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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Kev's Blog On Authors

There are a few people on this blue orb spinning through space, who transcend the mundane, who go the extra mile, who reach out a helping hand to those of us struggling in the world of writers. Kev Cooper is one of them. Below is the link to his book site where he allowed me to be showcased. I cannot thank him enough for this opportunity, and I send blessings and my prayers his way. Thank you, Kev, for being a friend to writers.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Nature Is a Balm

Too often writers, like theologians--and I belong to both professions--can get restless and dry. We try to wet our whistles by reading others' work, but even that can make you feel more twitchy, and it can be like you were dropped into the Sahara on the hottest day of the year. Water! Water! Give me a drink, please!

During those times it's best to turn off the computer, walk away, and find a quiet place to sit under a tree, or take a short hike up a trail you've been longing to trek. Rivers and lakes qualify, as do the stretches of sand meeting the sea where you can curl your toes into the grainy substance, roll the legs up on your trousers, and feel the water wash over your feet. Your cup really does run over when you fill it with the unadorned great outdoors. Nature is the balm for renewal, cleansing, and peace. There is nothing like it when you breathe in the velvet air by the ocean, drink in the smell of the fecund earth and trees of a forest, or while gazing at the calm of a lake or fingerling river.

We are made out of and for this blue orb circling through space. These are the places where we can connect with our substance, our nature, and learn how to truly listen. Take five or ten minutes, if that is all you can afford, and touch the leaves of a tree or a flower, and feel the miracle that is life. Once you've been renewed by the most basic part of ourselves, then embrace your child, or spouse, or parent. Renew that relationship. Don't forget to laugh. Laugh often and hard. Then, return to your keyboard and see if you don't feel invigorated and filled with ideas. See if you don't feel like praying, or reading.

We all need to feel that tenuous thread of nature running through our veins to anchor us to reality, to our destiny. Without it we become concrete, fixed in our ways, stultified to the point we are intractable in our opinions and philosophies. Remember, a rock cannot grow, and we are meant to grow until we leave this life for the next.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Review of Tiara

The great pulp fiction authors, who wrote their serialized stories for magazines, have long disappeared. Cheap paperback novels nudged the serials into nonexistence, and everyone could read the whole story in their hands rather than wait for the next installment. However, those magazines launched many a writer's career into the spotlight of fame, and some authors went on to write literary classics, novels that are read and discussed in the hallowed halls of universities, and required reading for the young. Readers could expect everything from a horror story to buxom damsels in distress rescued from villains by the square-jawed, rippling muscled heroes, and villains dispatched with extreme prejudice. The stories were fast paced, based in exotic climes, or set in romantic surroundings like a ship at sea or out on the range. Every chapter ended in a cliff-hanger leaving the reader salivating for the next installment. John Reinhard Dizon brings us back to those good old days of a fun read, where you can get lost in the action, and expect the beautiful girl to be pulled from the jaws of death just in the nick of time.
His latest escapade, Tiara, takes us to the conflict within the five provinces of British occupied Northern Ireland, where the beautiful princess of Edinburgh is about to open peace talks between the two warring factions: The Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Ulster Defense Army (UDA). The action packed story begins with an explosion, then you are neck deep in secret meetings and covert deals and cabals of mercenaries.
On the eve of the talks arranged by the British government, a ball is given, and the Princess is snatched by an Ulster faction in order to prevent the talks from moving forward. Everyone takes advantage of the confusion, and some look to further their own careers or hide their criminal enterprises from the light being shed on the region by the media and the British government. Enter a dashing mercenary who wants to rescue the princess because of his own agenda both political and personal, and you have the makings of a classic pulp fiction story with characters right out of those magazines of yesteryear with a touch of Paddy Chayefsky thrown in.
Dizon paints a woeful picture of each faction, but an accurate one. He does his homework, and understands the motivations behind all the players. Bearing in mind that the thorny mess in the north is rife with factions within factions, and motives are legion, everywhere from suspect to criminal, he brings a clarity to who these people are in reality. In the story, all the players have their own agenda, just as they do in fact, and if the peace talks succeed there will be millions of pounds lost for some of those factions. One has to wonder if the reason the Ulster factions in reality don't want to negotiate a peace is because they have too much to lose if there isn't a war. As long as their power is consolidated, sanctioned, and codified by the British government, peace is a too distant prospect. Dizon doesn't hit you over the head with the idea, he just lays it out on the table, making it available for those who want to see it outside the story.
The best part is that he never forgets the Irish people who are caught in the middle; the moms and dads and children both Catholic and Protestant. They are the ones who suffer the most, and that is where he places his hope for a future of peace.
Tiara is available on Amazon, as are Dizon's other books.