In Between the Lines – Good vs. Evil

The topic of Good vs. Evil fascinates me. Since I was a child, this idea has evolved being shaped by my upbringing, religion, stories that my grandmother told, urban legends, books, Hollywood movies … in short, by how my mind made sense of all this, and how it interpreted it in the material and spiritual. Although good and evil might seem as black and white, I suspect that there are many shades of gray in between, and our human nature battles in the midst, making sense of it all. If anything, we deserve credit for that. This theme is present in my novels as well.

As a species we thrive in the material contributing to the good and bad on this planet. As spiritual beings we strive to do better. Whether you believe or not in the concept of good vs. evil, of God and the Devil, yin and yang, polarities … or however you want to explain this duality or antithesis, the reality is that we all get sucked in by its allure and fascination, even if you practice atheism – engaging in a hot topic. Good vs. Evil captures the human mind since the beginning of the Homo Sapiens (wise man) or Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, if you prefer that version.

According to one of the most influential books in history, Adam and Eve were seduced by evil, and disobeyed God. But before this, Lucifer had become the devil, and taken a few fallen angels with him. Cain ( son of Adam and Eve) had a bit to do with evil as well. And this is where the concept of evil gets interesting and were shades of gray start painting shades of humanity. When we think of Cain, immediately, we process in our minds (if you know the story or read it in the Bible) that his sin was the act of killing his brother Abel. Yes this was a horrible offense, and so far the first murder in the Bible, since mankind was born. However, the book of Genesis tells a more interesting story – what happened before the murder. What was it?

This is what the book of Genesis tells us about the sin before the sin (in short). This is from the New International Version.

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4: 3-7)

 

It seems that Cain got upset and jealous of Abel because God liked Abel’s offering better than his. Why this? Upon reading this passage it shows that Abel offered God the fat portions from the first-born of the flock, in other words, the best of the best. While Cain gave “some of the fruits of the soil” or in other words, a good-enough offering, but not the best of the best. And this is what God saw, and I guess that he read both brothers hearts in the offerings, and why he liked one offering better than the other.  This made Cain angry and jealous of his brother, but God, being God and all, gave him a warning of things to come, if he continued with this attitude (If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” ). This is profound. When I read this, I saw Cain’s sin issue in respect to his brother, in a new light, and it made me think of the layers of depth in the concept of good vs. evil. These few verses have so much to chew on, but it was this prelude to Cain’s sin of murder that fascinated me the most. Then, I thought – Why did Cain give a mediocre offering? What was going through his mind? It was this thinking that started it all. Then, I came up with a possible explanation. Since Cain worked the land very hard to yield some crops, must likely he knew that his goodies were hard to come by and with much effort (after all, this wasn’t Eden anymore and he had to work for it) therefore, he gave “some.” In other words, he was being stingy with the one who gave and made all – his God. Again, this is so profound because it reveals another layer. In venturing to read Cain’s thought and personality, I think that he had a trust issue. He lacked Trust. Cain was not so sure that God would provide for him, therefore, he was a bit stingy with his offering, and this was in my opinion, Cain’s first offense. He did not trust his Creator and he did not show his trust/love in his offering like Abel did. This attitude was the catalyst that opened the gates that caused Abel’s blood to flow by his hand.

Pondering the shades between Good and Evil may help us to write better and deeper characters, and to craft a story that would give the reader more layers to peel. As writers, we should not be stingy with our offering to the reader, and always try to give the best of the best, according to our ability.

 

Next In Between the Lines topic – Trust

Taken Over – The Book of Sharon

As I might have mentioned before, now I am writing Book 2 of The Dinorah Chronicles – The Book of Sharon.  I have to say that the approach to this book has taken me on a different journey, one that I did not plan but simply followed.  Most of the time I don’t follow an outline, if an outline happens, it does while I am writing and for “memory” reasons, so I don’t forget and keep things in perspective, and don’t forget important issues that should be resolved throughout the novel.  Must likely, I don’t necessarily know how the story is going to end, although I may have a faint idea.  Sometimes, I think of something but it happens that a character has a better idea, and I follow – I let go.  Must of the time, I find that this approach lets everything fall into place and all ties come together in the end.  This is what happened with Ramblings of the Spirit (Book 1) – it set the path for The Book of Sharon.

This presents a challenge for me, as I am writing the story that I want to write, however this time, the story contains the book of the main character, which is also the contents of an ancient book.  It is a book inside a book inside a book – I hope you understood that.  It is a more complicated way of writing but I am up to the challenge thanks to Dinorah Sandbeck, the main character.  Of course, I am excited about writing it, but also on beating the deadline of publishing before the end of the year, and ideally, by the end of summer/beginning of fall.  It is a tight deadline, thanks to Dinorah Sandbeck.  This of course, presents another challenge, not only will I have to write in my voice, but in Dinorah’s writing voice, and in the ancient tome’s style as well.  No wonder why I have gone through so many cups of coffee during the day.  I am honestly feeling the pressure from these two characters – yes, the ancient tome became a character in Ramblings of the Spirit, although it was introduced in Moonlit Valley – my first novel and the story who gave birth to The Dinorah Chronicles.

So this is what is going on with the second book in The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy, and this is why you see the counter at the upper right corner of this blog, as a constant reminder of the contract that I have with my characters, with the readers, and with myself.  I have worked on the design of the cover as well, although it is not ready yet.

If you are unfamiliar with Moonlit Valley and Ramblings of the Spirit, these are available through Amazon, and you can even preview a bit.  I am also doing a promotion this month for a free kindle download of Ramblings of the Spirit.  And if you want the chance of winning a free paperback of Ramblings of the Spirit, you can like my Facebook page by clicking the button at the right on this page.  You will be entered for a chance to win one of three copies.  The winners will be announced on May 20th.

Since time is ticking and I am not even halfway my story, or Dinorah’s, or the Tome’s, I will try to limit blog posts to two or three a week, most likely two, at least until I have a handle on the first and second drafts.  For the next few months I will be immersed in this novel, much so as a monk writing a doomsday book.  It will be an interesting journey.

Writing the Domesday Book

Writing the Domesday Book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Ramblings of the Spirit Giveaway

I will be giving away three copies of Ramblings of the Spirit, the first book of the trilogy The Dinorah Chronicles.  To enter for a chance to win one of the three copies, just like my Facebook page (link at the right of the screen on this blog) and that is all you have to do.  I will announce the three winners on May 20, which is the birth date of the person to whom I have dedicated this book – my maternal grandmother.

Ramblings of the Spirit is a story about the conflict between Duty, Friendship, and Love. In this paranormal romance, Dinorah Sandbeck, an introverted young librarian, resents her Human-Anarth origins and must find a way to fulfill her birthright duty while keeping the secret. As she learns the Anarth ways, she must follow the teachings of an ancient tome, but she falls in love with James Casey, a journalist, and she struggles to keep her secret safe. She must learn to fight her archenemy Hael and The Other Side, but most of all, she must fight herself. In this battle of Self, Love, and Duty, winning is the least of her concerns.

Excerpt – “I picked up the book again and slowly placed it on my bed. I was not sure if opening it or let it be. I laughed at myself. The impression of the dream was so real in my mind that I thought I felt the book’s heartbeat. I turned to go to the kitchen when I heard a thump. I looked back; the book had opened. This time, I mustered the courage to look at the page. It was the page of the boy and the serpent; however, the image had changed. Now, I was looking at my dream. Spilled all over the ground were human hearts; next to the boy, I saw a key, and next to it a heart with wings that seemed to bleed. I grabbed the loupe from the nightstand to inspect the picture. There were initials printed on the heart – DS. What could it mean? Only one thing came to mind – Dinorah Sandbeck”Chapter 21 – The Thump of the Bleeding Hearts.

 

Book trailer

 

 

 

That was just a bit about the book, and here is a picture of what the lucky winners will be getting – a copy of the book and bookmarks.  If you want the chance to win a copy, please follow the link on this blog to like my Facebook page and enter the giveaway.  Ramblings of the Spirit is available in ebook or paperback through Amazon.

 

THE DINORAH CHRONICLES - RAMBLINGS OF THE SPIRIT - Book 1

THE DINORAH CHRONICLES – RAMBLINGS OF THE SPIRIT – Book 1

 

🙂 Cheers and Good Luck!

 

 

 

On Track – Wow, is it the end of March already?

I am so due for this post, and as I glanced at the calendar, I could not believe that it is the end of March already – someone is playing with time, I tell you – cosmic craziness.  Well, that led me to realize that I am on my way to accomplish the two major goals that I set at the beginning of the year.  These were to publish Moonlit Valley and Ramblings of the Spirit in 2013.  I just worked on the last proof for the past couple of days, and I think that Ramblings of the Spirit will be ready for the beginning of April.  And as you all know, Moonlit Valley is available through Amazon and Smashwords, as well as expanded distribution channels.  As I am looking at things this minute, I think that I will be able to accomplish my third goal of finishing the writing/editing of The Book of Sharon, book 2 of The Dinorah Chronicles. Wish me luck.

Another major goal that hubby and I have for 2013 is to make a huge dent on fixing the farmhouse; however, we have not been able to travel there so far, and the weather has been a bit crummy (makes me feel better).  Now, if I could only win the lottery, that will take care of it; however, the goals for the farmhouse are still in place and we still have three quarters of the year to make it happen – more wishes of luck needed here, so please send all your positive vibrations, good and fairy wishes my way 🙂

And to celebrate, I leave you with my favorite song, and what I think should be the theme song for Moonlit Valley“No Sound But The Wind” by The Editors, and these video is by Youtubers Theseboredkids.  Enjoy it again! Cheers!