• Tag Archives Tears Of Paradox
  • Tears of Paradox #FreeKindle Giveaway ~ A Success!

    My free book promotion for Tears Of Paradox got over 1700 downloads.

     

    Thank You

     

    This was the best promotion I have ever run, and to everyone who decided to take a chance and download Tears, I’d like to say Thank You!

    For those who open the book on their Kindle someday and decide to give it a try, Thank you, too!

    For all of my friends who tweeted, shared Facebook & Gab posts and helped spread the word, Thank you!

    To vm, blogger at Bookhorde who placed my book in a Valentines Day post, Thank you!

    And finally, to the Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance, Thank you! The placement of Paradox in the CLFA February Booknado helped more people find my book.

    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.

     

    monstrance and Blessed Sacrament

    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. 

     

    Now, back to work.

     

    Related Post:

    Patience

     

     

    Check out the free preview of The Notice, above. 🙂


  • #FreeKindle Promotion ~ Tears Of Paradox & The #CLFA Booknado

    Tears Of Paradox (Storms of Transformation Series Book 1) is free on Kindle through Wednesday February 15.

    Here’s what readers think about Tears Of Paradox.

     

     

    And, it’s time for the CLFA February Booknado!


    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:

    New Releases:


    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.

    Happy reading!

    Related Posts:

    Friends

    Book Reviews for the Rest of Us ~ A Step by Step Guide

    Internet Debate ~ A Spectator Sport

     

    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.


  • Update on Book Three, Cadáin’s Watch ~ First Draft is Finished!

    This was me on Saturday after I wrote the words: “The End.”

     

    Doing the Happy Dance !!!

     

    Finally, after almost 18 months of planning, research, outlining and writing, the first draft of Cadáin’s Watch is finished.

     

     

    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!

     

    6cc2d9175d5b2b15156525ba6166db6a

     

    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.

     

     

    Related Posts:

     

    Book Reviews for the Rest os Us: A Step by Step Guide

    I Wish You Peace

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • Photo-Blog ~ Running as Therapy and Inspiration

    I began running 7 years ago. It’s therapy for me, and also a source of inspiration for my writing. Yesterday’s run was exceptionally beautiful, so here it is, captured in photos.

    When I began running 7 years ago, I usually went to nearby parks and ran laps. This was because I was a beginner, and I needed to develop stamina. But running the same laps over and over quickly became boring, no matter how pretty the parks were. I needed a change and a challenge, so I began running in White Clay Creek Preserve, 5 minutes from my home by car. Actually, I can, and have, run to the park from my home. This occurred while I was training for the Delaware Half-Marathon, when I had to run 8, 9 and10 milers on weekends.But I’m training this year. I’m too busy writing the last book in The Storms Series to train, though once the book is published (I’m shooting for May), I may decide to train for a fall race.

    The linked article has the history and a map of the area. The park is huge, and encompasses acres of Pennsylvania and Delaware. There is quite a bit of history. I grew up in the area, and sometimes I take it for granted. However, it must have been hiding in the back of my mind, since the park is featured in the Storms Series.

    Yesterday’s run began at parking lot one, the closest to my house. I clipped on my old iPod shuffle and began running on the Penn-Del trail, listening to Bruce Springsteen. The trail runs along an old railroad bed. The trains stopped running back in the 1940s. To my left was the White Clay, running slowly, and to my right was a swampy place, with cattails and other stalky grasses. Beaver are building a dam here. Again, it’s strange the way this park figures into my writing. The railroad bed and the beaver are mentioned in book 2 of my series, The Notice.

    About half a mile down, the trail takes a turn to the left, leaving the swamp behind, and continues next to the White Clay. For the next mile or so I ran along the trail, stopping at intervals to take photos.

    White Clay Creek Preserve creekbank White Clay Creek, Pennsylvania Fall in Pennsylvania Landenberg, PA

    IMO, this Fall has been exceptionally beautiful. The foliage is bright and clean and colorful, without a hint of drabness. 

    Running next to the creek is soothing and therapeutic. The iPod’s volume is on low, so the running water filters through, along with the sounds of birds, squirrels and the leaves crunching under my feet. It smells good there. I lose myself in visions of scenes I want to write. The music also inspires. If I get tired I shuffle the iPod until Santana begins playing, making me run faster. (IMO, no running playlist is complete without Santana’s Jingo).

    Finally I emerged from the trail onto Sharpless Road, an isolated country lane. Nearby is London Tract Meeting House, also known as Ticking Tomb Church, because of the legend of the  Ticking Tomb. Please click the link for the legend, and a possible connection to “The Telltale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe. The area was  the home of Native Americans of the Lenni Lenape tribe until it was sold to William Penn in 1683. (The church and the plaque commemorating the sale of the Indian lands to Billy Penn is featured in another scene in The Notice).

    Once on Sharpless Road I turned right, away from the church. I hadn’t run up the following hill since last spring, so I decided to try it.

    uphill

    I didn’t make it. I slacked all summer long, and I didn’t have the stamina to run to the top, so I power walked. My goal is to run up this hill the way I used to by the end of the month.

    Here’s the view from the top. It’s always worth the pain of the hill.

    Landenberg, PA

    I continued on this isolated road, one of the prettiest in Landenberg. Cornfields were here until recently.

    Country Cornfield

    Landenberg, PA

    At the bottom of the first hill two hunters had parked. Deer hunting is permitted in the park, both archery and shotgun. My husband still gets his hunting license every year, however, he doesn’t go out like he used to. When my children were young I felt like a single mom at times, due to his habit of spending every late afternoon deer hunting. He’s a pretty good shot with bow and arrow. We always eat the deer he shoots.

    These days there seems to be an outcry against hunting, and sometimes, hunters. It’s rather frustrating. I’ve seen comments online referring to people like my husband, son and brother-in-law as “rednecks.” People seem to believe the hunters are dangerous. Um… excuse me? This is country life. If you don’t like country ways, move back to where you came from. In the seven years that I’ve been running regularly in the park, never once have I been scared by a hunter. Not once. I’ve seen plenty of hunters of course, but I’ve never felt threatened in the least. The only people who have ever frightened me are dog owners who ignore the leash rule. I was even bitten once by an unleashed dog. Unlike some dog owners who seem to think rules are for other people, the hunters are considerate of others. I trust the hunters much more than the dog owners.

    After passing the spot where the hunters had left their trucks, I came to the smaller hill on Sharpless Rd, and began running up it.

    Landenberg, PA

    This is one of my favorite stretches of road, since this is the place where the idea for the book that would ultimately become a trilogy came to me while running in July of 2009.

    While running along after praying the Rosary I was at a loss as to what would become of America. I felt terrible sense of fear and dread at the thought of Socialized medicine and other such threats to freedom. Again, this was in July, and the fields were full of corn.

    White Clay Creek, Landenberg, PA

    It was here that the idea exploded, just as I crested the hill. The tops of the corn blades were visible through the trees at the top of the bank, and by the time I was on the other side of the hill the idea was firmly planted in my mind. I went home that day and began writing about a young pregnant woman hiding in the corn, and my life was never the same.

    Sharpless Rd. Landenberg, PA

    Above are more fields which will, most likely, be sprouting corn next April. Then I came to the end of Sharpless Road and turned right.

    The Flats,Broad Run Rd., Landenberg, PA

    The Flats, Broad Run Rd.

    Above is the last stretch of road, nicknamed The Flats. I have a vague memory of hearing that it was once used for drag racing, way back when.

    Of course, like so many landmarks near my home, the Flats also made it into the Storms Series. By the time I got there I was feeling tired but also renewed. Like I said, running is therapeutic, especially with so much beauty to gaze upon while doing it. And it’s also inspiring. The combination of running, music and the White Clay Creek just do it for me. I feel like the words will come bubbling to the top when I sit down with my laptop.

    My run ended back at parking lot one, below. I’ll be going back tomorrow for more therapy and inspiration.

    White Clay4


  • Tears Of Paradox & The Notice are on Sale!

    As a thank you to readers and friends, Tears Of Paradox and The Notice are on sale for a limited time. Get them on Kindle for just $2.99 each.


    I’m getting excited about the Holiday season. This is a time for joy, happiness and giving. I’m extremely grateful to everyone for their support, and wanted to show my appreciation. 

     

    Tears Of Paradox by Daniella Bova
    Click here to buy Tears Of Paradox at a special low price.

     

    I’m very happy with my progress on book three, Cadáin’s Watch. The story is unfolding almost exactly as I planned, with a few unexpected twists here and there. Writing is extremely rewarding. I’m very thankful to God for making it possible for me to write. With Thanksgiving coming soon, the perfect way to give thanks is to offer my books at a lower price.

     

    The Notice
    Click here to buy The Notice at a new low price.

     

    And remember, my short story The Protest is absolutely free for readers who subscribe to my email newsletter. Visit my website and click the link to subscribe! And please forward this blogpost to a friend!

     


  • Writing Christian Fiction in a Secular World

    How do we, as authors, manage to write good, appealing Christian fiction in the onslaught of secularism without creating characters that seem to be fake, or even caricatures? In today’s world such a thing is no easy task. In fact, it’s much more difficult than simply writing FOR a secular audience.

    This question has been asked recently in numerous forums. How do we manage to write realistic characters who act like everyday sinners if we must sanitize the manuscript? I grappled with this question for months while writing my first two novels.

    Rosary & Holy Bible, prayerI wanted the characters to seem like real Americans, just average, small town blue-collar people, living their lives while dealing with encroaching government interference. Writing a sanitized version of my books, try as I might, simply wasn’t possible. The characters seemed fake.  There is a lot of “me” in my characters. I am no saint, and need to ask for forgiveness daily and sometimes hourly. I spent a lot of time praying the rosary, reading scripture and just asking, asking,  asking: “Should I remove the foul language? Should the characters have sex? Should they break the speed limit, or smoke cigarettes, or buy guns off the street?”

    At one point I myself was so depressed about America that as a result my characters cussed every other word. They were crude and nasty in their language, because I was thinking (and sometimes even saying) the F-bomb every other minute of each day, despite my prayers. I eventually removed most of the gratuitous language because it didn’t add to the story, and in fact detracted from the quality. Still though…If I was in such a state and thinking such thoughts about what was in store for America, how could my characters not be thinking and speaking similarly when actually dealing with what I envisioned?

    I prayed daily for guidance in this matter, and I ended up writing my characters to be flawed sinners, just trying to do their best to live their faith. Unfortunately, for the male characters at least, this included writing dialogue containing references to fornication, foul language, and other such un-sanitized elements. My first book, Tears Of Paradox, takes readers through protagonist Jason’s courtship and marriage to the girl next door, (Michelle) who also happens to be his best friend Brad’s baby sister. In the opening chapters of the book, Brad is a wild college student and Jason has just returned from four years in the U.S. Military. How could such characters have been portrayed realistically if I had written their dialogue in a sanitized fashion? Or if I had pretended that such men were choir boys? The answer is, simply, that it couldn’t be done. Believe me, I tried.

    Following are two examples from chapter 3 of Tears. In the first, we see Jason (Wallace) speaking to Brad on the phone, and gearing up to break the news that he, Jason, and Brad’s sister Michelle are now an item. Michelle, age 17, has just left for her first year of college, and Jason is five years older. This is written in first person from Jason’s POV. (Please forgive my excessive use of adverbs. This was my first book, and I hadn’t yet heard of the no adverb rule when I decided to go ahead and publish it. I had been working on it for 5 years already).

    “Well, you’re making it sound like a sorority house is nothing but a whorehouse, and I just wondered what your thoughts might be, now that your sister left home.”

    “Wallace, what the hell are you talking about?”

    I changed the subject. “I ate at the house earlier. Your mom made lasagna.”

    “You bastard,” he answered darkly. “I wish I could have had some. The sum total of supplies in my house right now is a fridge full of beer and half a bag of pretzels. Nobody ever restocks. We were out of TP the other day, and I didn’t know it until it was too late. Nobody else was around, so I had to use my damn boxers and then toss them.”

    I howled with laughter at his statement. Even though I was nervous about him finding out, I couldn’t let such an admission pass without ragging him a little.

    “Damn, Brad,” I laughed. “Were they the Calvin Klein ones?”

    We’d been having a running disagreement about that very subject for the past five years. Brad tended to enjoy wearing clothing with labels, even when it came to boxer shorts. I, on the other hand, may have liked a label or two, and once in a while I’d pay extra for a shirt, or some shoes or maybe a pair of jeans, (unless they were work jeans). In my opinion it was a waste of good money to buy designer boxers, though. And lucky for me, I hadn’t needed too many clothes anyway, not for the previous four years at least. That’ll have to change though. And I hate shopping. Maybe Michelle will help me pick out some stuff.

    “No Wallace,” Brad retorted in an aggravated tone. “They weren’t the Calvin Klein ones. They were Tommy Hilfiger. They were an old pair, but I was still pissed off about it.”

    I continued to howl at the image of Brad, stuck on the can without toilet paper and being forced to wipe his ass with his high end boxers.

    “Shut the hell up,” Brad snapped, irritably. “I had to do it. There was nothing else in there except Doyle’s towel. It was on the floor, and he’d already used the damn thing, and I’d have wiped my ass with brand new boxers before I’d ever wipe with anything that touched Doyle. So shut up.” Doyle was one of the guys who lived in Brad’s dump of a house. I’d never met him, but I’d heard a lot about him, and judging from what I had heard I agreed with Brad.

    “All right, Brad. But answer me this. Have you bought any underwear since?”

    “No, Wallace,” he snapped. “I haven’t.”

    “Well, the next time you do are they gonna be Tommy Hilfiger, or are you gonna do what I do? Nobody sees the damn things anyway.”

    “Maybe nobody sees yours, Wallace, but they sure as hell see mine every once in a while,” he retorted. “And the next time some chick does see them, I’d prefer it if the label wasn’t decorated with pictures of fruit.”

    “Yeah Brad? Well I don’t give a damn who sees what. And I still think it’s a waste of good money. What good did it do you? They’re in the dumpster now, aren’t they?”

    Silence on his end, except for a little sputtering. I continued laughing. It was on the tip of my tongue to tell him that it wasn’t the damn boxer shorts anyway, but the equipment underneath that mattered, and that I’d never had any complaints when it came to that. But I stopped myself.

    Can’t say that. Not anymore. Especially to him. And I had a feeling no one but me would have any idea about what kind of boxers I wore, for a very long time. But that’s a price I’m willing to pay. What do I care? Michelle means way more than that to me. And she did. It was a lesson I’d learned during my time away from her. A hard lesson. I changed the subject then.

    So, we learned from the excerpt above these things:

    • Jason is very nervous about telling Brad he is dating Michelle.
    • Brad is a player and a sharp dresser.
    • Brad and Jason are close enough to speak freely about sexual matters and bathroom issues, indicating to readers that they have a pretty deep relationship, one which Jason is worried might suffer with his news.
    • Jason, though formerly a player himself, has vowed to change his ways.

    Here is the next excerpt, from a little further on in the same conversation. Jason has tried to break the news to Brad by joking and references to Michelle’s upcoming 18th birthday, but Brad simply doesn’t get it:

    Brad was getting annoyed again. “Wallace, what the hell is this? Why would you care whether or not I got something for Michelle? And why would you be buying her a birthday gift?”

    I smoked and kept quiet.

    “Wallace, are you there?”

    “I’m here.”

    “Well, answer my question,” he said, impatiently.

    “I bought her a bracelet,” I stated. Brad finally snapped.

    “Damn it Wallace!” he exploded. “I don’t give a flying crap on a magic carpet what you bought her! I just want to know why.”

    I took a deep breath then. It was obvious he wasn’t going catch on, so I opened my mouth and just told him. “Okay Brad,” I replied evenly. “I thought you might have been able to figure it out with a couple of hints, the way Johnny did earlier, but apparently your one-track mind isn’t going to allow that, so I’ll just tell you straight up. Michelle and I are seeing each other.”

    Complete silence. Then I heard the click of his lighter, as he lit a cigarette. I lit another one with the remainder of my first, and thought I could hear what was running through his mind. Brad and I had been friends for so long that sometimes we knew what the other was thinking. Well I’ll be damned. My little sister. Wallace, you son of a bitch…what the hell are you trying to pull?

    I could hear him dragging on his cigarette. By that time I was on the edge of town, driving down Main Street, at the point where it turned back into Route 24, headed toward my mother’s place.

    “Did you hear me, Brad?”

    “You’re joking. Right?” He sounded incredulous.

    “No Brad. I’m not.”

    “Wallace, come on. You can’t be serious.”

    “Your parents don’t seem to have a problem with it.”

    “Wallace, come on,” he repeated. “Is this some set up? I don’t see any cameras around here, but whatever. Did Doyle put you up to this? That son of a bitch…April Fool’s day is six months away.”

    “Brad,” I said, slowly and patiently. “Listen to me. I am seeing your sister. We talk every night on the phone. I will be taking her out on the weekends when she comes home. This is a fact. Can you understand me?”

    “Wallace, you better watch it.” Brad’s voice was a little wary. Maybe even warning. “You know you don’t have girlfriends. When’s the last time you were ever serious about a girl?”

    “I understand your misgivings Brad,” I stated quietly. “I admit I don’t have the best track record with women, but Michelle is different.”

    “Well, if that isn’t the all-time understatement of the year,” he retorted sarcastically. “She’s different. Wallace, I don’t even know what the hell you’ve been doing for the past four years. You never say anything. How the hell do I know what you’ve been doing? You could have been hopping from whore to whore in every country you called me from, for all I know. I know how you are.”

    I was determined to keep my temper. I put myself in his shoes for a minute. “You don’t know as much as you think you know, if you think I’d be whore hopping.”

    “I didn’t mean you were paying for it, Wallace. I know you’d never pay for it. I’d never pay for it. But that’s not the point.”

    That’s what he knows.

    He was right, except for one time. It had happened on Michelle’s birthday, the October following my departure for basic training. It was a weak moment on my part; she’d been blonde haired and blue-eyed, and I was drunk that night. I was wasted as a matter of fact; regretting my decision to leave home. A guy I was stationed with, Lawson his name was, had driven a bunch of us into town for a night out. On our way back to the base, we saw her in the headlights. She was slim with long hair, wearing a short skirt and a tank top, walking along the highway about a mile from the base, almost in the middle of nowhere. Just her and the deserted two lane road; little lights twinkling off in the distance from the Interstate on our right, the base on our left.

    I could only remember a little. More lights, hanging in the sky; a cargo plane coming in for a landing. I remember clouds scudding across the face of the moon, sending shadows traveling. The clouds seemed to stretch far away in the sky down in Texas, not like home.

    No. Not like home.

    The moon was far away.

    She looked sweet to me; young and innocent.

    Like I said, I was drunk. When I woke up the next morning, in her room in the cheap motel next to the truck stop right off the Interstate, everything looked different. Her, especially. The whole episode was a mistake. I found out I’d gotten more than I paid for a few days later, when I woke up crawling. It was the worst money I ever spent, and from that time on I stayed away from hookers, no matter how young and sweet their eyes were.

    Brad’s voice brought me back to the present.

    “Wallace!” He snapped loudly. “Will you listen to me?”

    “I am listening,” I retorted. “But you shouldn’t be mentioning your sister in the same breath as you mention whores, Brad. And how do I know you haven’t? Paid for it, I mean. How the hell do I know what you’ve been doing with yourself, Brad?”

    “Well, whatever, Wallace,” he blew by me. “Makes no difference whether the two of us paid for it once or twice or not; that’s not the point. The point is that I know damn well you go after a piece every once in a while, whether you pay for it or not. And I know the type you go after, too.”

    “Well Brad,” I answered, “since you know all that, I guess you also know I like to keep a few things to myself from time to time.” Brad had a tendency to give me too much information about his sexual escapades sometimes, but that didn’t mean I had to reciprocate.

    “Well, if you’re gonna be seeing my sister, there better be more than one thing you’re keeping to yourself.”

    So, from the above excerpt we learned quite a bit more about both men.

    • Brad had no idea of Jason’s feelings for his sister, even though Jason had been in love with Michelle since they were kids.
    • Brad and Jason are so close that sometimes they know what the other is thinking.
    • Brad, though a player and a bit of a cad, is very protective of his own sister, and does not trust his friend to do right by her.
    • Jason had an encounter with a prostitute, which he keeps secret from Brad, along with other aspects of his private life.
    • Brad admits by inference that he himself has slept with prostitutes.

    Now, all of this was shown for a reason. These two men are products of their environment. (This scene takes place around 2007). I could not write realistic, entertaining characters who by the end of the book are completely different than they were during the above dialogue if I had written a sanitized book. What would I have written if I had left out the foul language? (Which, in fact isn’t actually that bad, IMO–it’s just the way men speak to each other, and could have been much, much worse). These are American men, speaking to each other in a private conversation. They are flawed human beings in need of God and they are not perfect.

    By the same token, what would have been lost if I had left out the encounter with the prostitute? For one thing, readers wouldn’t have seen that there are consequences. Jason only went to a prostitute one time, because of the consequence a few days later, and he admitted the episode was a mistake. In a few short paragraphs readers could see that getting drunk out of your head and losing control doesn’t always end well. Showing the consequences for such behavior is sorely lacking in many secular books, even books in school libraries. (See my posts on the book Nineteen Minutes).

    My books are written for adults, yet they are better suited for older teens than many books in schools and libraries because they show real consequences. (I won’t mention the unfortunate state of publishing at this time. I will simply say that my books would not and do not pass the ideological litmus test demanded by mainstream publishers today. For evidence of this litmus test in action one merely needs to investigate the contretemps surrounding the recent Hugo awards, where authors I respect and admire from afar were treated like trash by certain segments of the Sci-Fi community simply for being what the elites might consider “uppity.” Their work did not pass the litmus test, they persisted in their quest for inclusion and deserved recognition, and they were smacked down and humiliated at the recent awards ceremony. For more information on this debacle please see the series of blog posts entitled Sad Puppies, by Declann Finn, or simply google the name Larry Correia).

    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 pharmacology 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.

     

    monstrance and Blessed Sacrament

    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.

     

    Jesus Christ and His MotherThere is a great deal of human suffering in my series. Some might find the books dark, depressing and scary. However, they are true to life. The suffering endured by Michelle, Jason and Brad is pretty much ripped from the headlines, or will be shortly if America continues on its present course.

    Such suffering is explained by the cross. That is the only way I–and by extension my characters–can deal with what is happening. The cross is the answer to  everything that means anything in this earthly life. How else can we cope with all of the change and transformation? Without the cross we wouldn’t have the strength, or perhaps even the inclination to stand and struggle upstream as the waters of the world attempt to drag us down. We might not speak up for the unborn who are targeted for death without the knowledge that we must help Christ carry His cross. We might lose hope, and begin to believe we are just animals, here for no reason, meaning nothing. And then we would be swept away. We would just float downstream along with the refuse and wreckage of a Godless society.

    No matter how hard it seems, we just wouldn’t be His if we didn’t allow ourselves to be transformed. This is what I’m attempting to portray in my books, even if I’m doing it in a fashion that some might term rather un-Christlike.

    This is the answer I received. We are all sinners, we need Christ, and we should use the gifts given us to show Him to others, even in unconventional ways.


  • Thanks, Readers

    This week three great things happened with regard to my writing.

    First, my 20 year old niece finished reading The Notice, and told me the end made her cry. (In a good way). Here’s a screen shot of  our back and forth texts:

    11006453_1164886873537370_2995655905847841072_n

    Second, a longtime twitter friend, who is also an author, finished reading Tears Of Paradox. She also gave me great feedback, saying that my writing gave insight into the lives of practicing Catholics. Reading her review was the highlight of my day yesterday.

    Third, this morning at Mass, I ran into a lady who has read both Tears Of Paradox and The Notice. She told me she absolutely loved book two, and could not put it down until she finished. Hearing feedback like this makes all the hard work worth it.

    I am so grateful to the folks who enjoy my work. Almost everyone asks me this question: “Will Jason and his father finally meet in book three?” The answer is: Yes, they will. I truly hope I can do this reunion justice.

    I have done lots of research and planned many plot lines for book three. I don’t know the title yet. Titles are very difficult for me. I have written less than a chapter so far, but I plan to hit it hard over the summer. I am not the fastest writer, but I am a thorough one.

    In the meantime, if you are a reader who has enjoyed my work, please tell a friend. I’ll sign off with the following video. Click here, please, to watch and listen to the man who inspired much of my work. You Tube does not allow certain videos to be embedded.

    This song is part of my inspiration for Michael Sean, Jason’s father, This particular version is from a bootleg which was released with Springsteen’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town boxed set. My husband gave it to me as a gift a few years ago. This 1978 show must have been magical for people lucky enough to have been there.

    Here are the lyrics:

    “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City”

    I had skin like leather and the diamond-hard look of a cobra
    I was born blue and weathered but I burst just like a supernova
    I could walk like Brando right into the sun
    Then dance just like a Casanova
    With my blackjack and jacket and hair slicked sweet
    Silver star studs on my duds like a Harley in heat
    When I strut down the street I could feel it’s heartbeat
    The sisters fell back and said “Don’t that man look pretty”
    The cripple on the corner cried out “Nickels for your pity”
    Them gasoline boys downtown sure talk gritty
    It’s so hard to be a saint in the city
    I was the king if the alley, mama I could talk some trash
    I was the prince of the paupers crowned downtown at the beggar’s bash
    I was the pimp’s main prophet I kept everythning cool
    Just a backstreet gambler with the luck to lose
    And when the heat came down it was left on the ground
    The devil appeared like Jesus through the steam in the street
    Showin’ me a hand I knew even the cops couldn’t beat
    I felt his hot breath on my neck as I dove into the heat
    It’s so hard to be a saint when you’re just a boy out on the street
    And the sages of the subway sit just like the living dead
    As the tracks clack out the rhythm their eyes fixed straightahead
    They ride the line of balance and hold on by just a thread
    But it’s too hot in these tunnels you can get hit up by the heat
    You get up to get out at your next stop but they push you
    Back down in your seat
    Your heart starts beatin’ faster as you struggle to your feet
    You’re outa that hole and back up on the street
    And them South Side sisters sure look pretty
    The cripple on the corner cries out “Nickels for your pity”
    And them downtown boys they sure talk gritty
    It’s so hard to be a saint in the city.

    Lately, the title of this song describes me, trying to live my life and be a good person. Being a follower of Christ is difficult at this time, with all the unrest in America and the world. Times are hard all over. It’s so hard to be a saint in the city that is this world. But just the same, we have salvation, if only we stay with Him.

    all-things-work-together-for-those-who-love-god-all-we-have-to-do-is-love-and-live-for-god-he-is-with-us-and-promises-he-will-give-good-to-us-and-has-a-plan


  • Gratitude

    My free book promotion for The Notice is running through Sunday.

    My first free promotion, last year for Tears Of Paradox had a total of 300 downloads. I expected about the same for this promotion. Imagine my surprise yesterday when I saw that the Notice had been downloaded over 400 times on only the first day of the promotion.

    Now this may be a drop in the bucket to what a well known and traditionally published author would get in free downloads, but to me, a struggling unknown independent, it means a lot.

    IMG_1566

    I decided to check my Amazon ranking last night, just for fun. I was met with the above sight. The Notice is #2 in Christian Fantasy free books in Amazon’s Best Sellers.  It’s also #2 in Religious Science Fiction, and #568 in free overall. Again, this may seem small when compared to traditionally published authors with houses that help with marketing, but for lil ole me it’s a big deal.

    So, I feel the need to say thank you. Thank you to God for his grace in allowing me to pursue this dream. Such a thing seemed out of the realm of possibility a year ago. It’s reality today. I couldn’t have done this without Divine inspiration and help. I admit that.

    Matthew 19:26New International Version (NIV)

    26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

    Speaking of inspiration, I must mention someone else. Tears Of Paradox and The Notice were written during a period of darkness in my life. I found comfort, understanding and inspiration in the music of Bruce Springsteen, particularly my favorite album, Darkness On The Edge Of Town.

    My genre is Classic Rock, and while I listen to many artists, some of whom also inspired characters and scenes in my work, DOTEOT (and Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ) spoke to me in a way I can’t really describe with words.

    I’m working on finding a “song” for each character in this series. Following is Something In The Night from DOTEOT, which, to me, is protagonist Jason’s “song.”

     

    I’m riding down Kingsley, figuring I’ll get a drink

    Turn the radio up loud, so I don’t have to think,

    I take her to the floor, looking for a moment when the world seems right,

    And I tear into the guts, of something in the night.

    You’re born with nothing, and better off that way,

    Soon as you’ve got something they send someone to try and take it away,

    You can ride this road ’till dawn, without another human being in sight,

    Just kids wasted on something in the night.

    Nothing is forgotten or forgiven, when it’s your last time around,

    I got stuff running ’round my head That I just can’t live down.

    When we found the things we loved, They were crushed and dying in the dirt.

    We tried to pick up the pieces, And get away without getting hurt,

    But they caught us at the state line, And burned our cars in one last fight,

    And left us running burned and blind, Chasing something in the night.

    I had the extreme good luck to be in the audience at Citizen’s Bank Park on September 3, 2012, (Labor Day) when Springsteen performed a 5 song set from DOTEOT. H/T SomewhereInJersey75 for the following video. (I was in the nosebleeds).

     

    I’ve seen numerous rock concerts since my first trip to the Spectrum in 1978, but this was my all time favorite. It was also my last Springsteen concert. My husband admires Springsteen’s music, but has become less than a fan over the past few years, for which I do not blame him.

    Still, I’m very grateful to Springsteen. His music helped me through an extremely difficult period of my life.

    Finally, to whoever reads this blog, and whoever reads my books, my online writing buddies who help me everyday, or anyone who encourages me in  any way… I am grateful to you, too.


  • Music – An Inspiration

    I’ve been working on a project in my mostly nonexistent spare time: Deciding on “songs” for the characters in my series of books.

    Most writers find that their characters (both good and bad) become real to them. Mine have to me. In my mind each character has a distinct personality, part of which pertains to music.

    I must admit that deciding which song fits each character is turning out to take longer than expected. I’m trying to find songs that the characters would listen to while at the same time conveying the personality of the character. My favorite music genre is Classic Rock, so many characters’ songs will reflect this, though I do include other genres for characters who would, if they were people rather than fictional characters, listen and identify with different music.

    Some characters were easy to assign a song. Reese, for instance. Reese is a secondary character, but still very important to the overall series. Reese is someone who knows exactly how he feels on a minute to minute basis. He’s also an Iraq War Veteran and no nonsense auto mechanic. Reese’s song is Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Back My Bullets.”

    Other characters weren’t so easy. After some thought I decided on Led Zeppelin’s “Battle Of Evermore” for the character I call the Battling Angel.

     

    The sky is filled with good and bad
    Mortals never know.

    Oh, well, the night is long
    The beads of time pass slow
    Tired eyes on the sunrise
    Waiting for the eastern glow

    The Angel is in the service of St. Michael the Archangel, and is sent to warn and protect main characters Jason and Michelle.  St Michael, of course, is in the service of Christ, who I wouldn’t dream of assigning a song. He’s my Boss. He gives me assignments. I just do my best to carry out His orders.

    485976_580385365313723_901909429_n

    I’m beginning to note ideas and plotlines for book three. While writing Tears Of Paradox  and The Notice, (coming in mid-February) I relied heavily on prayer and reflection. I wanted Christ to be at the helm, and I tried to write what I felt He would want me to write. I’m going to do the same thing while writing book three.

    I plan to complete the entire character/song list within a few weeks and then include it in a second blogpost. I already know protagonist Jason’s song, but I still haven’t decided on a song for another pivotal character, Brad.

    Following are the words to Michelle’s song, The Scarlet Tide, as sung by Alison Krauss. This is from the movie “Cold Mountain” –a terrific film.

    Well I recall his parting words
    Must I accept his fate
    Or take myself far from this place
    I thought I heard a black bell toll
    A little bird did sing
    Man has no choice
    When he wants every thingWe’ll rise above the scarlet tide
    That trickles down through the mountain
    And separates the widow from the brideMan goes beyond his own decision
    Gets caught up in the mechanism
    Of swindlers who act like kings
    And brokers who break everything
    The dark of night was swiftly fading
    Close to the dawn of day
    Why would I want him just to lose him again

    We’ll rise above the scarlet tide
    That trickles down through the mountain
    And separates the widow from the bride

    Michelle is separated from her husband, not knowing what the future holds. She’s also, for all intents and purposes, in the middle of a civil war. This is one of the songs that inspired The Storms Of Transformation series, book three of which will be set in the North Carolina Blue Ridge, in roughly the same area as the fictional Cold Mountain.

    More in a later post.


  • Happy New Year

    I try not to make tons of New Year’s resolutions, since I inevitably let them go by the wayside. Instead I’d like to reflect on the year past. 2014 had its high points 🙂 Here’s a list:

    1. I remained in good physical health and so did my family.
    2. I’m at a healthy weight.
    3. I have a terrific family who love me despite my faults.
    4. I have a husband whom I adore, and who loves me even when I’m not at my best.
    5. I am blessed to still have my mother and mother-in-law.
    6. I have two cute, rambunctious, fun, happy, sweet, lovable grandchildren.
    7. Said grandchildren seem to want me around a lot.
    8. I have a part time job, despite the stagnant economy.
    9. My husband escaped the ax at work again, and remains employed.
    10. I published a book.
    11. People like my book. (A friend told me just today that she loves it and can’t put it down).
    12. I am ready to publish another book.
    13. I have made many new friends because of my writing endeavor.
    14. I still have many longtime friends.
    15. I ran a half marathon.
    16. I live in a cute, cozy house.
    17. I am blessed to have a husband who knows how to work on cars. That way we save money, which makes up for the embarrassment I feel when my brakes squeal.
    18. I have a flower garden and a vegetable garden.
    19. I have plenty of plans for the coming year.
    20. I have the love of Jesus Christ.

    If all of the above are sustained in 2015 I will have more than a great year 🙂 I wish each and every friend and reader a happy, healthy New Year.

    IMG_0295