So you can read my books

Sunday, April 8, 2012


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. Wise words Roland, whatever one's religion or belief.

  2. very nice post and I agree with every word written hear especially about having the ability to accept criticisms.

    Happy Easter!

    : )

  3. It's a decision every writer faces, and not just with his books. While I make it no secret I am a born-again Christian, I will not scream my beliefs from my website or mock any who don't view God the way I do. Others may risk it, but it's very polarizing and alienates many people. I'd rather quietly show through my actions the power of God's love anyway.
    And as for my books, I just completely avoided the topic of spirituality.
    Happy Easter, Roland.

  4. I can relate to this post, I'm tackling religion in the novel I'm writing and it's a very tricky subject to get right; you can't seem too preachy or judgemental or dismissive. I'm trying to let my characters do all the talking with little narrative on the subject, I hope it works out without being offensive to either party. Happy Easter :)

    Tegan Wilson

  5. Thanks, Sarah:
    I wanted to help and heal this Easter Sunday. May your Sunday be a blessed and happy one, Roland

    Criticism is like re-breaking a badly healed bone: painful but necessary! Ouch!! Thanks for visiting and staying to chat, Roland

    My spiritual beliefs are bone and marrow of me. No matter how I tried to divorce my writing from them, they just seeped in.

    So I tried to interweave them in my tales in such a manner that did not offend but lent a sense of realism to my characters from their belief or their lack of it.

    My half-Lakota mother gave me the sense of wonder towards the web of life all around us. So I incorporated that in my BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS even in my Apocalyptic THE LAST SHAMAM.

    My latest, BEST OF ENEMIES, has the Turquoise Woman (the World personified) as a major player in a supernatural globe-spanning war. The inter-connectedness of all life is highlighted in it -- with chills, thrills, and laughter, too. Like you I try to entertain and leave the sermons to the preachers!! LOL.

    I can empathize. It is a ticklish walk across the tightrope! In supernatural novels, I believe that if you write of demons and darkness, you have to address why Light seems to be reluctant to enter into the fray.

    May this Easter be a happy one for you, Roland

    May your Easter be blessed and healing. Thanks for being my friend, Roland

  6. Hallelujah - life after death!
    Happy Easter!

    I’m stopping in as an A to Z blogger. I invite you to visit my blogs, leaving a link to your own post, so my readers can find you too!

    All on and all in the A to Z Challenge:

    Heart of a Ready Writer – Bible & Devotional
    Meme Express – Daily Blog Prompts (A to Z)
    Nickers and Ink – Featuring favorite classic poems from A to Z
    Practically at Home – See what fellow writers are cited – with article links!
    The Mane Point –profiling special horses from A to Z
    Working in Words – Writing How-to’s

    Simply Snickers is not posting daily in the A to Z Challenge, but you are invited to comment with your A to Z/NaPoWriMo poetry links!

    Click my name/icon for links to all these blogs! Happy A-to-Z!