I was sent a review copy which I just started reading and I am really impressed by how much the writer has grown since the first book,Tears of Paradox, which Ireviewed last year. My main complaint about the first book was that we were too much in the characters’ heads and as a result the pacing was erratic and at times confusing.
Cadain’s Watch does not have that problem – the characters are continually in action and the narrative flows briskly. This is great because it allows the writer’s talent for creating characters that feel intensely really come through.
Thanks to all my friends and readers for your support! I hope you enjoy the book.
For folks who don’t have kindles, there will be a paperback edition. Coming soon, so stay tuned!
Michelle and Jason escaped the wreckage of their beloved hometown and are determined to live free. Though they are hunted by the totalitarian bureaucracy, they vow to resist oppression no matter the cost.
But insidious evil still threatens. Once proud Americans are hopeless and unwilling to fight, making it that much harder for the rebels in their quest for Liberty.
And so, God intervenes, and the angel-warrior Cadáin is sent to watch over those whose spirits are unbroken.
Heres a one minute promo for Tears of Paradox (Storms Of Transformation Series Book 1).
You can find this book on your right, or just clickhere.
I have gone back to my regular routine of running in White Clay Creek Preserve, near my home in Landenberg, PA.
Actually, walking and running. My sister wants to get in shape for summer, and due to arthritis and other painful issues, she can’t run. So we began walking together once or twice a week, carrying hand weights.
Below are some of the sights from the past week.
Today I walked with sis. We drove past this vineyard on our way to the parking lot.
Following are photos from today’s walk.
We walked along a section of the Penn Del trail and passed by the ruins (not pictured) of what once was the longest covered bridge in Landenberg. The bridge burned down in 1960 and was never rebuilt. The fire is generally thought to have been arson.
According to an author friend who is doing research for a new book on the history of Landenberg, the bridge in question was built in 1874, and was 75 feet long and 14 feet wide.
My online friend–he runs the Landenberg community Facebook Page–told the group that Landenberg once contained more covered bridges (a total of 10) than any other town in America.
Chester County, where my family has lived since the early part of the 20th century, was the county with the most covered bridges, and the state of Pennsylvania held more covered bridges than any other state in the Union.
As I have mentioned before, I get much of my inspiration for writing while running the trails next to the White Clay.
Following is a scene from my book, The Notice, which makes mention of the bridge in question, along with the small church and graveyard just down the road. The church, London Tract Meeting House, was built around 1730. (I can’t remember the exact date off the top of my head.)
London Tract Church is nicknamed Ticking Tomb Church, because one of the graves is said to emit a ticking sound. There’s a legend regarding this grave, but I can’t remember the details. It’s on google if you want to find out more.
The sophomore asked if I wanted to see the area where she’d grown up.
So we went for a drive. She directed me out Route 24 a little way, and then down various back roads, still in the late afternoon sun. We crossed into two other states and back before traveling down other creepy, overhung, winding roads and ending up back in the sticks somewhere.
We drove by her parents’ house. I thought it looked like a mansion, high on top of a hill. I asked if she wanted to see them, and she just laughed. She said no, they didn’t need to know she was here, not right now. I got the impression they didn’t get along but I didn’t ask anything else. We rode around for a while, up and down hills on snaky little twisty back roads bordered by a creek, with old, rusting guardrails alongside. We passed road kill in various stages of decay, being fought over by vultures. More vultures circled lazily, high above an open field.
We drove around for at least forty-five minutes, through woods and fields full of deer, cornfields and a few little churches, (none of them Catholic). We passed fieldstone houses and barns that looked hundreds of years old. A few stood so close to the road, it seemed they could have been touched by putting a hand out the car window. It was obvious some had once been inns or hotels. They were huge and rambling, maybe a little overgrown but still inhabited. Old structures stood in the middle of nowhere. Their fieldstone walls had been built up high, but now they were crumbling and not holding back anything anymore. We passed another strange sight. It was a fieldstone wall built into the side of a steep bank, with a tiny, arched, cave-like opening that may or may not have led somewhere.
Horses, cows and sheep grazed in meadows next to long stretches of thick woods. Pastures full of cows bordered neighborhoods on the tops of hills, with huge houses, much bigger than the ones in my neighborhood. I’d never been through such a place in my life. The whole area came across as a different world, but what really stood out to me were all the bridges. They were everywhere, coming one after the other around every turn we took, and they were all shapes and sizes. Some were ancient covered bridges, so old I was surprised they were safe. I asked the sophomore why there were so many bridges. She replied that there was no way in or out of the area unless you crossed the creek. It wound in and out and around, and you had to cross it to get through the actual town. When I asked her nervously if we were almost there, she just laughed and said we’d been through already. I asked her when, and she replied that it wasn’t really a town, just a wide place in the road. An old store stood there, along with a church and another ancient bridge.
I had no idea where I was. Up until then I hadn’t even known such places existed, especially that close to my hometown. Mom didn’t take us on vacations. She made it a point to expose us to what she deemed “culture,” and dragged us to New York City every summer to visit the Museum of Modern Art, the opera, science institutes, and off-Broadway plays. I hated every damn minute of it. I never complained, but unfortunately, with the exception of New York City, my only travels consisted of trips to the beach with Brad every summer. But I’m getting out. I’ll see the world…and I’ll forget her.
The area surrounding us seemed surreal. I was reminded of that painter Brad’s mom liked, the one who painted farms, a lot of barns, all in muted tones. The image of a huge pig flashed through my mind and was gone as fast as it came. We crawled down another winding road along the creek and then on through some kind of deserted little crossroad next to an old stone church and a graveyard. The place was enclosed by a fieldstone wall, half falling down. The gravestones slanted this way and that. Next to the road stood a tall stone with a plaque mounted on it. I pulled over hastily to read it, thinking it might tell me where I was, but the words that jumped out of the dimness were “Indiantown,” and “William Penn,” along with the date: 1683. Then the sophomore began talking about the graveyard. Apparently, one of the graves was haunted. She called it Ticking Tomb, whatever the hell that meant.
The words Mason-Dixon jumped out of her chatter, but all I noticed were the lightning bugs, flickering and flashing among the gravestones. Then I let out the clutch and we squealed away. The whole thing was giving me the creeps. As I sped on, she warned me not to turn off toward what looked like a place I could pull over. I need to take a leak. This place is creepy.
The sophomore told me to keep straight on the road, or else we’d come to a dead end where stood the ruins of another covered bridge. It was burned down by arsonists fifty years earlier, and never rebuilt. She said it would have taken us to the next state again if we could have driven that way another quarter mile. I went on straight, still needing to take a whiz. Then we came to yet another little one-lane bridge, looming in the dim light of dusk. It humped in the middle and I was almost afraid to go up it, not knowing what might be lurking on the other side. MaybeBilly Penn’s ghost, or some pissed off Lenape holding a hatchet.
My hair seemed to stand on end. I shivered, even though it was eighty-five degrees, as we finally went on. After the bridge the road narrowed even more. It became mostly gravel and I hoped Brad’s car didn’t get hit by tar chips. I can’t afford a new paint job. I navigated potholes, stepped on the clutch and shifted into low gear to get the Trans Am up a steep hill that was bordered on either side by high banks and more trees. They arched gloomily over the road in the twilight before it widened a little again, and we went down the other side. Where the hell are we? This place is creepy as shit.
I asked her if she knew where we were, and she laughed again as we continued on up another hill, passing more cornfields on the left and dark woods on the right. She told me to take the next right. Go out the back way; we’d be back on the highway in ten minutes. It was getting dark as I turned at the stop sign, and we went on down another stretch of road. It was perfectly flat, bordered on either side by nothing but meadows and cornfields and one old farmhouse, way back at the edge of the woods. Damn…what a place for a race. Wish I knew about this a few years ago when Ceej and that little punk bastard were racing. This place would have been perfect. That little stuck up punk…wonder whatever happened to him…
Her next words—something to the effect that the place had been known as the Flats for as long as anyone could remember, and that her uncle used to race his ‘68 GTO there before he went on to be killed in Vietnam—made my hair stand on end again. But then I saw the sign. Some state park buried out there in the boonies.
The above scene is told from the POV of protagonist Jason, who while a high school senior had a fling with a mysterious older woman known as the sophomore. (For more on the sophomore, please read book 3 in my series).
Though told from Jason’s POV, I wrote what I saw as child in my own hometown, and what I see today while running. Some readers grow impatient with my dreamy flashback scenes, but I want my grandchildren to someday read my vision of the town where their great-great grandparents lived.
Here are some shots from the past week or so.
This morning, sis and I drove home on the above road. (Sis didn’t really know it existed!) It’s one of my favorite places to run, since the view from the top of the hill is stunning no matter the season. Note the slight tinge of red buds in the trees.
Besides the benefits to my health, running also takes off any load of worry or anxiety I may be having. And it’s also a great way to get inspiration.
Below is an abandoned farmhouse nearby. We walked past it today. This is what it looked like last summer.
I hope readers like the book and the entire series. 🙂
A note for new readers.
My books are near future dystopias told from the POVs of Catholic/Christian characters. On Amazon they are categorized as Christian Fantasy and Futuristic Christian Fiction in addition to other categories.
But my books are not what many Christian Fiction readers might be used to. I made it a point to model my characters on what I see and hear every day from my own husband, family, and other working class people. We are devout Catholics, yet my husband is not a saint.
I have read that much of Christian fiction forbids any use of swear words (even mild ones) and sometimes the characters are not portrayed as gritty sinner types.
If you downloaded my book and find that it’s not what you thought it would be, I hope you will give it a try anyway. I explain my thought process and the time I spent agonizing over the way I portrayed my male characters in a blogpost I wrote. Click here.
But back to the question at hand. Should we or shouldn’t we write characters who actually do and say the things we ourselves do and say? My answer is: How could we not? After all, we are following Christ for a reason. We are all sinners. If we weren’t we wouldn’t need Christ. What good would it be to write characters who don’t sin and struggle? After all, if they were perfect they would have much less need of Christ’s light. I’m sure some folks would disagree with me, and of course that is their prerogative, but I must admit that I like a certain amount of true to life grittiness in the fictional books I read. This includes books with Catholic or Christian themes, precisely because such works show the world realistically.
IMO writing realistic characters can actually be a boon. If Jason had been a choirboy while getting ready to begin serving overseas during the Global War On Terror, it would have seemed fake, fake, fake. He had just left the girl he loved behind and his future was uncertain. Such a man, though a believer and even a sporadic churchgoer, simply wouldn’t have not gotten drunk at least once, and probably many more times. The same goes for Brad, a student of pharmacy in Memphis TN. A product of the times, living in an old dump of a house with a bunch of roommates. Of course Brad sowed wild oats.
However, during the course of the book, times begin to change. It is made clear in early chapters of Tears Of Paradox that both Brad and Jason were given a moral upbringing in the Catholic Church. Though they did drift away for a time, they found the “world” to be not of their liking. This makes their ultimate return to the Faith and Jason’s treatment of Michelle all the more satisfying. When Brad finally marries he too becomes a changed man, in part because of his faith, even though he doesn’t see it at the time.
By the middle of the book both men are married to women they love and treasure, and Jason, due to his struggle to cope with circumstances beyond his control, is spending time in Adoration of The Blessed Sacrament.
Such a transformation — from lady killer to a man relying solely on Christ — would have meant much less if Jason hadn’t been portrayed as a sinner. And in fact, he continues to fall and fail and ask for forgiveness throughout the series. I use the word transformation deliberately. Tears of Paradox and The Notice are part of The Storms of Transformation Series. As usual there is irony, or perhaps paradox, because not only is America being transformed, but the characters are as well.
Above is my outlook on things.
Again, thank you to all! I’m feeling pretty good today, knowing that 1700 potential readers have a copy of my book on their devices.
For a sneak peek into book 3, Cadáin’s Watch, check out the book trailer below.
The monthly Booknado showcases books written by members of the Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance, a counter-cultural group of talented authors, artists, columnists, publishers and other creative people who are working to bring quality books and other media to the underserved Conservative and Libertarian public.
From the Booknado:
Live and Let Bite (Love at First Bite Book 3) by Declan Finn
The third book in the Dragon Award nominated “Love at First Bite” series.
The Undercover Captain (Captain Nancy Martin Book 2) by Henry Vogel
It will take every bit of skill Nancy and Erica have to track down the evil genius behind the disappearances. Defeating them will be a different matter entirely.
Letters from Aztlan by John L. Wolf
In a dystopian, post-meltdown United States, a cynical, aging gunfighter receives a letter from an old friend in desperate need of help. He must fight his way across cartel occupied territory to find her.
$1.99 OR LESS
For the dates February 12 and 13, 2017, as reported by book author.
99¢ The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin by L. Jagi Lamplighter
Fringe meets Narnia at Hogwarts
99¢ The Raven, the Elf, and Rachel (A Book of Unexpected Enlightenment 2) by L. Jagi Lamplighter
Rachel Griffin returns for more rousing adventure and humor!
FREE Tears of Paradox (Storms of Transformation Book 1) by Daniella Bova
America has fallen to a Marxist bureaucracy, and the parents of an unborn child go underground to keep their baby’s existence a secret.
99¢ A Place Outside the Wild (Z-Day Book 1) by Daniel Humphreys
Eight years after Z-Day, the surviving remnants of mankind face the unknown. The scars of the long war run deep. And hope is a dangerous thing when the real enemy might just be the survivors themselves.
FREE Bulletproof Vestments (Father Jay Book 1) by Jane Lebak
A former gang member has tracked down the man who ratted out his brother 10 years ago. It’s time for some good old-fashioned revenge, except the man in question is disabled. And he’s a priest. And no one’s going to let him go down without a fight.
As you can see, there are Vampires, Harry Potter style Fantasies, YA and Dystopian titles, including my own book.
Since July of 2014 I’ve been a proud member of CLFA. I have found new friends, writing advice and critiques, and professionals who offer their services as cover artists, editors and beta readers. Members include specialists in areas unfamiliar to me (like guns) who will happily answer questions.
Other members have online radio shows that will book authors as guests.
If you are a creative Conservative or Libertarian, please consider joining CLFA. You won’t regret it.
Freedom’s Light Anthology is a collection of short stories by members of CLFA. All proceeds from this book benefit FIRE, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending liberty, freedom of speech, due process, academic freedom, legal equality, and freedom of conscience on America’s college campuses.
Please check out the stories and purchase a copy. You’ll be glad you did.
As you probably know, Cadáin’s Watch, Book 3 in The Storms Series, is going live on Amazon on March 14.
And today, I made a few last revisions to the manuscript, did another spell check, and sent it to be formatted!
Now, I can breathe.
To preorder Cadáin’s Watch, click the photo above.
And please check out Freedom’s Light: Short Stories at the link below.
My short story, The Birthday Party, is included in this new anthology endorsed by the Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance. The story is set in 1923. A lesser character from the Storms Series, Adela (whose daughter, Patty, hid pregnant Michelle in her Pennsylvania farmhouse), is the heroine.
When I’m depressed, my writing is usually the first thing to get hit. I read my stuff and my mind starts churning out insults like I’m a late night talk show host bashing Bush.
It sucks, I don’t have a clear enough theme, it’s been done, I’ll never be good enough, I made a typo and now must sacrifice one of my fingers to the gods of grammar… It goes on and on and basically adds up to one thought.
I’ll never make it as an author.
Yep. I go straight from ‘this story sucks,’ (for whatever reason) to ‘everything I’ve every written sucks and I’ll never make it; why even try?’ And then it starts to spiral and you go over everything bad about whatever piece you’re reading and the spiral gets bigger and bigger as it feeds on itself.
I call it the Fibonacci Shame Spiral because in my head it looks like the golden spiral that follows the Fibonacci Sequence.
And I’m not the only one. We’re writers, we’re sensitive little shits. I’m pretty sure it’s a requirement.
So what do you do?
1. To break the shame spiral cycle in your brain, try tapping your hands on the table for a minute. Just focus on the beat. Then, while keeping your head still, look as far to one side as you can, then the other, and go back and forth for a minute. The hands tapping and the eyes moving helps activate both sides of your brain.
This shuts up what we call the inner critic, the left side, and helps activate the right side, the creative part.
Strangely enough, these are also techniques to help people with PTSD… but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.
2. Read through something of yours you haven’t seen for awhile. It’s probably much worse writing since it’s (I’m assuming) an earlier piece where you were working out the kinks, but despite that, you love it. It’s a good story and, oh yeah, you love these characters, and it even flows pretty well for an early work. See, you don’t suck, you’re just sick of the piece you’ve been staring at the past few months.
3. Pick a writing prompt and write a page on that. Anything. A flash piece, part of a scene, an all dialogue argument. Edit a little, but don’t go overboard, and share it. With your writing group, online, on your blog, whatever. Rinse and repeat until you know you’ve got what it takes again.
Those are the things you can do today to snap you out of it. For a more long term solution:
1. Join a writing group. Find people online or in the real world you can vent to when you feel this way and who can assure you everyone goes through this. Basically so they can say, ‘welcome to the club, we all think we suck, now get back to work.’
2. Take a writing class at the local community college or some sort of online one. You’ll have a scheduled time to write and assignments, get to see other people’s work, and have them see yours. This also may be where you find your writing group. The point is to get yourself writing and to be accountable to other people so you have to write.
You notice these two are two sides of the same advice. Basically, get a community. Writers are solitary creatures and sometimes we forget we’re not alone.
3. Remember you’re a writer for a reason. You have something to say, you have stories pouring out of your brain, you walk in realities other people can’t imagine until you show them through your doorway. You write because you have to, because it’s in your blood. There’s no such thing as quitting, there is no Plan B. You’re a writer, you write. Period. So you may as well keep trying to make some money off of it.
Vampires aren’t the only things that go bump in the night…
Singers are a dime a dozen in Nashville, so despite her mama’s urging, psychic Ariana Ryder’s working her way towards a career in law enforcement at the FBI, one tray of fetched coffee at a time, instead. She’s got an extremely handsome boss, a dancing partner among the lab techs, and a solid year as the team rookie under her belt…
Right until the director gives her a big break, working undercover as a singer at a club to investigate why it’s being targeted by a serial killer. This might have worked better if the club didn’t happen to be a vampire nest.
Now, with the vampire’s investigator, Quil, on her case, the jurisdictional battle isn’t the only thing heating up as they race to solve the case before the killer strikes again!
Above is one of favorite quotes, from Audrey Hepburn, a terrific actress who was the epitome of class.
Though it took many months, I’m finally finished, and have begun revisions!
Above is a bible verse that has applied to me through this project.
I am very grateful to God for getting me this far, and I trust that He will enable me to keep going until I can publish the book!
Thanks so much to all of my supportive family, friends, and readers, and also to my writer buddies for your support. 🙂 It means more than you will ever know.
I need to get back to work now, on editing and revisions… I will update readers periodically, and I look forward to revealing the book cover when the time is right.
In closing, I’ll share the new book trailer for Tears Of Paradox, Book 1 in the Storms Of Transformation Series.