Hope for the Human Family

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At the heart of my mythology is a story of the mortal family including our races, our young, our old and those that are so much very different from ourselves.

I created the character Bothar, a giant who is not fully developed mentally. Arimar selects Bothar to be his guide on his journey. He is the seventh son of the seventh generation of the race of Bermules. Arimar sees in him what others do not. Yet, it is his simple nature and gentle mind that endears all to him – to always do good, no matter the cost.

Watch this video.

The boy in this story is the metaphorical embodiment of Bothar. Also watch carefully how one child reacts. In the final book of the trilogy, Last Stand of the Living, this was the reaction I worked so hard over three stories to achieve.

We do not always understand why certain people come into our lives. They change our lives for the better and rise to the stature of giant. And when we realize that the human family must work as one, we will have peace at last.

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Gandalf says, “This Cannot Be Filmed!”

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J.R.R. Tolkien once said his works could not be made into a film.  Of course the technology at the time was not sufficient for the grandeur of his imagination.  The movie trilogy is said by some to have stripped the deeper meanings of his stories to appeal to the 15-25 year old masses.  Even in the upcoming second Hobbit movie, there is a female elf added to the plot, to appeal to the female masses. Here is something else people didn’t know about Tolkien from a letter he wrote:

Tolkien included neither any explicit religion nor cult in his work. Rather the themes, moral philosophy, and cosmology of the Lord of the Rings reflect his Catholic worldview. In one of his letters Tolkien states, “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like ‘religion’, to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.”

This brings me to my epic high fantasy mythology.  My story could never be made into a film for the following reasons:

  1. It is too epic.  Consider part of the source for my final battle, the Bible.  That’s right, you are now automatically turned off, right?  We live in a era were any reference to religion is an automatic turn off.  Yet, the Bible has at its end the most epic battles ever written.  I incorporated this imagery into the siege of Masara, where one hundred and fifty thousand men, women and children of seven races unite to combat the gathering of all evil, some four hundred million.  Their task; to hold ground for forty days and nights, to make a stand for all that is worthy of life.  I will not tell you how it ends, other than it is a crescendo of emotions and visual imagination over load, as the mythical creator and his forces of good make their appearance. Such a film would be expensive.
  2. It involves deep hatred.  In order for us to recognize evil, we must recognize the most vile and hateful acts of humanity.  This includes torture, and the death of women and children. My stories are not graphic, just implied. We live in an era where sheltering ourselves from evil is to act as though it has or never will exist. Yet when evil does rear its head we question everyone, but ourselves, for allowing evil to enter our world.
  3. Beloved characters die.  To write a deeply emotional story, one must sacrifice even the most beloved characters.  Allowing ourselves to experience deep loss is shunned upon in modern society.  I recall reading how people had to have counseling after watching Avatar.  If Avatar so deeply affected your emotions of what is good and evil, then my story might also affect you.  Many viewers stopped watching the Game of Thrones because of the red wedding scene.  It was too horrific and many felt what was the point if the characters of good do not live and justice isn’t served.
  4. It is spiritual.  Whether you are a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu or other; the story confronts our most often asked questions.  Who are we, what is our purpose, and does God (a creator or supreme being) truly exist?  Why are we allowed to suffer pain?  Is faith strong enough to survive life and are we altruistic enough to give our life to save others?  What is the purpose of an afterlife? Those who have been raised studying the Abrahamic religions will find areas of the story to connect with.  But for a Christian, they will discover it is not a christian story.  Christ or a Christ figure is no where to be found.  It involves the concept of complete and total free will, so that the mortal characters have no excuses for rising to the occasion, but my Christian friends do love the story and it does not offend them.
  5. There’s no sex.  Sorry, there are plenty of other stories you can read for that. There are references to the effects of sexual misconduct on society as a whole, but there is not a single reference to the one’s society constantly battles over in our present time.
  6. There’s no cursing. Again, I’m sorry. I wrote these stories to confront deeper issues than the use of boorish words thrown around so easily these days.  I kept them clean so that they can be told to children.

I constructed this mythology with numerous references to beloved stories who have influenced my thoughts.  You will find similarities to stories you already know.  The story encases spirituality and our most primal needs for love, acceptance, family and life.  It is story that attempts to point out the frailty of life on this planet and what we will lose if we do not stand together.

If you love the tales of Tolkien, ask yourself how deeply affected were you when you watched the Ride of the Rohirrim in the Return of the King?  Here’s a reminder of the scene:

I promise you this much.  I constructed this mythology to have the same emotional impact – times three!  But, I am not done with the battle or your emotions, as the ending will surprise you.

Take a chance if you are curious and stay committed to the very end.  Judge me then.  Don’t prejudge a book by its cover or the content of book one’s first nine chapters.  If it is not one of the better stories (conceptually) structured in the last several decades, then don’t take a chance on any of the upcoming chronicles series.

If you are one that is looking for new material for a major motion picture, read the story and tell me if it would not be an awesome one to film and cast.  I’ve now presented six reasons, six challenges, to why you won’t do it.  You can remain safe with comic book reboots and politically correct story lines, or you can take a chance, like those who did with Tolkien’s stories and deliver something a little deeper, yet thoroughly enjoyable for all members of the family, young and old, and for all the races of humanity. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will cheer.

One of my biggest fan’s is a 16 year old female. Her review can be found here on Goodreads.  Now 16 year old readers are not literary giants, they do not spot many grammatical errors, they just read to enjoy a story, but she gave me the ultimate compliment of my life:

“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!”

Now you be the judge.  Is it a story worthy of the big screen?

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.”

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

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 Review of Les Miserables

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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.

I can, I will and I did

I just finished watching Les Miserables.  Something struck me from the lyrics to the song, “I dreamed a dream” which ended with, ” Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.”

This last week I came to the realization that it is not life itself that kills the dreams of dreamers, but people.  I subscribe to various websites, blogs and Facebook pages about writing and publishing.  My sister has a masters degree in creative writing.  Every step of the way I took from the year 2000 to the present was to live a dream of becoming a writer.  I have a vivid imagination. I day-dream of stories that entertain me and I want to share that imagination with others. Over ten years I wrote and completed the epic high fantasy trilogy, The Chosen One of AllivarI can, I will and I did.

Article after article tells the dreamers that if you are not one of them, the highly educated perfectionist in writing and grammar, then you are vain and self absorbed.  When did the simple enjoyment of telling a story become vain?  Who sets the rules?  Self publishing technology has opened the doors for those of us who are story tellers.  We have no goals of becoming a teacher, a doctorate or member of an elite club where people congratulate each other over their own self accomplishments.  Now, who are the vain again?  How many books, other than academic, have many of these people actually written and shared with the world?  I can, I will and I did.

Life is not always about perfection, but the pursuit of perfection.  We will never obtain it.  If you have a story in your mind, it will never be perfect.  Why?  Because their are seven billion people in this world that will have a differing viewpoint that they want to inject into your story.  To compensate for their own inabilities they trash your story, your grammar and anything they can including the easy cop out of calling you a vain author.  Those that do this stand before mirror of self pity and envy.  It is how they compensate for their own fear of rejection because they cannot tolerate how in the world no one can see their perfection.  Let me tell you, I’m not perfect, my stories have flaws, but did they entertain you?  That is truly the question.  Did my stories give you pause to consider humanity and uplift you in a period of history where so much conflict exists, where degrading our fellow man or woman is now considered entertainment?  I want to write different stories.  I can, I will and I did.

Some of you might think that I am a starving writer.  I am CPA, an investment advisor, a technology consultant and now a licensed realtor.  These professional designations is what feeds my family. I have climbed the ladders to the top of the various walls.  On the other side are countless opportunities to experience more in life.  There was nothing to prevent me from experiencing all that I have, because I had the will to do so. I can, I will and I did.

In 1998, I went independent and have been ever since. Has it been a fairy tale?  Hell no. There were those I was employed by who controlled my career, who held me back, who never mentored or offered encouragement.  Why?  Let’s face it, businesses make money when they control those that perform most of the work.  They retain enough knowledge so that you cannot outshine and replace them, or attempt to go independent.  They further justify their agenda by convincing you that their management of your work is what will bring you success.  Does this sound familiar?  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read comments and articles by those in the publishing industry, who rant and rave about how poor the grammar is of self published authors and the justification for their services. I chose to be an independent author simply to tell a story and control my destiny.  To date, I’ve made a few thousand dollars from my efforts, which some will say is not a success.  I’ve not won any awards or accolades, or have been patted on the back by fellow writers, including those in my own family.  Who defines my happiness and self worth of accomplishment and success?  Is money the only measurement?  Is a plastic award, a paper certificate, or trophy what you seek?  Is it the inclusion in some monthly newsletter or trade journal that you seek?  Is it the trips to writers conferences in the Bahamas you seek?  Whatever it is go for it!  Just do not belittle those that have a simple dream. Life is hard enough without all the human induced misery. Separate yourself from those that choose to live life dictated by others and those absorbed with the word “Can’t.”  I can, I will and I did.

I dreamed a dream of one day, before my death, of writing an uplifting and inspiring story, because I can, I will and I did.  My success can be summed up in the words of a 14 year old aspiring author,

“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!”

Should I die tomorrow, there is my accomplishment, there is my reward.  I was loyal to myself. I used my own capital and took the risk to live my dream.  So next time you stand before the mirror of self doubt because someone called you vain, remind yourself that it is you who controls your destiny and then boldly proclaim – I can, I will and I did.

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