Native Crimes – A Review

 

NativeCrimes

 

As a self-published author, the little time I have for literary pursuits is limited.  I rarely have time to read works of others, let alone find time to write for myself.  I know two writers personally, all the others I’ve met online.  One of those writers is my sister, who has yet to release her story.  The other is good friend, Steven Wright, that I met back in the 1980’s, only to lose communications with over 20 years and later to discover we had both moved back to Oklahoma, our son’s were in the same fraternity at the University of Oklahoma, and that we each had written a story.  I promised to read and review Steven’s story.

First, let me say that I have the utmost respect for anyone who will share their stories with the fear of being reviewed and criticized.  As a self-published author myself, I make mistakes, but I want to share a story and then let the reader decide if they liked it.  I’ve read some of the most highly acclaimed stories, only to shake my head and wonder why I wasted so much time.  Steven’s story could be polished more with the help of a beta readers group.  Some of the grammar and plot issues could have been caught and corrected in advance of printing.  It is difficult to write a book, but even harder to edit it.  On a scale of 5, I give it a 3 for grammar and some plot development, but this is easily corrected.  With this said, I want to concentrate on the story.

Native Crimes is an original and imaginative story that blends true historical events woven into the life of an orphaned child named, Payat, now an adult graduating college, none other than the University of Oklahoma.  Payat’s Apache lineage leads to a journey of self-discovery and the unveiling of a family secret.  What makes this story original is that it blends events I had no idea existed, such as the Yale secret society of Skull and Bones involving Prescott Bush, patriarch of the Bush family – who were reported to have stolen items from Geronimo’s grave, including a knife that provided him with invisibility.  While you are reading chapters of historical basis, the next chapter might be developing plot and character around these events and the powers of the knife.  I found this to be very clever and turned to the Internet to read these stories.

The chief antagonist of the story is Tuno, a native without a tribal identity, addicted to meth, with an almost demonic need to kill anyone in his way, including Payat’s mother.  Now an adult, Payat is targeted by Tuno to discover the whereabouts of the knife.  A college classmate, Julie, joins Payat in his search for his past and is drawn into the string of events that lead to more murders.   The path of death leads from Oklahoma to the Mescalero Apache lands of New Mexico.  Oddly enough, Steven’s description of those lands was based on a trip he made to Roswell, New Mexico.  I lived in Ruidoso for over 3 years, so I could envision from his descriptions the events unfolding before my eyes.

Steven’s most poignant part of the book comes from a retelling of the Trail of Tears.  A history most of us are aware of and ashamed of.  Its retelling connects us emotionally to Payat, who looks desperately to find himself, questioning his Christian upbringing and the ways of the Apache people.  Here Steven displayed his best writing skills.

Without giving too much away, the story is further complicated with the historical events surrounding the Lost Dutchman mines and yes, the Roswell UFO incident. It is at the end of the story that a conglomeration of secrets are revealed why Tuno not only wants the knife, but Mexican Drug Cartels and clandestine powers in the federal government.  Here Payat reaches manhood and finds his inner Apache warrior, and to find peace with himself and to lay to rest unanswered questions of his lineage, faith, and his mother’s death.

In this age of comic book reboots, oversexed teenage vampires, and other formula novels – Native Crimes stands out – unique and imaginative, worthy of being read, worthy of exploring how our past shapes our future, and a reminder of our past.  I found the story to be very respectful of Native Americans and keeps many of their traditions alive and well.  On a scale of 5, I give the story’s originality a 4.5.  I was entertained and made to think.

Good job Steven!  Thank you for sharing your imagination with me.  Now get busy writing your next story.

To learn more about Steven Wright and Native Crimes:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nativecrimesbook

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Native-Crimes-Steven-Wright/dp/1491225041

Web: http://www.nativecrimesbook.com/

 

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Context & Construct

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I visited with my sister this weekend and we spoke about my trilogy.  She has a masters degree in creative writing.  She has tried to read my trilogy but states all the other authors and editors do not write the way I write.  That you must hook people quickly into your story.  I understand completely her viewpoint, this is what the majority opinion is.  But I have to ask a simple question.  How creative is this? If we all march to beat of the same drums, aren’t we just robots catering to the machine?  Do you ever feel like you are reading the same story over and over again, with just a few new character names and locales?  Don’t you know what sex is by now?  How many ways can you spin eroticism and vampires?  I’m not knocking these authors or readers, but don’t you want a change of pace?

I am a CPA.  I am analytical, linear and logical.  I have done computer programming which must be controlled by logic with “”If this, then this, else this” type construct.  I literally despise stories without context and logical construction.  I have heard people say,

“I want a quick and fun read.  I do not wish to think.”

If this is true then my stories will not appeal to you.  If you like books like the The Shack or the Life of Pi, then you are seeking a book with a deeper meaning of life and spirituality.  Yes, it has to be entertaining, but don’t you want the ground work established first?  Here is how I constructed my trilogy based on my love for J.R.R. Tolkien’s wonderful and mesmerizing world of Arda and Middle Earth.

Book 1 – Rise of the Fallen, Chapters 1-9 are the history of the universe and Allivar.  Think of the Silmarillion in a compressed form.  A mythology must have an origin narrative. There must be a narrative on the source of evil and the history to create the myths of immortals and heroic mortals. These chapters establish the construction of all that follows and provides subtle clues to the surprising ending of the story.  If you rush through this, you will definitely miss the point of the story.  Sorry, I didn’t spend ten years just to have battle scenes, sex and a pointless battle over a throne.  My story is much deeper than this.

Chapters 10-16 begins the story of the hero in the dawning of the seventh age of Allivar.   Like the Fellowship of the Ring there is the bonding of characters of various races on a journey the Chosen One was selected for, which is to determine if mortals are worthy of life.  If you wish, just jump to Chapter 10 and begin there.  Then maybe one day you will want to go back and have context of the origin of my mythology.

Now this book cannot be more exciting than book two, nor can book two be more exciting than book three.  There must be a crescendo of action and emotions.

Book 2 Bound to Forbidden Lands ratchets the excitement after all the ground work was established in book one.  The Two Towers gave readers the thought that all would be lost, but that the faith in men would rise to counter the acts of evil.   We were left begging for the conclusion with the Return of the King.

Book two introduces romance and the continued rise of evil, an epic coliseum battle, fighting with dark demons and a journey through lands, guarded by dragons and watchers, the hero has been told to avoid.  But he has no other option.  The ending of the story must compel you to read the third story, so it has a cliff hanger unlike any you will ever read. He lives!

Book 3 – Last Stand of the Living is the culmination of the entire mythology with the greatest mythological battle ever to be written, where the fate of the universe will be decided, and where mortal and immortal alike come to battle. Here you will finally understand all that was written in the first nine chapters of book one.  I recall the Return of The King’s influence on the ratcheting of the battle scenes and emotions with the arrival of the Rohirrim and the eventual defeat of Sauron.  Readers who have taken the challenge to read my trilogy are utterly exhausted emotionally in this third story.  For the creator of the universe makes his stand with the seven mortal races.

I can guarantee you this much; you will laugh, you will cry, and you will cheer.  You may even contemplate life as we know it, for it is allegorical to our times.

But I am not done with you yet.  Forthcoming are the Chronicles of Allivar, sixteen stories, equally as intriguing as the trilogy. It introduces a parallel journey of the Armies of Light and the heroes of the six ages.  Here the compressed history is expanded, laying a blueprint for the construct of an equally exciting series.

You see, I have constructed a mythology using a linear approach from origin to the end of time, with proper context so that you don’t end the series wondering what happened to certain characters who dropped out.

You have a choice. Follow the cookie-cutter formulaic stories and construct that the masters and literary gods tell us that must exist, or take a chance on something new, independent, original, and frankly – creative.

My final point is this.  Many people take life way too seriously.  They seek affirmation from others of their worthiness in this lifetime.  They wish to dominate life by determining who is allowed to participate in the private clubs of industry and intellectual institutions.  They control who will be successful and who will not, through regulation, etc.  The publishing industry loves to bully, yes I wrote bully, to tell you another person’s attempt at writing is garbage because they weren’t involved in the editing, distribution and profit-sharing aspects of your creativity.  They belittle every person or story that reaches success independently.  I do not like erotica, but I applaud E.L. James for dispensing, once and for all, that only the publishing Gods know what stories will interest you.

Self-publishing has provided an opportunity for those of us who love to tell stories, even with grammatical errors, to remain independent and reap the potential success of our own risk. This was once referred to as entrepreneurship, not vanity publishing.  Vanity should be described as the envy of others who have not found a way to piggy-back on your imagination.

In the end, it is you the reader who independently defines what stories are good or not.  I am going to keep writing because one day I can tell them to my grandchildren.  Like Tolkien, these are the stories I want to read, but are not being produced by the publishing Gods.  I hope one day you will find my stories appealing enough to tell to your children and others.

To my sister, I have to say this, do not waste another second of your life looking for the accolades and affirmation of others.  Their aim is profit-motivated and honestly, quite vain.  The only one responsible for your happiness is you.  Life is risk and by not taking any risk, for the fear of the opinion of others, including your own family, is not living.  Stephen King said it best in his story, The Shawshank Redemption:

“Get busy living or get busy dying.”

Sacrifice

Unseen

A few days ago I blogged about the role of faith in an epic high fantasy story.  Now, if I mentioned faith and sacrifice in the same sentence would you automatically think, “Oh no, here comes a Jesus Christ reference!”

Think for a moment of a soldier.  A soldier is one who goes to battle to protect those he loves from what appears to be of evil intent.  He has faith in his commanders judgment and is willing to lay down his life for what he believes is the highest of chivalric and noble character – to give one’s life for something greater than himself.  Now, this certainly is no reference to Jesus Christ, who died to save mankind of its sins.

Now go one step further.  If a person received a command by the highest authority, his creator, and was supplied with gifts to set off on a journey to free seven enslaved races, knowing full well there will be tests and possible sacrifice, would you still insist the story was about Jesus Christ?

Here’s the setup.  The Unseen, the mythical creator of my universe, pondered the creation of life, both immortal and mortal.  What would happen and which would be more noble?  His first thought is that the immortals would be, so he creates ten to steward over ten heavenly worlds, until he sees very quickly that from free will there are those that will not submit to his authority.  He then creates mortal beings and for the immortals to be their stewards.  He then proclaims that one day from the line of the first prophet, in the seventh line, a seventh son, Arimar, the messenger, will be born and that all evil will attempt to destroy him and his followers.  The rebellious steward, Haggarfuse, unwilling to submit, designs to destroy everything and one-by-one nine worlds fall to complete death and darkness.  It is on the final world, Allivar, which means The One Family, converges with their created beasts and demons.  Arimar at birth is rushed and veiled until he reaches the age of wisdom and is then called to set off on his task.  Having free will he almost commits suicide for the stress is too high with the expectations placed on him from prophecy, which is no more than a test.

Now that you have an idea of the brief history, Arimar sets off on his journey, which is just as perilous as any you have ever read.  There is a journey to the north to confront a possessed king and then there is a journey home through a land where evil’s creations are Bound to Forbidden Lands, with every step being a test of faith.

Then the final battle of good and evil arrives in Last Stand of the Living.  Here all the captains, the seventh son of he seventh generation of each race, rises from the fallen ages, to stand united. There in the battle, that is being lost, Arimar sees all that he loves: his captains and Elissia, whom he hopes to marry one day, sacrifice all they are, but appear to die to in a vain attempt.  When he could easily lose his faith, Arimar is given a choice, to leave with the Unseen and not experience death, or to stay and die with all that remains of his mortal family.  He then bargains with the Unseen that if he gives his own life, would the remaining peoples of the races be saved.  The Unseen asks if he would truly do such a thing.  Arimar offers it freely.

This is where I will tell you no more, because the battle takes a turn you will not see coming, yet was hinted over and over again in the first nine chapters of Rise of the Fallen. All I can say here, is that the battle is the largest I have ever read, which includes those found in the Lord of the Rings.  How is that for a teaser?

The moral is simple, are we the living more worthy of stewardship than the immortals?  Will the pain of loss and death teach us more of racial harmony and the stewardship of worlds?  Are we able to withstand every test and stand for our faith?  Will we, the living, stand against evil in all its forms and do what is right?  Are we worthy enough? We will not see the fleeting nature of life, and the futility of war and hatred?  We will understand the gift of life with all its pains?

This is the gist of the trilogy, then there are the upcoming Chronicles of Allivar, which is a parallel journey of history and events of the nine fallen worlds, the first six ages of Allivar and the final story in the seventh age – the age of light.  When you complete the trilogy you will understand the nature and path of the chronicles.  The first in this series is titled – The Fall of Helloria.

Seven is a significant number for it represents perfect completion.  This is a hint for you as a reader.  All you need to do is take a leap of faith and enter my world of Allivar.  You will think, you will cry, but I promise you this too… you will cheer.

This is a mythology covering creation, life and the end of the ages.  Those who love The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings should easily understand the context and construct of my stories.

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Faith

Unseen

Since late 2011, I have been promoting my trilogy, The Chosen One of Allivar.  The story is a mythology which requires creation, life and end of times.  I’ve sold quite a few, but reviews and ratings have been very, very difficult to receive.  I’ve been told it is very good, but apparently posting a review is too difficult.  I have restrained myself from marketing it as a faith based story, because too many would never read it.  Chapter one in Rise of the Fallen starts out very similar to Genesis.  The tale of the fallen Charafuse (Angels) is very similar to that of the Satan story, and there are many inferences to stories in the Bible.  I did this for a marketing purpose, to bring familiarity to my story of the three Abrahamic religions of which there are more than a billion potential readers, nothing more.  What may appear as a religious story, is not. Here is a definition of religion:

Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to the supernatural, and to spirituality.

Since we live in a period of history where mythologies, even with the slightest hint of a creator, is deemed religious by the secular society, I will then market the trilogy and the upcoming 16 chronicles stories as a series of stories of faith, hope and spirituality.  In the end, the story is about mankind’s ability to be proper stewards and provides thought on immortal life.  It revolves around free will, family, spouse, children, races, and even the animals.

In the year 1999, I was challenged by a friend to write a story centered around a creator as the source of good, rather than the benign references in many stories.  Stars Wars has the “Force”, Lord of the Rings had the power of the elves given to them by Eru (The One), and Narnia has Aslan the Lion who is a representation of Jesus.  Robert Jordan, the author of The Wheel of Time has a creation story very similar to Christianity. George RR Martin refers to the old and new gods.  Gods lay down laws and the expectations of their creations.

In the end, the story is one about faith in something greater than ourselves and how one man is chosen to deliver the enslaved and a message to all of the living. The words Chosen One, do not refer to Christ.  Christ was God incarnate.  My hero is a mere mortal, asked to rise to the greatest challenge of all – to unite the seven divided races and stand against evil, before there is nothing left but death, darkness and eternal silence.

You will notice many inferences to other mythologies such as King Arthur and that created by Tolkien.  You will see the influence of Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost.  In its simplest of form it is derived from this popular quote:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

It is spiritual, highly emotional and so very human of a story.  It is allegorical, it has meaning and a moral behind it.  Will we the living finally become the stewards we were meant to be?  This is the question and should challenge all those who have faith and hope that there is greatness in and after life.

So now I submit to all those who love stories of faith, whether it be Life of Pi, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wheel of Time, or another story I have not yet read – take a chance on a timeless story of good and evil and faith in things unseen. I am not asking you to convert to anything, follow me, or start a cult, but to enjoy a story – that’s all.  I promise you will be crying and cheering at the same time.

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Sketching Your Demon

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Haggarfuse – A Charamorg

As an author and self-publisher, I do it all, including all technology duties.  Recently, one of my reader’s suggested I provide images of my creations.  This would help them visualize the characters and demons.  I truly love to leave such issues to the imagination of the reader, but if a simple sketch can help excite these readers and future readers, then I will take the time.

Let me say that my day job is being an accountant.  Going back as far as I can remember, I have had an active imagination.  I am possibly ADD. Back in my youth, I’d draw monsters on paper and cut them out to play with.  We didn’t have video games – 3,000 TV channels, or other devices of modern technology we now take for granted or feel entitled to.  We read.  We went to see the movies when we could save enough money for the ticket, a soft drink, and one large salty pickle.  Our visual effects of the day now seem lame, but back then they sparked the imagination with a fury. I still vividly recall the monsters of my youth: The Creature of the Black Lagoon, Valley of the Gwangi, Godzilla, King Kong, Frankenstein, Dracula, Alien and most of all – The Exorcist. Then I’d daydream on those nights that sleep evaded me.  I created my own worlds and heroes, and the demons and monsters those heroes fought.  I never wanted to be an accountant, I actually wanted to be an architectural engineer, designing homes and structures.  I wanted to be a creator with this imagination. But with all things, reality crashes in and one must find a method of support.  Accounting has been good for me in this respect.

Above is a rough sketch of one of my creations, demented as it might be.  What you are seeing is Haggarfuse, a Charamorg, an ethereal steward of the damned.  One might consider him to be the devil, the one who rebelled against his maker, who brought havoc upon worlds, an immortal envious of the creator’s perceived preference to mortals .  Here in his damned state he is meant to be fearful so that all the living would easily recognize evil by sight.

It has been thirty years since I took sketching seriously.  This was the result of a couple of hours of effort.  Time, at the age of 54, is very precious to me.  I’ve worked more hours in the last 33 years than I can recall, too many nights and weekends lost,  devoted to complying with the laws of the land dictated by those in power.  I don’t know how many years I have left in this physical realm, but with what I have left, I want to return to that wonderment of my youth.  I want to create.  Not only a epic story of mythological proportion, but to bring the visions of my mind before those that still find wonderment in this world and beyond.

If you are like me in this regards, I invite you to join me on this journey.

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”

Edgar Allan Poe

A Call to all Women

screaming-woman

Damn You Lilith

This is a call, like the lighting of a beacon, for the response of as many women as possible.  I am an author and a man, a manly man.  I don’t have hidden feminine traits.  Therefore, you might consider me an old fashioned Rhett Butler type.  I write about heroes and heroines as I would like to see them.  Right now I am on the 5th book of a 19 story mythology.  This current story deals with the fall of a world by an evil queen, who wasn’t always evil.  As I discussed the plot with my editor (my wife) she mentioned that she hoped I would try to explain why women can be, well, so petty.  As a manly man in search of the great mysteries in life, frankly my dear I haven’t a damn clue.

So, with this in mind, this story has to do with two queens, one who is targeted by evil for her shortcomings, her vices.  If you have ever studied the seven deadly sins you know that you can probably pinpoint any human failing from one or more of those deadly vices.  Haggarfuse the Deceiver, an immortal bent on rebellion, is well aware of these vices now from observation of the fall of the first heavenly world of Helloria (book 4 in edit phase).  He is now on a mission to use these mortal weaknesses to create the most evil queen ever and I mean ever, to destroy the world of Europia.  This is a story I have been drooling over for at least three years to write.  What things have modern women seen that even they despise in their own sex?  This is where you ladies can come to my aid.  You can even respond anonymously.  I can write my perspective as a man and frankly my dears, be shot down as a sexist pig.  So remove the male perspective and hit your own sex with your best shot.

In my image above I refer to Lilith [Read more in this link] as one of my inspirations to this evil queen.  In some legends Lilith was the first wife of Adam.  Yes, that’s right.  Adam was divorcee, so to speak.  Lilith would not submit to Adam and was cast out of Eden to become the first succubus [Read more in this link]   She even mated with the archangel Samael (talk about juicy material?)Some legends even state she invades infant cribs to rob the breath of infants, as her revenge against Eve. Therefore women chanted a lullaby to protect their infants from Lilith who became a demon.

This is just one source of original evilness that is going to relentlessly attack and destroy an innocent female child and subsequently the world she is a part of.  Don’t be dismayed there is also a good queen in the story, although it must be a tragedy, it will end on a positive note.  Queen Maggith is the lead evil character, a name I derived from a combination of Maggot and Lilith.  Unfortunately, a friend of mine from Corpus Christi wanted to be in one of my books, so I made her the good queen Tamylla, and then her friend Maggie also wanted to be in one.  Well Maggie, sorry, but you drew the last straw.  Please don’t hate me forever. Maggith is going to be terrible, every woman on earth is going to hate her.

For those of you ladies who may not know these vices here are the seven deadly sins:

  1. Pride – considered the highest sin of all.
  2. Lust – a definite theme in this story
  3. Greed
  4. Envy – what can I say!
  5. Gluttony
  6. Sloth
  7. Wrath – hell hath no fury like a woman scorned (one of my chief themes in this story)

So, place on your thinking tiara or crown, and tell me what characteristics you think would make the most awesome evil queen ever.  What causes women to be petty?  Thanks for being a good sport too.

Being Original in an Unoriginal Age

Satan

When I read Paradise Lost  for the first time I was blown away by Milton’s originality to the fall of man story. I continue to be fascinated by Dante’s Inferno and concept of the underworld  and of course, everything in Tolkien’s world.

As I begin the fifth story of my nineteen story mythology, I laugh at all the movies that are soon to be released like “Batman XXII,” or “The incredibly, incredible Spiderman.”  Appears to me that people no longer want anything original because they might be disappointed, so they stick to the unoriginal and play it safe. I read all the time where editors and publishers literally trounce certain writer’s works, yet still publish them anyway if the consuming consumers buy and demand more.

Let me be frank. I publish this blog to bring attention to the stories I have written. I am bored of the same stories rebooted with more current special effects.  There are few stories that catch my attention these days, so I had to write my own.  Whether anyone wants to join me in my imaginary journey is up to them. Those that have, want more, so I am now putting my writing cap on turbo.  I want to finish this writing journey in my lifetime.

My fifth story is the second story of a series of nine chronicles that supplement the epic trilogy I wrote from years 2000 to 2010.  The readers asked me, “How did the nine heavenly worlds fall?” Being original is always on my mind.  What have I not seen or read in my entire lifetime?  What twists and turns can I inject to make a story attractive to the reader?  In books four and five I explore the concepts of heroines.  My wife, who is the initial editor of my stories has said the fourth book will touch a woman’s heart.  She cried at the ending, which was my intent.  She was also surprised at the originality of how I am approaching the writing of the the chronicles.

To keep my own attention, each story must outperform the one before it.  Each one must lay the ground work that effects not only the full understanding of the trilogy, but effects the subsequent stories and leaves the reader recalling something they read before. When completed, this mythology will become a series that readers will review over and over to catch the subtle hints as though they were on an exploration or a hunt – a hunt for clues and knowledge.

Each one will come with new characters and plots.  Central to the chronicles is the exploration into the seven deadly sins or vices (evil) into the fall of nine heavenly worlds and the seven virtues (good) which apply to the heroes and heroines.  If you didn’t know what they are, here is list:

Lust (Vice) and Chastity (Virtue)

Gluttony (Vice) and Temperance (Virtue)

Greed (Vice) and Charity (Virtue)

Sloth (Vice) and Diligence (Virtue)

Wrath (Vice) and Patience (Virtue)

Envy (Vice) and Kindness (Virtue)

Pride (Vice) and Humility (Virtue)

In other words, an exploration into humanity in a mythological setting.  You might ask, what is original in that? The originality to the story comes to basic questions of life – why are we here and what is our purpose?  Is life merely a test?  What will our purpose be in the afterlife?  Why must heroes and heroines die?  Why must there be pain and suffering?  Will good ever triumph over evil?  Be prepared for thought provoking and fast paced entertaining action stories.  Most of all this mythology covers the topics of love of people, family, the environment and of things unseen.

Come join me on an original epic journey through the seven ages of Allivar.