So you can read my books

Sunday, September 19, 2010


{"It's an odd truth :

reality is a slippery thing."
- DreamSinger.}

We often expect one thing and get quite another.

We awaken to a dark moment, expecting death and get life instead.

Sometimes "Easter Morning" dawns in the midst of our darkest night.

Don't sigh. You haven't stumbled upon a finite man pompously spouting delusions about the infinite.

I'm actually writing about the art of writing.

And like any art, it requires practice and diligence and correct technique.

I'm writing about something painful all we writers must learn to handle correctly : criticism. Ouch. It hurts.

We all receive it. None of us is perfect. Well, there was that one.

But we crucified him.

I've received criticism. I'll probably receive it about this post.

But there is an Easter spin to the criticism we all receive : there is life after the grave.

But only if you take the right path.

I know from experience that when you get rejected, all becomes dark for a moment that seems to stretch for infinity. And when all is darkness, it's easy to get turned around.

In my first incarnation of FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE, Samuel McCord was a man of strong faith.

A very noted, respected agent was impressed enough with my partial to request my complete manuscript. He was kind and giving enough to explain why he rejected it.

Bottom line : I had pushed away a large segment of the reading audience who didn't believe.

And no publisher, especially in these harsh economic times, wants to buy a novel that will do that.

And after the initial "ouch," I thought about the wisdom of his words.

He was right.

I remembered a novel, reading and enjoying it immensely, only to cringe when he superficialized and mocked people of faith.

They were Moslems, by the way.

I respect people of all faiths. I laid the book down and never bought another by that author. I realized the respected agent had a point. He wasn't respected for nothing.

I didn't want to hurt or push any reader away.

How could I tell my story without doing it?

I heard the voice of my best friend, Sandra, sigh, "Just tell them the story, Roland. Don't tell them what to make of it. Leave it to them to decide : like you do with me."

Sandra is an agnostic. She is my best friend. People marvel at the friendship of two people who believe so differently, including her husband, who is a proud atheist.

If you watch the very first Gregory Peck movie, THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM, you will find the answer.

I saw that movie as a young boy late, late at night on one of those programs that show dusty old movies, among my friends who made up the League of Five.

It helped shape my view on how to be a man of God. And yes, I look just like a young Gregory Peck.

Not fooling you, huh? Rats.

But thinking on what Sandra might say to me, dawn rose in my darkness. I would focus on those subjects, those questions we all have. An enthusiasm fired me.

I would present those things, showing the amiable bickering of two old undead friends :

one who didn't believe but longed for a better universe where a loving God did indeed exist

and the other a vampire priest who did believe ... most of the time.

I wouldn't clearly show which view, if either, was correct.

I mean, in an infinite world, how could any finite mind hold all the answers? I would leave it to the reader to decide.

We all hurt. We all question the hungry darkness within, the threatening darkness without. We all seek for the light.

I re-wrote FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE for all of us. And I pray that the Great Mystery grant you enough light for the next step on your path.


  1. Un. Bee. Leave. Able. I am serious!!!!! Really, are you Other? Be honest!!!!

    I have been struggling with this very thing. My MC and several other characters HAVE to believe. And that belief is central to the whole point of of the entire series (I think three, but maybe two books...).

    But it's not a preachy kind of thing. And MC, Tangi (you should look up her name meaning) tells people that everyone has the right to choose. Like me, she is a live and let choose kind of person.

    Wow, this advice couldn't have come at a better time!!!! I just have to figure out how to tweak it.

    Thank you very very much for this!!!!!

  2. A young Gregory Peck? Hmm, that's not so bad :)

    I'm writing about domestic violence and substance abuse. I've had several people tell me it needs to be written so she leaves the first time she is hit by her boyfriend.

    As sad as the situation is, I'm not writing the novel to take a stand on what is right and wrong about the issue, merely to report of possible scenarios.

    I think your faith can be a benifit to Sam's character development. He is a man of faith also, but his beliefs do not have to be the only spiritualism in the novel for it to work for him. As long as his views are not "preachy" (to borrow from Words Crafter) I'm sure he can retain his status as a man of God.

    I like the term "Great Mystery".

    Criticism is how we learn. Not as wonderful as compliments, but a necessary growth experience.

    This was a humble post Roland; one I need to remind myself about often. The writing world is so subjective, but with people like you around, there will always be light.

    Have a good evening my friend.


  3. Donna : Thanks. We are, each of us, teller of tales around the campfire of the imagination. The enemy is always the same : the darkness that festers behind smiling faces.

    I'm glad that there are perceptive, supportive people like you and Words Crafter around.

  4. Now that's one Gregory Peck film that I've seemed to have missed!!

    Anyway - criticism and rejection will always hurt - I guess it's not only the case of picking oneself up, dusting oneself down and starting all over again but in what direction, how, where and why.

    Good luck one and all!

    Take care

  5. I really enjoyed this post Roland. First for the reminder about one's perception on rejection, and the dark moment that follows. Second because of the desciption of your friendship with Sandra.

    I have had a friend since the 5th grade (I'm nearly 48 now) who spent many years trying to convert me, the lapsed Catholic agnostic, to his born-again beliefs. I'm trying to live my life as well as possible with respect to all others, regardless of race, religion, etc... He tells me that I live my life in a more 'Christian-like' manner than most of the Christians he knows. I think that's a good thing.

    Thanks for this post, Roland. It's really got me thinking this morning. And your French Quarter Nocturne sounds very interesting.

  6. I never thought of rejection and the aftermath of healing and learning as Easter Sunday. How very apt.

    I think I missed that Gregory Peck movie too.