed with leaving a legacy—a satire making fun of B.L.ZeBubb's foolish pride. He feigns friendship with the Devil to learn back story for his novel.

When B.L.ZeBubb discovers that he's being used, he starts wrecking Gus's life in every imaginable way and ultimately tricks him into willingly signing a contract for his soul.

Gus has some tricks up his sleeve, though. But the Devil is still the Devil, and Gus has no guarantee of success. Who knows where he'll go when he dies?

For a chance to win a FREE copy of The Devil and Pastor Gus just leave a comment along with your email address.

You can find Roger at these sites on the internet:


Grace and peace to you from God,



  1. Bonnie, thanks for having me at your blog today. I enjoyed getting to share a little of myself with your readers.

  2. Thanks for being my guest, Roger. You've had an interesting life.

    Blessings to you.

  3. Anonymous3:15 PM

    What a hoot--Roger sounds like a clever, creative man not just in his books but in his life. I'd love to win his book. I love you, too!

  4. Patti, you obviously have great taste. I feel quite humbled at being described so beautifully. I hope you win. Uh, except I guess I'm supposed to hope everyone does. *big grin*