So you can read my books

Sunday, April 24, 2011


It's an odd truth : reality is a slippery thing.

We often expect one thing and get quite another.

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

That's one of the lessons of Easter.

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. 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 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. I agree with your sentiments Roland and would like to think I apply them as well.

    And I love that image-brilliant work.

  2. Thanks, David :
    I wanted to post an image that would grab your imagination as well as your eye. I'm glad you liked it.

    I hope criticism is seldom found in your inbox and only happy publication news is found. Happy Easter, Roland

  3. what a post!!!! what a post!!! loved every bit of it ... just needed this .... thanks ... thank you .. suddenly you have put my restless soul to some peace.. Happy Easter!

  4. What an awsome post! Love it.

    Happy Easter!

  5. Try not to please too may people.

    When I write, I ask myself whether I am proud of what I wrote. Would I show it to a neighbor? If so, then damn the critics.

  6. That light touch is such a challenge. I appreciated hearing how you've tackled it by thinking of your friend Sandra. I find that a lovely balance; the wisdom of a respected unbeliever guiding the words of a believer. There's a wholesome tension there. (hope that's not too garbled)

  7. Have a fantastic Easter, Roland D Yeomans. Your French Quarter Nocturne is stronger for you having found your light! Take care

  8. ...well said my friend. And a Happy Easter to you as well.

    Having been on the dayjob's feverish agenda this week, I read your previous posts and discovered that you now have a second release on Kindle. Congratulations:) Will be checking it out as the Easter Bunny permits.

    Always a fan,


  9. I love this, Roland! So so true. That's such an important rule for writers to remember... to let readers decide for thesmelves. Just tell the story.

  10. Flying High In The Sky :
    I pray that the Light is always granted you for the next step, along with the strength and courage to take it. I have missed your comments. My own nightmare schedule with

    the death of my beloved Gypsy, preparing 2 presentations, giving them all last weekend at a local Sci Fi convention, and my always Herculean work schedule has kept me from visiting so many of my dear friends. Sorry.

    Veronica Lee :
    Your words made my afternoon. Thank you very much. Have a Happy Easter.

    Walter :
    You raise a good point. A writer must be true to his own vision. But the only way I can grow as a writer is to listen objectively to criticism, look like an outsider at my prose, and see if there may be some truth to the criticism. And if so, make my prose stronger and more true to all of life.

    This is exactly what McCord says in the prelude to ADRIFT IN THE TIME STREAM, the sequel to RITES OF PASSAGE that I have just finished.

    Thank you for commenting. I've missed you. I have been leading a nightmare existence for some weeks now.

    Sue :
    When I was a child, the ancient movie, KEYS TO THE KINGDOM, shaped my view of how Jesus would have us relate to all who cross our path.

    And you were quite eloquent -- not garbled at all. Thanks for the kind words. Sandra, who reads my blog, is probably smiling.

    Happy Easter.

    Noemi :
    Thank you. Your words were a balm to a weary rare blood courier and struggling author.

    Kitty :
    Thank you for your take on my revision of FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE. It occurs in 2005 but many of the same characters from RITES OF PASSAGE (circa 1853) are in it as well, adding depth and perspective to the tale if you have read RITES and its sequel, ADRIFT IN THE TIME STREAM.

    And may you have a fantastic Easter as well :)

    Elliot :
    I know all about feverish job agenda's : some above-board, some subtle and hostile.

    I hope both our job demands ease up this next week. And yes, I would so much like to hear what you think of RITES OF PASSAGE, which also stars Samuel McCord in his life-altering meeting of the love of his life, Meilori Shinseen, born of stardust and the sea -- and his Moriarty, DayStar, that entity which was the Darkness that existed before Light shaped the Void into life.

    If you post a review of it (or THE BEAR WITH 2 SHADOWS), you will get 5 entries to win one of those 3 autographed books by King, Koontz, and Hamilton. I hope the Easter Bunny permits you looking at RITES.

    And I eager await the release of SOUTH OF CHARM. Always a fan, too, Roland

    PK :
    Thanks for the high praise. I hate being preached at, so why wouldn't my readers hate it as well? May your Easter be healing and bright, Roland

  11. Great post very inspiring. Thanks for the words you write so well.

  12. Thanks, Josh :
    Comments like your make it all worthwhile. Have a healing, lovely Easter, Roland

  13. Hi Roland!!!! :) Hope you're having a beautiful Easter. Take care XX

  14. Niki!
    I've missed you even though my nightmare schedule doesn't allow me much time to visit my friends. I am having a restful, healing Easter. I have finished formatting ADRIFT IN THE TIME STREAM, the sequel to RITES OF PASSAGE today.

    I hope your Easter was healing and fun as well, Roland

  15. What an amazing post. I loved it!
    Hope you're having a relaxing Easter!

  16. I agree. (=
    I had a fabulous Easter Sunday.
    I hope you did too.

  17. sounds like a fantastic way to handle it! I love reading about people with different beliefs and how they reconcile them.

    Best of luck w/your writing, and Happy Easter! :o) <3

  18. You are right. Criticism is so hard to swallow. Generally, I scan mine quickly then walk away until I can process it. After I've calmed down I usually find that there are points of merit and things to be learned. I also remind myself again and again-writing is a practice.

    Thanks for this inspiring Easter post.

  19. Nas :
    I had a fine Easter - called out only once just before I turned in for the night. Thanks for the great words about my post.

    Jo :
    I did have a fabulous Easter : finished formatting the sequel to RITES and just healing. I'm glad you did, too.

    Leigh :
    I believe we all worship the Same God, only calling Him different names. Since we are finite and He is infinite, I imagine He is used to being misunderstood. Luckily, He is infinite love, too. Best of luck with your writing, too! :)

    Johanna :

  20. Johanna :
    Oops. My little finger strayed when I wanted it to stay on the job. Lazy finger!!

    I like your way of handling criticism, too. You're right. We need to distance ourselves emotionally from it before we can gain anything positive from it.

    Writing is never done as well as it could be. Ernest Hemingway wrote that in essays over and over again. And thank you for such a great comment. May your new week be lovely! Roland

  21. Outstanding post, Roland. A book should make a reader think, it should never think for the reader.

    And as for beliefs, as you say, none of us is perfect. Therefore, none of us is perfect in our belief. That's why it's so important we respect our differences. It isn't necessary to share another's views to learn from him or her.

  22. Great message Roland. Hope you had a wonderful Easter.

  23. Reality is slippery indeed. I like that.

  24. VR :
    Thanks for the support and the great comment. You are right -- we are storytellers -- not preachers.

    Lydia :
    I hope you had a great Easter, too,.

    Heather :
    Slippery and sometimes like a rug that has been pulled out from under us! LOL.

  25. So glad, Roland, that you emailed me. You're one of my favorite writers and I intend to keep following and supporting you.

    I AM going to buy Rites of Passage. I have a Nook but I have a Kindle on order, the one that's currently discounted, due to arrive within the next two weeks. So I'm waiting to buy the book then for it and will of course as I did with your wonderful BEAR write a review!!

    I LOVE this post. As always, you express a difficult subject with sincere ELOQUENCE.

    And Gregory Peck is one of my favorite actors. I LOVE him in To Kill A Mockingbird, my favorite book and movie.

    As ever,
    Ann Best, Memoir Author

  26. Ann :
    Thanks for saying I am one of your favorite writers -- that means a lot coming from a gifted author like yourself.

    Thank you for buying RITES OF PASSAGE. That, too, means a lot. I believe you will learn to love your Kindle. A gifted British artist has granted me permission to use a breath-taking painting for the cover of Rite's sequel, ADRIFT IN THE TIME STREAM --

    So I have decided to ePublish it, too, so as let the artist see his painting on my cover on Amazon.

    Thanks even more for your kind comments about this post. I try to speak from my heart and to the hearts of others.

    Gregory Peck has always been a favorite of mine. My mother said if I used him and Jimmy Stewart as male role models that I would not go far wrong.

    Have a great week, Roland

  27. Your post is most inspiring. I have faith, but I also have some ridiculous fears that don't belong anywhere near my manuscript.

  28. The Desert Rocks :
    You might be surprised. It is our fears that bind us together as fragile humans, all searching for that horizon which shimmers endlessly before us with beckoning promises.

    Thanks for the kind words about my post. Roland

  29. What a beautiful testament for Jesus and Easter.
    Your words are wise in regards to the agent. Rejection hurts, but if we chose to learn from the criticism, than we're one step closer to reaching our publication goals.
    Thanks for sharing!

  30. Thanks, Melissa, for commenting :
    Rejection does hurt. But so does any growth. You're right -- we must seek to learn the right lesson. As Mark Twain cautioned : the cat who sits on a hot stove never sits on one again, but it also never sits on a cold one again either! We must learn the truth behind the pain, Roland