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.”

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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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A Review of Les Miserables

Ebcosette

I have seen two movie versions of Les Miserables.  One with Liam Neeson and the other with Hugh Jackman.  Both versions provide a moving story based on the book, which I have yet to read. The most recent one, a musical, I have to admit annoyed me at times with the constant singing instead of some normal dialogue.  However, what I enjoyed immensely about the musical, more than the movie, is the ending.

In this day and age people vilify anything associated with God and Faith.  I am a man of faith.  I am just not a man of religious institutions. My relationship with my maker is a direct and private one.  I want my daily walk and talk to be the testimony of my faith.  To do all that I can while living to help those around me and to reach for self perfection, of which, I’ll never obtain.  I recently watched and was equally moved with Life of Pi.  I hope more stories with spiritual themes are made.  These are the ones I enjoy immensely.

I took this snippet from Wikipedia, which explains Hugo’s structure of the story.

The book which the reader has before him at this moment is, from one end to the other, in its entirety and details … a progress from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsehood to truth, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from corruption to life; from bestiality to duty, from hell to heaven, from nothingness to God. The starting point: matter, destination: the soul. The hydra at the beginning, the angel at the end.

One of the most powerful statements in the lyrics to the songs was contained in the finale.

To love another person is to see the face of god.

I was deeply moved with the ending scene of Valjean passing on to be with the dead and just, and to stand united as one.  In the movie with Liam Neeson, Cosette merely fled to London, and Valjean walked away.  I assume because those involved with that version would rather leave out the reference to redemption and salvation.  Because of that exclusion, I prefer the musical version.  Anne Hathaway’s singing of I dreamed a dream as the character Fantine is obviously a tear-jerker. Hugh Jackman gave a much more emotional touch to Valjean’s character, than did Liam Neeson.  I was also touched by the character of  Éponine, excluded from the Neeson version. I will at some point in the very near future find time to read the book and catch all that Hugo embedded into the story.  I still struggle understanding Javert, but I prefer Geoffrey Rush’s acting over Russell Crowe’s.

In my trilogy, The Chosen One of Allivar, the story is primarily concerned with evil, redemption and resurrection. Although completely fictional, set in an epic high fantasy, the story confronts the basic themes of the human struggle. There is no reference to any organized religion or Jesus Christ.  In my story, Glyneth, the mother of Terrian and Telluria, had been a prostitute and was judged harshly by her son Terrian.  In the final battle, Glyneth stands with her son and daughter, knowing death is upon them all, she makes the following statement to him and he discovers his mother had not given his sister over to prostitution,

“I know you do not understand that. Sometimes mothers have to do the unspeakable for their children. I wish I had other choices. Please accept me now, for I offer my body a second time with the hope that through some wonder you both can live.”

She kissed her son and turned to the direction the enemy would appear. Deep inside Terrian finally understood the sacrifice of dignity his mother had made for him and his sister. He forgave her and begged the Lord to forgive her as well.

Here, a mother is willing to sacrifice not only once, but twice, for she so loved her children more than herself. Here, the meaning of loving another allows us to see the face of God rings powerful. There is also another section where a mother sacrifices in a different and even more heart-wrenching manner. How my story ends should be equally as touching for a  reader. Many of the classic stories in history have a basic theme of justice, sacrifice and redemption. We may not understand the ways of our maker, but we learn that it is only our maker who knows the soul and can grant redemption.

Les Miserables will forever be etched into my mind as one the greatest stories of history past, present and future.  If you enjoyed Les Miserables, give my trilogy a try and stay loyal to the very end.  Do not prejudge it, it may pleasantly surprise you.

The Meaning of Life

The Thinker

Often in my 53 years of life I have pondered the meaning of life.  I’ve researched the topic, read the bible and other non-canonical works, and I continue to research other points of view.  I will continue to read other works of faith and spirituality.  Today I saw the movie trailer for the Life of Pi and then researched about the story and the author Yann Martel. On Wikipedia I read this:

In a 2002 interview with PBS, Martel revealed his inspiration for his novel, “I was sort of looking for a story, not only with a small ‘s’ but sort of with a capital ‘S’ – something that would direct my life.” He spoke of being lonely and needing direction in his life. The novel became that direction and purpose for his life.

I will read this book and watch this movie, because this is what interests me at this stage of my life. I admit that I too look for direction and purpose in life.  I am a person of faith, but one that does not believe in everything a religious institution tells me to believe. My faith is my own, I will not will it upon others, although I love a lively debate. We each can interpret religious text to our own needs if we choose, which is my belief that such choice was the gift of free will by our creator.  We are given this freedom of choice, but we are not free of the consequences.  Many of our moral and ethical beliefs are derived from thousands of years of religious beliefs.  We have the ten commandments and the three major religions from the line of Abraham. Do not kill and treat others as you would have them treat you seems a simple instruction. Yet we have so much sorrow and despair over the argument of faith.  Is it due to an invisible interference that creates woe?  Is there a literal war taking place in the ethereal world?  Many believe so, some believe it is pure myth.  If such things do not exist and we are no more than an intelligent animal, why then do we not just simply take what we want without worry of our own death?

There is very little description of heaven.  Dante provided a startling description of hell, but what about heaven?  We look into the night skies and ponder the powerful forces that created it and that which holds it together, and we call them the heavens.  What is our purpose in death and in an afterlife?

If you enjoy this realm of thinking, then I believe my trilogy – The Chosen One of Allivar, and the upcoming chronicles will give you thought in the form of a fantasy adventure mythology.  Mythologies revolve around a very simple story line: Creation, life, and end of times. In this mythology, I created the very questions I have and then attempted to answer my own questions.  Life is a test and we cannot pass the test until we understand its meaning. Is mankind doomed to constant failures of this test and when, if ever, we will stand together as one to pass this test?

I look forward to a civil and robust discussion on the source of your beliefs.  We have much to learn from each other, if we respect each others beliefs. In my mythical creation, Allivar means “The One Family”, and I sincerely believe my creator desires us to act as one.  The hero, Arimar, is the chosen one, but why was he chosen and chosen for what?  Surely you must want to know.

The Ultimate Super Trilogy Book Trailer

I admit fully that my trilogy, “The Chosen One of Allivar” was inspired by “The Lord of the Rings”, “The Hobbit” and “The Silmarillion”.  Put all three of these stories together and you can dream for the remainder of your lifetime.  When I completed writing my trilogy I went into the process of creating the digital advertising including book trailers.  I had placed on a to-do list to eventually combine the book trailers into a single “super” book trailer.  This was due in part to the super trilogy movie trailer of “The Lord of the Rings”.

Although I don’t have millions of bucks to pour into production, the goal of my trilogy book trailer is still to draw attention and excitement to the story.  To accomplish this I need powerful wording, some moving imagery and music.  “The Lord of the Rings” super trailer brings us back to the story again and again.  It recalls our feelings for the characters we read about as children, studied in college and watched on the big screen.

It is my hope that some day my trilogy will grace the silver screen too.  I recall observing people who attended all the movies and their reactions. Many tried to hold back tears and crying, they cheered, they shouted “no” when a beloved character found death or pain, they whimpered, and eventually stood and clapped.  They never wanted it to end and even remained seated until the very last credit rolled by.

Even though “The Lord of the Rings” is a fantasy story, it still holds truths of being mortal and the need to live in a free and pure world, where people will reconcile their differences and come to the aid of their fellow man.  I admit as a man, the Charge of the Rohirrim was my most emotional scene.  Comrades knowing they will not see another sunrise, yet rushing into battle to death for the right cause is very moving.

In the final story of my trilogy, “Last Stand of the Living”, characters you have grown to love and found a emotional connection with will also be tested in battle.  When writing the battles scenes, I wanted to exceed the emotions that “The Lord of the Rings” brought to me and other film watchers.  All I need is for people to read the stories and let me know if I succeeded in my attempt.

So take a look at “The Lord of the Rings” super trailer above.  Read my trilogy and watch my super trailer over and over again to reconnect emotionally with a fantasy story that holds many truths.