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.

Banner4thStory

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.

Just Chillin

Chillin

Whoever said, “like father like son,” was a genius.  Except now it is like grandfather, like father, like son.  Here is a weekend photo of the Greenlee men just chillin out, as my son would say, on a hot Saturday afternoon.  My generation might call it hanging out or hanging loose.  Who knows what my grandson will call it, but this is as priceless a generational picture as one could take.  My daughter took this photo with her Canon EOS Rebel T3i.  If she wanted to be, she could become a photographer, she’s got talent.

The weekend before the water was too cool and our grandson decided to anoint our bed when his dad allowed him to go Full Monty just a little too long between diaper changes.   That’s okay, I did the same with my son, in fact, one time as I was acting like all witless father’s do and while cooing my son, I was anointed in the face – like grandfather, like father, like son.

My readers need to put on Ray Ban sunglasses to keep from going blind, because we are three of the whitest white men you will ever see .  I am so pale  that my  grandson had to put on his Baby Ban sports shades.  Now, is that a hip grandchild or what?  Now notice the genetic inclination to place our right hands behind our necks? Like grandfather, like father, like son.  And how about that float?  Top class, eh?  It’s part of the grandparent oath to spoil their grandchild rotten.  One day he’ll ask daddy for a BMW and when he says no, I’ll remind my son of the floatie his grandpappy bought for him.  Am I rotten or what?

As one gets older we refer back to photos such as these.  One day I’ll be much older.  My son will be in the prime of his career and my grandson will be chasing some  young pretty lady.  They won’t have much time on their busy schedules (sniff, sniff) for poor old papa. A tear will come to my eyes about the days the Greenlee men trio were just chillin and grillin together.  Then I will pull out this photo and show to my grandson’s girlfriend,

Chillin2

My mother always said you need to live long enough to become a burden on your children and grandchildren.  I’ve decided to start early and embarrass him now – in front of my world wide audience. He’ll be so embarrassed he’ll become a monk and save himself much grief later on.  Oh by the way, he doesn’t have to pay any fees into the man club – there’s a nepotism clause.

Hey – just chill out!  I didn’t go the Full Monty with him.  That’s later!

Today, please love a child, a grandchild or any child who looks like they just need someone to smile at them.  They are precious gifts that supply lifelong unforgettable memories, laughs and smiles.

The Fall of Helloria Prologue – Spoiler Alert

AllivarChroniclesRiseofEvilI am not a fan of prologues.  As an author I want a story to unfold and the reader to grow into the story.  However I understand their purpose to assist readers in a purchasing decision.  Below is the first draft of the prologue for the upcoming release of the 4th book of my 19 story mythology.  It is my hope to have this book released no later than July of this year.  We are in editing phase and then onto eBook conversion.  The title of this fourth story is the Fall of Helloria, the first chronicle of Allivar.  Many readers of my trilogy stated they wished the story never ended.  So I purposely crafted in the trilogy the possibility of a line of stories that brought to perspective a different viewpoint which can only be understood by grasping the complexity of the trilogy.

****SPOILER ALERT*****

In the trilogy I gave a compressed history of the falling of nine heavenly worlds and of six ages of history before the main character was introduced.  This chronicle and the next fifteen will go into the telling of the nine tragedies and the six ages of defiance on Allivar.  These stories are of the heroes and heroines of those world and ages, the origin of monsters, and the plots and rebellion of the forces of evil.  Those that read the trilogy know the armies of the seven races appeared on the last day of battle and that the Unseen also unleashed the armies of light.  These stories are about their perspective up to the moment when they arrive in the final  battle of good and evil.  In the trilogy I left hints and clues about them.  Now you will know the full story.

Let the journey begin, again.

Melin awoke in complete darkness, frightened and in severe pain. She could taste the thick steely blood on her lip and the smell of death in the air. At first she had to clear her mind and think back how the best day of her life had become this nightmare. One moment she was the talk of Peartown – she wore a lovely new tunic and was turning the heads of eligible young men. One man of a prominent family was even eager to introduce his son. She had come of age and was more alive than ever. All she dreamed about seemed within touch. Now, she sat silent and still for fear of what would happen next. Above her was a monster and he had taken children in his delusional state and in that darkness they called for rescue. Her mothering instincts came to life and she vowed she would not let evil harm them again. She went from fear to defiance.

Above in the daylight was the young man Gahar, once shunned by his father for the unjust cause of his mother’s death at his birth and then shunned again unjustly by the one he had loved all his life, Sondria. After a long struggle in his mind between good and evil, he succumbed to the darkness, for Haggarfuse, the immortal steward of Helloria, promised him all his desires – immortality and power. He was now the monster Melin feared, fallen and separated forever from the light of life and love. For his perceived torture, he now set upon the path of destruction against all for the source of his pain – all living mortals. Here in this world his path of vengeance began.

***

     I am Arimar, the Chosen One of Allivar and you know of my story, but there are stories of worlds and ancient times that must now be told and never be forgotten. Our future is not yet certain and all depends on what we learn from our history. Come now and take your seat for the telling of the first tragedy of the heavens is about to begin. This is the chronicle of Helloria, the first fallen world, where by evil’s influence the lives of a young man and woman shall cross and the first battle of the heavens shall rise.

     Do not fool yourselves, this story does not have a happy ending, yet where there is tragedy, there is also hope. One shall exit darkness to enter the light and be protected forever. The other will be separated from the light and enter an eternal darkness. Here on Helloria the first mortal judgment has taken place and the battle of good and evil both in the living and ethereal realms begins, with consequences that will span millennium and the heavens. Here on Allivar is where the fate of all the forces of good and evil collided for a final confrontation. Now you shall know the entire story of the rise of evil and its rebellion against the heavens… and the gathering and defiance of the good armies of light.

Well, what do you think?  Are you eager to return to Allivar?

A Moment of Reflection

Unseen

May 22, 2013 – I live in Norman, Oklahoma.  As you may have read, our neighbors nine miles to the north were just hit with a devastating tornado.  I am speaking of the May 20, 2013 tornado in Moore, OK.  This tornado had winds higher than 200 miles per hour and was as wide as two miles in some portions of the 40 minutes and 20 miles it remained on the ground.  Our weather channel issued a tornado emergency, which is rarely used.  This was issued with the warning that if you could not get underground, death was likely.  Watch and you can easily understand why this issue to the public was given.

Moore, OK is famous for two other storms:

May 3, 1999 – in which the storm was declared an F5 tornado with winds that reached 318 miles per hour, or the fastest winds ever recorded on planet earth.  Over $2 billion in damages resulted.  This 2013 storm will most likely surpass this.

May 8, 2003 – yet another major tornado swept through the town.

Tornadoes are a fascinating weather phenomena, yet one you only wish to view from a distance.  I was close to one in 1986 in Edmond, OK.  Edmond was also struck on the May 19, 2013 storm.  What I saw in the 1986 storm boggled my mind.  I saw a 2″ by 4″ lumber stud lodged into a tree, with no damage on either end.  Tornado’s can turn the ordinary household item into a missile. My friend in Edmond captured this funnel cloud as it was forming over Edmond on May 19, 2013.  He too was present in the 86 storm and now another one in 2013.  Soon this storm went over I-35 and became more powerful, finally to level Carney, OK.

Many of you might ask, why live there?  No matter where you live on earth, you have the risk for some  form of major catastrophe.  It is just the violent nature of the world we live in.    Our state has many great qualities.  It is part of the bread belt of America.  It is the nation’s wind corridor producing new alternative sources of energy.  It has vast reserves of oil and natural gas. Tornadoes do not happen everyday.

But for me it is the people.  The people of Oklahoma are tough, but caring individuals. On May 20, parents lost children and some children lost parents.  We all lost neighbors and neighborhoods. Did we lose our faith or our determination?  I surely hope not.  I hope those effected by the storms have found comfort from those they do not even know and that generosity overwhelms them.  This is a moment of tragedy, but also a moment for the display of the finest qualities of being human; to recognize that we are all part of one family, trying everyday just to survive.  Most of the times these people we do not know ask no favors from us, but today without asking, we must give back and reflect what if we had traded places?

This tornado began near Newcastle, the sirens went off in my neighborhood, as they had 5 times the night before.  Could this have been me and my family?  Yes, it could have been.  This is why I take not a single moment for granted. Today is not about me, my feelings, or my needs.  It is a day of the needs of others, those that I may have religious or political differences, yet today they have the very basic human needs of food, shelter and clothing.  Will we come to the call for aid of the human family?  I cannot speak for others, but I must offer something, even if it’s just money to buy a blanket or a toy to calm the nerves of very scared child.  They will forever be changed. Events in our lives have a way of giving us deeper reflections of life than what the media focuses on.

Next month I turn 54.  Those 54 years have flown by, but they are flying faster now than ever before.  Yes we suffered a tragedy, but it is also a learning moment that can have a positive impact on our lives.  Take nothing and no one for granted.  Bury your hatreds in the piles of the torn neighborhoods and be reborn to the needs of others.  When you reach out and help another, you will receive blessings in return.  Soon admiration for you will grow and in the hour of your greatest need, those blessings will be returned.  We have suffered a setback, yet the fallen will rise again.

The Cosmic Snowball

Comet

Look ma, it’s me!

Last night I found myself in a heated discussion with my daughter over my trilogy.  I am reformatting the stories under my publishing company control and I am going to insert a Prologue.  I truly hate prologues, but apparently we live in a period of time where readers want a snippet of the story before deciding to invest their time and a whopping $2.99.  My trilogy is a mythology, it is not espousing a religion. A mythology, to which there are numerous ones throughout all of human history, deals with the creation story by a god or gods, the interaction of mortals and immortals and the end of times.

She believes my main character is the savior figure – Christ.  First, Christ was God incarnate so that he could communicate with the living. Second, Christ died solely for the purpose of collecting sins to demonstrate God’s love for his creation.  My hero is neither of these. He is as mortal as you or I. Then she had an issue with the word “creation” and insisted her generation could not tolerate the connotation with the word.  Funny how we can watch movies about Perseus and the God Zeus and find enjoyment.  Maybe they have not yet read classical Greek and Roman mythology.

This is where I lost it, sorry, but if our youth cannot bear a story of good versus evil, where good is derived from a creators will, then please read and reread all the erotic vampire and comic book reincarnations of Spider Man to satisfy your intellectual cravings.  An author that sacrifices his story’s integrity to the political correctness of the day, is not much of an author. I was raised in a period of time where skepticism was taught, but that seeking knowledge was encouraged to understand the opposing point of view, we were much more tolerant than we are today.

If the creation aspect of my story reminds you of the bible, it was because I wanted to bring an air of familiarity to those readers of the three major religions of Abraham. This is for marketing purposes only. I have had Christians say it is not a Christian story.  You know what?  You are right – it is not, nor has ever been intended to be a Christian story.  But I think Christians might just enjoy it immensely and give cause for discussion.  We supposedly live in a period where racial tolerance is sought.  Guess what, my story deals with this.  People will line up and spend their paychecks watching Avatar over and over again, and then have to visit their shrinks because they wish we lived in a world where the environment and habitat of others is respected and protected.  Guess what, my story deals with this too. It deals with the human condition, especially family, in a mythological setting with an allegory of the troubles we find in our world today.  Will we humans do what is right and good to save this world?

Did anyone ever wonder who Gandalf  was and where he came from? Guess what, Tolkien has a creation story too, yet we love his creation and wish for more.

“There was Eru, The One, who in Arda is called Iluvatar; and he made the first Ainur, The Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made.” – The Silmarillion.

Notice the word “made”, now does this offend you?  Or would you prefer manufacture?  Certainly we can’t have “The One”, or “The Unseen”, or “The Lord of Light and Life.”  And please remove “The Holy Ones” for our youth’s delicate sensibilities.

My point is simple and to the point, I inserted the creation story as context and support for all other stories that will follow, nineteen in all.

If anything regarding spirituality and spiritual beings offends you, then maybe a new breed of author should arrive and write that you are nothing more than a collection of dirty molecules that rode around the great galaxy on a cosmic snowball.  Then you crashed and a new world was made, sorry, manufactured, and your molecules shifted and changed until you became sludge, then a fish, then an ape, and then evolved in all knowing political animal.  Now for me that would be pretty boring and not challenging for the mind.

Oh and please never question the origin of good or evil in Star Wars, Harry Potter, or other books and movies, it just might lead you on a quest to the realm of independent thought and discussion of what we are.  But if you are ready for a story, forged more along the lines of Lord of The Rings, then satisfy your curiosity and then send me a message if you want to calmly discuss issues of the entire story, etc. And if the review of a 14 year old female assists, here is what she had to say:

“It took a while for me to truly get into the book, but after the first few chapters, I was hooked! I loved how detailed the first few chapters were. The author gave me a great view of the history of the wonderful universe. I’m a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan, but I have to say that this was 100 times better than the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, and the Silmarillion combined! The races of Allivar’s living beings are much more creative than elves, men, dwarves, hobbits, etc. I think that even if you were a person who doesn’t really care for fiction/fantasy, you would still be hooked on this book and perhaps change your opinion on those types of genres.”

Have a great weekend.

The Value of Time

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” —Mark Twain

My wife posted this quote today on her Facebook page. As usual it stoke the fires of my imagination of the time I have left in life,  and of the stories that I will finish before my life lapses. From this quote I created my own that will appear in my current mythological story, the fourth of nineteen.

“There is nothing more of value to the mortal than time, and time well spent. All possessions, accomplishments and domination over others ultimately falls into a never ending darkness and sorrow.” 

Stop and think about this for one second. When the twin towers of 9/11 fell, all those that lost loved ones would most likely sacrifice all the worldly possessions for more time with those they lost. We rush to build another tower to replace the two fallen and in the new tower of steel and glass we pour our memory of the fallen and pride against our enemies. What if they should fall again? We live in very dangerous times where a new sickness is taking hold, yet we refuse to see.

In the song, Dust in the Wind by Kansas, there is a simple lyric that rings true, “All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see.”

This is then followed by,Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky. It slips away, and all your money won’t another minute buy.”

To some this is a depressing song.  To me it is as inspiring as the quote by Mark Twain.  As Gandalf might say, the world is out there, it is not in the books, maps, video games, smartphone apps, homes, cars and other worldly possessions. When did we sacrifice reality for virtual reality? Central to theme of my mythology is the difference between the worlds of the mortal and immortal. Tolkien in the Silmarillion stated the mortals were given a gift.  That gift is knowing the fleeting nature of life and how every moment should not be wasted.

Should we work our entire adulthood merely resigned to the comfort of a padded retirement account where a large portion may pass to the next generation?  How much does happiness cost?  Would you trade all your possessions for one opportunity to live on a beach, to hear the never ending sound of the crashing of waves, and the sensation of warm salt water and sand rushing through your toes?  What would you trade to have the sight of tropical vegetation appear before you year round?  What is the value of trade winds blowing through your home and to have no wrestling with the A/C, and then waiting for the late afternoon shower of rain that cools the air and replenishes the ground?  This is what calls out to my soul.

Most people I know are still in the career aspect of their lives.  Many have passed from disease and heart failure.  They enjoy going to loud basketball games or enjoy cocktails at loud restaurants.  Me?  To each his own, but for me I am recharging the mind and body for the final days of discovery.  I want no time wasted, no regrets, no sorrow for the time I was given.  Should I die in my early sixties from a rambunctious journey of rediscovery, then so be it.  Sitting around watching the 24 hour news cycle in anticipation of evil’s next move, arguing over the lies of politicians, playing video games, watching videos on the smartphone is a waste of my valuable and limited time. So is the need to experience an altered world through alcohol or drug abuse. When I am physically unable to enjoy the natural world, created for enjoyment and discovery, then I will have all the time in the world to finally reread the classics, write more books and rediscover the artist in me.

For 33 years I have dedicated the entirety of my soul to being the best professional I can be.  At the height of that, I thought I had made it to the top of my ladder, only to discover, there is so much more on the other side of  The Wall (Another Kansas Lyrical Classic.)  The value of mortal time became apparent to me.  The photo above is of me and my son when we took time and went caving.  This venture of discovery cost a whopping $8.  With us were my son’s future brother and sister in-laws, and his future wife.  To me, this was a priceless moment, one memory that cannot be destroyed by the vain attempts of man, but only the passing of this mortal life. Somehow I will find a way to include the following thoughts into my stories.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We ventured into the darkness, not knowing if we should encounter danger or the end of our time, yet our souls ached for the discovery. In the darkness we were fully aware of our other often disregarded senses. Yet, even though some fear ran through the course of our veins, life followed behind fear, like an army overrunning the enemy, until fear had been defeated and we stood yet again before the light. And in the light we rejoiced for the moments that had just passed, wishing time had marched to a slower beat.  We were united as one in our simple quest. At the moment light returned to me, I realized I was truly alive and that true happiness surrounded me.  It is our mortal nature to cherish these moments and to set out on the next great adventure, for time knows not, nor cares for your future desires.