Archive for the ‘World On The Edge’ Category


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.

The End of Us???

Posted: March 27, 2018 in World On The Edge

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It is a fact. Each of us will die.
But is death the end of us?

We come into this world innocent, and nothing can change that we’re made in the image and likeness of God. Part of each one of us is spiritual, like it or not. And it is that spirituality that draws us to God.

But we’ve also been given a free will by our Creator. We can make choices, and some of those choices are wrong ones that steer us away from the inborn likeness to God set in us, and toward a dead end, where we often have no desire to change, or even acknowledge God. Many of us are fine with our lives as we’re living them.  And some don’t think about change, or God, at all until we are faced with death.

Yet we want eternal life.

Holy Week is all about eternal life. This past Sunday, the final Sunday of Lent, begins Holy Week for Christians. It commemorates the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. Palm Sunday is known as such because the faithful will often receive palm fronds which they use to participate in the reenactment of Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem. Following days are Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and finally the Resurrection–Easter.

On Holy Thursday, Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist–His real presence at Mass. This is my Body. This is my Blood. Do this in remembrance of me. On Good Friday, He showed us how to suffer through the worst of all deaths, the excruciating death of an innocent man through the conniving of greedy and selfish human beings; a suffering He allowed–only for us. And on Easter Sunday, He rose from the tomb into which human evil cast Him.

He rose because no grave could hold Him. No grave could silence Him. No grave could keep Him from us, each one of us, His beloved.

Jesus Christ showed us the way that any one of us can be resurrected as well. First, by our sincere desire for it. Second, by repentance of our sins and a decision to change our behavior. And third, by being open to the Mercy of God, our Father.

But are we striving for a life beyond our earthly grave?

Do we want to be resurrected?

Resurrection is defined in the dictionary as the act of causing something that had ended or been forgotten or lost to exist again.  The ultimate Resurrection is a promise from our loving God if we truly desire it in the here and now. When we  attempt by our free will to overcome our sinfulness–and through faith, rely on the overflowing mercy of God, we will have eternal life.

So that no grave can hold us.
No grave can silence us.
No grave can keep us from our God who loves us.

I AM A WRITER–BUT WHY???

Posted: March 22, 2018 in World On The Edge

I am a writer. But why?

It’s certainly not for the money. Some people have said I could make more money cleaning houses. Oh sure, there are a sparse few who get rich from writing. So far, I am not one of those.

I don’t write because writing is easy; it isn’t. It is totally time-consuming, and you have to choose to do it–i.e, self-discipline. And sometimes it messes up your mind for days when you are dealing with the problems of your characters–lots of problems because if your characters don’t have problems worth solving, the story isn’t worth writing.

And writing can be lonely–because it must be done alone. There are things you miss. When you are writing, you must focus only on writing. And what happens then? Well, for sure your house does not get cleaned!

So why do I do it?

Maybe because I’ve always been someone who likes to “get to the heart of the matter.” I like to know why and how we human beings love, have compassion, understanding, peace and joy. And also, I like to know the opposite: how we as human beings can hate, have no mercy, and make no attempt whatsoever to understand another.

These are the opposing human traits that battle in my stories. I know those traits well, because at one time or another, I have experienced each of them. Perhaps this is why I write–to become more aware of the battle between those opposing traits in my own life. I know that when my story or novel comes to resolution, I feel personally laundered.

As with every human being, a writer must respect her characters enough to give each of them at least a chance of success whether they take it or not.

I do believe the ability to write creatively is God-given. A spiritual gift in which the author perceives a bond between people, indeed between all living things, that comes from God’s much higher authority. A thing to reach for, always with human choice involved.

In essence, as a writer, I give away all my personal life secrets in stories that are hopefully fulfilling, and in doing so, shed light on a little bit of truth.

So—if you’d care to—tell me what you want to read about. 🙂

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Recently, in the midst of publishing two new novels, I have been doing genealogical research on my own family. I took the DNA test from Ancestry. com and since I had already developed my family tree, I found loads of new relatives who belong to it as well.

But you don’t have to research to know that there are many who have gone before each of us, or that our lives today are built by the struggles of others who deserve our respect.

Some of them led hard lives, filled with sorrows we can only imagine. Others seem to have led uneventful lives–and yet if we look more closely, these related people are important links to us, to our personalities, to our inherited strengths and weaknesses.

This is all God’s magnificent plan. This is a plan without time or space, or whininess and ridicule for others in the time we are on Earth. For we are all wanderers through life–and our life is a short one! We will all have our Good Friday’s. But we will all have our Easter, too–just as those who went before us.

So, how are we making the best of our time here? Do we see ourselves as part of the divine, or not?

Many of us live as if we will live forever, not giving much thought to death. Others overthink death, worried about what it actually means. But in the big picture, death is not death at all, but only a crossing, only one more step into the divine for which each of us is made.

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law: but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.–Isaiah 50:1-2

SheWhoSeesCover-eyes“The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and soul.” — Mark Twain

long black trainFreedom is a big word. A weighty word. A lengthy word. The locomotive of Freedom is championed by words, like Liberty and Independence. But the locomotive’s steam is often the lack of any restriction or inhibition.

The train of Freedom runs two ways, and on conflicting tracks. One is a track of lies, the other a track of truth.

Before you buy a ticket on one train or the other, there are questions to ask: Where does it come from? Where is it going? And most especially, who is its engineer?

The lying train of Freedom can be very long and black. It can come from jumbled and defective thinking. It can take us to foolishness and death. And its engineer can be a faulty entity of propaganda.

Do we really have the freedom to kill innocent babies? The engineers of society and our government say we can.

Do we honestly have the freedom to forget our marriage vow, or steal another person’s wife or husband, or to have sex with whomever we want? The engineers of Hollywood say we can.

Do we truthfully have the freedom to knock ourselves out with dope at the expense of the life of our family and our own life as well? The enormous drug trade says we can.

Who is your engineer? Who is driving your Freedom train? We do have a choice. On which train will you buy a ticket?

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.
But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.– Gal 5:1 13-18

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Love is the greatest virtue. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.–Colossians 3:14

Too often, we get down on ourselves and those we profess to love. We feel less than we are, and treat them less than we should. We may even get tired of our everyday lives—always so much of the same thing, we can’t even call it love.

And so, we long for something different, something more alive, fresh, and vibrant. But how do we go about finding or creating this kind of love in our lives?

The answer to that question lies in the answer to this one: What is love, really? What should we expect from it?

Love is not a fairy tale–don’t we all know that! Yet, it truly is meant to bring delight. It is a story that’s meant to have something like a prince and princess; a knight who would die for his lady if he had to, and vice versa.

Our Love is meant to change the other person in such a way that they are better than they would have been without us. If it doesn’t do this, if it makes the other worse, we ought to question what sort of relationship we actually have–because it’s probably not love.

Love’s expression is tied with the virtue of kindness. In our own love story, are we kind to the other person? Many times we’re much kinder to strangers than those we say we love. Is this because we take their love for granted? Taking someone for granted is another way to ruin a relationship.

You may be surprised to hear that love and suffering go together. When we truly love another person we can expect to suffer. That’s because people are fallible and can hurt us, yet true love continues to love.

Love means to love that which is unlovable; or it is no virtue at all.–G.K. Chesterton