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A1 Life

This site shares one definition of and paths to achieving a full, rich life.

A Personal Sharing

Yesterday on my author Facebook page and my personal Facebook page, I asked friends and family to help me decide on a title for my soon-to-be completed and published third novel. Among those asked and gave opinions are fellow authors, the unofficial president and vice-president of my unofficial fan club and several who have purchased my books. So, I was very interested in their opinions.

Also, among those are friends and acquaintances who have not and may not ever purchase my books, but I wanted to have their thoughts on what titles might cause them to consider reading my books. The post is still available on both Facebook pages,

I am close to finishing my third novel, but I haven’t settled on a title. Please help me chose a title. Which of these titles would intrigue you the most to read my next novel.
A. Escape from Island X
B. Naked Saint of Island X
C. Shipwrecked on Island X
D. None of the titles would cause me to be interested in reading the book
Comment your choice. If you like A, B, and C, place them in order naming the most intriguing first.
Thanks

I have calculated the results to this point using a point system – 3 points for first choice or only choice selections; 2 points for second choice and 1 point for third choice. Here is how it stacks up:
A = 40 points
B = 34 points
C = 17 points
D received some votes but then changed later.
The suggestion to name the island came up as many times as C and D did.
I am thinking about naming the island Tartarus. The name is symbolic with the island’s character. I chose “X” originally, because the island is unknown in reality and in the book.
The naked saint in the one title represents a main character who helps 3 shipwrecked castaways try and escape. She is naked and represents a type of Uriel in my novel, although that is not what I have named her. That could change before publication.
In modern angelology, Uriel is identified variously as a seraph, cherub, regent of the sun, flame of God, angel of the Divine Presence, presider over Tartarus (hell), archangel of salvation, and, in later scriptures, identified with Phanuel “face of God”. He is often depicted carrying a book or a papyrus scroll representing wisdom. Uriel is a patron of the Arts.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uriel
Uriel is commonly depicted as a male figure, but angels are generally thought of as genderless. Uriel has also been female. I chose a female heroine because more than half of my readers are female.
I am uncertain about Escape from the Island of Tartarus as a title, though. The word “escape” either gives too much away or is deceptive. Shipwrecked on Tartarus Isle made people think that my naked saint was shipwrecked.  I could be accused of pandering if I go with The Naked Saint of Tartarus Island which might be more accurate than I prefer to admit.
I’d like to hear what you think. What title or titles would intrigue you enough to consider purchasing the book? Can you leave a comment, please?

 

 

When Misjudged and Misunderstood

Is that Paul with you?” Lon wonders.              

“No, Paul is not with me.” These words leave a bitter taste in Josh’s mouth as he remembers his feeling of betrayal from his long- time friend.

“You said you’re with a friend,” Lon pries, “Is someone I know?”

“It’s Marcy James,” Josh acknowledges, “Lon, I am at the Bend of the River Country Club.”

“You’re with Marcy at a nightclub,” Lon expresses with a tone of pure disenchantment.

Josh shakes his head, “Yes, Lon, I am with my friend Marcy James at a nightclub.”

The phone goes silent.

Josh sits quietly staring at his smart phone.  Marcy continues to rest her hand in his.  She doesn’t know all that transpired, but she knows Josh feels deeply saddened by it.

“You give your hand to me,” the pianist brother begins to sing, “Then you say hello.

 His voice, with only a hint of aging, is as smooth as his performance, “I can hardly speak; My heart is beating so.”

 Josh returns to the present company and gives Marcy’s faithful touch a gentle squeeze.
“And anyone can tell,” Josh softly sings along.

Marcy smiles, but doesn’t really relate, yet.

Josh continues by personalizing the words, “They think they know me well, But they don’t know me.”

Marcy comprehends the meaning and the pain in his heart, “Are you needing to leave?”

Josh digs deep into his soul for the answer.  He doesn’t want to say good night, yet.  It would only add to his feeling of aloneness.

“Not yet, if you don’t mind,” Josh replies.

“I don’t mind at all,” Marcy admits, “How about another cup of coffee?”

“And some dessert?” Josh suggests.

The scene above is from my novel, A River Bend. Josh Crockett was misjudged and misunderstood by a group of church deacons, and therefore banned from teaching a group of teens, his sole purpose in returning to his hometown. What is worse is that his long time friend, Paul Palato is one of the deacons and Lon Perez, who hung up on him in the scene above is also a deacon who earlier trusted Josh enough to seek personal advice. What I want to contrast in this conversation is the two ways at looking at this scene and compare that to how we might view similar incidents in our lives.

It is a sad scene. I don’t want to diminish that fact in any way. To do so means making light of similar hurtful incidents in your life. That would be wrong and only adding to the pain. I also do not want my thoughts to sound as trite as “behind every dark cloud there is a silver lining.” Even if a silver lining exists, the dark clouds are real and are difficult to overcome. I believe you have to experience the grieving process completely to have fully survived and be whole. To be side-tracked by even Truth before you complete the grief is dangerous insanity. I know. I’ve tried it. I think Truth is best served at the end of grieving. Promises are what we need to cling to during the grief to help us survive and thrive.

Josh is not lacking in faith to be hurting by betrayal. I point out here that A River Bend is loosely based on the Gospel of John. In the Gospels, we see that Jesus grieved and we know that no one had more faith in God. Josh had good reason to hurt.

he remembers his feeling of betrayal from his long- time friend.

“You’re with Marcy at a nightclub,” Lon expresses with a tone of pure disenchantment.

Josh continues by personalizing the words, “They think they know me well, But they don’t know me.”

But at the end of this journey, he will be able to look back and find some good to believe in and even emulate with a friend who might be hurting.

Marcy continues to rest her hand in his.  She doesn’t know all that transpired, but she knows Josh feels deeply saddened by it.

Marcy’s faithful touch

Marcy comprehends the meaning and the pain in his heart

“I don’t mind at all,” Marcy admits, “How about another cup of coffee?”

I’d like you to notice that it was not the words that Marcy said that brought comfort and helped Josh manage his grief. She didn’t make light of his pain by trying to encourage him with truths like “you’re going to survive this.” It was not the right time for that. She didn’t criticize the ones who caused his pain. That would be trying to put herself above the others. That’s a useless and selfish response. She focused on him and his needs. She didn’t try to be a hero and try and say and do “the right things.” She put her own needs aside and asked what he wanted and supported that.

Through my hurts, I notice this is usually God’s method. God doesn’t judge, preach, instruct, or criticize. He does keep his promise to walk with me through the struggles. Notice, I said with me. He doesn’t lead me. He might guide me, but if He does, it feels like He is beside me holding my hand. Sometimes, all I need from God is His love. I just want held.

I may be different than you. I don’t want a pep talk. I have gone through this with others and only one person ever said they needed a pep talk when I asked what they needed. Then after the pep talk, she hugged me for an uncomfortably long time. You be the judge of what she really needed.

I end with this song. I think it captures the point of this conversation.

 

Why Muddy the Waters with “Why”

I know most, maybe even all of you have found yourself suddenly asking God or the Universe or Someone why this awful thing happened to you. There’s usually no good answer. Often, because we must have an answer, we accept some rationalization that down deep in our hearts we know is not completely satisfying. I wish at the end of this conversation I share the magic formula which provides closure for your situation like this. I probably won’t be doing that.

In my first published novel, A River Bend, my main character, Josh Crockett finds himself in that situation. Josh handles it better than most of us. There are times I wish I’d written him differently, but I didn’t. But just like real life, it all starts out very innocently. Some might say nobly. Let me explain.

Josh Crockett, a psychologist with a nice comfortable practice in Corona, Florida is asked by his best friend, Paul Palato to return to Josh’s hometown, where Paul now lives, and teach the concepts of Josh’s latest book to a group of teens Paul directs at his church. Josh agrees. It sounds like something good. What could go wrong?

Josh’s first encounter with the teens is to attend a sporting event with them outside the church. He talks to one of the friendlier teens about the correlation between worship and love out in the parking lot of a pizza restaurant. Paul was not there, but joined them at the sporting event. Talking about worship in the parking lot is a little bit “churchy” for me, but Josh sensed the young lady needed it and according to the story, she did find it interesting. In other words, it seemed appropriate and innocent.

Look what happens later in the same chapter when Paul joins the group. This is the beginning of Josh’s woeful experience.

“Tell the group what you told Samara about love,” Tara requests with a slight inflection in her voice and choosing her words to peak Paul‘s interest.

The others waiting for their tickets react somewhat strangely to this request Josh believes.  They all encircle him and lean in to hear.  Their response is akin to the reaction of characters in a slapstick comedy when the main character is about to share “the plan.”  Paul seems particularly interested.

“I believe we talked about worshipping God,” Josh summarizes, “wherever and whenever we can.  I don’t remember saying much about love, except that worshipping God is in response to His love for us.”

The teens share glances until all eyes finally focus on Tara.

“I understand you told Samara,” Tara begins carefully, nervously, but soon is in control of the situation, “the idea that someone in love with Samara aroused her.”

Josh is stunned by the way his words have been twisted and patiently waits for Tara to clarify what she wants to know.

“Well,” Tara pauses a moment hoping for a response from Josh.

“Well what, Tara?” Josh is still uncertain as to Tara’s motives since there has not been a question or concern mentioned.

“What did you mean by that?” Tara finally finds her question.  “Were you coming on to her?”

The seed of suspicious behavior is planted. Later, in the story, one of the deacons of the church discovers an incident from Josh’s past that connects his past behavior with this questionable action. Plus, it doesn’t help that Josh meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman who has a disreputable past of her own. Without giving away any more of the plot, I’ll just add that this all goes downhill quickly for Josh.

You’ll need to purchase and read the book if you want to see what all happens to Josh. But I would like to end this conversation with “how” Josh handles it. The answer is simple. He never questions it. He questions his feelings for Marcy James, the disreputable woman, but not because of her reputation, but because it  he falls for her so quickly. The plot of the novel takes place within about a two-week timeframe. She is so beautiful and so successful, Josh isn’t sure if it is love or not.

He accepts without question the doubts and false accusations hurled at him. Even Marcy questions why, in the past incident, he didn’t fight for his innocence. The most important thing to Josh is that Marcy and a few of the teens with which he connects strongly believes him.

Maybe that’s the answer. What happened to this fictional character is so minor than what happened to you. So, I am not trying to compare and thus make light of your tragedy. But I know in my life, I missed so much of life trying to figure out what went wrong that this evil happened to me. After all, I was doing everything right.

The mother of my children died before she was 40 years old. Her death left four children, ages eight to sixteen, motherless. It was sudden and unexpected. She was a good wife, mother, and woman. I spent the next several years wondering why and trying to “fix” it.

While I tried to fix, and figure it out, my sixteen-year-old daughter learned to drive, graduated from high school, and went to proms, etc. Things like those were also experienced by my other children. Plus, they were dealing with the loss of a mother. I only existed in a numb-like state through those wonderful and joyous life happenings. My worry, research, and assessment of the loss stole my joy, and my time with my children and their friends which is something I enjoyed before the tragedy. Plus, my efforts to try to make sense of the whole thing distracted me from more pertinent concerns and I made lots of bad decisions as a result. Finally, after all that, all I missed, and all the mistakes it cost, I still don’t have an answer.

I do know this. An aneurism killed my wife, probably due to a blood clot from a surgery she needed just months before her death.  She has four wonderful children and there are seventeen grandchildren and two great grandchildren still living and loving that are a part of her. God has truly blessed me. That’s all I need to know.

The Thrilling Life of an Author

I love to write and to read. I have enjoyed both for a very long time. I wanted to publish a novel since the fourth grade, but did not actively pursue that dream until just recently which is a few decades past fourth grade when I published my first novel A River Bend. I have since published a second one entitled Through the Valley of the Shadow.

I am working on a third and I have not decided on a title for it. I plan in the near future to share the basic plot line with readers of this blog and ask for your help to come up with a title. I digress. I used to wonder how many books I could have published if I seriously pursued a writing career, let’s say, from my late twenties or early thirties. I have sense stopped wondering knowing what I know now about marketing the novels you write.

If you’re a writer yourself, you know what I mean when I say that even starting twenty or thirty years earlier, I might not have many more novels completed and published than the two I have now. The things you have to do to get the reading public to know and care about what you’ve written takes a lot of time. If it doesn’t take up the author’s time, the author will invest a lot of money to have someone else invest a lot of time. Most of the authors I know – very talented and serious authors by the way – have not reached enough of an audience, yet, to afford to pay someone thousands of dollars to gain the recognition they deserve.

So, what is the life of an author like? You write and you reflect. You observe and try to continue to understand the fast changing culture so you can relate to your audience. You also have to learn to do that while you create sell sheets, elevator speeches, copy write ups, etc. To do that well, you talk to other authors, read blogs of other authors, attend forums about writing, read whatever you can about marketing, create and place ads on social media, newspapers, other blogs, etc. You attend book signings, read excerpts from your work wherever you can and pass out business cards and giveaway things that have your contact information at public events where you are welcomed.

My title is purposely misleading. Sometimes it’s not so thrilling or at least as “thrill” might be defined by today’s culture. I am not trying to complain. I enjoy attending events and I am learning a lot about marketing. I hope to share some of what I learn with anyone who reads my blog once I feel I have experienced enough to share something of value. I still have a lot to learn.

I would like to share some of the things I have done in the past week or so to give you an idea of what I address in this blog post.

IMG_0912In the picture to the left, I am presenting a PowerPoint on the “Benefits of Reading a Book” for the Evansville Local Authors Willard Library Series at Willard Library in Evansville, Indiana.

 

 

 

 

The following images were captured at the Warrick County Rotary Club’s Literacy Walk at Castle High School in Newburgh, Indiana. The event supports literacy and held a raffle for which the proceeds went to promote literacy education in the Warrick County Schools.  All the schools were represented by teachers, parents and students. Each student received a free book for walking. Our Evansville Local Authors group displayed some of our books and several authors, including myself, donated books to the raffle.

Next, we have a video featuring three of the authors in the Evansville Local Authors group who read an excerpt from one of their books. Jean Knight Pace read from Grey Stone, Phoenix Hagar read from “Heaven” and Lanea Stagg read from one of her Recipe Records book, a chapter (recipe) entitled “Dave Grohlicious.” M. Dianne Grotius Berry and I attended to support our three fellow authors.
The readings were sponsored by the Southwest Ivy Tech English Department of Ivy Tech in Evansville, Indiana. Several of their students and faculty also read from their own or a favorite poem or book. The symposium was entitled “Finding My Voice.”

Thanks for joining me in my thrilling author experience. If you have questions or comments or are interested in finding out more about my books or any of the mentioned authors, complete the following contact sheet and I’ll personally get back with you.

BENEFITS OF READING A BOOK 2

I “Googled” the benefits of reading a book and found this piece of bad news. “All aging humans will develop some degree of decline in cognitive capacity, usually in the following symptoms: forgetfulness, decreased ability to maintain focus and decreased problem solving skills” (www.lifeextension.com/Protocols/Neurological/Age-Related-Cognitive-Decline/Page-01). Fortunately, there is help and it isn’t in the form of a pill. The Huffington Post tells us that reading reduces that decline by as much as 32% (www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/12/health-benefits-reading n 4081258.html). Let’s look into this a bit deeper.

'Er...have I just been or am I just going?'

If you have ever risen from the couch on your way to somewhere and in just a few steps, forgotten where that somewhere is or why you are heading there, it isn’t hard to believe that aging reduces memory. But how does reading help reduce the speed of that process? By recalling characters, backgrounds, subplots, and/or facts you are reading, you create new synapses (brain paths) as well as reinforcing old ones (www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/12).

Multi-tasking has become a way of life for most Americans and it has its advantages. We are able to carry on a live conversation while emailing or texting. We can grab a quick bite while driving or fix a meal and watch TV. But Life Hack suggests that this type of activity also increases stress levels as well as lowers the concentration on one or the other. This article recommends reading a good book to focus on and make all other distractions disappear.

Life Hack also suggests that our critical thinking skills can be enhanced by analyzing plot, character development and a smooth story line of a favorite novel. (www.lifehack.org/articles/how-mindfulness-can-improve-our-focus-and-productivity.html)

The problem – Getting older and losing some memory, ability to concentrate and analyze. The solution – Reading a good book.

 

The Benefits of Reading

Dr. Seuss said about the benefits of reading, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Seuss QuoteI did some Googling (used Google to research) about the benefits of reading and found some interesting facts that I’d like to share.

One of the first things I found and I believe is the most obvious is that reading increases our intelligence.

Reading helps develop our writing skills. Much like musicians and artist hone their skills by studying the masters of their crafts, reading other works – novels, poetry, short stories – help writers improve.                                             http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-benefits-reading-why-you-should-read-everyday.html

Reading an excellently written book helps build vocabulary. A stronger vocabulary helps one communicate accurately ideas and plans, increasing one’s chances to be understood. This is a positive advantage for anyone in any field. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-benefits-reading-why-you-should-read-everyday.html

As Dr. Seuss pointed out, “The more you read, the more you will know.” LifeHack.org in the article acknowledged above expands on that by stating, “The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.”

Besides increasing intelligence by building vocabulary, reading, and writing skills, reading has many other benefits as well. One study shows that reading is a stress reliever and can help one get more sleep. Reading can also aid our memory, concentration and analytical skills. I will expand on some of these and other benefits to reading a good book. In the meantime, build your smarts and read a good book today.

 

 

 

The Greatest Love Story Ever

Where Beauty Dare Thrive

Source: Where Beauty Dare Thrive

An Excerpt from My Novel

I have written and published 2 novels, A River Bend and Through the Valley of the Shadow. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 10, “Help!”, Through the Valley of the Shadow. If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can email me at douglasknight85@gmail.com or through Amazon.com. If you live in Evansville, Indiana, it can be purchased at River City Mercantile or Outside the Gift Box, both on Main Street.

 

 

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