Tag Archives: series fiction

Your Part of the Story

Or is it You’re Part of the Story? Either sense is correct. Interconnectedness is a vital aspect of the human experience, and without an appreciation of the precept, we would each develop into someone far below our potential.

You, however, are my readers. I’m not content to leave you there.

Many worthwhile things can be accomplished on an individual level, and some of those in no way else. Even the most independent achievement, however, is the culmination of capability fostered by affecting influences. Those are the drops and rivulets contributing to the flow of who we are and what we do … for better or worse.

Likewise, each event in the past contributes its part to the composition of the current scene. Frank Capra did a better than adequate job of illustrating totality in It’s a Wonderful Life, so I won’t bother to recap his conclusions here. It’s a pity, though, that sometimes this essential realization drops while reading fiction when we so wholeheartedly embrace it watching that film. I sometimes wonder if its absence also contributes to a less-than-sufficient grasp of history generally, much less the problems this can cause with dedicating attention to a novel.

I mention every so often how much I dislike encountering formulaic fiction. Emphases vary between plot-driven and character-driven structure such as mine. One won’t find action leading the way in a Dale Amidei novel, for the same reason that unanticipated, out-of-context conduct in real life generates confusion and anxiety in its witnesses. The ideal here is removed from pulpy exploits and steeped in substance instead, and the distinction sometimes requires the accumulation of momentum in defining a character’s situation.

Structure, done from farther out than a singular or first-person perspective, sometimes requires this. I’ve never written under the latter restriction, much preferring the weave of multiple points of view I encountered in my best formative reading. Reading first was a process that stretched across four decades before attempting my own serious novel, one that ran somewhere past thirty consecutive five-stars on Amazon and once was, by one website’s weighting, the second highest-rated fiction title in the Kindle store.

Character-driven fiction requires an investment on the part of the reader in the imaginary folk he or she is encountering. Its dividend must be paid by the author, but this takes time. It also, sometimes unfortunately, requires depositing a span of attention nearly every aspect of modern life seems intent on degrading. No one, if you’ve not noticed, ever dies in a Dale Amidei Chapter One. In Chapter Two and following all bets are off … but by then you will at least have an inkling of what’s happening and why.

What and Why, now that Boone is about to appear in her fourth novel, both play a vital role in her latest adventure. The interconnectedness to which I alluded in beginning this post is coming full circle; the cascading implications of fulfilled duty in her previous title, One Last Scent of Jasmine, extends from Washington to Moscow as two of the world’s most powerful men turn to ruthless pragmatism in seeking to distance themselves from their moral culpabilities.

Boone’s fourth is now set to appear on June 28, 2017. I hope you’ll be coming along on a trip not to be missed, whether you jumped into my interconnected character universe through Jon’s Trilogy, or Sean’s File, or with Boone’s debut in Absinthe and Chocolate. She and I need your reads, your reviews, and your help in boosting my signal on social media. You’re part of this story, and once it’s finished, I promise that Boone’s will remain part of you. To produce a novel that shakes the blessed earth is my prime motivation of course, but also to go forward with you from then on. Afterward, both of us will hopefully fulfill the clear vision of our Craftsman within the remainder of what He intends.

You do your part. I’ll do mine.

Choose to Love, -DA

*****

In production news, as mentioned above, Boone’s fourth novel, Meat for the Lion, is progressing through its final quality assurance steps before publishing later this month. Once retail pages are live, her Big List of Links will appear here as a separate post.

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Characters in a Godless Universe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

Choose to Love, -DA

Jon’s Trilogy

There is a principle of writing and marketing known as The Rule of Three. This idea suggests that tripartite content, being the smallest number required in establishing a pattern, is the most straightforward approach to connecting with one’s target audience.

On December 27, 2010, when I had finished setting up a new computer and began wondering what to do with it, I did not immediately plan to write a novel. I certainly had no idea that the work—which would become Anvil—would consume my free time for the period of twelve months. It would have been even more of a surprise to know that I would see two more of Jon Anthony’s titles published by the end of March 2013. I would never have imagined that I would be fulfilling a lifelong ambition of devoting a year full-time to the writing of fiction. The Rule of Three, however, seemed to apply itself spontaneously, and the words began to flow.

Every story has a beginning, a middle part, and an end, as Jon tells his college students in Killing Doctor Jon. So does his trilogy. They correspond to my goals for readers in the series, ones that I defined early on in the process.

The Anvil of the Craftsman, Jon’s introduction and adventure in Iraq, is a glimpse at the reasoning and philosophy guiding a young, bright, articulate postgraduate student in 2006. Methodologically, this would be Rationale.

The Britteridge Heresy provides insight into the actions his attitudes toward his faith and fellow man provoke, wrapped in the intrigue of an international drama. Jon, through no choice of his own, is forced to “walk the walk” of a believer, and again his faith carries the day. It defines, as I realized, Jon’s Method.

His third title, Killing Doctor Jon, makes it clear that this is Jon Anthony’s Trilogy. It is the most spiritually intense of the three, a story line that—as one of Jon’s beta readers puts it—“knocks you on your butt.” Doctor Jon defines the stakes in the race of life against death, a contest with a temporal finish line and eternal consequences. The plot is some aspects is a departure and in others defines the entire purpose of the exercise. In the Rule of Three it is Relevance.

Three titles, three objectives, and an undercurrent of interconnection make Jon’s Trilogy an experience. As entertainment, there is adventure, action and suspense, and even a hint of romance. I have been asked “what are your novels about?” In the end, as are all good stories, they are about people. I have spent twenty-seven months and counting with those who populate Jon Anthony’s universe, and it has been an entirely worthwhile journey.

The Anvil of the Craftsman, The Britteridge Heresy, and Killing Doctor Jon are the journey of a lifetime … for Jon Anthony and for anyone else who can read and think at the same time. I hope that you will enjoy all three.

*In the run-up to the release of Jon’s Anthony’s third title, Killing Doctor Jon, my debut novel and the first of Jon’s Trilogy is being made available at very special pricing:

The Anvil of the Craftsman is now a free download via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, iTunes and Kobo. Please see my sideboard for links!

Choose to Love, -DA