GOTR Big List of Links

Boone6/Novel12 is in full release! As promised, below are the places online where you can find Boone and Ritter’s latest adventure. Just like always, links to my catalog on major retail venues locate on the sidebar to the right.

Kindle (and trade paperback) – AppleNookKoboScribd

Thanks for reading, and Choose to Love. -DA

Ghosts of the Republic

What if both sides stopped caring about rules?

I wrote the initial draft of Novel12/Boone6 Ghosts of the Republic five years ago. This was during the end of the Obama administration, when a biased media was putting forth every effort in convincing the country that Hillary Clinton would be our next president.

Things change, don’t they? The ever-comforting fact is that more important things stay just as they are. Human nature is one of them, and that’s how my novels, addressing essential and universal questions as they do, seem to stay relevant over a wonderfully lengthy period of time.

Here we are at the end of another February. We first saw Boone on Leap Day, in what was set as 2012. She was in Terry Bradley’s office, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). She was dressed to the nines, catty, and drinking on duty. Despite everything in her poor first impressions, there was an underlying element of unlimited potential. Over the course of her character arc, she more than any other figure has fulfilled my catalogue.

In a sense, all my novels to date comprise parts of Sean’s File. He is in his backstory, throughout Jon’s Trilogy, and appears in every episode of Boone’s File as well. The man, in fact, appears in every novel I’ve written save one. Boone will return for her backstory retrospective, God willing, in my final release perhaps next year. Two titles in Sean’s File are queued for production before we get there.

For now, Ghosts of the Republic closes a number of character arcs for antagonists and protagonists admirable and despicable as their life choices warrant. I won’t expound on the mission of the novel here — better you discover that for yourself — more than I have in the afterword. Suffice it to say the title explores relevant themes in a way that makes me glad I could publish the thing before real life paralleled the story line.

Here’s the blurb:

“Homicides of prominent figures spike inside the Beltway, and D.C. is on edge.

Presented with an ultimatum from the Director of National Intelligence to find their killers or shoulder the blame, Peter McAllen’s people devote themselves to a singularly vital mission. Interested parties range from Congressional inquisitors to agents of a spiteful liberal news media determined to ferret out InterLynk’s every past move and present ally. None of them are helping.

Boone, Daniel Sean Ritter, and their allies navigate an alarming scenario. If prime movers are using threats to political stability in the world’s last superpower to institute a constitutional crisis, who can they trust?

Approx. 85,000 words / 325 pp print length”

GOTR is going live everywhere as I write this. I will post its Big List of Links once they are available.

Thank you. Choose to love. -DA

Four Thousand Days

There was no Vae Obscurum in January. Here, it seems to be the cruelest month, one prone to take our cats when their time is finished. On January 6, Epiphany, it was our dear orange buddy Gato’s turn to go ahead of us, as did T.R. on New Year’s Day 2009 and his brother Gordon three years later, on January 30.

In 2006 a homeless cat, two or three years old, tried to take up residence in a big house that surely, he must have thought, had room for him. Unfortunately, the big house was actually a hotel turned historical museum in Fredericksburg, Texas … and they no longer take boarders, feline or otherwise. There was an equipment yard in back of the place with shelter and enough human attention for a cat obviously missing his original people, ones no amount of advertising could locate. He stayed on long enough for the maintenance crew to name him Gato … Spanish for cat.

So it was Gato had only two of T.S Eliot’s prescribed three names. Denied a fancy name, he went forward with his family name and the one known only to himself, and it wasn’t long before the Editress-to-be noticed.

Gato became the official campus kitty of the National Museum of the Pacific War: fed, housed in basic but comfortable accommodations in a tool shed, and cared for by the best vets in town on the organization’s dime. He was able to enjoy the Japanese Garden of Peace once the humans were gone, and could jump from the sidewalk level to the top of its eight-foot surrounding wall using his massive back legs. His food bowl was raided by opossums, and three battles with unknown creatures each left him wounded and under care of the Editress for chunks of missing skin.

For a year and a half this was his life, exploring and hunting the grounds at night, and regularly losing his breakaway collars, which were later found across campus in various places. The Editress worried constantly all that time, hating to leave him at night but not selfish enough to deny her organization its mascot … the Tiger in the Garden. Eventually, a rodent infestation needed to be addressed in a way incompatible with a resident cat, and no one but his constant caretaker and beneficiary stepped up to the job of being his human mother.

That Gato wanted nothing more than a home and family was evident. He shared the contents of his food dish and in no way bullied his way into place in our household. When we found Gato and T.R. sharing napping space on the Big Red Chair. we knew his acceptance was complete. He would know T.R. only a couple more months before it was time for us all to mourn Gordon’s brother.

Gato was the best-behaved cat we have ever known. He never lost his streetwise caution. He despised anyone in uniform: Boy Scouts, delivery drivers, it didn’t matter; those were the only times we heard him growl. He didn’t know what to think of being held and kissed, even after a decade. He adored laps and blankets, though, and the snuggling under the latter was a talent he taught himself. We loved him so.

Some think a cat doesn’t have a soul. I saw Gordon’s one day when he was looking into my eyes doing the same thing to me. If his soul wasn’t there, neither is mine. All of our cats recognized love as well. Gato would come mousing around for it, and retire to a nap after he got his share. He was someone, and that’s why he got a name.

Gato’s life mattered in the way Elizabeth Goudge recognized when she wrote, “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 knew and treasured Gato for somewhere in the vicinity of four thousand days. He never had to go to the vet for sickness, despising his regular visits on principle regardless. We noticed him off his food on his last weekend, and he had to endure only one truly bad day with the acute onset of pain from a massive but undetected tumor on his liver. No one had time to help him along until his suffering passed into the evening dinner hour, and he left us with the help of a vet willing to make a house call. It was a day one of us was available to comfort him all the way through, and that someone turned out to be me.

Gato traveled on with our every recommendation. His precious life made a difference in our own. Because we loved him, we know God loved him more, and that’s why we hope to see him one bright day at the New House, the one providence has made for us all who loved to find each other again. To this day, we recommend ‘I Will See You in Heaven” by Franciscan friar Jack Wintz for people mourning their departed pets.

It takes a special kind of courage to love, once one understands the price to be paid by one or the other of the participants. More so, perhaps, for those who have pets, who seem to be purposed with the task of teaching us how to lose someone we love and move on while enduring the pain of grief.

God’s loving promises were demonstrated by his Son’s mastery of death. This life we struggle through is a testing ground, a training camp, a foundry where His work in us continues through our days to the end set in the Mind and accomplished by the Hand of our Craftsman. Be careful, attentive, and reverent with them. Pay attention to what the Spirit is doing with you in each one. Take care in who you allow to use your days, for they won’t last forever. Forever comes once they finish, for good or bad.

As I said, we passed through four thousand of ours with Gato. Only one was truly bad, which is an amazingly blessed ratio. Each of them was a gift, and knowing this through faith brings us through the pain of missing him to joyous gratitude. That’s what it is to believe.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, Boone and Sean’s Ghosts of the Republic is out of editing and passing through two rounds of proofreading as I write this. Hopefully, we will see the title to move into pre-publication and then full release this month. As always, those of you who are here will find out first.

Decades

It’s a season of transition. As always, only this year the changes are more stark.

Fall gives way to winter. Life focuses on the joy of the season, and a new year beckons afterward. Quibbling over Anno Domini reckoning aside, in this turn another decade ends as well.

If everything has gone as it should, because we have that many fingers the years group into tens as well, and order into the chapters of one’s life. Childhood. School. The Social Order. The Path. The Mission. The Changes. Eventually, The End Game.

I’ve been writing in ten of these most recently passed years, as I was purposed to do when they started. I was a child when they sat me in the pews of my local parish to stare at a sanitized image of Jesus on the Cross, and I thought how unfair it was that he had done nothing, but hung there for the sake of us, who should serve Him.

I was only a young man when times were bad, so bad yet so inescapable that I offered times such as those to Him, if He had a use for me. He did, as He does for all who believe in the magic of Christmas and the blessing of Easter. Afterward, the decades turn, His will is done, and we see more clearly all of it in hindsight than we are able in looking forward at the road ahead.

My lead characters Jon and Sean and Boone were given and changed that life. What was now is not, and it seems that the year in which I wanted to write was turned instead into seven of some sort of indenture, in which I was utilized to finish what was started.

This, due to the nature of transition that took us from where we were to where we are, unfortunately will be The Year Without a Novel. 2020, God willing, will bring Boone and Sean together in short order followed by another title of his. Afterward, a sixth for Sean and Boone’s first and last adventure will round out the catalog, should that be His plan as well.

Will I write another novel? I don’t know, just as I didn’t imagine more than a single effort in the first place. I am open to being used to a greater extent, and I am satisfied that I have been the conduit of what has come across already. Life should be lived in just such a manner of faith and contentment.

I know that in the pews of my childhood parish I wanted to be on His side, because even then, though I couldn’t yet articulate the intuition, I knew His work to be life, founded in love. Those greater premises took more than half my allotted years to formulate into relatable precepts. Now they are out in the world, in the nearly fifty-four thousand extant copies of the works people call mine.

I know it not to be so. The Editress is there, and the refinement of helpers and friends who want to be a part of what we were and are yet doing. Behind us all is the voice of the Spirit and the greater plan of Creation, being followed to perfection through those who believe and the others who do not.

Christmas celebrates only the first installment of His validation of belief. Jesus had to appear to assure us that we are not struggling through the chapters of this life in vain. He had to do so in a historical era to be documented not only by His followers but in the writings of the very Romans who hung him on the same sort of Cross as I contemplated in my youth.

Without the assurance that He experienced what it was to be alone and blind and dying, we might otherwise be tempted to make the excuse that He does not. Another device allowing bitterness a root in our souls rather than the assurance of His shepherding is thwarted. That excuse is gone.

Decades turn, and the world changes while we move through it. The hope He provided remains, as it has now for nearly two millennia and shall until He returns. Hope brings joy in its understanding. Mine is that you’re here with me this Christmas season.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, Boone and Ritter’s upcoming title, Ghosts of the Republic, stands at roughly eighty percent completion in production editing. Several weeks remain in editing, proofing and production, but it’s finally getting close. Prepare now for snug winter reading!

Your Name Here Ministries

You have a ministry, know it or not. At least I hope you do. Ministry is something for faithful people, accomplished in service to the Spirit. That third person of the Trinity moves where He will, arranging things just so the will of God is fulfilled through those who love Him.

The faithless, rather than serving, are used. We are every one subjected to the sovereignty of the Craftsman, and that precept is the main sticking point for faithless personalities. Somehow, they imagine the idea that God does not exist to be liberating rather than irrational, and do so despite all literary and historical evidence to the contrary augmented by testimony from His witnesses.

Imagination is a useful thing … when applied in a faithful mind. Otherwise, lies whispered by the enemy convince us we can alter the natural order of things by positing a situation to be so when it is not. It’s a spiritually fatal dynamic, and seeking out consensus in error and rebellion only makes matters worse.

Faithful minds see how their situation is established. The faithless decide how they wish things to be and go from there. Bedrock. Sand. Choose your building site carefully.

Wandering souls minister to themselves first, because their focus is narrow. They’ve not been called out to any higher purpose, because their imagining does not conceive such things. In the New Testament Timothy calls them “lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power.”

What tragedy that is, to live without listening but braying one’s self-indulgent talking points day and night in the hope volume will suffice for validity. What pain it is to know the lessons of those lives will be absorbed largely by impressionable observers.

Did you think becoming a Christian would make life easier? It does not. It grants clarity instead, and some aspects of life afterward are difficult to watch. Life and death pass before your eyes. Good people suffer inexplicably, because being saved does not equate to omniscience, and the limited perspective of our current plane widens only to the extent we embrace our newly acquired faith.

What Christ needed to do most for you was accomplished before any of us ever were. What He does for us after we come to realize this is sometimes as unapparent as what He does with us.

He knows this, of course, and it is why we’re told to embrace the gift of faith that followed love in bringing us once and forever into His fold. Sure knowledge of divine love and saving grace and the sufficiency of Christ are there, worthy enough to keep us afloat through any storm, should it be our last.

You can give your life to Christ in a mere moment of conviction. The world can then eat at your soul for a lifetime afterward; it’s your choice moment by moment whether to stay in the fight. You’ll minister by overcoming. You’ll play your part in the temporary victories of lesser souls. Every bit of your life lived serving will matter in ways only Jesus will be able to explain once you’re able to ask Him face to face.

Being there might not build you a megachurch, but it might course-correct a single soul, one not so far along, who needed to hear your testimony. Feeding a hungry cat found on your hood one cold morning might not seem significant … until the animal makes you a better human being by showing you a lifetime of love in return. So sing. Work. Love. Live what you believe and you’ll have the same satisfaction Paul found, though he was in prison with the finish line of his race in sight.

Unfathomable numbers of small events over the course of a day work together in what He is doing, here and everywhere, all the time, all at once. Such is the extent of effort in scalable consciousness arising out of nontemporal superdimensionalism: fractal in scope, perfect in minuteness, and unassailable by any element of His Creation.

It was enough for Him in essence to tell Abraham, and answer Moses, “I am.” It is also enough from Him to tell us we are as well. Worry less. What He offers is free for the asking and was done just for you. Pick it up and put it in your pocket, child of God, and walk on.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, the Editress is approaching sixty percent in production editing Novel12/Boone6, Ghosts of the Republic. Post-relocation life makes forecasting her normally consistent progress more difficult, but hopes persist for more time on target during upcoming holiday breaks. As in everything, we’re closer than yesterday and farther on than the day before. Stay tuned, and thank you. Readers rock my world.

Season of the Witch

Ah, October. Fall arrives, and the lingering vestiges of summer in September give way to the undeniable in the change of weather and turning of leaves. Pumpkin spice suddenly is unavoidable, and then the pumpkins themselves.

Before long, the Halloween enthusiasts are busy in their merriment. November, past that point, really can’t get here soon enough for me.

It’s difficult to explain why I despise Halloween without sounding like a killjoy. Possibly the macabre and occult don’t register on those not given to implications, but here I am, being hit in the face by a season where all the messages of the enemy are on full display to the delight of the oblivious. All I see in the ensuing doctrinal mayhem is faith trying to pull souls out of the riptide of humanity sweeping them toward perdition.

I freaking hate Halloween.

It wasn’t always like that. I was a kid once, though I don’t remember any favorite costume … outside of those plastic face masks that impeded visibility and respiration while feeling like a clammy eggshell plastered to your face. It was always great fun to go out and extort various forms of processed sugar from willing and unwilling neighbors.

Being kind of a jerk of a kid tutored by bigger and older jerks—as I was—Halloween evolved into an excuse to commit minor vandalism for the joy of overreaction such delinquency can evoke.

I blame my upbringing, company at the time, and the sparse distribution of law enforcement in rural South Dakota communities. Doing so provides a ready excuse to ignore some of my more obviously innate tendencies to follow the lesser angels of my nature, you see. Those escapades are another story, regardless of any statutes of limitation that may or may not have been exceeded by now.

I failed to absorb a vital precept until after the process of maturing delivered me through a number of idiotic incidents, any of which might have converted me to a statistic. Death’s bait is adventure.

Flirtation with the macabre and the occult is spiritual adventurism. What for the unwary appears to be dress-up and make-believe is, in the eyes of the enemy, affiliative. Meanwhile, in the wings of this occult high holiday are those who demonstrate a total commitment to his camp in spiritually degrading and horrid acts for a variation of the same thrill I felt soaping windows and … oops, there’s that potential statute of limitations thing again.

I largely outgrew my rebellion. Some souls will not.

Over time, I grew to see faithful living as a guardrail at the edge of a steep drop-off. What Works and What Kills are staples in the storehouse of wisdom, and too often the harvest of lessons bitter enough to be remembered long after the fact.

God, The Craftsman, Yahweh, the great I Am, as He said, Is above all. So is his enemy, that poisonous fruit out of the first elements of Creation, who was given the same choices inherent in the gift of free will. For the sake of those who love, He endures the loss of those who will not. The nature of love as a choice imposes by implication its antithesis.

The same spirit of rebellion and reckless abandon is tainting society in ever more obvious ways. Every day is becoming Halloween in the form of self-indulgent personal definitions, as Those Who Will Not choose the temporary attire of a preferred costume over their natural state.

The costume wearers among us can’t opt out of their place in the natural order, nor can they wish an alternate reality into being. They can only pretend until Creation’s codex of natural law imposes itself at whatever time the divine clock strikes twelve at their own personal midnight.

Then the ball is over, and it’s time to go home … or elsewhere.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, primary editing continues on Novel12/Boone6 Ghosts of the Republic, featuring Boone, Ritter, Deb Vosse, Blade Altsoba, and others. She Who Must Be Obeyed is approximately 40% through her tasks on a schedule not allowing a projected publication date quite yet. Once we get closer, you will , of course, be some of the first to hear the Rohirrim-level trumpeting.

Content

How did you pronounce the title of this blog post? Due to the linguistic heritage of the English language you could have thought CON·tent, as in substance, or con·TENT, to be described as residing in an essentially satisfied state.

Is it an accident the same word, with two different meanings, could have those intricately related? Our needs and wants lead us toward an imagined state of satisfaction. The search for true contentment drives all advertising, ideology, and psychology. Theological premises good, bad, and evil leverage the promise to shape and direct the human soul each to their own ends.

We want to be satisfied. But how?

One eats, and eventually is full if well fed. Problem solved. How does one salve a wounded spirit, or a guilty conscience, or a traumatic memory?

Pharmacy is willing to present its answers. Personally, I have been betrayed by too many people on meds for whom I cared and with whom I merely associated to trust a prescription with the solution to deeper issues. Drugs might calm the mind, but it seems they also mute the conscience. Sometimes, as news stories of another psychotic break too often feature, the results can be horrifying.

“How could someone do that?” people ask. “Meds,” I whisper to myself.

Dissatisfaction is the result of missing something in what we think, feel, or sense. In one way or another, one may call that CON·tent. Cultivating substance in our lives and work leads to earned satisfaction in the same way diligent effort produces the harvest of a garden. But the totality of our existence encompasses more than just the physical.

Neglected, our spirits desiccate like an untended plot of vegetables. If nothing is there, the shell of our empty core collapses in on itself. It shows in what we think, how we live, and in the results we try to impose on a world we don’t really understand. Passion is no substitute for wisdom, as one ridiculous display of futility after another proves throughout the secular world.

Recently, the Editress and I, inveterate rummagers of bargain movie bins that we are, discovered a film featuring an actress we have in the past enjoyed. Neither her name nor the title is important. Art is what it is, and I’m sure the people producing this DVD felt it said just what they wanted.

But oh, did that movie suck.

Exhibiting the current trend to exclude white males from the cast was an early-warning sign. The evident millennial angst permeating the rest of the presentation settled into a uninspiring scenario in which nothing resolved, no challenge was truly overcome, and no premise outside of existential hopelessness emerged. Hollywood today. Meh.

She wanted to donate the CD to a thrift shop. I shredded it instead so no one else would be subjected to viewing that particular copy of the thing.

Like I said, it sucked, and I am sometimes a harsh critic.

Faith is the substance of the spirit. It connects us to the essential motivation of our Creator in setting this universe in motion. Without it, we are adrift like objects in space waiting for the gravitation of some greater mass to pull us in to a destination unknown. Meanwhile, we spin in a gyroscope of dissatisfaction.

I don’t make movies. I write. Regardless that my novels would make excellent films, I doubt the spirit required exists in the Hollywood of today. The same malaise can be evident in writing also, of course. One sees it throughout a novel in which the spiritual composition of the characters is ignored. Try as the author might, lacking that essential CON·tent, the presentation falls flat. There should have been something more, but neither the character nor his author ever came to the realization. It is the vitality of language and imagination versus the flat taste of a previously carbonated beverage translated into the written word … or the dialogue in a bad movie.

Our lives are novels, written in days instead of words. As Benjamin Franklin perceived, we each have our Author and Finisher. We have a part to play in determining whether we are notes in its crescendo or elements to be weeded out of a plot hole that is going nowhere, to be crushed and discarded like a page never again seeing the light of day.

Be Real Before It Gets Real. It’s a hashtag I use on social media. Those who know me well enough have seen in it the acronym REAL: Realize your need, Explore for truth, Accept your Creator’s gift of reconciliation, and afterward Live what you believe.

Welling up inside you will be spiritual substance: CON·tent. It will make for a satisfying story. You have His promise.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, there is some! The Editress has finished her timeline and fact-checking review of Novel12/Boone6 Ghosts of the Republic, featuring, for reasons that will be evident, a heavy assist from Daniel Sean Ritter.

Moving on to the heavy lifting of production editing began this afternoon. Unlike previous outings, the predictable pace of She Who Must Be Obeyed is skewed by our present situation, and whether this results in an early or later completion and publishing depends on circumstances beyond our control. I hope to get the title out in the fourth quarter. As in all things … we’ll see, won’t we?