On Writing – From Best Friend to Nemesis

A best friend turned to nemesis is a common occurrence in story telling. The evolution of a main character’s archenemy is something that doesn’t happen instantaneously. It has been brewing through time, and is usually preceded by an unfortunate event that most likely involves directly or indirectly, the other best friend (usually a main character). When writing the deterioration of this relationship, the history/background of the two characters is important, but mostly, the actual interaction between them is. Whether this unraveling occurs due to a supernatural or perfectly natural event, the relationship and interaction between the two (or more) characters cannot remain the same. Writing has to reflect that.

In The Dinorah Chronicles, Hael, an embodiment of evil via supernatural origins, is Dinorah Sandbeck’s nemesis. When a supernatural event is the cause for the “turning of the coat,” the vilifying of the other character seems a bit less complex and left to the imagination of the writer. When natural/human issues are involved, the vilifying becomes a bit more humanized, thus exploring the psyche of both characters, hopefully without risking to bore the reader. I think that too much detail/drama that is prolonged in the natural deterioration of the relationship between both characters becomes boring; at least for me as a reader, it is. Whether natural or supernatural, this vilification process has to evolve over time, have a history, and a clear motive throughout the story, which is developed and supported mostly via dialog and prose, sometimes even description, and through other secondary characters.

Throughout a series, the archenemy can remain the same, be a different character(s), or even be reborn into a different physical vessel that embodies the original evil essence. Sometimes, this nemesis can be a duality, a part of the main character, one that is awakened through a devastating psychological, physical event, or a combination, that leaves a permanent mark in the character’s persona. The important aspect on this friend/nemesis evolution is that there is a thread that the reader can easily follow throughout the story or series.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to add your take on this topic.

On Writing Prophecy

All tips I share on this blog are based on my experience, on what I have learned in my journey as a writer. I understand that every writer has her/his own road to take, own style, writing goals, work ethic … so what I share here is based on my perception, as far as my pathway takes me. When I wrote The Dinorah Chronicles, I did not plan to include a prophet in the series. This character appeared unexpected, and pretty much wrote itself – a child named Jenna Callaway, who was confused and scared about the gift of prophecy. Jenna did not know she had this gift. Dinorah Sandbeck, the main character in the series, helps her develop her gift, and eventually, the last prophecy comes through Jenna in the last book- Sunrise Souls. At first, Jenna wrote (in Latin) the words that she heard in her mind, without understanding the meaning. She kept it a secret, until she met Dinorah in book 2 of the chronicles. She delivers as few prophecies throughout books 2 and 3 (The Book of Sharon/Sunrise Souls).

Other than thinking that the wording/content should sound ancient/old, I did not have any other guidelines on how to write these prophecies. I relied on the deep connection that I felt with the story and the character throughout the series, and this is how these prophecies came about. These wrote themselves, and by that I mean that the flow of the words through the pen was smooth, not forced or over developed by a thought process. Here is a short excerpt of Jenna’s first prophecy. It is about a page long, and the rest of it can be found on The Book of Sharon on page 95.

“Write; write these words so the lost can find them, for they are searching in the days when love is scarce and the ego consumes the spirit. Do not think that I have abandoned thee, for when the heart searches, the soul is ready to receive. I am close to every soul of my creation. I do not cry with the vane, but with the humble, the seeker of truth, and the pure in spirit. When they cry, I console. Their path I make soft, their days I turn bright; not even the stars can equal in light. For the light I give is of the spirit, and the love I pour covers their scars. The heart I console, the mind I heal, the spirit I refresh.” (The Dinorah Chronicles – The Book of Sharon)

As a writer, I wish I could tell you more on writing prophecies for a story, but I did not follow any specific guidelines or writing rules, other than feeling connected to the story and letting the pen flow freely, as it wished. In my experience, there has to be a connection when writing a story, otherwise the story does not flow, feels forced, and sometimes, I cannot write even a word if I feel the connection is missing. There are many ways in which you can connect with your story, and as personal and varied as writing is for you – writing everyday or when you feel it is the best time of day, clearing your mind before you write, whether that is exercising, taking a walk in nature ,,, relaxing, or anything that feeds your inspiration. In my case, I love to observe nature, and I always say a short prayer before I write. Whatever fuels your pen, and makes you closer to your story. Sometimes, it is just simplicity in our lives.

The Book of Sharon (Book 2 The Dinorah Chronicles) is available in eBook and paperback via Amazon.

On Writing Anarths and Other Celestial Beings

When I think of heaven, I think of blue and white (Photo by M.A.D.)

When I set out to write Moonlit Valley, I didn’t know it would take me to a highly organized, supernatural world that operated on Earth through many beings, one kind called Anarths. Anarths are celestial beings who take human form in order to fulfill their assigned duty on Earth. They do not age, possess strength and speed abilities, are capable of traveling between realms in less than milliseconds, and possess enhanced senses, hence why human emotions overwhelm them. They are sentinels of Earth and they monitor and protect key humans who are important in human evolution according to a divine plan. They are not angels, and are a few ranks below.

Writing Anarths presented a challenge – they were not humans but they had to act human-like. However, for the sake of these characters in the story, they had to be written in a distinctive way, that is, aside from their supernatural qualities. They also could not resemble each other or act like clones; they owned their personality on Earth. They experienced emotions, so they could not behave like robots or android-like. They had to present a soul-like side, even that they didn’t have souls. Description/descriptive behavior and characteristics were good to a certain point, so I relied on dialog to achieve this.

Another challenge that presented itself later on, when these characters made it to The Dinorah Chronicles, which had a story time lapse of 20 plus years forward, was the need to evolve them along with the humans they interacted previously, but because they didn’t age, they could not be “totally present” in some parts of the story. They had to act more human-like across the whole series/story and throughout the years, but also develop a familiarity with certain key human characters in the story. All this had to be reflected in the dialog throughout the trilogy. Because they had blended well with humans, they had acquire certain personality and behavior patterns that had to be reflected in the trilogy. Simply, they could not have remained the same. One way to achieve this was to make them sort of “break a few rules” but without sacrificing their righteousness. Their personalities and behavior throughout the series had to evolve without being to evident, because after all, they had a divine makeup, and a divine purpose/duty, which had to remain untouched by me (the writer). An example of this is prohibited and brief, but necessary, negotiations with a neutral element of The Other Side in order to obtain information that would advance the cause.

A simple example of the use of dialog in the early stages of an Anarth who has been assigned on Earth but has not spent enough time or develop many human relationships yet, would be something like this:

Human dialog“Hey, why are you not going?” or roughly “Hey, why aren’t you going?”

An Anarth would say it like this – “What is the reason for you not attending?” or “Does your intended absence has a purpose?” or “Is there a purpose to your absence?” There are many ways to construct the sentence, many variations, but all intending a certain degree of order.

Another simple example.

Human “Do you want lunch?”

Anarth“Are you in need of nourishment?”

An Anarth in the early stages of human contact would not say “can’t” instead, he/she would say “can not.” As relationships become stronger, the dialog evolves, thus becoming more relaxed. The darker (evil) the character, the more impersonal and less “caring” the dialog became. Writing these characters was fun and I learned much from their interaction and evolution throughout the story as I wrote them.

Moonlit Valley and The Dinorah Chronicles are available via Amazon in eBook and paperback.

After the Storm

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.

2 Timothy 1:7

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.

After the storm roses. Their color is so rich and beautiful.

The Damsels of Cain

In The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy, evil is personified via an organized well-funded group named The Damsels of Cain. The Damsels of Cain is a female-run organization spread all over the world, and its male disciples are under female leadership. Males wear a mark in the left wrist, while woman wear it in the right wrist – a black tulip inside a pentacle. Their main leader is Dana Ringold. The Damsels of Cain are led by evil. Their purpose is to recruit young females to establish as many chapters throughout the planet. They congregate in secret temples all over the world, where they initiate new members, baiting them with the allure of riches and power. Their main objective is to target influential men in various organizations (science, politics, technology …) to eventually obtain unified political power on the planet. Once they have achieve this, evil can reign on Earth.

The Blue Lily Society is the counterpart to this group. It is a society established centuries ago with the sole purpose of serving good and protect key individuals. They pose as ladies social clubs to maintain anonymity. They raised Dinorah Sandbeck, the main character, and the one who leads the decoding of a new Earth and the awakening of the Sunrise Souls. Together, and along with divine intervention, they must prevent the rise of evil.

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. Isaiah 65:17

If interested, you can find The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy on Amazon in eBook and paperback formats.

RAMBLINGS OF THE SPIRIT
THE BOOK OF SHARON
SUNRISE SOULS

Sunrise Souls Serendipity

Sunrise Souls is the last book in The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy. This post is about a happy coincidence that happened one day at an antiques market. Serendipity?

Sunrise Souls 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 for her last adventure. 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. (The Dinorah Chronicles – Sunrise Souls)

I love old things. I also like religious art; I find it intriguing as well as beautiful, whether it is a painting or a statue, or even a piece of old jewelry. The detail is gorgeous in many of these pieces. When I lived in New Jersey, I used to visit antique markets/shops from time to time. One day, I was browsing the items one seller had to offer, an older Hungarian man I had bought from before. He was a pleasant man, calm, very polite, and always with a smile on his face. As I kept browsing, I noticed he went to look for something. He came back with a beautiful statue and smiling he said, “This one is for you, a gift.” I said thank you and offered to pay for it but he insisted it was a gift. So I thanked him again, and conversed with him a bit before paying for other items, and then I left. Later on, I realized I had forgotten to ask him about the religious statue, so I researched as much as I could about it. One of the searches took me to Rignano Garganico. I became excited; “What are the odds?” I thought. I was writing a novel that was taking place in that same place, a place not widely known. I found out that it is a statue of Saint Roche (San Rocco), patron of Rignano Garganico, Italy (Saint day is August 16). I did not know what to think; it was a beautiful coincidence. Perplexity, awe, amazement, these words describe best what I felt when I came across the information. It was the last time I saw the old man. I did not get the chance to visit him once more, and I moved to Virginia. One question hovers in my mind until this day – how did he know, or did he?

Here is a picture of this beautiful gift. Even with its chipped parts, there is beauty on this piece, and I love the detail and the colors, which the picture does not show well.

Saint Roche vintage statue.

The beautiful old statue sits in my office, on a bookshelf, a pleasant reminder of the mysteries of life, and it serves as inspiration when the inkwell seems a bit dry.

The Dinorah Chronicles – Sunrise Souls (Book 3)

SUNRISE SOULS

“As light breaks the shadows so does my light will shine upon the Sunrise Souls. They will shine their light upon this world, and my light will pour in blessings to humanity. The planet will hear of my love, and from the four corners of the world a voice will sound as thunder, announcing my kingdom, the Kingdom of Love.”

(The Dinorah Chronicles -Sunrise Souls)

Sunrise Souls is the last book in The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy. It is the conclusion and fulfilment of Dinorah Sandbeck’s birthright. This book encompasses the main story, Dinorah’s story, and fulfills books one and two. The way the trilogy is written, each book stands for itself, and one can read any book without having to read the others first. However, the main story permeates all three novels, and there is a bond that keeps the trilogy together.

Writing this last book was challenging in the sense of pulling it all together – Dinorah’s quest and her reason for being, the prophecies, as well as each character’s role individually while weaving the main story. Every character came together in purpose. I enjoyed writing this book as it was taking me along with the ending of the story. Because I prefer writing single stories more than trilogies or series, it was also a relief.

Throughout the trilogy, the characters have evolved and this is more obvious in this book. Dinorah Sandbeck has fully accepted her birthright, and in the process accepted herself; her Human and Anarth sides have finally come together. Not only is she stronger but has found her peace. Sometimes the thing that we fight the most can bring us to the peace we crave.

All my books can be found on Amazon in eBook and paperback formats.

The Dinorah Chronicles – Ramblings of the Spirit (Book 1)

RAMBLINGS OF THE SPIRIT

Ramblings of the Spirit is the first book in The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy. It is the introduction of the main character, Dinorah Sandbeck, half-Human, half Anarth. It is also the door to the trilogy, presenting her origins, her life so far, her birthright, and her quest. It is set 19 years after Moonlit Valley, the novel that inspired the chronicles.

When I wrote Ramblings of the Spirit, I was not sure where I was headed with the story. I knew it was about the main character’s quest, however, there was no outline, as it is usually the case when I start a novel. This novel introduces Dinorah’s secret world, her birthright, as well as her personal battle between self, love, and duty.

When I wrote Moonlit Valley, I did not intend to spin off a trilogy from it but it happened that way. It was not planned, although it seemed a natural development once I started to write Ramblings of the Spirit. Dinorah’s first struggles with her birthright begin to be defined on this first book. It is reflected on this passage, a message for Dinorah at the time she did not understand her quest.

“Your heart is troubled, your mind seeks truth, your soul aches for it, but you are afraid to look for the answers. Why do you ask then, if you will not search deep enough for the truth to reveal itself? I give you freedom to follow your path, the path created for your soul, or to take your own road-turn. There your freedom rests, in the moment when your realize the difference and start your journey. Are you willing to sacrifice your own perception for the journey that will take you to the perfect place? Your human form limits your perception, but the soul knows the path, and you can perceive your soul’s whispering. I guide you; it is up to you to search deeper into your soul and hear the whisperings, the roadmap to your becoming. Only when you know that, will you be free, and there will be no stone in your path, or rope on your hands that will prevent your spirit from being free. Know that you, only you, can do this, and that is where freedom lives.”

Writing this novel was exciting as it was the first book in the trilogy, and I was discovering this new world along with the main character. I would be lying if I don’t admit it was thrilling, from a writer’s point of view. I admire authors who mainly write series because it is not an easy endeavor. There are many elements to consider between books – time lapse, aging and progression of characters, dropping and creation of characters, and so many other elements important for the progression of the central story which is weaved throughout the series, and of course, each book is a separate story in itself. I think a single story is easier to develop than a series.

The last book in the trilogy is called Sunrise Souls, and it is the culmination of Dinorah’s quest, and the fulfillment of it. Throughout the trilogy, Dinorah has to confront evil in its different forms, from subtle to scary. For those who might be interested, all my books are found on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats. There is a direct link on the Novels tab of this blog.

The Dinorah Chronicles – The Book of Sharon

The Book of Sharon is book 2 of The Dinorah Chronicles. I have to say that I have not talked about it much on this blog, mostly when I announced its release. Over the next few days, I will be talking a bit about some of my novels, in no particular order. The Dinorah Chronicles is a trilogy, and each book was written to stand on its own. You don’t have to read the previous to know what is happening on the next.

Of the three books, The Book of Sharon was the one that was a bit more complicated or challenging to write, and that is simply because it was Dinorah’s book, and parts of it had to be made known throughout the story. A book inside a book, inside a book, sort of, if I was to describe it. It uses a different type of writing, as the content of The Book of Sharon was an ancient book given to Dinorah Sandbeck to protect and make it known later on, as well as to guide her. Dinorah, the main character, is half-human and half-Anarth. At first, she did not care for her birthright, but later on she learned to embrace it. Throughout the trilogy, the process of this acceptance is ongoing. She had to deliver the message contained in the ancient book, a message for the human race, however she had to do this without revealing her Anarth ancestry.

What is an Anarth? Anarths are highly evolved beings who are part celestial and part human when they take human form to fulfill their duty. Their purpose is to live on Earth, as sentinels. They monitor an protect key humans who are important in human evolution, and ensure that blue prints are being executed according to the divine plan.

Here is a very small excerpt from Chapter 6 – A Song of Hope for Earth. It is the content of one of the pages of Dinorah’s book, which she reveals from the ancient tome.

“Your heart is concerned with the troubles of humanity, yet humanity is not concerned with its own. See that I have said what I have said, and it is written: let who wants to hear, hear, and who wants to see, see. I take my children and gather them from all corners of the earth, and I deposit them safely, because a new Earth is emerging … Sickness in the souls is the sickness of this planet.”

Chapter 22 – Kindness – The Path to Love (excerpt)

“To love all, may appear impossible; the heart hurts, the mind uses judgement, but the soul longs for the expression of pure love. It is the essence in all, and the true identity of the Spirit. When we look at the transgression of another with kindness instead of judgement, the doors of understanding open, and the path towards love reveals ahead. It is a journey that all must make, in different ways, one path, different roads leading to the expression of the soul wanting to manifest its essence, pure love… Be kind to one another, so you can walk the path of love, and in love, become.”

This book is more about Dinorah’s quest, the reveal, and the content of the ancient book, the secret code, and the book of the great battle. However, it is weaved throughout the main story in a way that flows with it, as part of Dinorah’s book. It is the introduction to the Sunrise Souls, which is the main essence of the last book in the trilogy – Sunrise Souls. Ramblings of the Spirit, the first book in the trilogy, is more about the introduction of Dinorah’s quest, her battle, and her supernatural background, along with the introduction of the ancient prophecies. Overall, writing this trilogy was challenging and fun, and required a mind of its own at times. I will share more about the other books in the trilogy on future posts.

The Book of Sharon

The Book of Sharon is available on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

Release of Sunrise Souls

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.

Here is a shot of the cover, and a bit about it. It is available via Amazon and Createspace in paperback and eBook.

sunrise soulscover2

Sunrise Souls

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.