Of Rape

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I am about to dig deep into a thought no one should ever have to delve into, and that is rape.  Over the course of the last month we have had two shows depicting rape that have unsettled viewers:  one from Game of Thrones and the other from Outlander.  Now I am not going to criticize either show, because I have not seen them, nor do I really care to, details are not necessary for me as a reader, viewer or a writer. I believe in leaving some details to the imagination of the reader. Far more important on the subject of rape is its weaving into the story as a whole for a purpose.  So why am I delving into this now?

Back in 2010 I released the first three stories on my planned nineteen story mythology.  This trilogy can stand on its own and provides an exciting and moving story. When completed my readers suggested they didn’t want it to end, so I interjected a thought on the continuation of the story, but from a much different perspective.  The premise, only disclosed to my beta readers had them excited, but now I have to deliver as a writer.

In 2013, I began to write the next series of nine stories dealing with the fall of entire worlds.  Now watching Game of Thrones, you have an idea of a world in complete chaos, where everyone dies, good or bad.  However, my stories deal with both sides of good and evil, and interjects a creator and fallen immortals. There is the darkness and there is the light.  So why destroy worlds and all its inhabitants?  For salacious entertainment, or entertaining thoughts deep into our very nature of being, faith, and why bad things happen to good people.  Remember I am weaving a story, not a religion or doctrine.

In the first story of these nine in the next series I deal with the fall of a young man through the direct influence of evil.  In his madness, he mistakes an innocent young woman as the love who spurned him, and he holds her prisoner and rapes her.  I do not go into detail.  I care not to.  I only use the word “defile” to lead the reader to the evil act.  Surely somewhere in your life you’ve seen or read about rape, will repeating it over again make it any less vile or more entertaining?  This why I chose not to go into detail. Use your imagination if you must, but concentrate on how the rape affects the young woman.

Even in the moment of her despair, the heroine has to rise to the aid and protection of very young children also taken prisoner, not to be raped, just that the young man’s insanity believes them to be his own children.  Upon her rescue she has to deal with the issue of her rape.  Is she pregnant, does she want to live, did she contribute to her rape or did others, will another man ever love her again? Unique to my story is that this is the first living being having to deal with the first moral dilemma.  The young man has to deal with the first moral judgement.  In the middle, is an immortal about to fall from grace from his meddling in mortal affairs, and he watches carefully over the emotions and frailties of the creators beloved mortals.

As a man, this section of my story is difficult to express in the narrative. Do I linger too long on her emotions, or move quickly away from it? Currently I am at 160,000 words, my largest work to date. What I chose to do was not focus on the destruction of the woman’s virtue and innocence, but the ability to rise above it and continue to live and love.  So without going into too much detail the heroine of this story has to deal with tragedy twice for the ending cannot be good if it is the fall of a world.

Or will it be all bad?  As a writer I plan to have certain themes in each story with little hints of upcoming events that will occur in the future stories.  If you have read the trilogy, then you know the ending, but you don’t know the whole journey, for it is still developing in my mind.

The first book in my trilogy was titled, “Rise of the Fallen” and had a dual meaning. For as darkness is rising, so is the light, wherever evil appears it is counter-balanced by good. And this thought should provide comfort.

Sound off, what story have you read that tastefully deals with the topic of rape, and introduces a heroine not succumbed by the act?

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.

A Life of Passion

Unseen

If I could wish anything for my family and friends, and even strangers – is to live a life of passion.  It has been said that doing what you like is what will provide the most happiness in life.  For most of our lives we are working.  Yet most go through the motions to obtain a paycheck.  Then they go home turn on the TV or the computer and indulge in the news or entertainment of the world – other people’s worlds.  Get busy making your own world.  Over the years I have found solace in many forms:

  1. Exercise and sports – I’m 54, but I still have passion for shooting basketball and playing tennis.  I have a desire to stay fit and trim, to beat the odds that I won’t be a sedentary senior.  I’d rather go out in life young pushing that limit than to be pushed around in wheelchair.
  2. Gardening – I live in Norman, OK.  Not necessarily a place of natural beauty, but with effort and passion I can watch plants bloom to fill the green and brown void with various color. Create your own paradise.
  3. Travel – We have this world created for us filled with immense beauty.  I have a passion to see these great natural wonders and to set out on unexplored paths, but if I can’t I find places nearby.
  4. Passionate People – nothing is greater than being surrounded by people who are passionate about life.  If you stop and listen to them you will hear them tell their stories with a glow on their face.  Then after listening to them, they will want to know about you.  You cannot expect to have these friends if you cannot give them a moment of your time, no matter the distance between you. When you go out of your way to see people, you are telling them, “You are special to us.”
  5. Guitar Playing and Singing – I am not a great player or particularly great singer, but I love to try to figure out the chords to a favorite song or how high I can pitch my voice.  I would dance, but I am crappy dancer.
  6. Drawing – Ever since I was a young child I have enjoyed drawing what my mind sees.
  7. Writing – I may not be great writer, but I do have a great imagination.  I find peace putting those thoughts into a story, short or long. Take a chance at poetry. I can entertain myself without the use of technology.

None of these require any great deal of money.  What they do require is the sacrifice of your time.  You have a choice, to work yourself to death for material possessions or to live life.  Yes, some people are willing to risk the loss of time for these possessions.  In my experience through life I can say I have never met a truly passionate and happy wealthy person.  Their time is more concerned with the maintenance of that wealth than actually enjoying all that wealth can provide. As a CPA I have seen people stress over taxes as though they might lose an arm or a leg.  Take all your allowable deductions, pay your taxes and then get busy living a passionate life.  When you bring your stress to a CPA, we become stressed.

For 30 years I sacrificed my time for career, family and yes, even for material pursuits.  All I accomplished was lost time and money.  I used that money to help others and rarely was it appreciated.  Now as I move into the last productive years of my life all I truly have left is time and now it is fleeting faster than a jet.

So as you consider your current phase in life ask yourself if you are using your time wisely and passionately.  Do you have something that provides beauty to the eyes?  Have you played an old tune, danced and sung to it lately? Have you taken time to write a story or learned to play a musical instrument?  Have you exercised and stretched those aching muscles?  Finally, have you surrounded yourself with those of common interest and passion and laughed so hard you almost wet your pants? These are the moments in life I treasure more than anything. I live passionately for the next moment.  All other events in human history I have no control and to be anxious of those moments is to be foolhardy.   Age brings about wisdom.

Sing your own tunes, giggle at your own book,

The more you smile and laugh, the more people look.

They may gossip, they may even be mad,

be the example of a life to be had.

Plant a seed and watch it flower,

wash away doubts from a cool spring’s shower.

A journey in a world exists in your mind,

cast away excuses and find the time.

Never lose faith or your compassion,

but live your life and do so with passion.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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.

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.

AllivarTrilogy

A Conversation About Death

Reaper

As a man the age of 53, I still hope to have another 25-30 years of life ahead of me.  Much of what determines my age of death is in my genetics.  My grandparents averaged around the age of 84.  That gives me about 31 more years.  However, anything can happen in between and I mean anything.  If I was told my life would end tomorrow what would I do?  I’d have a steak, sauteed mushrooms, mashed potatoes, white gravy with a dozen fresh baked rolls. Oh, and a slab of bacon. Afterwards I’d enjoy a few rounds of beer and a cigarette.  Yes that’s right, a cigarette.  29 years ago I gave up, cold-turkey, a 2-1/2 pack a day habit as a promise to my pregnant wife that I would set an example for our son who was on the way.   Did I quit just for my wife?  Not really, I knew the outcome if I continued to smoke.  I wanted to live much longer.

This last week my son, who never took up smoking, sent me an email wanting to know what I would have to say if I called my grandson to my death bed with my dying breath.  Here’s what I’d say, “I love you Brogan.  Give life your absolute best. Have dreams, for dreams are the directions  for the actions to be taken.  If you respect me, then respect your parents. Don’t take things too seriously, especially high school and girls. Remember the fun things we did together.  Oh, one last thing – pull my finger!

I want laughter to be mixed with the tears.  If he ever talks about me it will be something like this, “You know what that old-fart did to me?”  Since I know my family line and his mother’s line, there is a good chance of frequent flatulation and I will always be on his mind.  See, you have to think ahead.

This morning my wife and I, as we do very often, discussed friends and family and how life had not gone as we had planned and hoped, but that we would stand side-by-side no matter what, a commitment to an ageless and sacred vow I still recall and will honor as a man. We talked about people who seem to be waiting for something, instead of making something happen.  I told my wife should I die early, our vow would end and to grieve no more than a month for me, then get busy living.  There is to be no funeral, but a party to celebrate my life. I will be cremated and cast to the seas.  I also made it clear I do not want to prolong my life with machines or man-made chemicals.  Let me fart one last time and then let me go.  As Aragorn said in The Lord of the Rings, “I do not fear death.”  I have faith there is an afterlife.

As a CPA, I have had to deal with death in the form of financial advice and estate issues.  I’ve seen the very best and the very worst of human nature in dealing with death and money. In the coming years, I will have to deal with the death of my parents.  In my mind I believe I am prepared, but tell that to my heart.  Watching a parent age, suffer illness and begin the process of losing memory is difficult, but a stage of life not few of us escape by a sudden death.  In those waning days of the winter of life, we will find what we are truly made of. We will also begin to address our own mortality and decide what to do with the remaining time given.

However, my wife and me also decided that a conversation about death is self-defeating, and that we would convert all our energy and thought to living every single moment.  I would rather die in my death bed and say, “Well I wrote 50 books in my lifetime and made 50 bucks” than to say, “I wished I had written that book.”  Failure to live life is the actual loss of life. You are still going to die whether the critics loved your work or not. Take a chance and self publish your story.  Some call it vanity, when in fact they say this as they stand before the mirror of envy. Do not let anyone, fame, or money define your self worth.

Maybe this week you should have a conversation about death.  Hopefully it also creates the discussion for the passion of living.  From there let it flow from discussion to action.  You need not be rich to live a fulfilling life.  In my trilogy, The Chosen One of Allivar, I present a reader with an interesting take on both life and death. The story is an epic adventure story, but a story, that should have you thinking about the fragility of life.  I know this much, you reach a certain age and time rapidly flees from you, like a fart in the wind.

“All men die, not all men really live.” William Wallace

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” Andy Dufresne

Hey, I can do that!

LuckyDay

You see them all the time, little sayings embedded around cute pictures of puppies and kittens, or women without coffee (not so cute).  I always wondered how they did it.  In 2011, I purchased the Adobe Creative Suite Master Edition so that I could become a self publisher of my fantasy mythology.  I have been able to compose my book trailer and create my website.  Each day I learn something new.   Last week I began the process of editing and formatting my fourth book of the nineteen book mythology with Adobe InDesign.

Today I learned how to use images cropped out of a photo with PhotoShop  and imported into an Adobe Illustrator file.  There I added simple text and exported the result to a PNG format which you now see above.

As you can see Famous Hamish is now getting quite skilled at the art of manipulation.  What do I have planed next?  Is it a trip to Disney Land or Vegas?  No, it’s a project to start illustrating by tracing sketches of my creatures, maps, and scenes from the stories for the web and advertising.  From there I can then design my own eBook covers.

Where will this all end?  Heck, who knows, right now I am having a blast learning a series of software products that will bring one step closer to a dream of complete publishing prowess.  Only audacious haggis hurling Famous Hamish would dare such a journey.