Ends and Beginnings

Ends and beginnings. They are the stuff of December.

One year ends, and another begins. Perennially it is a time of fresh starts, new plans, and renewed contemplation provided by the short days and cozy nights of the winter quarter.

These twelve days of the Christmas season find Novel10/Sean4 The Yemeni Package in the last stages of editing, with external proofreading to take place as the first order of business in 2018. Ritter’s fourth should follow by the end of January, if we are so blessed. As ever, one project ends and another begins.

Ritter’s story documents the building of a remarkable man, whose appearance in each of  my novels marks him as the singular character to do so. Ends and beginnings mark his life as they do everyone’s. His story, like ours—and Jon Anthony’s, and Boone’s in their own titles for that matter—concerns itself as much with the people who contribute to the main character’s life as it is about the protagonist of any particular title.

Where does Daniel Sean Ritter fit into the catalog? Ritter is goal-oriented where Jon is contemplative. Ritter’s emotions are tightly held against the flood that sometimes releases from Boone. His strength, dominant physically, matches the other two sometimes and lags in other measures. It is his whole, his balance, that makes the man indispensable.

Mick returns in Sean’s fourth title as his mentor, Blade again as his pragmatic balance, and General Peter McAllen as ever to broaden his perspective and apply the leverage of his talents where the beam between good and evil tips most effectively. You’ll meet Samir Ibrahim, an apostate Muslim scholar upon his conversion to Christianity, and one with his own agenda in pursuing the target of the adventure.

And … Thalia. A case officer tasked with the retrieval of a known terrorist by a marginally resolute National Command Authority, Thalia Kebauet is a woman who can only be adequately described after the fact. Ritter to this day is unlikely to disagree, and that is what can be said of her for the time being.

Ends and beginnings. There is perhaps one more episode of Sean’s File in the catalog timeline between The Yemeni Package, which takes place largely in 1999,  and the 2006 pre-Surge setting of The Anvil of the Craftsman. If undertaken, it would be supplemental, not necessary. Worthwhile and necessary are not dependent attributes, though, in any but the most austere life.

Ritter’s back-story leads the chronology of my novels, with Jon’s Trilogy set in the middle as my common character universe merges into Boone’s File. Those episodes are, as I discovered along the way, all parts of the same tale taking place across three series, each in its respective decade.

All of our lives proceed in similar fashions. We too have our contributing characters, because none of us do any of this alone. One encounters them in chapters and titles while self-designating the most significant markers of one’s own timeline. Let us, as did Ben Franklin, credit its plot structure to our Author and Finisher.

Life lived well is a work of reality rather than fiction. Moment after moment is presented as part of the Whole to build we who pay attention or bless us, but never to break us. We who believe are made of God’s stuff and cannot be undone. That we exit the timeline after our designated interval marks only an end and another beginning. It will be wonderful for the faithful and horrid for the unadvocated, respective to each resultant and individual destination.

Our burden ends, you see, where His sufficiency begins. Mark your milestones and lessons along the way toward a successful conclusion and in the great hope revealed in the first Christmas season, for the appearance of Jesus is His Father’s testimony that the least life is far too precious a treasure to live accidentally. Ritter, in embracing his Pararescue Creed’s maxim, That Others May Live, says as much with his heroics.

You and I and Sean are characters each in the other’s story, and for that I am thankful. If my writing helps you along your way, so much the better. I hope to learn it was so, once we meet in endless better and brighter days.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, next month’s Vae Obscurum will be the go-live announcement for Daniel Sean Ritter’s fourth title, The Yemeni Package, God willing. Now is a great time to begin the novels of Sean’s File.

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Ours

The granddaughter of an author friend is going through a well-documented process of discovering the names of things, words and concepts that will define her world from now on. It’s always best, as the Taoist master Pooh observed, to begin at the beginning. Sometimes, it’s a place to return in reduction to essence, as my character Jon Anthony terms his method of understanding.

One of the foundational concepts this youngling is encountering includes the idea of Mine. Sometimes a child’s assertion is a plausible premise, as in the case of pointing to her foot. Sometimes it is less so and warrants correction. How we go about that vital process depends entirely on the validity of our own orientation and perspective.

At the appropriate time we need to take away the object in a childish claim of Mine and pass it along to a co-owner, pointing out the concept of Ours. Then to another, repeating in demonstration the higher ideal. Finally, the object lesson may pass back to the child, but again with the admonition: Ours. In most things, we are in this together.

Nearer the age of accountability, and once the essential choice between love and hate and indifference has been incorporated into a young life, the time arrives to encounter in faith another concept: His. A successful journey is an ordering of loyalties as our capacity permits. Faith, commitments, and self. This involves one descending in priority rather than retaining the juvenile self-focus marking our starting point, and in that perfect balance of acknowledging our place in the natural order diminishment equals growth.

In the Christian perspective, the closed circle of our Creator’s revelation, God took Mine and Ours and made it His. Our transgressions, our shortcomings, our just punishments earned in lifetimes and generations falling short of the Glory of God. He gathered those to Himself and placed the burden forever on the Cross. When it was over, he returned with the treasure and declared as a good parent: Ours. We are in this together.

One sees the concepts of Mine and Ours and His in play throughout life and society and politics. Sometimes those are embraced in solid premises, and in other times less or tragically not, and only the acid test of deconstruction will reveal one from the other.

Mine can be a prison of false liberation, where vicious manipulation in presumably self-serving politics of identity promise gain and instead diminish one’s American heritage. Mine can be the justification for the pursuit of lame advantage, where lust and envy, fostered by assumptions of due accommodation and reparation stunt the lifelong edification of a healthy intellect and vital spirit.

Ours, embraced in violation of natural laws, becomes an immoral process of conversion. There, the individual entitlement of Mine metastasizes into communitarianism or worse travesties of economic and political ideology stripping the return from one’s labor and collectivizing achievement. Ideological platitudes aside, have no doubt there will always be those at the top of such an order who fully retain the empowering and individual concept of Mine.

Even His can be subverted to serve purposes other than worship. Assumed delegation assures some servants will be held in higher regard and position than others, with the privileges and advantage of Mine cloaked in tradition and esteem and hierarchy preserving what ambition—having lost its focus previously—has established to perpetuate a comfortable arrangement instead.

His and Ours and Mine exist in the balance that Pastor Lin Shun Lun perceived in the second novel of Boone’s File, The Bonus Pool: another tripartite reality of Heaven and Earth with Man between. It remains our challenge to sort one from another day by day, a process by which we are winnowed as well. It’s good to keep this in mind.

Choose to love, -DA.

*****

In production news, Daniel Sean Ritter’s next, The Yemeni Package being the fourth title of Sean’s File, is approaching the three-quarters mark in production editing and on schedule to appear in January, 2018. Now is a good time to begin, if you’ve neglected the story of the man who has yet to miss his appearance in one of my novels. You will, I promise, discover why.

Pondering ‘Blade Runner 2049’

The Editress and I screened Blade Runner 2049 soon enough that we avoided exposure to spoilers per the advice of someone who saw it even earlier. I have no intention of including such here. The film was a presentation of depth on a scale still seeming slow to fully assimilate days later. Worth encountering for fans of 1982’s origin property, the film is not to be entered lightly. I have little doubt its returns, financial and otherwise, will be of a longer term than perhaps its studios initially anticipated.

But this is not a movie review. As always, the waters run deeper here.

Surface impressions are the draw of a product. Less evident themes, I suspect, comprise its payload. Some of those might be intentional and others not, possibly included through darker inspiration to which the world has been subject since the minds of men and women in antiquity first encountered voices divine and despairing.

The film is, partially at least, an exploration of the nature of humanity as a designator of achievement rather than mere classification. Replicants, the artificial yet sentient beings of the franchise, are portrayed in this latest installment as sometimes displaying the virtue to a greater extent than presumably biological characters.

With that stage being set, dialogue later speculates on the nature of the soul as existentially bestowed only to products of reproduction rather than biotechnology. As such, possessing the hope of being something more is resented by engineered beings craving the same validation as any of us. By implication, humanity, being embraced by sentience following circumstantial and self-development, is presented as the superior condition. This is the point, for me at least, where the most subtle secular messaging of the movie begins to emerge.

Segue from the previous film includes the acquisition of the formerly dominant Tyrell Corporation, commercial creators and engineers of the Replicants, by the developer of synthetic food production Niander Wallace. Credited with preserving humanity in the wake of multiple environmental disasters, the character’s portrayal as the savior of humankind is messianic enough to evoke a physical resemblance to Jesus in the actor cast. I doubt this was an accident, for reasons we’ll explore next.

Wallace is projected as an intelligent, cruel, visionary pragmatist utterly unconcerned with the moral responsibilities of producing the sentient creations emerging from his product development. He’s set against K, the current-generation replicant protagonist, with the resultant, problematic premise being that the creation has evolved to a higher moral condition than its creator.

The corporatist, posturing as a deity to his synthetic life forms, in one soliloquy expounds on the historical need for slaves—such as is his business to create—as necessary to project and preserve the power of empires. The theme of Cartesian resistance to an unloving, malevolent, manipulative creator runs throughout the remainder of the experience. It’s not the first work to emerge from a resentful, myopic, spiritually dangerous, egotistic, and insular perspective assessing our role and perceiving our stratum in the natural order as being oppressed subjects of divine tyranny, should it acknowledge our Creator at all.

Being that Blade Runner 2049 was a product of Hollywood, it ought to be approached cautiously from a Christian standpoint. The town, as the recent kerfuffle surrounding producer Harvey Weinstein aptly illustrates, is hardly possessed of a culture discerning people would find edifying or superversive.

Humanity, in its taxonomical context, may judge itself as a pinnacle rather than a portfolio. Doing so adopts a false premise that, as always, cannot be successfully rehabilitated except by starting over, lest its devotees extend its unbalanced folly to disastrous systemic collapse. The process is insidious enough to take a lifetime, because the enemy is supernaturally patient when making continual progress in the deluded.

So what do we do with the movie? Despite what in the opinion of the Editress is overthinking the film, I don’t regret the experience and will probably end up owning a copy. As an effort of cinematography it is beautiful, and the storyline revitalizes and extends the dystopian backdrop of its lead-in. The first Blade Runner is one of our most viewed favorites here. Its follow-up, likewise a product of the time and culture that produced the thing, might exceed the original in its presentation and extent, if not the validity of what it is trying to say. Decide those things for yourself.

We Christians are commissioned ministers of faith to the world, a blessing precluding domination by—or fear of—worldly influences. Encountering or observing the gradient of wretchedness in fallen surroundings doesn’t equate to embracing, affiliating with, or endorsing the same. We by grace are greater than these things crossing our path.

Sometimes a movie is just a movie. What one will take away from Blade Runner 2049 depends on one’s capacity and vision, as with everything.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, Novel10/Sean4, The Yemeni Package, is at midpoint in production editing. The USAF’s taciturn vessel for opportune karma is projected to appear again with his associated supporting cast in January 2018, with another installment of Sean’s File, the back-story responsible for building a man named Daniel Sean Ritter.

 

 

Two Visions in a Storm

As I write today, the remnants of Harvey are soaking Mississippi and Tennessee. The wake of this storm stretches backward across coastal Texas, through the inundated metro area of Houston, to the wonderful resort regions of its Gulf Coast. As a disaster, assayers have already speculated that the damage will exceed the wretched tally of Katrina.

The Editress and I left Texas in 2013, but it is apparent in these days that the place never entirely left us. Now, we watch the people there stand tall as they deal with the business of each day, as they did even before the storm subsided. Columns of towed boats answered the calls for rescue craft. Neighbors now are helping neighbors, joined by Texans from across that great state and aided by others even farther away who remember help sent in times of need. Trucks are rolling, and funds are flowing; these are moments of testimony sufficient to still the world around as they happen and we watch.

No one is asking how people chest-deep in water voted. Rescues are not taking place based on skin color or creed. People needing help are being helped, because, having passed under the power of nature and survived, their commonality is undeniable.

This is a vision of America. Though starkly evident elsewhere in the manner of all actions of the productively accomplished, the efficacy of practical values is amplified by desperate necessity. Our nation, however, is more vast than the Gulf Coast of Texas. The farther a given region removes itself from acculturating the wisdom born out of hard lessons of natural law, the greater extent to which it engenders opportunities there for exploitive deception sinking its roots into a neglected moral landscape.

Texas is overcoming adversity through unity, and that is the great lesson of its recovery. The same tonic is available everywhere. It is able to lift renewed humanity above overcast perspectives: those too long denied the light shining from great hope our founders kindled in the ideals of Americanism. One nation, where under God the people rule, indivisible, with liberty and justice evenly distributed and applied.

What’s the other choice? Affiliation with lesser philosophies: division into factions whose humanity then blunts under the onslaught of seven deadly sins. Distracted, self-absorbed stock animals focus by design on imagined oppression and undeserved entitlements. Thinking themselves empowered, they are being swept into a great camp whose only goal is to lull them into accepting unbounded governance with unsustainable promises of its benefits. It is one contending vision, set by those afflicted with a cynical compulsion to direct the lives of others rather than to empower and enable strength, endurance, and virtue in all its various manifestations.

Two visions compete for our future, flashing past in vignettes of perception; We Together stand against We Apart. Americanism as truth testifies against the presentation of western values as a lie. National identity will again be slandered as nationalism with the added indignity of implied racism, in spin propagated by globalist interests and proponents of a diluting and weakening philosophy of multiculturalism. Responsible, limited governance contrasts with the ever-hungry gradient of socialism, a disease of institutionalized delusion with the singular goal of More: more funds, more intrusion, and an unending progression of control.

In Texas, the people themselves, in their immediate response to desperate need, are outpacing what the more deliberate momentum of departments and bureaus can accomplish. Later, as infrastructure is restored in the proper role of public works underway, the people, through their government, will continue the effort of recovery in the same practical manner as orders life across the Lone Star State wherever matters proceed well.

The choice between these two visions of the future collectivizes only in consensus. Primal decisions are made by one soul at a time accepting or rejecting the base premise of either. When times are good, the urgency of clear vision is less important than it is in Houston, or Beaumont, Port A, or Rockport today. Individuals having learned will not forget, and once they are enough, affairs for a time will again be set right.

We are creatures who grow strong by lifting weight encountered in many varied kinds. The husbandry of character will never happen in any other way.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, Novel10/Sean4 stands near twenty-six percent completion of production editing. The Yemeni Package features the return of General McAllen with previous characters from Daniel Sean Ritter’s back-story. They combine with the introduction of the dark and dangerous passion of CIA case officer Thalia Kebauet, in her role of conducting mission oversight for the National Command Authority. Ritter’s fourth is projected for first quarter 2018.

Swallow

Unless this is the first web page you’ve seen after emerging from a coma, you know the mental landscape has changed. Society is a bit less sane than you remember. If you’re going to keep your level horizon, you’d better have a decent grasp on Why.

The fading virtue of rationality concerns itself with primary skills, one of which is consequential prediction. The following store of experience results in wisdom, itself predictive of survivability. Thus, successful individuals will walk unbowed out of whatever arena tasks them, and do so over the charred bones of their competitors and opposition formerly possessed of a lesser ability to attend the rules of natural law.

Nature, being impartial to any factor other than results, is vested in truth. Valid precepts, natural law decrees, always have been and ever shall remain. Men and women and the creatures brought before them to name have lived by its canon since the dawn of time. Nothing has changed in this regard since the onset of the Internet, social media, or politicized identity since it will not, ever. Step one on the road to clarity is acknowledging the essential state of affairs.

Right about here is the point where rationality has a head-on, double-airbag-deploying collision with the human ego. Dammit, someone wants something. They need it, they are convinced, and so driven will believe anything reinforcing their conviction.

That blue-smoked squealing of rubber against the highway you hear is the engine of natural law stopping to gawk at a wreck about to happen. What. The …

Oh, bloody hell. Someone just bounced onto the Internet, and [censored] SHAZAAM! instantly found a community of hundreds of other idiots laboring under an identical delusion. Your addled neighbors just politicized their special interest and now spend most of their time affirming shared infirmity … and a great deal of money shaping social policy.

Dear God. You might even be living in Oregon.

Naturally, healthy thinking is going to ignore idiocy with in the bounds of polite interaction. The real problem is that politicized idiocy will not be ignored, as it is driven by the same need for affirmation that inflicted a divergent perspective in the first place. You’re going to play, or you will pay. Bigot.

Wait, you were minding your own business, muddling along until presented with idiocy. And now you’re accused of bigotry? How does that happen?

It occurred in the 1970s when said divergent groups adopted the aura of righteous indignation justly leveraged by the civil rights movement of the previous decade. One of the hallmarks of liberalism, as Andrew Breitbart told us, is the propensity to occupy unearned moral high ground. Before anyone knew it, challenging another’s behavior suddenly evolved into a situation able to threaten one’s reputation and livelihood.

With enough people intimidated into silence or actually playing along, the moral environment degraded, and the agenda of people given to unsatisfying pursuits shifted to a focus progressive in more than one sense. Divorced from nature—that being vested in truth, you remember—they now expect to present the most radical lies and have them accepted as a subjective reality while another letter is added to the LGBT+ pantheon.

Swallow. Bitch.

“No.”

What?? Bloody hell. Someone just rejected The Narrative. Call for backup! Call the Sensitivity Police! Call … the Internet! Feelings have been vandalized by an uncaring clot of humanity requiring excision from the arena of ideas.

We are at a point where utterly indefensible delusions are being purposefully presented in order to intimidate society to not only accept them without comment, but accommodate the same endlessly. When commentary fails to arise, an agenda without a goal other than self-indulgence may advance, temporarily assuaging pathologically indefinable needs manifested in the pursuit of acceptance and enablement.

When politicized dysfunction butts up against basic and constitutionally delineated rights of free expression, religious conscience, and willing association and wins, matters of course are not proceeding in a sustainable fashion. But what is there to do at this point?

You’re being tested. Pick your side. Define and order your loyalties as is the business of an functionally adult mind.

All journeying souls pass opportunities to leave the ideal road at every step. Ahead is truth, and on the left and right is another way. Lots of those, actually, as there are many more ways to deviate than remain on course. Truth is singular, in that there is only one best way to represent the actual state of affairs. Test a premise and find it solid, and you’ve not only discovered a truth but taken a step toward heaven. Make this basic functionality a lifestyle whose basis no one can legitimately criticize. If you find a cognizant and conversant Christian, they will be able to help you discover historicity and reliable precepts—truths unseen but for the search—you might not have discovered flying solo.

You’re not alone, nor have you ever been, those of you who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for clarity, for something to embrace lasting throughout a count of days whose number will only tally rather than diminish. Claim your inheritance of life from its Source. God, loving you, wills it.

Choose to love as well, -DA

*****

In production news, the fourth title of Sean’s File, The Yemeni Package, is at nine percent in primary editing and anticipated for the end or beginning of the year. Another chapter in the building of Daniel Sean Ritter introduces the beautiful and deadly CIA case officer Thalia Kebauet, as Ritter’s team, now hers, pursues an emergent and charismatic advocate of terror across 1999’s United Arab Emirates.

Bullies and Bloodings

It’s July Fourth here: America’s Independence Day. Two hundred and forty-one years have passed since men decided they’d had enough of unjust power, derived from sources other than the consent of the governed. The founders were being bullied, and being men and women of virtue chose to handle the situation in the only pragmatic fashion.

Portions of the news media are playing the victim lately by decrying ‘bullying’ from various actors in the White House. Gravitating toward reflexive complaint stems from moral, physical, and intellectual weaknesses generally defining the political Left. Strong and capable people neither make such claims nor are they as a rule susceptible to bullying at all. Should someone try, an aggressor is likely to have the tables turned instead, as when our forefathers eventually saw the fight through to Yorktown.

Such action requires individual initiative backed by grounded values engendering the confidence to oppose and overcome an aggressor. Conviction is the foundation of character, and if not present at the onset of conflict had better develop prior to facing any critical disadvantage. As always, natural law has no court of appeal, and it’s hardly surprising that when put to it snowflakes would call for their mothers instead.

Character is not an attribute only for hard times; it should also display as much in positions of advantage as under adversity. We should not be indistinguishable from what we oppose. One would think that a political figure who could truly embody the courage, strength and dignity of the American ideal would own the political scene. Half of us, however, reside on the left side of the bell-shaped curve and are being unfortunately accommodated in policy by the ideologically irresolute, even though they are empowered in Washington. Nothing better speaks of weakness so in contrast to the strengths of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence than leaders bullied while holding the high ground.

The spirit preventing such contemptible flaccidity, as is becoming apparent, is bestowed or withdrawn as we deserve. My character and Bosnian journalist Luci Crnjak, in Novel8/Sean3 King of a Lesser Hill, observes, “There has to be some difference between what they are and what we become. How does it matter who wins, otherwise?” Once patriotism is given over to statism—and the designators of supposedly oppositional political parties lose their distinction—the only choice left to a citizenry unwilling to transition to servitude is starting over.

An American conscience will neither submit nor compromise a righteous position, which is why so much effort is being put toward degrading its definitional values. A concurrent grail of the political Left, for example, is coercing faithful public servants into violations of conscience with the mantra “Do your job!” Being ungrounded, they have no concept of conscience as a higher order of loyalty than ruling or legislation and so are making the same mistake as did Britain in the eighteenth century. We can hope this will end the same way, though the dignity of Cornwallis surrendering his sword, even if undertaken by an intermediary, is more likely this time around to be replaced by another display of screaming denial accompanied by hysterical snot bubbles.

Strengths are cultivated individually, one soul at a time, with the aid of God’s Spirit to those seeking Him with their whole heart. Are there enough of us left? The winnowing of natural law never ceases, nor does it take notice of philosophical outrage in defiance of its canon. Only another time of crisis will judge us worthy, or not, should the Lord tarry in the interim. It never has been or will be any other way.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, being that Boone’s fourth novel is on the street, Daniel Sean Ritter’s next title has entered Content Edit. CE, unlike primary editing, is of an unpredictable span, though past performance by the Editress suggests a possible first quarter 2018 release, God willing.

Boone’s fourth is available!

Actions have consequences, some of which are predictable … and some not. In Boone’s fourth novel, complications arising out of her covert history interfere with an attempt to start a new life.

Following simultaneous attacks in Washington and Moscow, Boone and her allies learn of what was thought to be an extinct breed of predator: Vedro Krovi (VAY-dro KROWV-yi), a company of Russian mercenaries unleashed by patrons uncomprehending of the level of commitment and ruthlessness they have unwittingly engaged.

This, while Deborah Vosse—the premier investigative journalist for her left-leaning ForwardNews network—is prompted by the murder of a colleague to examine the relationship between heads of state and the shadowy figures of international intelligence. Connections never intended for public knowledge begin to unveil those who covertly enabled or interdicted the agendas of masters or enemies.

The plot develops into Boone’s largest challenge to date, with everything she holds dear, including her beckoning life and freedom, at risk on multiple fronts.

Here’s the blurb:

“Boone, now a former covert operative, looks forward to a fulfilling marriage, new career, and brighter days. Investigative journalism by one of her country’s most prominent news personalities, however, begins to unravel a thread of actualities thought to have been classified out of existence. Actions once undertaken in the national interest threaten her new life.

When not only Boone’s people but the servants of the ill-intended and powerful are targeted for elimination, the result is an undeclared war between the keepers and the kept. Forced back into a high-stakes game against international players, she will need to call on all her resources in order to defend those whom she loves against two of the world’s most powerful men … and sins of her past.

Approx. 92,370 wds./ 323 pp. print length”

Boone’s Big List of Links:
Kindle – iTunes – Nook – Kobo – Smashwords – Scribd

Trade paperbacks at Amazon and CreateSpace!

As always, your contributions toward signal boost in spreading the word are appreciated. Read. Rock. Review. Recruit. Repeat.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In more production news, Ritter’s fourth title, The Yemeni Package, has entered Content Edit in preparation for an anticipated first quarter 2018 release.