The Lowest of Lows to the Highest of Highs

You know that for the last week or so, I've been writing the scenes that take place immediately following Andrew's death. They've been grueling. Challenging. And very painful. Very few people enjoy immersing themselves completely in the mindset of death. Myself included. I much prefer the tears that fall while reading to be tears of joy. Poignant tears. Not sad, depressed tears.

This weekend, I wrote the scene where Emma finally told her sons their father was gone. I thought long and hard about it. How would a grief-stricken mother help her extremely young sons understand their loss? Could they even understand it? I'm not sure. At least initially, I'm sure they won't fully understand what it means to be fatherless. Only as the days go by and they continue to miss him will it gradually sink it. I think. Certainly, I doubt it's even something that would register on a 1-year-old's mind. He would simply recognize that his family was sad. And that his Daddy wasn't there. How will Emma become accustomed to single parenting? And how will she help the boys cope with their loss? These are all questions that have been consuming me this weekend. I've written and re-written. Read and re-read. Then, written some more.

At the same time, last night, I was inspired to write the final chapter. I feel a little like Peter Jackson filming "Lord of the Rings" out of order. It seems strange that I'd be crying with Emma and the boys over Andrew's death, then celebrating Justin and Emma's wedding day---all in the same afternoon and evening. (C'mon. Don't act so surprised. Of course they get married. What kind of love story would it be if they didn't?) I went from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. Kinda like this whole process.

This story has been over two years in progress. I've written like a fiend for weeks at a time, then allowed it to languish for months on end. I've discarded pages upon pages of hard work. I've cried. I've laughed. I've dreaded. And yet I continue to be drawn back to it. Justin and Emma have a story they want to tell....and they won't let me go until it's finished.


Book Review for "Raklin: Secret of the Crystal Key" by Carol Parsons (Kindle Edition)

I will state from the beginning that Mrs. Parsons gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a review. With that being said, however, if I truly had not enjoyed the book, I would not have given it 5 stars. This is the third book in the series, but I had read book # 2, Dictates of Conscience (Journals of the Peregrine), and reviewed it previously.

In this third book of the "Journals of the Peregrine" series, we join Patriots Kynan Craig and Ganet IV as they seek to determine who the true ruler of the planet Raklin is, and what interest the Imperium has with the primitive planet and her people, the Vori. There is something amiss with two of their fellow travelers, a prince of the planet, and an assassin they'd encountered in their previous adventures. Both seem to be hiding motives and secrets. Are they to be trusted? And what of this mysterious crystal that has already seen blood shed for possession of it? They must unravel all of these mysteries while on a long trek though a vast desert wasteland that threatens their very lives.

I am not typically a fan of science fiction novels. Sure, I've enjoyed the "Star Wars" movies over the years. But as I've gotten older, other book genres have claimed my heart. I must be fickle, however, because Mrs. Parson's books have turned my head, interesting me in science fiction once again. Perhaps the best thing of all about her books is that they involve realistic characters in realistic situations. The only difference is location. These characters and situations have been plucked out of "normal" settings and placed into other worlds. You truly need not be a fan of science fiction to enjoy her books.

She is also perhaps one of the best descriptive writers I've read. In this latest book, I became a sixth member of the group struggling for survival in the desert. I could feel the gritty sand pasted to my skin. I could feel the scorching rays of the sun as it baked the desert. I could feel the desperate need for water. Descriptive writing is a skill that, alas, not every writer is blessed with. In my opinion, God has abundantly blessed Mrs. Parsons with this talent.

Yes, I mentioned God. While she is a science fiction writer, she is also a Christian woman who weaves her faith into everything she writes. Including her characters. Some of them serve the One God (His name in the books is Melohi) and everything they do reflects their relationship with Him. They pray to Him. Seek His blessings. But none of it is enough to hinder those who might be "turned off" by religious fiction.

I have thoroughly enjoyed each of Mrs. Parson's books in this series and eagerly anticipate reading more about Kynan's and Ganet's adventures.

Book Review for "Advent Phoenix" by Carol Parsons

I will state from the beginning that Mrs. Parsons gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a review. With that being said, however, if I truly had not enjoyed the book, I would not have given it 5 stars. This is the third book in the series, but I had read book # 2, Dictates of Conscience (Journals of the Peregrine), and reviewed it previously.

"When the black king rules the starry skies, from out his past, his doom comes forth." This cryptic prophesy foretells the downfall of evil Sedric Modos, tyrannical military leader of the Imperium fleets. But will it come to pass? Whom shall bring forth his doom? And will it come too late to save the Patriots and their cause from obliteration? These are the stories of the epic battles between the Patriots and the Imperium, between good and evil. Journey with pilots Kynan Craig and Ganet IV as they and others seek the answers to these questions.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book (even though I'd read them out of order, reading the second book in the series before this one). In "Advent Phoenix", I got a chance to peer into Kynan's history and why he was the person he grew to be in "The Dictates of Conscience". I can't wait to get a glimpse into Ganet's back history as well.

Whether you are a connoisseur of science fiction or not, you will enjoy these books. Mrs. Parson's descriptive writing style is beyond compare. She ably brings to life whole worlds beyond our imagination and gives us detailed snapshots of the characters and the settings as if they were real. Comment


Not Funny

Movies and comedians used to be funny. They used real-life experiences to make us laugh. And it worked! Rita Rudner's idea of requiring her husband to have his legs waxed while she gave birth so that he could in some way grasp the pain of childbirth was funny. Now, however? Movies and comedians stoop to using comedy that is crude, crass, or laced with profanity. And this is supposed to be funny? Perhaps to some. Pardon me, however, if my humor is slightly more refined than that.

Today, I stumbled upon a prime example of just how debased our society's standards of humor have become. A young lady posed this question in a major book provider forum I frequent: "What is ur view on human trafficking?" Granted, it was not posted in the correct forum, and was written in the much-despised text speak. But the responses to her innocent query--posed because she is writing a paper for school on the topic--were anything but helpful. Or respectful. Or decent. Here's a smattering of the responses she received:

"I wholeheartedly approve of the sale and export of anyone who is incapable of spelling the word 'your' correctly. I'll pay for the shipping."

"Mightn't there be legal issues with shipping defective merchandise?"

"Dunno--is there a catalog? I hate buying sight-unseen." (This one bothers me more than any of the other ones.)

"Do it at off-peak times to avoid traffic jams."

And, in an homage to the ongoing ebook pricing war, "I won't pay more than $9.99, especially since there are so many free ones available."

"I am only for it if I can use Amazon Prime for free shipping, otherwise, it's too expensive."

What kind of society have we become where we feel it is acceptable---appropriate!---to joke or make light of such a serious issue? If these people had heard even one of the horror stories I've heard in the last six months alone, they would not find these responses remotely funny, either. They would be as disturbed by them as I am. People, we cannot end these atrocities if we refuse to take the issue seriously.

Thirty minutes after my initial discovery of the thread, I was still so angry that I was seething. My hands were literally shaking with the emotion. For my own well-being, Troy urged me to just ignore the trolls. This particular forum is filled with them, after all.

What is a "troll"? The Google.com definition of a troll is that it is "a mythical cave-dwelling being depicted in folklore as either a giant or a dwarf, typically having a very ugly appearance." Urbandictionary.com's definition is that an internet troll is "one who posts a deliberately provocative message to a news group or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument."

After further reflection, I realize that Troy was right. What those posters wrote was indeed ugly, meant to incite a negative response or emotion. The truth is, anyone who can make light of such heinous treatment of fellow human beings is indeed an ugly-hearted, cave-dwelling troll.


The Hardest Thing to Write

There is a section of my story that I've been avoiding like the plague. The events immediately following Andrew's death and Emma's reaction to it. I know how I want the story to go. And I know that she has to be at the very lowest of lows before she encounters God in a new way and finds renewal and redemption. It's her descent into the pit that I've been avoiding. Let's face it--that's some pretty serious, heavy stuff. And as I'm not normally a morose individual, writing scenes that adequately express the depth of a grieving widow's despair will be challenging at best. I've tried to think of everything possible in order to prepare myself. I've prayed and asked for prayer. I've pulled out my most depressing music to help get me into a morose frame of mind.

While these scenes, these chapters will be emotionally draining for me--for the eventual readers, too, I imagine--knowing the joy that awaits her is enough to keep me going.

In the mean time, I would love your prayers as I work through this.