Tag Archives: The Anvil of the Craftsman

Inadequate Theology This

If one choose to write substantively—and I do—one may encounter people who are not necessarily well equipped to absorb a particular read produced. A pity in itself, the inadequacy can also at times manifest itself in negative feedback. The opinions of the ignorant are always a burden, and more annoying when made available for propagation on the Internet.

My free title, The Anvil of the Craftsman, is also the most widespread of my work. This in itself is a joy. While I am currently working on my eleventh full-length title, had I been blessed to produce only one, Jon Anthony’s 2006 Iraq adventure would suffice.

Anvil, in the paperback edition, is at this writing customer-rated in the top one percent of 7,300+ Political Fiction titles. Some, of course, did not like it as much. There is a reason why people swear in my novels, and that reason is for the sake of realism. Likewise, sexual situations—not something I usually care to put on screen, by the way—are portrayed because sex is a reality also encountered in the living of life.

I regret introducing these things into the puritanical fortress of solitude some readers have raised around their carefully ordered literary world, but that’s the way it is, boys and girls. Possibly, there is a better way for you to deal with realism than capping on my novel for content I warn about on the book’s retail description page.

Regardless of the preceding mini-rant, those minor quibbles do not bother me … much. More frustrating are the opinions of the readers whom the FAQs on my website (linked below) designate “pontificating self-righteous jerks.” You know who you are, or should. The next time you are speaking, ask Jesus what He would think of underrating a five-star novel you downloaded for free.

I’m not sure what some of you people expected of Jon Anthony in Al Anbar Province, addressing an assembly of Muslims, tribal elders and opinion leaders. That, gentle reader, was not the time anyone with Jon’s level of intelligence would have launched into his rendition of a Southern Baptist tent revival. Instead, he focused on commonalities, which is an attribute of civilized men and women and the orientation of anyone, as Anthony puts forth in his tripartite choice, who chooses to love.

Per the Greatest Commandment of Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV):

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Well, it seems pretty clear cut, does it not? It was also the foundational premise Jon was attempting to propagate.

In reaction, my novel has been called heresy, unChristian, and theologically inadequate by the sort of reader I mentioned in the first paragraph of this post. Allow me to retort.

When Christ died on the Cross, that centering point of history served not only as a historical reference going forward, but backward as well. The moment was the act of a loving God, accommodating in the only way possible the differential nature between Creation and Divinity. It is as accommodating of the righteous person who, for whatever cultural reason, has never grasped the significance of the mission of Christ as it is to those who can recite the story chapter and verse without realizing its universal applicability.

The Cross was inclusive act. It allows for the imperfect to become perfect in the sight of a perfect Creator, and enables our undeserved life through the counterweight of an undeserved death. Regardless of the empowering dogma of any theological hierarchy, I do not believe in and cannot accept the sacrifice of Jesus as a point of excluding legalism. As such, otherwise loving humanity would be cast into the flames of hell on a technicality.

Should you be a Christian? Dear God, yes! To do otherwise makes you ignorant of a wonderful act of love at best, an ingrate otherwise, and a contemptible reprobate at the worst. Will I consign any of you to hell for your current stage of development? No, I do not, because your Craftsman has not yet finished His long work of your life.

Somewhere along our way, the Spirit whispers His guidelines: first, that He Is … afterward, that life is better than death, that love overcomes hate, and that our essential orientation to either is our responsibility. There arrives a time when the heavens declare the Glory of God, and we see, and in seeing are changed from our essentially inadequate state to a viable child soul of a loving Creator. Everything we need to know in the work of our Craftsman follows to His ends.

Such happens in billions of places, with billions of souls, and in an unimaginable number of ways. This is so because the Spirit has no point of overload, no bandwidth restrictions, and a limitless capacity for concurrent projects. He is very good at what He does, and His work is life. Those hours of agony Jesus endured on our behalf—and, in a metaphysical sense, always did and always will, though that point is another topic. This actuality is what takes His work to the best end imaginable.

Readers are, of course, free to rate my work at whatever level they wish. That is their right. Regardless, realize first that I do not write haphazardly and am well able to defend any point I hold dear. If one thinks otherwise, perhaps he or she should read my novel again, more slowly. Rest assured that I’m well capable of doing this all … day … long.

*****

As far as news of production: Boone’s second, The Bonus Pool—my sixth full-length title—is on schedule for June, 2015. Her third and my seventh, One Last Scent of Jasmine will follow, God willing, sometimes around the end and beginning of the year. Next year, if we are so graced, Sean’s third, King of a Lesser Hill, and Boone’s fourth, Meat for the Lion, will appear. I hope to see you there. As always, more information is available at www.daleamidei.com.

Choose to Love, -DA

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Entry Points

Discoverability is one key to the success of an independent author. As I plead in the end matter of every novel, we have no publicity department or promotional budget outside of our own efforts.

The content edit of Novel5/ Boone1, Absinthe and Chocolate, is nearing completion. The first title of my third series Boone’s File looms larger on the horizon every day toward a projected release this summer. Three series will be the eventual result, God willing. All, I confess. are set in the same universe as the novel that started things off, The Anvil of the Craftsman.

Jon’s Trilogy, Sean’s File, and Boone’s File share to the extent possible a familiar cast of characters. It seemed to be the thing to do, and one does not meet people like these every day. The engaging spark of General Peter McAllen, the stoic bad-assery of Daniel Sean Ritter, and even the somewhat cynical and perpetual administrative confusion of Bernie Schuster now have become part of the landscape. I don’t think I could let any of them go if I tried.

With three series, new readers will have three places to start: whether with Anvil, my free offering, Operation Naji—which is Ritter’s back story—or with Boone’s debut in Absinthe. Three routes into my world will hopefully allow me show to show the maximum number of literary guests around for a while… for as long as I write, actually.

These novels are entry points, and I appreciate the utility of multiple chances to gain an audience for what I have to say. Whether I’m read in chronological order or by date of publication, I want the experience to be the same: satisfying enough to encourage my audience to tell many others.

I still, and always shall, pursue that happily viral popularity that best-quality writing can provoke. Without readers, as I’ve said before, an author’s voice is only imagination, and they mean the world to me. I thought I was good with words until it came time to tell you all how much.

Choose to Love, -DA

Sean and Muhammad

Perhaps a detailed psychoanalysis can explain where the ideas for a writer’s work originate. If so—despite my degree in that area of study—it is unlikely that I would take such a conclusion seriously in any case. Science tends to discount the notion that the mind is a spiritual crossroad, and tends to fall into the trap of human arrogance in assuming all of our thoughts and inspirations are our own.

In The Anvil of the Craftsman, Farrah’s son Gabir and the story’s mysterious military man have a brief conversation regarding Gabir’s father Muhammad. He was a man whose memory resided in reverence, seemingly by everyone who knew him. It was a scene that demanded the fulfillment of the back-story from the moment I wrote the words.

Whether a reader knows my Air Force Special Operator as Matt Kameldorn—his nom de guerre in Anvil—Drew Domenick from The Britteridge Heresy, or Daniel Sean Ritter from Killing Doctor Jon, he is a character whose intrigue draws the reader close. They seemed to want to know more, and so did I. The result was a parallel series to Jon’s Trilogy now beginning: Sean’s File, opening with his first novel Operation Naji.

Heroes, Villains, and ordinary people are made, not born. Each story has a beginning, and middle, and an end. In Naji, we see the beginnings of the man in whom training, talent, and dedication would coalesce to produce a warrior. That, however, is not the whole purpose of the work.

The heart of the novel remains a question in the deep blue water of theology, and that is the basis for salvation. Those of you who have absorbed my work may find my ideas divergent in that regard, though as with everything my opinions result from dedicated consideration. I see our origins in the work of a Craftsman: one who takes the time needed to produce His desired result, and Who is very good at what He does. I believe that skill is applied across cultures and faiths, due to the engineered capacity of the human soul to find its way back home. We humans do that by addressing essential and universal questions—consciously or not—and with a result determined by our individual character, capacity, and determination.

One believes in salvation by grace through faith, or one does not. Personally, I see the accommodation of Christ as an eternal fixture in a perfect plan rather than as a point of legality in a historical timeline. Some overly rigid doctrinalists will doubtless take issue with a Christian writer placing a Muslim as the main narrative character in Naji. Nevertheless, the novel brings across the message given as I wrote, and I have no regrets concerning the result.

Operation Naji is now in the very final stages of editing, and shall—God willing—soon go on to proofing and formatting and thence to its beta readers. Once published, the same faith telling me this endeavor of writing was worthwhile assures me that the novel will achieve its intended influence. Maybe only a few will read it, or perhaps many. It is what it is, and I think it a story that will not be forgotten once absorbed. Sean, of course, deserves that, as does Muhammad … certainly even more.

Choose to Love, -DA

2013 EFestival of Words Honors

Very pleased to be able to announce this morning that my debut and lead title of Jon’s Trilogy, that novel I love, The Anvil of the Craftsman, was honored in three categories at the 2013 eFestival of Words Virtual Book Fair. Anvil brought home Best Editing, thanks to the tireless efforts of She Who Must Be Obeyed, Single Candle Press Lead Editor Carrie Andere.

Anvil was originally nominated in five categories: Best Editing, Best Action/Adventure, Best Villain, Best Hero and Best Novel. In the first three cases, the title survived the cut made by the judges at the event. The end result, two Runners-up and one top honor, is the result of nearly two months of public voting. These are our first public awards for what has proven to be a very well received title, currently rated 4.8 stars over the course of 44 Amazon reviews. Anvil remains and will be for the foreseeable future a free, full-length download through most venues.

Thanks to all who assisted in the effort to obtain the visibility and the recognition that this year’s eFest generated. I am humbled and honored by the support of my friends and readers on a continual basis.

Choose to Love, -DA

eFest Winner!

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