What if your main character did not have a face but had them all? When I wrote The Five-dollar Miracle I took a risk, and unusual approach – I did not describe the main character physically, instead, I described every character in the story, except Pastor Neil Beckham. However, I had a clear purpose for doing this. I wanted the main character to appeal to every reader, this due to the nature of the story. To be able to get away with a faceless main character, I made sure to focus on the character’s personality, psyche, emotions, and personal history. In this way, the physical attributes took a secondary place and were able to disappear, blend with the story, thus becoming less important. By describing every other character, their stories became alive as well, however, always strongly linked to the main character. Every other character in the story became a support for this faceless main character. In this way, the reader could imagine him in his own way, and tailor him to his/her own reading experience, but mostly because The Five-dollar Miracle is an inspirational story. Because of the nature of the story, I was able to get away with it, however, this approach would not have worked for any other of my novels. Three readers who enjoyed the story very much, did not even realized that there was no description, and each person imagined him in a very different way. I took a risk taking that route, however, in order to do that, the rest of the characters became an important part on this decision, So far, it seems to have worked out.
Life is not always fair. Sometimes, we are presented with heavy blows and challenges so difficult or unfair that we may think we don’t have any strength left to deal with life. I know; I have been there myself a few times. It is on those tempestuous days when it is easier to go with the flow, walk with a clouded mind, because even thinking hurts (and forget about feeling, you can even go there), that we think less of ourselves. It is as we are punishing ourselves for life’s dealings and for not being the perfect hero we should be. We are fed a heroic image since our childhood, and when we cannot be even a third of that image, we think that we might be the biggest failures on the planet. Well, if anything, we are human, very human, and being human is not an excuse for stopping and letting people and situations use us as a punching bag, neither an excuse to be less. We must pause, yes, but to recharge, to ponder, to regain perspective, and to continue the journey, fair or unfair as it might seem. There is an adage that goes “Pick up the pieces and keep going,” or something along those lines. The “keep going” part is not the difficult part. The hard part is to “pick up the pieces.” When your life has been shattered in billion pieces, at one point, when you are bending as much and as long as you can to pick up those pieces, and each piece reflects back a part of you, you start counting them, and the task seems unsurmountable. That is why it might be easier to go at it one piece at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time, without counting, recounting, or even regretting what has already been recounted more than once. Life can present us with light showers, heavy storms, and even hurricanes, at any time. It is call living. So we are not the heroes we though we grew up to be? Then we must change suits, and suit up for the occasion, as best as we can under the circumstances. We cannot do it alone? Who said we had to do it alone? God is there at all times, whether we choose to see it or not, and Jesus is just waiting for us to call on him. We don’t have to go it alone if we don’t want to. We tend to be hard on ourselves, and less forgiving. We place so much pressure on ourselves, sometimes more than God puts on us. After all, He wants us to love Him, love one another, and welcome His son Jesus into our lives. That sounds less demanding to me than being Mr./Mrs. Perfect – Know it all – Super Performer Hero/Heroine that bleeds success when poked, and is unstoppable. Aspiring is beautiful, achieving is lovely and rewarding in its own way as well, but it is not the only important thing. Our soul is, and it is very easy to lose track of it in the storms of life.
We are all humans and life is not always fair; however, we can start seeing the diamonds in the rain, one by one. God put them there for a reason.
Last week, we had tropical storm Zeta pass by our county. Our area received strong winds and lots of rain. At one point, I became a bit worried about the roof. Will it hold? Immediately, a favorite Bible verse came to mind. It is one I have written on a blackboard in the kitchen.
Having experienced hurricanes Irene and Sandy when I lived in Jersey, both late fall big storms, I realized that my worries were valid, however, a bit out of proportion. Our minds play games when we feel vulnerable. We all experience many seasons in life, some more challenging than others, but through it all we survive, learn, and become stronger. Although fear is a normal human emotion, if we let it take root in our lives it will prevent growth and development.
As writers, we attempt to portray our characters as real and believable as we can. Even super heroes experience fear and face it. That is the moment when transition happens, followed by growth and development. Characters evolve through the progression of the story; they don’t remain the same. They grow and continue to evolve whether that evolution ends up being positive or negative. A character may experience fear and learn, grow from it as it conquers it, or become paralyzed and eventually, destroyed by it. The important issue here is that characters don’t remain the same, at the same level throughout the story unless the writer has a specific goal and determines so; however, with purpose.
Sometimes, fear comes from not understanding something or from denial, and many times, denial comes from fear, thus perpetuating a circle. Whatever the outcome, a character will advance the plot. Dinorah Sandbeck, the main character on The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy, resisted her birthright in part because of denial and fear of the unknown. Once she gave in to knowledge and acceptance, she was able to embrace her purpose and ultimately become. However, you can see this transition happening and evolving throughout the trilogy. At the end, she becomes what she was meant for, and fulfills her birthright. The Dinorah Chronicles is available in paperback and eBook formats via Amazon.
We face many storms during our lifetime, some stronger than others, but ultimately, the human spirit holds on and goes on with the help of God. When the winds stopped I expected to see a mess outside, and thought that the few flowers that were left in the garden would be gone for good. Yesterday, I spotted this through my window, and I thought, it is never too late neither hopeless.
I came across this open letter to President Donald J. Trump from Archbishop Vigano, and I was very intrigued as to why this has not been shared on the news more, and not at all on the news channels I watch regularly. It warns the president about a global reset, and a system that is created to erased our rights and freedoms, and that has been instituted in other countries, and is to be implemented by the end of this year in more countries. If you are familiar with Catholic hierarchy, then you understand why this was such a bold move from this Archbishop. I found it so interesting because of his use of words that I decided to share the letter here, and let you make up your mind about it. If anything, it makes you ponder. I also find many similarities with The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy, hence why I am sharing it.
With everything that is going on these days, pandemic news, and all, sometimes one has to look elsewhere and see. This is one of my favorite psalms, and I find it beautiful, so I decided to share its beauty here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do because it is truly lovely and sweet.
Psalm 148 (All creation summoned to praise)
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
give praise in the heights.
Praise him, all you angels;
give praise all you hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
give praise all shining stars.
Praise him, highest heavens,
you waters above the heavens.
Let them all praise the Lord’s name;
for the Lord commanded and they were created,
Assigned them duties forever,
gave them tasks that will never change.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deep waters;
You lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
storm winds that fulfill his command;
You mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars;
You animals wild and tame,
you creatures that crawl and fly;
You kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all who govern on earth;
Young men and women too,
old and young alike.
Let them all praise the Lord’s name,
for his name alone is exalted,
majestic above earth and heaven.
The Lord has lifted high the horn of his people;
to the glory of all the faithful,
of Israel, the people near to their God.
Finally! Sunrise Souls is published. It is the last book of The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy. The other books in the trilogy are Ramblings of the Spirit (Book 1) and The Book of Sharon (Book 2). The trilogy was inspired by my first novel Moonlit Valley, and is set 20 years after, which presented a challenge with Time, as far as aging and evolving certain characters without affecting the integrity of the first novel.
Sunrise Souls took a bit longer than anticipated, and I think I felt a bit more pressure because it was the last book, and what the first book set to fulfill, as far as the purpose of the protagonist – Dinorah Sandbeck – the last book had to reveal and complete. Although each book is written in a way that you don’t need to read the previous to know what is going on, each book is part of the big story – Dinorah’s purpose – and at the end, it is fulfilled. It was a challenge, but I feel that the trilogy had good closure, and I feel at peace with my protagonist.
This one is set in Rignano Garganico, Italy. Rignano Garganico is a southern little town in the Province of Foggia, Italy. It is a jewel, a little secret that sits atop a mountain, and rich in history, as it dates back to medieval times. When I imagined the setting of this book, I had in mind a picture of where I wanted Dinorah Sandbeck to be located. I knew it had to be in Italy, but preferably not near the Vatican, as this location plays a part in the story. I had a strong mental image, but had no idea where to find this place; so I armed myself with Google Earth, and asked, “If I was Dinorah Sandbeck, where would I go?” Immediately, I felt a pull to the area, and started my search nearby, and soon enough, I found myself navigating the streets of Rignano Garganico. It was a magical and serendipitous moment; it was the image I had in mind, and more. So I dedicated time to research as much as I could, although I didn’t find much information, but what I found was enough to give me a background on this enchanting place.
Here is a small excerpt from Sunrise Souls – The southern little town in the province of Foggia sat atop a mountain, as if it was the entrance to heaven. The crisp white clouds were reminiscent of watching angels, only to be forgotten by the observer when the valleys bellow revealed a majestic panorama. At first, I was intrigued by it, but now, I was enchanted. Rignano Garganico was growing in my heart.
There were a few times when I found many coincidental facts with my story, and I felt “at home.” This is something that I’ve heard many writers talk about, and experienced as well – the many coincidences they find when writing a story, serendipity. Throught the writing of the chronicles, I found myself smiling many times.
The Time is Now!
As the Sunrise Souls awake to embrace the decoding of a New Dawn – a new era for Earth and its inhabitants – a prophecy unveils. Dinorah Sandbeck, half-Human and half-Anarth, leads the decoding of a new Earth. As it was written, “Sunrise Souls, embrace your essence, and in doing so, fulfill the prophecy of a new dawn, the birth of a new Earth – 000.
So what now? I am happy to have done justice to my characters, and I am ready for the next novel. I don’t think that I will write another trilogy for a while; I prefer a single story, but that doesn’t mean that I am done writing trilogies or a series. I have several novels in mind, however, I will write the one that screams to be written now. This is something that I learned about myself as a writer sometime ago, and experienced more as I wrote The Dinorah Chronicles, and that is that in a way, a trilogy ties me down, and that is because I can only write one book at a time. For some reason, I cannot write multiple stories at once; it is not my writing style, and I can only eat and breathe one book at a time. I admire authors who can split their energy and inspiration into multiple stories at once.
Each book is an education in itself, and a writer always learns, experiences, and discovers new things via the story that he/she writes because it becomes a living entity that continues to evolve, even when the writer has written the last word, the end. It lives in the mind, the soul, and even the spirit of the writer, and it may stay there, or reappear years or decades after. No one knows, even the writer.
I dream more books that I can write. I am a dreamer in every sense of the word. Today I wrote the last chapter of Sunrise Souls, the end of the trilogy – The Dinorah Chronicles. It took longer than anticipated, moving the December 2014 deadline to March 2015, and going past that deadline to the last week of April, today. This is the first draft, and now the hard work starts – rewriting, editing, and going through several drafts until it is ready for publication. I am very happy, and the last chapters have been written while I am going through excruciating lower back pain, taking breaks here and there, as the chair feels like a torture device, and my bed turned into a nail bed. Hey, it is all good.
The cover has been finalized, and I even ordered promo cards. Originally, I had a deadline of May 2015 for publication, pending for now, of course, due the amount of work that needs to be done. The experience of writing the last book in the trilogy was a bit different. I felt the pressure of the ending, as I became more critical of my writing. In addition, my health was challenged last year, my mood declined, and it added to the anxiety of meeting my expectations. Thinking of every roadblock I encountered, I don’t think that I performed too badly, as far as having the first draft ready today. I am grateful for that.
My next novel is waiting for me, and I think that I’ll put trilogies aside for a while. I have several novels waiting to be written, but I am letting the one that speaks louder to me become my next project. It is a process that I’ve learned to recognize as it filters to mind during my day, and captures my thoughts in the evening, sometimes making its way into my dreams. It demands to be written, thus muting the voice of the other possible novels.
I’ll share my progress here, and for now, here is a lovely picture of the first draft of Sunrise Souls.
Life is a cycle. We are born, grow up, mature, age, and die, but during that time, we are being reborn over and over, not only physically as our organism regenerates, but also, mentally and spiritually. We go trough many experiences that shape and mold our thinking, our souls, leading to spiritual growth while developing our humanity. This growth is as personal as it can get, individual and unique. What may seem unfair for someone is what the person/spirit needs to advance to the next level.
Imagine a perfect life where everything is in balance at all times, where there is no conflict and things always work the way it is expected. How can there be growth? Many times, we observe the person who seems to have the perfect life according to our definition of “the perfect life” and that person seems to be going through a rough patch. Immediately, we put on our judgement glasses and we cannot understand how is possible for Mr. or Mrs. Perfect Life to even feel challenged in her/his environment. Our human minds cannot accept or comprehend it. However, if we take off our judgement glasses and put on spiritual glasses we see that the person is going through his/her own growth cycle and the experience is unique, and at a different level than our own. What that person feels and experiences is what is necessary for the spirit to move along the journey. Sometimes there is growth and sometimes there isn’t, and that is a decision that every soul in the planet has to make according to the choices presented and the opportunity to choose. The adage, “To each, its own” says it well.
When we are experiencing the challenges of life, the opportunities to grow spiritually and humanely, we get the chance to reevaluate our lives, the challenge, past and present experiences, and look into the future with new eyes. We are given the opportunity to leave behind what does not fit anymore, and change armor. We all do it throughout our lives, at our own level and pace. In order to grow, it is necessary to leave behind that which does not fit our Now.
Hate, war, pestilence, blood, deceit …
The legacy of human beings.
Oh God, why create such intellectual filth?
Nature does not need this sickness within.
The more I think, the more I see,
Faith slowly morphs into pain, hopeless disbelief.
Thin needles slowly prick a cold blue heart,
Bleeding its love, ice melts divine.
Oh God, why save such impure hearts?
Isn’t Earth better without virus-man?
Why not clean Earth, wipe us all out?
Have you ever thought of taking us out?
With a heavy heart a true voice I heard,
Buried deep in ice, breaking through mind’s cares.
“Many times I thought of doing just that,
Then I saw the one carrying a just heart.”
“Oh Child, there I saw
My early gifts bestowed,
Love, peace, compassion, trust, hope…
The pain and desire for a better world.”
“Love thriving in one changed a multitudes fate,
Then the one I sent with divine intent.”
“Pure love made flesh, the ultimate gift,
Myself wrapped in him to wipe all the sin.”
Oh God, nothing changed, I still see the same.
Destruction, pain, and so much hate.
I close my eyes to not awake,
Hoping not to see another such day.
“Oh child of mine, your cares I see.
I see the pain, the heart within.”
“If only you would let Him in,
The love you need will pour right in.”
Oh God, you know the world is not me,
The love of one enough won’t be.
Maybe it is best to let me be,
I close my eyes; I rest in peace.
“Oh child of mine, did not I say,
That for the one my love remained?”
“The virus-man Love inoculates,
Today I listened, and you I heard.”
Wishing all a Happy Holiday Season. I will be back on January. In the meantime, I leave you with this Christmas poem I just wrote. I hope you enjoy it.
A snowflake shimmers
Falling down to Earth
A blanket of purity
Awaiting a birth.
Far away a star twinkles bright the night,
Diamonds on velvet
The firmament shines,
Announcing King, Child.
The hay in the manger
Keeps Majesty warm,
While chorus of Angels
Sing quiet nearby.
A mother and father
Observe with delight,
A Savior from heaven,
Their innocent child.
Whenever you see a snowflake, a star
Or nested the Earth in the eyes of a child,
Think of Heaven’s Love
For you, wrapped up on that night.