The September Maples

To embrace the experience of living is to reap bounties of all sorts. Thinking deliberately can be such, if one is up to the task. Sometimes, though, lessons present themselves in sudden realization of what was always there. How one accounts for such events is a matter of faith, but certainly lessons unseen if unsought can be presented anywhere.

So it was in the morning taken by ordering the yard surrounding the Perimeter. A glazed pot has sat outside in the bay for the dumpsters since we arrived. In Texas it held a lilac, cultivated by the Editress from a cutting at her mother’s. Potted plants do less well in the frozen north than in the Lone Star State. Being we arrived here in at the start of winter, the tall, slender plant which bloomed for her only a single time—in the summer prior to our leaving—is gone. It sat the first year in the hopes it could recover, but it will not, and its branches turned to sticks in the way of life passed away.

The trees around are largely maples. Each spring showers the property with the seed pods of the silver maples to our south, some of which spiral down to land on seemingly every inch of our yard. They land in the pot where the lilac flourished, too, and spout as they do to be tended only by the sun and the rain. In the pot, though, they stand unmolested.

So I noticed them this morning, with their leaves as broad as any on the mature trees from which they originated, though the largest shoots are perhaps eighteen inches high. They, like the lilac, will be gone after the first killing frost. But for now they are here, and alive, and as it struck me this morning, beautiful standing in such time as they have.

It is a truism that each living thing holds the beauty of life if nothing else. Elizabeth Goudge, an English author of novels, short stories, and children’s books, observed rightly in her novel Green Dolphin Street “Nothing living should ever be treated with contempt. Whatever it is that lives, a man, a tree, or a bird, should be touched gently, because the time is short. Civilization is another word for respect for life ….”

We live in a world where life must at times be cut short. We take in sustenance to live and fund the slow combustion of living with the fuel of our diet. Plants are harvested and animals as well. It’s proper that the grace preceding each meal acknowledges the fact that, as in the spiritual realm, death is necessary for one to receive the gift of life.

With animals, we observe necessity as involving one of the Four Ds. The creature must be dangerous, diseased, destructive … or delicious. With our fellow man, the doctrine here is that he who sets aside his humanity loses the consideration of civilized folk. In no case, however, is the taking of life held lightly. It is God’s portfolio, and each instance is set to His purpose.

In writing political fiction, adventures of all sorts are presented, of course. Homicides  predatory, tragic, and righteous populate the pages of my work. There too, nothing can be taken lightly. In the case of the antagonist, karma waits patiently. But even for my protagonists there is a price paid for doing their duty, and it does not pass without the toll. I write my characters as they are given me, and it has become clear as their stories go on that the burdens of even justifiable homicides build. I write about people as they are, in what my life and my teachers have taught me, and I’ve come to realize that Ms. Goudge was correct.

So, this morning as I began my work, I carefully trimmed away the remnants of the Lilac that had blessed the Editress for years. She has another now, deeply rooted and mature, in the backyard of this iteration of the Perimeter. I left only enough stalk enough to support the young maples whose days are short, so that they can have their time in the sun. It’s as much as any of us can ask. I hope to see their successors in the spring of next year, if we are so graced, because they will also be alive, and beautiful, and welcome here.

Choose to Love, -DA


OLSJ_225x337DSIn production news, Boone’s third, One Last Scent of Jasmine, is 24% complete in primary editing, and remains likely for this winter, God willing. Her debut, Absinthe and Chocolate, is currently on sale everywhere pending a feature for the ebook on Pixel of Ink as slated for Monday, September 14. If you’ve not availed yourself of a great read, there is no better time to start.

Best of the Independent eBook Awards Honors

Pleased to announce two titles receiving top honors at this year’s eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards! Boone’s File Book One is Best Thriller, while Sean’s File Book Two was named Best Short Story after public voting. Thanks to Julie Ann Dawson and company at eFest, as well as everyone who took the time to register and vote! You did this!

As always, retail links for all my titles are available on the sidebar. Read, Rock, Review, Recruit, and Repeat!



In production news, Boone’s third novel, One Last Scent of Jasmine, continues progress in primary editing and remains on schedule for a winter release.  Jasmine is nine percent complete in that stage and lookin’ good.

Choose to Love, -DA


You may notice, in giving a visit to this blog, that some additional content has appeared.  The landing page, as always, has my latest news. About Dale Amidei has been augmented with a bibliography, additional contact information and a new email address. Additional links to other places where I and my titles have enjoyed a feature are there as well. Please grace those hosts with a visit!

Available Titles and In the Works highlight my extant and preview upcoming novels, while FAQs and the Tip Jar round out the content migrating over from my previous home page. As always, links to my retail outlets appear on the sidebar. This site will be my online home for a while. Subscribe, enjoy and settle in. I’m glad you’re here.


OLSJ_225x337DSIn production news, Boone’s third and my seventh, second-longest novel passed Content Edit over the weekend. One Last Scent of Jasmine is now undergoing scrutiny by the Editress in the throes of the Main  Edit, and shall be until sometime in the coming winter. God willing, Boone’s tussle with elements of our own government will be available for the deep, dark nights of a warmly snuggled reading season.

A reminder also that Daniel Sean Ritter’s  Romeo Down: A Short Story, and Boone’s debut, Absinthe and Chocolate, are finalists in public voting at the 2015 EFestival of Words Best of the Independent EBook Awards. Thanks in advance of your trouble to register, vote, and support them for Best Thriller and Best Short Story!

As always, stay safe and sane and Choose to Love. -DA

Boone’s second is in full release!


Boone’s return in her second novel, The Bonus Pool, sets her in an adventure capturing the same second-in-series energy of developed characters and synergistic story line as did Jon Anthony’s return in The Britteridge Heresy. In addition, the rich content, international settings, high-voltage action, and substantive themes made the title a true pleasure to produce and, as I’m sure her fans will agree, an experience to be relished.

Here is the blurb:

“A Chinese dissident, targeted by his government for assassination, flees to asylum in Paris through a joint effort of the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Peter McAllen’s InterLynk. A rogue intelligence agent, now freelancing, accepts Beijing’s contract to eliminate the man as a threat to Communist regional control. It is an opportunity to damage McAllen’s organization in the process.

A pool of InterLynk contributors is exposed, and the life of a man capable of changing the spiritual direction of the world’s largest authoritarian regime is on the table. His guardian and her allies in InterLynk must match wits with a ruthless adversary.

The challenge before Boone Hildebrandt and InterLynk Field Operations: find and neutralize a deadly assassin. At risk with a spiritual leader for a movement numbering in the tens of millions is ongoing contributor confidence vital to the existence of the West’s preeminent private intelligence firm.

Approx. 87,000 words / 298 pp.”

As promised previously, here is her Big List of Links to the various retail venues hosting TBP, now that the title has achieved full release:

Kindle Paperback  iTunes Nook Kobo Smashwords Scribd

As always, remember the motto of the Dale Amidei reader: Read. Rock. Review. Recruit. Repeat. To this we now add Ready Yourself. Boone will, God willing, be back this winter in One Last Scent of Jasmine.

Choose to Love, -DA

A word from the Editress / Boone June

And now let me diverge from my usual blog format to feature a few words from the woman who contributes an equal number of hours to each Dale Amidei novel. Take it away, She Who Must Be Obeyed:

As Single Candle Press releases The Bonus Pool, I am reminded of when we first began. After agreeing to edit The Anvil of the Craftsman, I really did not know what to expect. I thought the novel would be filled with weaponry specs and other references that would leave me confused. I was wrong, in fact, very wrong. What I found instead were many well-developed characters set in an intricate, well-managed, thoughtful story line.

When I finally finished my part of preproduction, I was impressed. Knowing by that point reviews, particularly good reviews from readers, were extremely important to the independent author, I wanted to post my opinion on Anvil as soon as it made its debut. Instead, I found that I was prohibited from reviewing SCP’s maiden offering because I had been personally involved in its making. My options were to either keep my thoughts to myself or to impersonate someone else and post them anyway. The latter choice was clearly wrong, and the former seemed unfair since I had not been required by the author to like The Anvil of the Craftsman—I truly did enjoy it.

So as difficult as it was, I refrained from reviewing it and left others to provide the commentary. In the few years since that time, the vast majority of Dale’s reviewers have come to see what I saw in the very beginning with the very first novel:  a real talent for writing. More than once I have reminded him that no amount of editing can fix crap. And it’s true—I merely provide some polish. I’m the Monday-morning quarterback of the literary world. I can suggest a more accurate word to use to better convey meaning, and I can check that we are following our grammar conventions. But I don’t do the heavy lifting. I cannot create in my mind a multitude of solid characters, motivations and settings and then intertwine them all into a meaningful whole that magically comes together by the end. Anyone who thinks writing a good novel is easy has obviously never tried it.

With Boone’s latest installment, I think readers will find a continuation of what they have come to expect from Dale Amidei: great characters, flinch-worthy action, light-hearted humor, a roller coaster of emotion and an important message underlying it all. The Bonus Pool begins shortly before  Absinthe and Chocolate ends. Familiar characters return for further development alongside new ones. Boone’s prowess gives way once more to her poetry. Varying tactics of conflict management provide even more business for building contractors, auto body shops, emergency rooms and morgues around the globe. There are the twists and turns to keep readers guessing. And, just as in life, there is a point to it all. No, this isn’t the same old same old. It’s the best one yet. I hope you all will enjoy reading The Bonus Pool as much as I have enjoyed helping to produce it.

~ The Editress


In production news, our sixth novel and Boone’s second, “The Bonus Pool,” is publishing as I write this. Later this week, an update will feature the retail links once they go live.

Choose to Love, -DA

Characters in a Godless Universe

Before writing, one reads first, of course. After writing and further developing the skills needed to do it well, however, reading is never quite the same. That epiphany is a seed of thought especially relating to what I write, which is fiction from the perspective of a conservative and a Christian.

Characters I encounter in the writing of others—nearly universally now—seem to have little regard for the spiritual aspects of their existence. Plot lines develop, conflict is engaged, and crescendos pass … often without any soul-searching, spark of enlightenment, or flashes of revelation in the minds of the people with whom we travel through their story. The result can be constructed as well as fiction can get, be presented in flawless elegance, and yet for me is one notch away from truly satisfying … because an element of completeness is missing.

When someone asks what my fiction is “about,” the short answer is: “people, and the perspectives that guide their decisions.” Conflict, challenge, adventure and romance are all elements as well, but as my character Jon Anthony says, some questions are essential. This means we will all answer them in some fashion, whether or not the subject is ever intentionally addressed.

Whether one proceeds from a faith-based perspective is one of those attributes. We are all encouraged in polite company to avoid talking about the subject, along with politics, and that reserve spills into the world of literature as well. I cannot help but think it is as limiting there as it is elsewhere in life. In writing Political Fiction, I cannot avoid the latter. As a Christian, I have a Commission to engage in the former … come what may.

In Stephen King’s novel The Langoliers, the test of dimensional validity is the “rightness” in the taste of foods and vitality of materials for the passengers of an aircraft “out of synch.” So, in a way, is  reading the works constructed out of a secular perspective.

Certainly, judging from the state of the world, too many and an increasing number of people are living their lives in that same, flat, unfulfilled state King described. Blaise Pascal, in his Pensees, wrote:

“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace?

This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”

The results in fiction and in life are the same. Absent a foundational quickening, no recovery can be made without addressing one’s most fundamental deficit. As Christians, it remains our burden to watch and pray and counsel where we can. In fiction, I present the internal struggles and dialogues that steer a soul on a bearing toward Home. That likely is the primary distinction between my fiction and the majority of authors in my genre.

We need a nation and a world revived in Spirit through valid faith, and thus given to acts of love rather than self-indulgence. I believe that we need novels written just that way as well. Toward that end, we here at Single Candle Press will continue to do what we can.


In TBP112x169production news, May promises to see Novel6/Boone2 The Bonus Pool complete primary editing and the title move into pre-publication on a schedule for release next month (June 2015). Boone’s first, Absinthe and Chocolate, is an absolute prerequisite to her latest novel.

Doctor Rebecca Boone Hildebrandt returns in style. The Bonus Pool, as did the second novel of Jon’s Trilogy, brings together characters and set pieces established in the introductory volume into a storyline and presentation so energetic and excellent that we truly feel it shakes the blessed earth.

You will not want to put this one off, people. My advice is: get started now. Boone’s File Book One, Absinthe and Chocolate, is available now where your ebooks are sold and linked on the sidebar.

Choose to Love, -DA

Inadequate Theology This

If one choose to write substantively—and I do—one may encounter people who are not necessarily well equipped to absorb a particular read produced. While that is a pity in itself, the inadequacy can also at times manifest itself in negative feedback. The opinions of the ignorant are always a burden, and more annoying when made available for propagation on the Internet.

My free title, The Anvil of the Craftsman, is also the most widespread of my work. That in itself is a joy. While I am currently working on my eleventh full-length title, had I been blessed to produce only one I would be quite happy to have it as Jon Anthony’s 2006 Iraq adventure.

“Anvil,” in the paperback edition, is at this writing customer-rated in the top one percent of 7,300+ Political Fiction titles. Some, of course, did not like it as much. There is a reason why people swear in my novels, and that reason is for the sake of realism. Likewise, sexual situations—not something I usually care to put on screen, by the way—are portrayed because sex is a reality also encountered in the living of life.

I regret that I may have introduced these things into the puritanical fortress of solitude that some readers have raised around their carefully ordered literary world, but that’s the way it is, boys and girls. Possibly, there is a better way for you to deal with realism than capping on my novel for content I warn about on the book’s retail description page.

Regardless of the preceding mini-rant, those minor quibbles do not bother me … much. More frustrating are the opinions of the readers whom the FAQs on my website (linked below) designate “pontificating self-righteous jerks.” You know who you are, or should. The next time you are speaking, ask Jesus what He would think of underrating a five-star novel you downloaded for free.

I’m not sure what some of you people expected of Jon Anthony in Al Anbar Province, addressing an assembly of Muslims, tribal elders and opinion leaders. That, gentle reader, was not the time anyone with Jon’s level of intelligence would have launched into his rendition of a Southern Baptist tent revival. Instead, he focused on commonalities, which is an attribute of civilized men and women and the orientation of anyone, as Anthony puts forth in his tripartite choice, who chooses to love.

Per the Greatest Commandment of Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV):

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Well, that seems pretty clear cut, does it not? It was also the foundational premise Jon was attempting to propagate.

In reaction, my novel has been called heresy, unChristian, and theologically inadequate by the sort of reader I mentioned in the first paragraph of this post. Allow me to retort.

When Christ died on the Cross, that centering point of history served not only as a historical reference going forward, but backward as well. The moment was the act of a loving God, accommodating in the only way possible the differential nature between Creation and Divinity. It is as accommodating of the righteous person who, for whatever cultural reason, has never grasped the significance of the mission of Christ as it is to those who can recite the story chapter and verse without realizing its universal applicability.

The Cross was inclusive act. It allows for the imperfect to become perfect in the sight of a perfect Creator, and enables our undeserved life through the counterweight of an undeserved death. Regardless of the empowering dogma of any theological hierarchy, I do not believe in and cannot accept the sacrifice of Jesus as a point of excluding legalism. As such, otherwise loving humanity would be cast into the flames of hell on a technicality.

Should you be a Christian? Dear God, yes! To do otherwise makes you ignorant of a wonderful act of love at best, an ingrate otherwise, and a contemptible reprobate at the worst. Will I consign any of you to hell for your current stage of development? No, I do not, because your Craftsman has not yet finished His long work of your life.

Somewhere along our way, the Spirit whispers His guidelines: first, that He Is … afterward, that life is better than death, that love overcomes hate, and that our essential orientation to either is our responsibility. There arrives a time when the heavens declare the Glory of God, and we see, and in seeing are changed from our essentially inadequate state to a viable child soul of a loving Creator. Everything we need to know in the work of our Craftsman follows to His ends.

Such happens in billions of places, with billions of souls, and in an unimaginable number of ways. This is so because the Spirit has no point of overload, no bandwidth restrictions, and a limitless capacity for concurrent projects. He is very good at what He does, and His work is life. Those hours of agony Jesus endured on our behalf—and, in a metaphysical sense, always did and always will, though that point is another topic. This actuality is what takes His work to the best end imaginable.

Readers are, of course, free to rate my work at whatever level they wish. That is their right. Regardless, realize first that I do not write haphazardly and am well able to defend any point I hold dear. If one thinks otherwise, perhaps he or she should read my novel again, more slowly. Rest assured that I am well capable of doing this all … day … long.


As far as news of production: Boone’s second, The Bonus Pool—my sixth full-length title—is on schedule for June, 2015. Her third and my seventh, One Last Scent of Jasmine will follow, God willing, sometimes around the end and beginning of the year. Next year, if we are so graced, Sean’s third, King of a Lesser Hill, and Boone’s fourth, Meat for the Lion, will appear. I hope to see you there. As always, more information is available at

Choose to Love, -DA