Archive for April, 2018


What can a fiction writer bring to a world with broken wings? For sure, a world like this one is full of  fragmented people–fodder for a writer. And just as sure, a writer will translate human brokenness through his or her own lens. So what is my lens?

Here’s a little about why I write as I do.

For some writers, fiction is an author’s attempt to open a little window on the meaning of human life itself.  Some fiction writers perceive people as good because God made them to be like Him. I am one of them.  I also recognize free will. We can choose not to be like Him, and even choose not follow Him. But the job of a writer who sees people as coming from God, is to translate His goodness in some concrete form for her readers; and that is a difficult job in our world today because many don’t believe in a Creator, and others don’t see our world as good. So what is such a writer to do?

First, I believe this sort of writer will have strong emotion about current events where goodness is not: The murder of children. Debilitating disease. Greed. Arrogance. Sadistic, sexual perversion. Dishonesty. Meanness, and on and on–just check ‘I choose not to follow” on each of The Ten Commandments. So, the paradoxical question for a writer like myself  becomes, “Can interior goodness be found where exterior goodness is not?”

Yes. Our Creator is powerful enough to draw out goodness from atrocities that emanate because of the misuse of human free will. In this writer’s imagination, there is a link between the divinity of God (the supernatural world) with the natural world. The task becomes that of interlocking the two. Representations are created, and specific truths about God’s presence in our world appear in the writer’s mind. She translates it in her settings, characters, and dilemmas. And what she translates is a tenet called grace, both Sanctifying Grace and Actual Grace. Sanctifying Grace, inherited from the God who made us, lives in the soul and stays in the soul. By contrast, Actual grace doesn’t live in the soul; rather, throughout a lifetime, it acts in the soul as divine pushes from God toward His goodness. But those pushes require cooperation. The translating writer understands that a person must accept grace by his own free will; and grace, like love, is sometimes prickly.

A writer who translates grace in a world on edge must first have a good, well-written story. Then she must see a double beginning and ending in everything, and I mean everything, including the awful, current events mentioned above. Along with this, she realizes that knowing reasons why is a human characteristic. She perceives a cause, and an effect that creates another cause, and effect, and so on into infinity. Stories are discovered in her imagination and brought to light by a very intimate flashlight, one that shines a light on the many causes and effects of free will, and on the causes and effects of grace; both working, and often conflicting, in the same human soul.

Over the past twenty years, I have been writing books centered around the many misguided bandages my characters put on their inevitable broken wings, those wounds that life churns out. I’m not getting any younger, and I don’t want to leave behind stacks of paper. So, I am publishing the books I feel are worthy.  There will be others to come, but my latest novel–Bridge-Man Burning: The Sins of a Southern Man–is the sequel to my debut novel, A Hunger in the Heart.  The print copy of Bridge-Man is now up, with Kindle coming soon. Take a look.  I will be offering both on Kindle in the upcoming days, to those who kindly follow this blog.

What will be the spiritual legacy of America’s political leaders to the nation of people they leave behind–our children, and our grandchildren? How many of America’s leaders actually realize their purpose is to be an example of  virtue to America’s citizens?  How many of them ever even speak about VIRTUE?  And yet, virtue is essential to what it means to be a human being, and surely essential to one who sought a role in leadership which has the moral purpose of  making things better, not worse.

A legacy is built over time, not overnight. It is often thought to be money or property willed to a descendent. But the legacy any of us leave to our descendants will be much more than material; it will be spiritual as well. We will pass to those left behind a legacy built on genuine truth, or a legacy of falsity whereby we have attempted to destroy genuine truth most often out of personal greed.

Our country’s spiritual legacy–its moral virtue–affects many, many, people, not only those related to us. For those who lead our country, this should be of special concern.

The moral virtues are attitudes, dispositions, and good habits that govern one’s actions, passions, and conduct according to reason; and are acquired by human effort, which for our leaders means the effort of putting the nation above one’s own selfish purposes.

The cardinal virtues are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. How are our political leaders–especially our American Department of Justice showing us those virtues? Where is the prudence, the fortitude, and for heaven sake, where is the temperance?

For the first time in a long while, we have a president who, like each of us, is not a perfect person–but IS a real leader, attempting to build a legacy for America that is built on truth and common sense.  And he is succeeding where others have miserably failed.  But the legacy President Trump is building flies in the face of many on the left who have their own selfish, even immoral, agendas, and so they seek to bring him down by division, distraction, and falsifying the facts with astounding hypocrisy–even imprudently employing our Department of Justice to do it.

Is this the sort of legacy we want for America, for our children and their children? The present anything goes attitude in society and in government is more than dangerous; it can destroy us. This TIME in which we are living is crucial for each one of us. We must be prudent, we must seek justice with courage and thoughtful self-discipline. Because at this moment in time, we are creating the husk of  the legacy we will pass on.

Today, we have a golden opportunity to finally Make America Great Again, but only if the lack of prudence by some of our leaders is outweighed by fortitude from the majority.

 

 

The Wind That Shakes the Corn is a story of long-held hatreds. It is also a love story, about one woman’s difficult journey toward letting go of past grievances–the only way to allow for genuine love.

Nell Dugan’s history has given her a fanatic heart–capable of great love, but also great hatred.  In 1723 Ireland, she is an unruly Catholic girl who falls in love with the grandson of a Protestant Scottish lord. On their wedding night she is snatched from his arms. As he lies bloodied on the ground, she is thrown on a British ship headed for a sugar plantation in the West Indies, where she is sold into slavery.

But Nell is a person of learned strategies, never to be underestimated. Beautiful and cunning, she seduces the plantation owner’s infatuated son who sneaks her away to pre-revolutionary Philadelphia. There she agrees to marry him, eventually falling in love with him, but keeping her first marriage secret as she becomes a loyal wife and mother–and a tireless rebel against the English rule.

Tensions rise between the Patriots and Loyalists. Nell sees opportunities to pay back the English–blood for blood with no remorse–not only for her own kidnapping but also for her Irish mother’s hanging two decades earlier. When her first husband shows up in Philadelphia, very much alive and married, too, emotions between them run high, but the two families bond in their desire to leave the turmoil around them and take advantage of land offers in the Carolinas. Except the American Revolution follows in full flow to Carolinas. Nell experiences a tragic crescendo for her family after the Battle of Kings Mountain that only increases her desire for vengeance.

And then, a child is born. The dangerous circumstances of his birth cause a final migration into the wilderness of the Mississippi Territory to a cave of miracles, where Nell’s eyes are opened at last to what it will take to truly love.

The Wind That Shakes the Corn is not only Nell’s story, it is the saga of the feisty Scots Irish immigrants in a burgeoning America, and their heart-held faith and courage that led the struggle toward freedom. The novel spotlights both Catholic and Protestants immigrants to America who brought with them age-old grudges against the English Crown.

Love and hate, life and death, trust, betrayal, and the ‘always hovering’ choice to forgive, are prominent themes in this novel. In fact, they are themes that every person on earth struggles with.

The Wind That Shakes The Corn was Runner-up for the Josiah Bancroft Award for Novel sponsored by Florida First Coast Writers, and a Finalist in the New Orleans Pirate’s Alley Society William Faulkner/William Wisdom Writing Competition, and a Tuscany Prize for Catholic Fiction Finalist.

Please share, and please leave a review if you download the novel.

When you click on the widget above, it will take you to my blog and my contention that life on earth is not about me. It’s not about you either. It is about what we can do together to move our world forward in genuine TRUTH.

How is this done? And why should we do it?

Fist answer this: Do we see God as He really is–as actual holiness?
Do we see ourselves as we really are–as actual sinners, often non-repentant?
Do we realize that un-holiness is disaster for each one of us and for our world?

We are meant to Prepare the way of the Lord –Isaiah 40:3
How are we doing with that?

Preparing the way of the Lord, prepares a way for us, too. The way to eternal life. But it is an arduous and slow process for human beings given the gift of Free Will by their creator. Our choices often cause us to move one step forward and then, one step backwards. But if we see God as he really is–Holy. And look at ourselves as we truly are–Sinners. Then we will take on the beautiful task of repentance.

Yes, God loves us as we are, but His expectations for us are much greater than we often realize. So many times we try to bend, shape, and politicize what we think is right into selfish and very un-holy behavior, carrying others along.

We stand on the edge of a typically unholy world, pretending OUR WAY is the right way. Shouldn’t we let go of that misguided disguise, and step out together to strive for the holiness of God and eternal life with Him?

Let’s look in the mirror, and actually see what we see. If we are honest, Truth will look back at us and show us who we have become. We may want to lower our eyes shamefully and turn away, but don’t. In acknowledging our human faults, discovered in a genuine mirror, we may repentantly and finally discover our true purpose here on earth.