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.