Posted by: jonsouza | February 21, 2015

Cardiff Castle and The Dr. Who Experience

Cardiff Castle and The Dr. Who Experience.

Posted by: jonsouza | July 28, 2012

The beginning of book two

Although I know that normal authors who aren’t James Patterson or Nora Roberts take three to five years to write a book and they do it for a living I have been very impatient with myself that I am going on two years writing the sequel to my first book.  It’s just coming out slower than I would like but I am happy with what is coming and I do feel like I am going down the home stretch. To that end I have the beginning of the book almost how I want it. Needs a bit more tweaking and If you haven’t read the first book or fall into the Jon please stop teasing with just snippets of the book until you are done than Happy Saturday to you and talk to you next time 🙂 For anyone who would like to read it, for your viewing pleasure…

My Name is David Cole

 

 

 

Have we met before? If we already know each other than “My Name is David Cole” are the last words I spoke to you and you know everything I went through to get to the point where I made my declaration that I was going to lead an uprising against evil, the forces of darkness, and Satan himself and I wanted you and millions of others to join me. It’s good to see you again.

If we’re meeting for the first time, you may not be accustomed to people talking about things like the forces of darkness and Satan…or if you are you’re used to closing the book or turning off the television and having them disappear. What if I told you that evil is all around you? What if I told you that it manipulates the world we live in more than you could ever know? What if I told you that you had the power to help stop it?

My Name is David Cole. I am the Seventh Guardian. The Guardians were put on this planet by God to lead this world out of darkness and into the light. We were sent here not just to fight evil but to heal people, to help them find common ground together, to help them put aside their differences in religion, politics, and the other things that divide them. We have powers that have been given to us by God to help in our fight but we’re not superheroes; we’re just like you. You have powers too; you just may not know it yet.

My story to this point has brought me from a childhood of pain and abuse, through an eye-opening journey of discovery that introduced me to the other Guardians Rado, Deven, Annan, Sophie, Farouk, and Jonathan, to my wife and soul-mate Michelle and our children Scott and Sarah, and at the end of my last story a battle against The Seven, a group of demonic spirits that have haunted me much of my life, and a confession of a secret that I’d kept deep inside me for years.

I have another story to tell but it’s taken me a lot longer to write than I expected. At the end of my last story I was tired but sure of my conviction that I would lead a charge to wipe evil from the face of the planet. I knew I’d face doubt and opposition. I knew that in a lot of ways that the world was broken. I knew that people were continuing to fight and kill each other over whose beliefs were right and whose were wrong. But I also truly believed that if I could just tell people my story and get people to tell me theirs then slowly but surely that I and the other Guardians could bring the world together. I really believed that we could put aside our differences and make heaven here on Earth; a world where we all lived together in peace and harmony.

That isn’t the world we live in though.

People are becoming even more divided; they spend more time yelling at each other than trying to see eye to eye.

Wars and genocide continue all over the planet and there are more dying at their own hand than at the hands of their enemies as one veteran takes their own life every eighty minutes.

High schools, colleges, movie theaters, churches and hospitals have become shooting ranges for those twisted and driven by a rage they can’t control.

People continue to kill each other in the name of their God, believing that their God is the one true God.

Why is all this happening?

The majority of people on the planet want to live their life and let others live theirs in peace but those aren’t the people that are being heard. What dominates is all the death and destruction going on in the world. Evil is trying to drown the rest of us out. A handful of people in the world have listened to the whispers in their ear and have let greed, power, and evil take them over. The forces controlling them want to make all of us live in fear. They want us to argue with each other and hurt each other. They want us to kill each other to make their jobs easier. The less of us there are the easier it will be for them to cast this world into one of perpetual darkness.

Many would like you to believe that evil isn’t real; that Satan is just a myth. I have to admit that I’ve seen things over the last couple years that have made me question what’s real and what isn’t but there’s one thing I know for sure; there is still a battle raging between good and evil on this planet that is only going to get bigger. It’s going to take each and every one of you reading this for us to win.

I still believe we can do it. Many say that we’ll never learn to live together in peace. Others say that we’ll never stop figuring out ways to kill each other. Even more say that we’ll never stop arguing over whose God is the right one. Too many of us sit waiting for God to come back and save us so we can go to heaven. They think that we’re all helpless beings waiting for God to pass down his judgment.  That’s what the Seven and their master wants us to think; that we can’t help ourselves. We’re going to save us because God doesn’t need to come back, they never left, and they’re beating inside of each and every heart of each and every person on this planet.

I’m not asking you to believe that God exists; at least not the God that sits on high and judges us all. I’m not asking you to believe in Christ, Buddha, Muhammad, or anyone else but yourself because God isn’t just the creator it’s the life force and energy that connects everything on this planet. If we can harness that energy and all work together there is nothing we can’t do.

And in the end, when every soul is healed, when every person is nourished, when the final war is over, and every person on this planet is standing side-by-side there will be just one thing left for me to do.

I’m going to break down that wall that separates our world and his. I’m going to travel through that place beyond the darkness and find him. I’m going to rip him right off his throne, built on hate and death, and drag him into the light.  I’m going to look deep into those pitch black eyes and I’m not even going to have to utter a word . He’s going to know that it’s over. We’ve won.

There is just one problem; I don’t know where I am. I’ve been talking to Michelle on the channel for some time now; dictating to her while she types out the rest of my story, including this letter to you. I didn’t want to admit it to myself but defeating the Seven made me arrogantly think that evil would run and hide from me; little did I know that evil would come looking for me.

Even as the attacks began, I brushed them off feeling like I was invincible. I thought to myself that no matter how many times they tried to kill me I am the Seventh Guardian and nothing can hurt me. Now I know they never wanted to kill me, they were just trying to wear me down so they could capture me. They haven’t caught up to me yet, I’ve been able to keep one step ahead of them. I hear their whispers echoing throughout the darkness. They’re saying that I’ll never see Michelle or my family again. They say that when they capture me that they’ll torture me until I admit who I really am. Then and only then will they bring me before him. He wants to be the one that kills me once and for all.

Thankfully, they don’t know that I’m talking to Michelle on the channel. She says that she’ll follow the sound of my voice until she finds me. I don’t want her to be trapped here. I want her to stay where she is. I can hear them coming again. I need to keep moving.

Just like the last time, here I am at the end and I haven’t even told you the beginning yet. So turn the page and you’ll find the start of this story. I hope I live to tell you another.


Posted by: jonsouza | July 1, 2012

Trying to Walk the Walk

Never talk about religion or politics. Right? Well, I sort of blew that rule up in the first book. I originally though it would just be one book but as the story came along I realized David Cole and in turn me had a lot left to say. In writing the second book I have found I have a lot more to say than I thought but I don’t want to preach it or put off people that don’t see the world the way that I do. I’ve found that putting my own world view out in the world has become more challenging with the second book than it was with the first. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but the biggest challenge I’ve found is that David Cole is supposed to be a man that unites all people of different creeds, races, and world views. I’ve never had an issue accepting other people’s religious or cultural beliefs. I haven’t always agreed with them but I’ve understood that it’s their way of looking at something I look at in another way. Someone that practices Islam or Hinduism is viewing God in a different way than I do. An atheist doesn’t believe there is a supernatural force at work in the universe. I understand that view too. So why do I have such a problem with certain people that fall to the far right of the political spectrum to the point that I either get annoyed, tune them out, or turn them off? I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately especially in light of the recent healthcare debate. I see several family members and friends that  have had catastrophic accidents or illnesses and watched the current health care system drive them into near bankruptcy or in several cases not get the care that would have made a difference in their quality of life. I see a new plan that isn’t perfect but I see it as infinitely better than what we have now. I have lots of people in my life that see it the same way I do. Those that don’t see it the same way and cry out about judges being traitors and our country living under tyranny I feel like I want to say have you ever lived under real tyranny like Iran or Rwanda or North Korea? Would you really want to live in a country where there is no concern for the public good? But then I stop myself, and think that many of these people are good people with real concerns and real fears that are just as valid as mine. They are probably looking at all my blabbering on and thinking how does Jon see it that way? Can’t he see what I’m seeing? Jon’s a nice, smart guy. How can he be so blind? I try to see what they see but I feel like I’m living on a different planet sometimes than them and I know they feel the same way about me sometimes. I know because I had a conservative friend that was nice enough to verbalize how they thought many liberals saw the world. So I sit here struggling without any real answer as to how I can view things in a different way so I can understand the different worlds that we all live in. I thought the answer was just not to talk about it and if David Cole’s journey was complete then maybe I’d stay here in my comfortable world hanging out with all the friends that see it the same way I do but there are millions of people that don’t and I need to do a better job of listening to them and understanding what they see. Maybe someday myself and David Cole will have glasses. One left lens that sees the world one way, and another right lens that sees it another way, both acting in harmony to give us both a full view of the world around us.

Here is an excerpt from book two. I know posting snippets like this drives some people crazy as they want to wait for the whole thing but…for some reason, whether I get any feedback or not it helps to know I am putting pieces of it out into the world for possible consumption. It pushes me along the way to finishing the book. I’ve written for two days in a row for the first time in quite a while. Summer is a quieter time for my day job so I’m hoping to power through the first complete draft of the book and then edit it over the fall and have it out in time for Christmas but as I have learned in writing the first book and this one things happen when they are ready to happen so I’ll keep that target in front of me and keep shooting for it. So…if you want a peek read away…if you don’t then stop here. Either way thanks for reading. Back to writing.

July 8, 2009

The Pitter Patter of Tiny Little Feet

 

 

 

I awake to the sound of small bare feet running across a hardwood floor. I open my eyes.

I am home again. The little feet belong to my precious daughter, Sara.

She’s running across the kitchen to get to our bedroom. The pitter patter stops as her feet reach the plush carpet. I keep my eyes closed to pretend that I’m still asleep. Michelle doesn’t have to pretend; she woke up with a migraine at four and had to take her medicine so she’s out cold. I wait for Sara to take her tip toe towards me at a pace like the Grinch. I’m debating whether I should pop up out of bed and scare her or wait for her to sneak up and kiss me on the cheek. Just like every time I have the dream I choose the latter.

“It’s time to go to save the Prince,” she whispers in my ear.

“Where is the evil wizard holding him captive?” I whisper back.

“In the castle of course.”

“Is the dragon guarding the moat again?”

“This time there are two dragons.”

“We’ll need both horses then, our shields, and…”

“Our biggest swords!” she squeals before covering her mouth.

“That’s okay, Mommy’s not going to wake up.”

“Did she take her special sleepy medicine?”

“Yes.”

“After we defeat the dragon and save the Prince you can come back and wake her with a kiss; just like she’s Snow White.”

“I will do just that, now lead me to the castle my warrior princess.”

She leads me back across the kitchen and into her bedroom. In front of us stands her towering wardrobe. Actually, it hasn’t always been her wardrobe. It used to me my grandmother’s[J1]  (on my father’s side) and when she passed she left it to me her in her will. We tried to get Sara into a pretty white set of bedroom furniture when she outgrew her first bed but she insisted on the big mahogany wardrobe because she was convinced that she could enter magical worlds through it just like in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Slowly, she opens the wardrobe door and slides her oversized Paddington bear out of the way to reach the secret door in the back. We whisper the magic words “Macaroni and Cheese” and the door slides open. We step through into the magical land that Sara calls “Catlandia”. I always love these dreams because they make real all the pretend play that we do together.

It’s normally light out in our play-dream but this time it’s pitch black except for a red-orange flame in the distance.

“There is one of the dragons!” she shouts.

“Shhh…we don’t want him to hear us coming,” I whisper.

“Or her… it could be a girl you know.”

“Or a girl, let’s mount our horses and grab our weapons.”

Magically, our horses appear and we’re on top of them, fully armored.

We start out with our horses at a slow gait so we don’t make too much noise on the stones beneath us. Once we reach the meadow, evidenced by the softened sound of the hooves, we break into a gallop. In the dream we can talk to each other telepathically.

Sara tells me to follow the sound of her voice because she can see in the dark; just like a cat. That’s good, because I can’t see a thing. The trees in the forest we’re riding through must be blocking out the night sky because I can’t see the flame anymore and I don’t see any stars either; it’s just all black.

We ride for what seems like hours through the dark forest. We don’t speak a word to each other, with our lips or in our minds.

Then, we see the flame again. It’s soon joined by a second.

I hear Sara’s voice. It’s just a whisper even though it’s in my head “There’s the second dragon.”

“Yes, I can see them,” I reply.

We’re out of the forest now and I can see the moon and the stars above us. The moon is shining brightly enough now that I can make out Sara’s face. She smiles at me.

We continue to ride towards the flames in the distance.

The closer we get I swear I can hear screaming.

I hope Sara can’t hear it but she can.

“Daddy, they’re devouring the children again.”

“Who are… the dragons?”

“No, the demons are devouring the children; the dragons are just protecting the castle so we can’t get in and save the children. We have to hurry.”

I try to use my powers and imagine us in front of the castle to get us there as quickly as possible but it doesn’t work so we just keep riding. What seems like several hours finally goes by and we’re standing about a hundred yards away from the two dragons.

Their heads are pointed to the skies with their flames shooting out of their mouths like candles in the night. I don’t know if they know we’re there or if they even care. The castle is massive. It’s about thirty feet tall and goes on for what looks like miles to the left and the right. It can’t be miles long. Maybe it’s just too dark to see the end of it. It doesn’t matter. We just need to get in the front gate. The only light other than what’s coming from the dragons is two large torches on either side of the gate, which is wide open but I can’t see anything inside the castle. I don’t know if there are demons waiting for us inside the gate or if we can just walk right in once we kill the dragons. The screaming is almost deafening. Along with it I can also hear children crying. No…not crying…wailing.

We continue forward at a slow pace, with our swords at the ready. The dragons continue to fire their flames into the air. Sara looks like she can’t hear any of what is going on all around us. She’s focused on one thing, getting inside the castle. I hear a splashing in the water off to my right. There’s another splash and another and another and another. It sounds likes it’s raining but the impact is much louder than a drop of rain. I don’t want to take my eyes off the dragons but I can’t help but turn my head. As I do, I catch a flash of something large hitting the water.

What is it?

Another splash.

It looks like a head.

The screaming and wailing intensify.

They’re soon drowned out by the loudness of the splashing.

My stomach begins to turn. I have to place my gloved hand over my mouth to keep from getting sick because it’s raining heads. Not the heads of other warriors that have tried to defeat the dragons and failed but the heads of innocent children. Boy’s heads, girl’s heads, light- haired, dark- haired, all discarded into the water; the rest of their bodies devoured by demons.

“Why are they throwing away the heads?” I ask Sara.

“Because if they lose their heads, the children can never find their souls again, we have to get in the castle before it’s too late,” she replies.

I turn away from the raining heads to face the dragons just as the one closest to me aims its tunnel of fire at me. I raise my shield for protection. The fire hits it so hard that it almost throws me off my horse but I squeeze my legs hard against the sides and hang on. Within seconds I feel like I’m broiling inside an oven. The flames subside for a moment and then come again; even hotter. The shield is holding no problem but my skin might not.

I need more than one sword and they need to be a hell of a lot longer. I look around me but all I see is flames, then darkness, and then heads falling. I need an urumi. Somehow, it appears. I need another. It appears as well. I make two more appear and toss them over to Sara. I don’t need to teach her how to use them. Just like it was for me in Mumbai, she just knows how. Expecting us to attack our closest target the dragons shoot their flames out directly in front of them. We cross them up and attack them diagonally. Our blades are moving so quickly that they tear right through the dragons’ legs and fell them. They both hit the ground simultaneously with a resounding thud. Before they can open their mouths again we let the blades sever their necks. I reflect on how strong Sara is despite how small she is.

Hastily, we make our way over the dragons’ fallen carcasses and through the gate. The screaming is so loud now that I start to cry. I shake it off. I look over to Sara. She seems immune to the whole thing.

“The children are in the dungeons,” she says as she points over to the far left corner of the room.

We make our way down a set of stone stairs. We reach the bottom. The stones that line the hallway are wet and slippery. I don’t want to know why they’re slippery. We have to be careful. The screaming is coming from the end of the hallway.

It is so dark, we can’t see a thing. Sara takes her magic ring and twists it to the left. It turns into a flashlight. She shines it straight ahead into the darkness. The first thing the swath of light catches is the head of a demon. It whips its head around to face us. The eyes are blood red. While it watches us, I can hear claws ripping at flesh while the children continue to wail. My mind drifts back. Those claws are a belt and I’m the one wailing. I shake it off and come back to the dream. Sara is already several steps in front of me; the light from her ring is bouncing up and down from the demon’s head, to its feet, and ever so briefly to what it and its companion are clawing at.

I need more light. We can’t fight in quarters this tight without being able to see what we’re doing. Where am I going to get a light? I place my urumis through my belt loops. I clasp my hands together and rub them together. I need to think fast. My hands start to get warmer and a red glow starts to come out from my fingertips. I clap louder and rub faster. More warmth and more light.  I bring my hands apart again as far as they will go and slam them back together again. The clap echoes off the walls around me. The light that is emitted reveals to me hundreds of children locked in cells on either side of me. My hands are moving so fast now I can’t see them; they’re just a blur. Finally, they become so warm that I have to separate them again. When I do the light goes flying out from my hands in every direction; obliterating every ounce of darkness and revealing the devourers. The one on the left is taking a bite out of its prey while the one on the right is keeping an eye on us.

Before I can catch up to her Sara is flying through the air like something out of one of the Shaw Brothers movies I used to watch on Kung Fu Theater on Channel 56. She is flicking each blade of her urumis with such precision like she’s strumming a harp. The first demon has no chance as the urumi on her right hand slices his head clean off and he disappears in a flash of light. The second drops the child in an attempt to escape but Sara runs her other urumi right up its left side severing its knee and elbow in a flash. Sara continues on down the hall towards the screaming. The children in the cells are safe for now.

I get down on knees and lean over the small boy. He’s not much older than Scott was when Michelle and I got together. I don’t need to listen for a heartbeat to tell that he’s dead. His blonde hair is smeared with blood. One ear is missing. The contents of his stomach are spilling out all over the floor. My hands are still glowing red and warm. I place them on the wound at his core and speak my healing prayer.

“Lord, use me as a vessel for your healing light and bring life to this child again.”

Slowly, like I am watching a movie in reverse everything that has just happened to the child over the last minutes is taken away. The contents of his stomach back into his cavity and the wound closes up; leaving only the outie belly-button that his mother used to blow on to make raspberry sounds. His ear reappears; the only one that he could hear his mother yelling with because the other one was pressed against the cold leather of the car seat as the large man with the mask on pressed him against it. As I watch him heal before me I can see everything that happened to him over his short life. His birth, his first walk, his first words, him running after the red ball the one man at the playground had kicked way from him leading him right into the arms of the masked man in black standing by the dark blue car, his mother’s screams echoing through his mind as the car drove away, dreaming of his mother nailing up signs that read he was missing while he slept on the wet floor of a cell waiting to become the next wailing child, right up to the moment the two demons had ended his life.

As the last bits of red disappear from his blonde hair his eyes open to reveal two bright pools of blue. He smiles at me. Before he can utter a word he disappears before my very eyes; leaving only a piece of paper behind.

I pick it up.

It reads Missing, Ryan Davis, Last Seen 1/15/2008.

I crumple it up in my right hand. It bursts into flames and the ashes float up to the ceiling. He’s not missing anymore.

I can hear Sara up ahead of me. The demons are the ones wailing now. I don’t have to run to catch up with her now. I just imagine myself next to her and I’m there. She’s made a lot more urumis appear and armed half a dozen of the children that were chained to the wall in what looks like a large grain silo with stone walls. They’re making quick work of the demons that had been their captors. There is blood all over the floor and hundreds of posters reading “Missing” dating back for decades.

I remove my urumis from my belt and move in to join the battle but Sara shakes her head in the negative. These kids need to slay their own demons.

I move quickly around the edge of the room, being careful to avoid the flying blades and make my way through the door on the far side. My light doesn’t penetrate this darkness but the moon is shining outside now and it gives me just enough illumination to see the pile of headless, soulless bodies off to the right side of the room that the demons haven’t gotten to yet. We are too late to save all of them. I can tell from the remnants left on the window sill that this is where they were throwing the heads out into the moat. All I can do is say a prayer for their souls, wherever they are.

I walk back out into the circular room in time to see several flashes of light as the last of the demons is slaughtered. Sara and the children join in a momentary embrace before the children disappear just like Ryan, leaving only their posters behind. I hope for a second that maybe Sara can do something I can’t and the souls of the other children will appear and float up through the hole in the ceiling so many stories above us. I stare up at the ceiling but nothing appears. Sara comes and takes my hand. We still have to rescue the prince.

She leads me to the wall between the one we had come in and the one I had walked through moments before. She places her hand on one of the stones. A spiral staircase appears. We start up it. We have to watch our step. Not because of blood, but because of the cat toys that are strewn all the way up the stairs. I’d almost forgotten we were in Catlandia. We make it to the top of the stairs. It’s a small circular room with a pointed roof above. If Rapunzel was around she’d be letting her hair down. It’s covered in cat toys. The source of them is locked in a cage in the far left corner of the room. The Prince is a big, beautiful Maine coon cat with a flowing black coat speckled with light brown.

Sara walks over to the cage, kneels down, and makes the lock disappear with her mind. She opens the latch and Prince walks out, pushes its front legs forward and does a big stretch. He walks over to me and sticks his butt in the air just like our cat Shadow does. I genuflect to the Prince and rub his butt. My offering accepted, he walks back over to Sara, rubs up against her lovingly, and then lifts his head up to sniff her face. She gives him a small kiss but instead of him turning into a real prince she turns into a Siamese cat. As she does every time, she comes over to me and rubs up against me. It’s her way of thanking me for helping her save her prince. I kiss her on her furry head. They both give me a wink and run off back down the stairs to explore Catlandia.

The castle disappears in a blinding flash of light.

I open my eyes again. I’m standing in our bathroom at home, facing the tub. I spin around to face the closet. It’s almost morning. I can see the light of dawn sneaking through the small window at the end of our closet. It’s still pretty dark in the bathroom, but light enough to do what I need to do. I spin around another 180 and look over to the bed and I can see the outline of Michelle sleeping with Corky nestled beside her. At least someone is getting a good night’s sleep, I think to myself.

I move closer to the sink and place my hands on it, while I hang my head down. Why do I keep having the same dream over and over again and why can’t I save all the children? I don’t know. At least I’m home. I bend down to turn on the water, cup some in my hands and throw it into my face. I reach for the towel, bring it to my face, and face the mirror to reveal myself for the beginning of another day. I pull the towel slowly down my face to dry it. My eyes aren’t just bloodshot, they’re bright red. I’m so tired I feel like I hardly slept. That must be it. I think a lazy day in my pajamas is in order. I reach back to put the towel back in its ring. I hear a clinking noise. I pull my hand back. I don’t want to look at it so I look at my left. It’s normal. I use it to slide the dimmer switch up. I take a deep breath and pull my right hand up in front of me. It’s scaly and black with long dirty fingernails protruding from each finger. It’s the hand of a demon. I reach out with my left hand to move the slider up some more but I can’t reach it so I take my eye off my right hand for just a moment so I can see things clearly. In that split second, the hand writes something on the mirror. I turn back quickly to catch it in the act but it disappears. In its place is my normal, human hand.

Written in blood on the mirror is a message.

 

AT YOUR HAND, THE CHILDREN WILL DIE.

 

I reach out with my right hand to grab the towel again and wipe the mirror clean but instead of touching the towel I touch Michelle’s hand and I sit up in bed with a start.

I look around the room. It’s the middle of the night. There is no light coming through the window in the closet. Am I still dreaming or am I really back home?

There’s only one way to know for sure. I lean over to Michelle and place my left hand on her face, pulling it towards me. I move my face slowly towards hers and place my lips on hers. Her lips are so moist and warm. Our lips separate, making that soft noise they always do when we kiss.

She opens her eyes slowly to greet me. She smiles and lets out a happy sigh. She throws her arms gently around me and whispers in my ear, “you’re home.”


Posted by: jonsouza | May 25, 2012

We Now Return To Our Sadly Neglected Blog

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone,

My friend Wolf said to me the other day, “Hey mate, got to keep up with your blog you know, you haven’t written anything in eight months. Just write anything, you don’t want to lose your followers.” He was of course correct. The fact is that my day job (and half of the night) job keeps growing and growing which has left me very little time for writing. When I have wrote this year, I’ve tended to work on the book, very worried about the fact that two years have passed since I released the first one. I figured if I just kept pushing and pushing eventually things would pour out, because that’s what happened with the first one. Has that worked for me? Not so much. The fact is that the sequel to “My Name is David Cole” delves a lot deeper into the world that David Cole wants to see which means telling the audience about the world I in fact want to see. Letting the first book pour out of me seemed almost easy in comparison. It was about David’s journey and in many ways about my psychological journey to healing myself of a lot of old wounds, many self inflicted. This book is more about stepping out there and putting my “arse” on the line as Wolf would say. The world I want to live in and I want my son and grandchildren someday to live in is utopian.  I believe that the world can be what I and many people want it to be; a place where our different colors, faiths, and beliefs bring us closer together and when the lines that divide us dissolve we’ll realize that we’re all part of one race. I think about this ideal and I get really excited. Then I read posts on Facebook, watch the news, or read a news article and I think to myself that I’m nuts, there isn’t any way the world can ever be like that. So over the last months I’ve stopped and started and not gotten very far with my writing but today I’m finally feeling like who cares if it can happen or can’t happen. There is so much doom and gloom in the world right now and maybe it’s not such a bad thing to be a crazy idealist with rose-colored glasses.

July 7, 20..

On The Seventh Day

Give Peace a Chance

 

 

 

I was staring at the Kodak sign immediately above the Marriott Marquis like I had many times before on my trips to NYC. This time was different though, not just because I was standing next to God, but because I was standing in the future. I didn’t know how far in the future; because although I could see the day and time clearly on numerous signs I could not make out the year. God had used some kind of trick so everything read 20…and in every sign I could sort of make out the images but none of the words. I spun around the Square over and over again. It was overflowing with people. I could tell one of the signs was for “Mamma Mia”, another one was for the Knicks, and of course red “TKTS” sign was there in the middle of it all.  I could make out the colors of the TGI Friday’s sign, the big “W” above the W hotel and the bright yellow of the Golden Arches. There was a UFC something or other sign but being that I am not an MMA fan and suck at Roman numerals I had no idea what all the X’s, V’s, and I’s added up to. Finally, my eyes rested on the towering American Eagle Outfitters sign next to the red, white, and blue one emblazoned with Bank of America and I thought for a moment when I saw the 2 and 0 that I’d be able to see the year but again God only showed what he wanted me to see.

The only reason I knew for sure that it was the future was the ticker running along the bottom of the Kodak sign. I had to look at it twice because I didn’t believe my eyes. The sign looked like one of those workman’s comp signs you’d see in a shop detailing when the last accident had happened. It read “The world has been at peace for five years, seven months, three days, and thirty-two seconds.”

“We’re in the future.”

“Yes David, we are.”

“Can’t we mess things up by being in the future?

“That’s being in the past where you can screw things up and it’s not like we came here in a DeLorean that someone can steal so no we’re fine. You relate everything to movies don’t you?”

“I do. So, I don’t imagine you’re going to tell me when we are even though I know where we are?”

“When we are isn’t as important as how the world gets here; to this point in time.”

“Okay, so how did the world get…”I started to say, and then I realized who I was talking to and finished with “you’re not going to tell me are you?”

“It would be impossible to tell you the billions upon billions of decisions that will be made by the people on this planet that will bring the world to this point but the reason I brought you here is to show that it can happen.”

“It can happen or it will happen?” I replied.

“That I can’t tell you because Doc Brown was right about one thing if I tell you too much it will affect the future,” God said with a smile.

“Okay…but if we’re standing here that is possible,” I said pointing to the ticker.

“It is but it isn’t going to be easy and this isn’t the only possible future for mankind,” God replied as he motioned me to move towards the TKTS booth.

It looked nothing like the one I remembered from my many visits to the city. The temporary booth had been replaced with an enormous bank of numbered windows covered by a roof made up of a shiny red staircase with twenty-seven steps running up to the top.

I followed God past the red steps and around to the front of the booth. It was closed but there was one light on in window number three. I walked slowly up to it and pressed the intercom button. A panel slid up and a small screen appeared. God wasn’t going to show me how the world came together but he did show me how it could fall apart.

Images began to flash across the screen.

People in London looting and burning down buildings.

A flash mob poring over the shelves of a convenience store like scarab beetles over a corpse.

Thousands of children sitting in a desert starving.

A tsunami wave destroying a village.

A mushroom cloud rising up over a jungle.

The city of Los Angeles being shaken to rubble by an earthquake.

The Eiffel Tower falling.

The Great Pyramids tumbling to the ground in a cloud of smoke.

Hundreds of people leaping off the top of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I turned to God to ask him a question but he just pointed towards the stairs.

I slowly made my way up the twenty-seven stairs not sure if I really wanted to see what I would find at the top. I reached the top and looked around. For a moment I took in the beautiful vista of a world that had finally figured out how to stop killing each other. I reached my hand out and felt the wall of water. I knew what I was to do next and stepped off the end of the stairs into thin air. When my foot landed I was standing on the top stair again but my view was much different.

It was still night-time as it was in the other reality but there were no bright lights in the Big Apple now; there were only what appeared to be flashlights in some of the windows. They were all illuminating handwritten signs. It was eerily silent.

I read them from right to left.

“THE END OF OUR LIVES”

“YES”

“SLEEP WITH ME”

“FEED ME”

“WHERE IS GOD?”

“LOVE”

“DEATH”

“WHY?”

“THE PALE HORSE COMETH”

“CHRIST WILL COME AGAIN”

“ALLAH HAS JUDGED US”

“THE END OF DAYS”

As I read the last sign “HELL IS EARTH” I heard what I could only describe as the howling of tortured souls. I looked all around the Square but I couldn’t see anyone. The throngs of people I had seen moments earlier in the other reality were nowhere to be seen.

I whipped my head around again but saw nothing. Then…just as I was coming around to face forward again I saw it. There was the tiniest tear in space. I could see what seemed like thousands upon thousands of red eyes. They all locked on to me at once and the howling became so loud I had to hold my hands over my ears to try and block it out.

I felt God’s hand on my shoulder.

“What are they?”

“They’re howler demons.”

“Why are they trapped in there?”

“They’re stuck between the real world and the world they come from beyond the light. You call it hell.”

“Is that why they’re making that howling sound?”

“No, that’s just their voice. In hell they howl to let each other know where they are in the darkness.”

“How did they get stuck?”

“In this reality the wall between the world you live in and theirs broke down for a brief time so they tried to come through. When they did the wall went back up again and they were trapped in between.”

“Don’t demons travel back and forth by blinking in and out?”

“Some can travel that way but others were waiting for the wall to come down to make their move.”

“Why did they want to cross over to this reality?”

“They don’t care if the world is destroyed. They just want bodies to inhabit.”

“For what? There can’t be much for them to do here.”

“There are still plenty of souls here for them to torment; in fact that’s why you don’t see anyone outside. They’re all holed up inside their houses because anyone that wanders outside is bound to be possessed.”

At that moment I saw two shadows move across my line of sight.

“Those are hunters,” God said before I could ask the question. “They’re on the prowl for anyone that made the mistake of venturing out.”

“Why would anyone dare to venture out?”

“Not everyone knows about them. Groups of people live far apart. There’s no TV, no newspaper, no phones, no post office.  People usually learn things based on their own experiences. Because they rarely bump into other people, if they were lucky enough to make it out at night and not get attacked, they may go out again.”

“What reason would anyone have to go out? It doesn’t look like there are any stores or restaurants for anyone to go to.”

“There are some businesses, you just can’t see them in the dark but that’s not why people go out.”

“Why do they go out then?”

“They venture out, because as dangerous as it is in the dark it’s more dangerous to travel in the light. The sun only comes out for four hours a day and it’s so hot here that it melts human flesh no matter what clothing a person wears. So, even if people do know about the hunters they eventually have to travel out to get food.”

“What do people eat here? They must not be able to grow food with so little sunlight.”

“There’s no natural way to grow things but some people have figured out how to grow food under artificial light; not many, but some. There are also a few who grow food and give it away for free. Some people sell food and deliver it but it’s very expensive. Most can’t afford it.”

“How do people buy food?”

“There is no more money, no real industry, but people trade things for food; their possessions, drugs, sex.”

“What about disabled people, the elderly, shut-ins? Do their friends help them?”

“There aren’t any more. They were all killed in the war.”

“Are there any children?”

“There are some but only those that have been born since the end of the war. The rest were taken during the war.”

“Taken?”

“It’s better if you don’t know right now. You just need to ensure this reality doesn’t happen.”

My mind started racing, thinking why the hell don’t you ensure this reality doesn’t happen? You created the world, for Christ sakes. Part of me wanted him to say something as I knew he could read my thoughts but he just waited. Finally, my mind focused in on the howling again which seemed to have grown louder. I turned back to look at the multitude of red eyes.

“Are they all looking at me?” I asked.

“Yes, they are hoping you can free them.”

“Shouldn’t they be hoping you’ll do that?”

“I’m not their savior,” God replied.

“Well I’m not either…am I?”

“You could be.”

“How?”

“If you and the other guardians are successful in doing what I have asked from you then the light of the world you just saw will merge with the darkness of this one and all those red eyes you see will return to being the pure souls they were before they turned away from me.”

I wanted to ask him why it was up to us. It didn’t make me angry, it just made me confused. Why God would leave the saving of the world up to me and a handful of other men and women made no sense to me.

God placed his hand on my shoulder again and said “I need to go.”

“When will I see you again?” I asked.

“That’s up to you and the other guardians,” God replied.

“Meaning?”

“Meaning that’s up to you and the other guardians,” God said once more as he disappeared in a flash of light.

There I stood, all alone, looking at an Earth I didn’t want to see, riddled with unanswered questions. I’d wanted to ask God why the being that created the entire universe couldn’t just snap their fingers and make things better but I knew he wouldn’t answer.

Whether I understood it or not, whether I was ready for it or not, it was time to save the world.

Posted by: jonsouza | May 9, 2011

A Story About A Bear

Here is an excerpt from the rough draft of the second book. It’s resonated with Kris and a couple other people that have read it so sharing it here. Hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day.

It was a quick trip on the tube to Paddington Station where meandering through the crowd to reach the exit we passed by a stall selling Paddington Bear books, stuffed animals, and other assorted goodness from Darkest Peru. My mother used to read me Paddington Bear as a child. Neither of us knew that the author, Michael Bond, had named the bear Paddington because he took home a bear as a gift to his wife and named him after Paddington Station that they lived a couple blocks from.

I decided to pick up my very own Paddington Bear, finally replacing the one my stepfather had torn the head off of and thrown down the hole in the wall behind the front door.

I sat down on a bench and held the bear in my hands. My counselor had been telling me to notice my emotions and when my mind was connecting present things to the past. I was happy that even though my mind made the connection I wasn’t sad. At first, I was just content to replace the old memory with a new and happier one. Then I heard a voice in my head. One I hadn’t heard before. It was my voice as a little boy, but younger than the one I’d found under the covers in my room.

“Hello Mr. Paddington[J1] ,” the voice said.

I reached out to pet the new Paddington. My memory released the scent of my old one as the little boy inside me continued.

“Mr. Paddington, you better button up your coat or you are going to catch a cold.”

“David,” I called out into my mind.

“Yes, David.”

“Where did you come from?”

“I’ve always been here, waiting for you to find me, but Mr. Paddington found me first.”

“Are there other boys like you?”

“Oh yes, I haven’t seen them but I can hear them talking sometimes. There are four others I think. I’m not so sure but I think.”

“I wish I could see you instead of just hear you.”

Luckily everyone else was doing their own wandering through the small shops on wheels that were strewn around the train station so I was able to have my conversation with myself without anyone noticing.

“You can see me.”

“How?”

“Just say you can and you can.”

“What?”

“Just say you can and you can. Just make a TV in your brain.”

I glanced up at the ceiling of the station, noticing the steel girders running back and forth across it, and what I saw in my eyes changed. The station was replaced with complete darkness. Well, almost complete darkness. Standing in front of me in my mind was me as a five-year-old boy.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hello,” I replied.

“You can see me now right?”

“Yes.”

“That’s good, because it’s time for me to go.”

“Where?”

“Into you.”

“But you are in me.”

“Kind of, I and the other boys are pieces of your soul that split off over the years so you wouldn’t lose us. Now it’s time for us each to enter your soul again. When all of us have entered you will be so strong; too strong for anyone to defeat.”

Then something happened I still can’t explain. I had entered others minds before but somehow I was able to enter my own mind. Or at least part of me entered my mind. I can’t confirm I didn’t completely disappear but I didn’t hear anyone gasp and I could still hear the hustle and bustle of the station as I stepped down onto the floor of my mind right next to the boy.

“Take my hand,” he said.

I obliged.

He led me into the darkness. Soon we came to a black gate but it wasn’t like the black gate when I was in my mind with Rado. It was a short black gate and we didn’t open it, we climbed over it. As we stepped down on the other side I could see that there was a river. We were standing on the shore of it. Then a gondola appeared. A tall man was holding a long stick. It was so dark that I could barely make out his features. But I saw his eyes. They were deep blue like water and glowing and they comforted me. He reached out for the boy’s hand and helped him on board. Then he helped me and pushed off from the shore with his stick.

The boy and I sat next to each other. The tall man said nothing. He just pushed his stick through the water to propel us along. I could hear the splash as the paddle end went in and out.

“We don’t have much time. I am connected to your memory of your old bear, so as you move on I must too. Then you must find the others.”

“How will I do that?”

“It will just happen. God has willed it but when you hear the voices of the others you must listen. Then you’ll take this ride with them. Once we are all joined with your soul then and only then will you be able to help Michelle find the little girl lost inside her.”

“And then what will happen?”

“Only God knows.”

I was about to ask him where we were going when I saw the answer reflected in the glowing blue eyes of the tall man.

I saw a rectangle of white light cut out of the darkness. I went to turn around but the boy stopped me.

“You can’t gaze into your own soul and you can’t get too close to it either. But none of us can make this journey on our own either. You must help me into the light as well as the others.”

“How?”

“Take this,” he replied, handing me a piece of cloth.

I tied it across my eyes.

He took my hand.

“Just hold on to me tight until I tell you to let go,” he whispered.

I could see nothing but I felt him get up from beside me and stand up.

“Stand up and turn around,” he commanded.

I felt my arm rise up as he stepped up to a higher level; I assumed it was the bow of the boat.

“Now I am going to turn around. I need you to hold both my arms as I lean out into the light. When I say now let go and I’ll dive into the light.”

“Will I ever see you again?” I asked.

“No, David. But I will be a part of you now and all the memories that I have carried for you will be yours now too.”

Before I could reply, he cried out, “Now!”

I let go.

I waited to hear something but there was nothing but silence. He was gone.

I sat down, turned around, and pulled off my blindfold, but instead of seeing darkness, I saw light. I was back on the bench holding my Paddington Bear.

Posted by: jonsouza | April 2, 2011

The Brain Train is Moving Again

It’s been a ridiculously busy start to the year in my day job; leaving little time for writing. Thankfully, things are starting to ease a bit and I was able to get seven pages written last week. In addition, I have entered the first book in a Writer’s Digest contest for self-published authors. I continue to hear from a few people a week that have read the first book and really enjoyed and in the end that is what keeps me writing more than anything. I never set out to publish to make a living at it; although that would be nice. I did it to finally accomplish a dream of mine and to connect with readers. I feel I have done both.

Yesterday was the first truly nice day in Oregon since…well I don’t remember. Our dog Corky spent four hours in the yard with me running around like Julie Andrews on top of the hill in the the Sound of Music while I got the yard back in order from winter. A quiet weekend lies ahead so I will get more writing done on the second book. Speaking of which, below is the lead in to the second book for anyone who hasn’t already seen it. Comments most welcome. Hope everyone has a great day.

 

Was It Just a Story?

 

 

 

Now you know my story.

You know who I really am.

I spent so many years running away from my past; scared that if I looked back I would never be able to escape it.

Sure that it would wrap me in its arms and never let me go.

Now, as I look back, I am no longer afraid.

I don’t see only darkness.

I see all the light that shone through my life as well.

I want it to wash over me and remind me of the good times so they can hold me in their warm embrace.

I thank you for letting me share my journey with you.

I hope you found it worth your time.

Now, my story continues.

Posted by: jonsouza | February 5, 2011

Split Second Timing-An Excerpt from Book Two

Happy Saturday All,

That crazy time of the year in retail called December and January are over and work is settling down to where I can dive in earnestly on writing again on a regular basis. I am going to be entering the first book in a contest on “Writer’s Digest” for self-published authors in April. Some of the feedback I got from readers of the first book was the type was a bit too small, so Kris is going through the book and reformatting it to see if we can reduce the margins, increase the font, and keep the book the same length in pages or shorter.

On the second book, I am a little over 73K words and was at 222 pages but just reformatted the margins and kept the larger font and the book got twelve pages shorter so I’m at 208 almost half way through the book. I expect this book to come out in the 480-500 page range but we’ll see where the story goes. Below is an excerpt from the second book. David is on vacation in Scotland with Michelle, Scott, and his mother and grandmother. I’ve taken a couple passes through this but it’s still unedited so excuse any grammar issues or slight typos.

June 21, 2009

Split Second Timing

Don’t worry; this isn’t another chapter about a famous ghost. I wish we’d seen Shakespeare’s ghost on our trip to Stratford-upon-Avon but alas we didn’t. We did get to tour the house he was born in and would spend his life in when he wasn’t in London writing though. We saw it all; from the bedroom where he plopped out onto the floor as a baby, to where he and his siblings were tied into bed so they wouldn’t fall out, leading to the term ‘sleep tight’, to the beautiful gardens that surrounded the Tudor-style house.

We had lunch at a pub in town and toured the museum and a few of the gift shops. Part of me was disappointed we didn’t run into Will because it would have been amazing to talk to him but for the most part I was glad we didn’t. I would have had to tell him I had a really hard time understanding what on earth anyone was saying in any of his plays despite my repeated efforts. Plus, I would have had to type out all of our dialogue with him going all ‘thee and thou’ on me and me going all ‘what you talking bout Will?’ on him. On top of that experts on Shakespeare would be complaining and saying that’s not how the bard really sounded and I would be left arguing about which one of them had talked to his ghost lately.

So we said goodbye to Stratford-upon-Avon without having said hi to Will and were off to Edinburgh. Despite me telling everyone to make sure they went to the bathroom because we weren’t stopping until we heard bagpipes playing, we hit our first service area or ‘rest area’ as we call them here within an hour. Most rest areas I have frequented here in the States are either filthy or passably clean. Every single service area we stopped at in the U.K. from that first one to the last was so clean that if I had spilled my soup on the bathroom floor I would have been tempted to suck up with a straw. If our rest areas were like the ones over there people might not actually get anywhere. They’re as nice as most malls. Anyway, enough about the service area and on to the candy goodness we discovered in the first one. Do you know what Midget Gems are? No? Let me tell you.

Midget Gems are chewy, firm sweets made from glucose syrup, sugar, and animal gelatin mixed with coloring and flavoring. My mother described them more succinctly as manna from heaven. Scott said that if he had to choose between his PS3 and eating Midget Gems it would be a tough call.

Armed with our new empty-calorie-laden-discovery we were on the motorway again headed north. Before we knew it we were in The Borders and soon after that we saw the white saltire set against the blue background welcoming us to Scotland.

The sun was shining high in the sky that day as we entered into our favorite country. On our left, it shone down on the fields of yellow rapeseed making them sparkle. On our right, it glistened off the blue, choppy waters of the North Sea.

The tiny bladder gods had somehow smiled upon us and we’d been driving for three hours since our last stop.

“Anybody need a pit stop?” I called out.

“Nope,” everyone replied in unison.

When I say everyone I mean Michelle. As I looked in the rearview mirror I could see that Mom, Grammy, and Scott were in their already familiar positions and state of activity. They were all leaning to the right on each other’s shoulders fast asleep. I had ‘Jenga’d’ in the luggage as I liked to call it, leaving a slight air pocket for breathing behind their heads. To visualize it for you; it was head, suitcase, head, suitcase, head, suitcase.

“Sleepers don’t get votes I guess,” I remarked.

“I guess not,” Michelle replied with a smile.

“What a beautiful d…” she began, before getting cut off by the scene in front of us.

I went to slam on the brakes before she could say “watch out!” but instead of a screech I heard nothing.

We both felt time slow down. I didn’t even think to look behind me to see if the others had woken. I was too mesmerized by what was unfolding before me.

There were three cars that had quickly become one in a split second as a car had darted out across the road and the first one…I don’t know…didn’t see it in time, was going too fast, both, who knows. The other two were evidently following too close and rammed into the car in front. Luckily, I had seen what was going on just in time.

My natural reaction was to jerk the wheel to the right, which I did, but instead of skidding past the cars in front of us we went spinning. Halfway through the first spin it was like we hit a big invisible pillow. The car spun back in the opposite direction; counter-clockwise. The first full spin went by before we could get our bearings. The second one and each subsequent spin seemed slower than the first. The cars we were passing weren’t a blur, they were as clear as if we were standing still.

In the back seat of the first car, a small station-wagon, sat two girls and a boy, likely brothers and sisters. The two girls had their mouths open wide, no doubt screaming. The boy’s hands were blazing away on the buttons of his handheld game system, much like I would have imagined Scott doing if we had been unfortunate enough to be in the crash.

Another spin revealed the parents in the front seat. The father, in the driver’s seat on the right-hand side of the car, still had his hands in a vice grip on the steering wheel, staring straight ahead. The mother was slowly moving towards the back seat to comfort her children.

Before I could take in anything more, we were past the first car and onto the second; a large SUV full of college kids. There was a third row of seats I couldn’t fully see; I  could just make out that there were two kids stuffed back there. The three sitting in the middle row were all decked out in navy hoodies with University of Edinburgh emblazoned on them. They were all holding huge soda cups and staring straight at me, perplexed no doubt at how slowly the metal cocoon I was in was moving. The contents of their cups were suspended about two inches above the rim of the cups like ice. They nodded their heads at me in unison. I nodded back just before the car made another rotation. On the final pass the driver came into view. She appeared to be much older than the kids in the back and like the other driver was staring straight ahead with her hands firmly gripping the steering wheel.

One more revolution and we were heading towards the lead car. I looked to my left and saw that Michelle was watching everything I was. We both turned back to my right as the car came into view. This car was empty except for the driver. It was a little Smart car that was smashed like an accordion. The driver was slumped over the wheel, no doubt unconscious.

I heard a voice in my head. It wasn’t on the channel but it wasn’t like the voices that used to be in my head[J1] either. It was like I was hearing someone’s thoughts.

“Please, let everyone be okay,” the voice said.

“Please God, let me out of here,” it continued.

I answered.

“The police will be here soon.”

I could hear the sirens off in the distance.

“That’s good. That’s not going to help me get out of here though,” the voice replied.

I realized at that moment I was speaking to the driver but I didn’t understand how.

“Of course it is. They’ll be here in a few minutes and you have nothing to worry about. Everyone is fine. Just a little shook up.”

“That’s good. Maybe he won’t win then.”

“Maybe who won’t win?”

“The man who brought me here.”

All the time I was talking to the man we were still slowly spinning until the car made one last spin and came to rest so close to the other car that the doors were touching. For a few moments our car was completely stopped in mid-air.

“Can you roll down your window?” I asked.

“I can try,” the voice responded.

“That’s good. The police will be here in just a moment,” I replied as I could now see the lights in the distance coming down the other side of the highway.

“The police can’t help me. I’m trapped in here.”

I figured at that point he was just in shock. That must be why his head wasn’t coming up off the steering wheel even though he was conscious.

The window slowly came down until it reached the bottom.

“Can you lift your head?” I asked.

“No, I can’t.”

“Why, is something broken?”

“I don’t know. I just can’t. Can you help me?”

“Sure,” I replied as I rolled down my window.

I moved my right arm slowly across the short divide between the two cards. I gently placed my hand underneath his chin to help lift up his head. I didn’t want to move it quickly in case he was severely hurt, but just enough to see if he really could move.

His chin was rough like the sheets of sandpaper I used to use in shop class.

“I’m just going to try and ease your head up slightly,” I said.

“Okay. Thank you.”

I went to move his head but it wouldn’t budge.

“Is your head stuck?”

“No, it just feels so heavy; like it’s full of lead or something. That’s why I can’t lift it. Can you get both hands underneath it?”

The car was still frozen in time and space at this point. I didn’t think about the fact it could unfreeze at any time so I lifted myself up on my knees and leaned the entire top half of my body through the window and placed both arms underneath his head.

“Thank you David,” he said. This time it was a different voice than I’d been speaking to all along.

His teeth had already clamped down on my arm by the time the word ‘David’ had registered in my mind.

“The flesh of a guardian tastes even better than I could have dreamed,” he yelled with ferocity, this time out loud, as my blood dripped down his unshaven face.

Michelle was watching and started to pull on my legs just as our car started to move again.

His eyes were red like the blood he’d extracted from my arm.  His teeth looked like the shark’s tooth Scott picked up at Seaside during our last trip to the beach.

I could feel Michelle pulling on my legs and I did my best to break free but his grip was too strong. He pulled me even closer and whispered in my ear. As he spoke I could feel his bloody lip touching my ear lobe.

“Our time together will be short David so I’ll leave you with this. We told you the blood would be tasted and not just yours but all of your friends and family too. Everyone you love will die and you’ll be able to do nothing to stop us. Once we’ve taken everything from you that you hold so dear and your precious God has done nothing to stop it then you’ll know that you’ve been following the wrong master. You’ll join us and together we’ll storm the gates of heaven and restore the rightful majesty to the throne.”

Before I could utter a reply he’d let go off me and flicked me back into our car like I was a feather. I’d fought plenty of demons in my life but never one as strong as him. I didn’t have any time to reflect on his power and how helpless he made me feel as our car went spinning round again but after one rotation it stopped spinning and shot off in the direction of the police cars and ambulance that were racing towards the scene of the accident.

I gripped the wheel securely and pressed on the gas. I looked in the rearview mirror. Miraculously everyone else but Michelle was still asleep. I looked down at my arm. The teeth marks were already healing over.

“Are you okay?” Michelle asked.

“Yeah. I’ll be fine.”

“Who was that?”

“I don’t know.”

“What did he say to you?”

“I’ll tell you later. I just want to get to Edinburgh,” I replied as I turned the radio on.

“Okay, I can already taste the chicken penne from Gordon’s.”

“We’re eating as soon as we get there right?” Scott called out from the back seat. I looked in the mirror to see the other sleepers were also stirring.

“Yes, we’re just going to drop our bags and go eat. We’ll be there in about an hour. Anyone need to stop?”

“Nope, Nope, Nope,” they all chirped out one after another.

“Did we miss anything?” my mother asked while stretching her arms over her head and yawning.

“Not a thing. Michelle and I have just been talking and enjoying the scenery.”

“Okay, wake us when we get there then,” she replied as they all nodded off again and we continued up the road to Edinburgh.


[J1]Is this correct

Posted by: jonsouza | January 22, 2011

Feeling Glad About Self-Publishing

Good morning,

It’s been several months since I’ve posted. I work in retail so I haven’t had a lot of time to focus on writing. Still, I am about 218 pages into the sequel to My Name is David Cole and I am happy where it’s going.

While I’ve been doing my day job and writing in my free time I have also been doing what I can to get out the word on my first book. I was fortunate enough over the holidays to have my first reading at the Middleborough Public Library in the town I grew up in. The turnout was great and I feel like I got a lot of great experience out of it. I also felt that the people who came enjoyed themselves. I was also blessed to get my book placed in the local book shop Maria’s. Along with Amazon these are the two places the book is now available. Which brings me to the point of this blog.

I have had a bunch of people ask me why my book isn’t available in Barnes and Noble, Borders or other national chains. First of all, I could make my book available to those outlets through Create Space the self-publishing service I used but in order to do so I would lose money based on the markups that those stores need to make and being that I have a mortgage to pay, lights to keep on etc I don’t like the idea of losing money. When I found this out last Spring as I went to self-publish I did a lot of reading and talking to other authors and it seemed that despite how tough a business it is to get into that my first step would be to find a literary agent.

So I looked through Writer’s Digest and a couple other places and found a handful that sounded interesting. This was last August. I put together a cover letter and the first few pages of my book as instructed and send out a few inquiries to see what would happen.  For one agent I got an immediate response that they loved what they read and would get right back to me. A couple more weeks passed so I emailed the agent again to see what the next step would be. They instructed me to send my entire manuscript by email and they would get back to me. That was in late August at this point. Meanwhile, I re-emailed a couple other agents and never got word back. A couple months more went by so I emailed the one agent I had heard from again to confirm they were still going to get back to me. They said yes they would but they just had several thousand submissions to get through before they got back to me. So I continued to wait.

Then I woke up this morning to find a response in my inbox. To say I was excited would be a gross understatement. I clicked on the email to open it and found the following. I’m paraphrasing a bit here because I don’t want to burn any bridges with anyone and I do appreciate the fact that someone in the business took the time to get back to me. I am just sharing to illustrate what the process has been like for me.

Hi Jim, sorry it took so long to get back to you but we  have just been buried with submissions. I wanted to touch base with you on your book.  I opened the file you sent and found out that  your manuscript is massive. I think if you could get your book down to about 200 pages from it’s current 502 we can talk. I know that sounds like cutting out more than half the book  but Bush’s memoir wasn’t even this long. I would love to help you if I can so send me a synopsis of the whole manuscript and then we can go from there. Hope that sounds good. Talk to you soon!

So, my initial reaction was to look up Bush’s memoir on line. It’s 512 pages but I digress. I then moved to frustration. I want to get published with a big publishing house. Who wouldn’t? But I don’t know anyone who has read the book and said “you could lose about 300 pages and have a great story”. I have had people say this is a huge book when they pick it up but once they’ve read it they say it flew by and they wouldn’t have left out a thing. Now, I am not dumb enough to think that if I ever get a publisher they aren’t going to want to edit differently from how Kris and I did and maybe take out a few things here and there but it’s a complex story that can’t be told in 200 pages. I also did my homework before releasing it and found that Harry Potter, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books, Duma Key, and many other bestsellers and some bestselling debut novels are above 500 pages in length. Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants is almost a thousand pages. So I felt confident that if the story was paced well it would be an entertaining read for people and the feedback I have gotten back so far leads me to believe most readers feel that way. That doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be people that don’t like or think it’s too long. You can’t please everyone.  So back to the agent.

I wrote an email back to them that basically said thank you so much for replying, this isn’t a memoir it’s a novel. I pointed out other books of similar length leaving out the Bush reference and nicely said I can’t cut this book down to 200 pages and if that means you have no interest I completely understand and don’t want to waste any more of your time if that is the case. So, we’ll see what happens from here.

After I hit send, a feeling of happiness came over me, because I realized that going the self-publishing route was the best thing I could have done. My primary reason for writing the book was to say that I had fulfilled my dream of writing a book. When I finished the book I realized there was more story to tell so I kept going. I self-published last April and have sold several hundred copies and gotten lots of great reviews. If I had gone the traditional route I would just be sitting here frustrated that I couldn’t find an agent for my book and I would have lost almost a year of marketing the book the best way I can. I would also like to think that those people that have really enjoyed my book would have been deprived of the ability to read it. That is what the new world of publishing allows. It allows anyone to put anything out there and see if it sticks. So far my book has “stuck” with enough people that I’m going to keep going with the second one with the aim of making those readers that read the first one happy and making sure I continue David’s story in the right way. Doing what the story calls for and not worrying about what size of audience it finds. Just trusting that it will find the audience it is supposed to.

To close, I feel very thankful that I got a response from an agent and am very appreciative of their time. I am also glad that self-publishing exists so I can tell the story I want to and let the readers decide.

Thanks for reading

Jon

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