Here, it is not yet a week since an addled young man shot up his former high school in Parkland, Florida. And people everywhere are afraid.

We have all felt fear, so there’s seldom a need to define dread. It’s burn graduates through degrees of apprehension to stark terror in every life, because we are fragile and fleeting creatures bounded in an uncertain existence by a beginning and an end, with our anticipated span between at best an assumption. Fear is natural once we witness hurt … or worse.

In our next release and Boone’s fifth novel, A Garden in Russia—currently editing—the wife of Russia’s FSB Director, my character Ana Lyubov, has this to say about the duty and responsibility for comporting oneself:

“Faith is given to overcome fear, girl, for those who live in righteousness. It is history’s lesson at every turn. This is our time to be strong … for your father’s sake.”

And again, to another:

“Let me tell you, Deborah Vosse … though my husband is in prison, and my daughter a captive, I feel no less the hand of God in these difficult days.”

And this from Boone:

“When fear keeps you from your promises, your duty, from accomplishing whatever it is you are tasked to do by your love for others … only then are you a coward.”

To fear is no dishonor. Fear can be motivating, as adrenaline is invigorating. What follows behind sometimes is problematic.

Fear exists as a tool for those whose main ambition is to direct the lives of others. Like  animal predators in nature rather than society, spiritually deficient personalities seek, sense, cultivate, and exploit it because they recognize the manipulative advantage of leveraging terror.

Terrorists use it as a means to an end. That the techniques of terror are more blatantly homicidal than a politician whose strategy is identical in its heartless essence marks only a matter of decrepit degree. The core value of both sociopathic subsets is dominance. In each case goal-oriented behavior exhibits to the exclusion of valued humanity.

In every case, fear depends on its acceptance in the targeted group embracing the emotion. Sometimes this occurs out of fatigue following relentless, propagandistic assault, but more often the cause is a perception of helplessness. Those manipulating the sensation of horror have some transition in mind, and often what presents as a solution is anything but.

Today the architects of fear are targeting the natural right of free people to possess the means of their defense. The framers of our Constitution recognized this before all but a few when delineating the rights its first ten amendments safeguard, because they were about setting down unchanging principles of governance unhindered by tyranny. In doing so, they were setting the boundaries of government free people would not need to fear.

Frank Herbert’s masterpiece Dune has his portrayed Bene Gesserit trainees recite their litany against fear as “the mind killer” and “the little death that brings total obliteration.” Herbert’s characters, so prepared, faced their emotion, let it go, and traced its path afterward to better understand themselves. So should we.

Fear stems from uncertainty, but certitude is a matter of education. It is infuriating that fear is being cultivated in our educational institutions these days. Its introduction is diminishing rather than edifying.

Malleability originates in a condition of essential incapability. Performance anxiety in vital aspects of life, such as assuring one’s personal safety, amplifies perceptions of dependency, whose end result is to make its subject weak rather then strong. Personal, emotional and physical strength should be the goal of worthwhile mentors. To do otherwise brings into question the motives and honor of those responsible for producing the next generation of citizens, and the ideological condition their curriculum is designed to produce.

I repeat: fear, in whatever condition one finds oneself, regardless needs to be embraced to have an influence. The strength to do otherwise is bestowed first in the spirit and then in the mind, where a decision to act must take place. This is why those whose sum displays in their ambition go to such lengths to assure its abundance in prospective subjects. Tyranny is never in the best interest of the oppressed, and tyrants know this better than anyone. It must be made to appear as the best choice, and to do so more noble aspects of the human experience must be put out of mind.

The fear of death, the scariest and most inevitable doorway we face in life, is the tool God’s enemy uses to turn us from His will. That the enemy and his plans are defeated already through the Resurrection of Christ is the treasure of faith and secret strength for those of us who believe, and freely available should it be sought. This realization is God’s goal, just as His enemy’s schemes intend to keep you from it.

So, here in the wake of another tragedy and in the midst of upset and proposed, agenda-based solutions on the political Left, I would encourage you. Find your faith and build your strength in the company of worthwhile teachers in whatever aspect of your personal development seems lacking. They are the ones whose goals are to make you strong, independent, reverent, and capable rather than a quailing thrall. They will teach you how to help yourself rather than carry or steer you into servitude. They will ask nothing but their due in exchange, if wishing anything at all but that you likewise pay forward the lessons accumulated from similarly happy, formative circumstances of their own in days gone by.

They are the ones you will remember on the day you’re able to say, “I’m not afraid, I am free.”

Choose to love, -DA


In production news, as mentioned, the fifth installment of Boone’s File is editing and anticipating a September release. As always, whether you have read in Jon’s Trilogy, or Sean’s File, or followed Boone’s progress, we depend on your recommendations and your reviews to get out the word.

“If you’ve read something, I hope you said something.” Your few words, describing to prospective readers how my novel made you feel, will never stop helping me … or go unappreciated here.


TYP Full Release Links

A followup to my previous post: Novel10/Sean4, The Yemeni Package is here, there, and everywhere you’re likely to look. As promised, here are the links:

Amazon Kindle
Amazon trade paperback


As always, I appreciate your support, your reads, and especially your reviews. Those last, especially, will never stop helping me.

Choose to Love, -DA


In production news, Novel11/Boone5, A Garden in Russia, is undergoing continuity and fact checking via Content Edit prior to the heavy lifting of production editing, which will to take place through the spring and summer. More info is available by visiting my In The Works page.

The Yemeni Package

By convention, it’s recommended that an author read in his or her own genre and thereby enhance the ability of “writing to market.”  I generally do not, because these days works need to be well conceived, structured, and written to hold my attention, and those increasingly seem few and far between. Besides, I want to write my words, not a rehashed version of theirs. The market can decide what it wants afterward.

Heroes in some very popular series seem to evolve little, if at all, over the span of their respective runs. Life, of course, doesn’t allow stagnation. Each of us change day by day, growing or diminishing or managing both at once in different measures. That people will change makes character stagnation in series fiction a point of departure from reality, and over the long term, in my opinion at least, degrades the sense of attachment between the reader and the characters they engage. Being real, in and out of the bubble of immersion, is a vital part of maintaining any relationship.

So, as Novel10/Sean4 The Yemeni Package opens, we have a non-typical vision of the subject of its story, Daniel Sean Ritter. At this peak in both his career with Air Force Special Operations and physically, the man is also worn down by an invisible op force: pain, grief, and accumulated postoperative trauma. In having experienced more intensity in his thirty years than some will accumulate in a long, comfortable lifetime, he is paying the price. At the branch of his trail is one path leading to a summit, and the other descending into decline.

What sort of life produces a man like Ritter? What grants him the will to win without making him a brute? What price has he paid for taking so many lives in the course of duty? He’s not fragile, not weak by any means, just human. Ritter embodies the noble spirit of longsuffering and resilience related by Kipling’s mighty poem, If, a portion of which reminds us that one can:

 …force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

Ritter, as his Sean’s File series chronicles, held on through the events of the 1990s to appear as the iconic lone wolf AFSOC operator attached to U.S. Army Intelligence’s General Peter McAllen in the first title of Jon’s Trilogy, The Anvil of the Craftsman, where we initially met him under the nom de guerre Matt Kameldorn. In The Yemeni Package we see how, when, and why that happened … as well as why an Air Force major remained, at age thirty-eight, unattached other than by his interservice agreement with his handler.

Everything in my catalogue followed, once the decade of his back-story was completed. The three volumes of Jon’s Trilogy are set in the first decade of the new century, with Boone’s File following in the next. Ritter is there through every one of those stories to date, adding to the fabric sustaining their integrity.

He’s just a man, but a spectacular man. Daniel Sean Ritter was preserved through his formative experiences by essential strength and the hope for a possible future. It’s one he achieved in my second novel, by the way, but it would be better that you learn the details for yourself.

Here’s the blurb:

The year is 1999. Following a failed attack on a USAF base, the leader of an emergent and radical Islamic organization is offered to the United States by his captors. Under political oversight in the persona of a beautiful and deadly female case officer and aided by an apostate cleric, a mothballed Air Force Special Operations unit designated Deep Recovery is tapped for the mission. Their task: quietly deliver a captured terrorist, held overseas, into American custody.

Blindsided by the scope of an opposing force drawn from the ranks of a fanatical cult of personality, Daniel Sean Ritter’s mission intensifies once matters turn deadly. A simple detainee transfer then becomes a hunt for the most wanted man in the region.

Domestic and international political pressures erode their civilian leadership’s resolve. Its operators in the field are left diminished and isolated, forced into a quandary of whom their government wishes to prevail … and into the realization that true strength sometimes is found where there is no one to trust but oneself.

Approx. 81,800 wds. / 300 pp. print length

As usual, an update will be posted later this week as buy links go live.

Choose to Love, -DA

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.


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.