A STAIN OF RED

 

Last year for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) I wrote a book called GATEWAYS (title is subject to change), and even though I got a late start last year, I polished off 50,000+ words without a hitch. Coincidentally it was only a few months after I had written my first Christmas themed novel called PEPPERMINT: A BURST OF COLD.

This year for NaNoWriMo I set out to write the second book in the Christmas series, which at this point I am calling CRANBERRY: A STAIN OF RED. It follows the life of a quite ordinary girl who, in PEPPERMINT (Book1), got sucked into the wild world of Winterland, a place that seems strangely themed after our world’s version of Christmas. The heroin, Helen, has always lived one of the most boring, ordinary, and uneventful lives she has ever heard of. But when she crosses the intersect into Winterland, she finds herself dropped into the most bizarre and thrilling experiences imaginable.

There are two Kingdoms at odds with each other in Winterland; the Red Kingdom which is ruled by the Crimson King, and the Green Kingdom, governed fiercely by the Queen of the Pines. In PEPPERMINT Helen faces off with a terrible villain from the Red Kingdom named Mara Rouge who rides a dark-skinned reindeer with antlers as sharp as needles, and who is evidentially trying to hunt Helen down. Being a commoner, and a very clumsy and uncoordinated one at that, Helen realizes very quickly that she doesn’t stand a chance.

In CRANBERRY (Book 2), Helen is torn back out of her world the moment December hits, and finds herself running for her life once again, only this time she enters Winterland to find the Red and Green Kingdoms on the verge of war. People are being forced to choose a side; Red or Green, as the Ruby Legion and the Evergreen Host rage against each other in battle. All of Winterland seems to be coming under the influence of their chosen colours. The pressure is starting to close in and Helen isn’t sure who she can trust. Choosing wrong could cost her everything, but not choosing at all…that’s a death sentence.

As I have been writing CRANBERRY: A STAIN OF RED, I’ve been getting lost in the smells, tastes, and colours of Christmas, something I have experienced before in the middle of sweaty July when I wrote PEPPERMINT: A BURST OF COLD. It’s fun to paint an elaborate picture for an audience to get them hanging off the edge of their seats and ready for more. But the most important part of any of these books is the underlining message beneath the text, the one truth that I hope the world would recognize if I ever get published. On Helen’s journeys, she is introduced to the Truth, a seemingly living being that possesses all kinds of knowledge, wisdom, and secrets. It’s this Truth that comes from the breath of El-Olam (translated as the Eternal God), also known as the Star Breather to some. There are key points in both of these novels where Helen comes into contact with the words from the Volumes of Wisdom, which are old books that hold ancient truths that many don’t talk about or believe in anymore. It’s these truths that seem to change the atmosphere when spoken aloud, and can make the difference between victory and defeat.

There is a particular moment in PEPPERMINT where Helen is listening to Zane read (Zane, a young former Patrolman who in his shame had set aside his duties of guarding the Truth when the Truth was nearly wiped clean out of Winterland by Mara Rouge). As Zane is reading from one of the Volumes of Wisdom, Helen starts to understand for the first time why the Truth was unable to completely die out, as hard as Mara Rouge tried to silence it forever. The words Zane reads are as follows (keep in mind that anything posted from these novels is subject to change):

 

“All was still on the meadow hill,

Upon which sheep would graze,

The shepherds chattered, chuckled and battered,

Until the sky was of sudden blaze.

Struck with awe the shepherds saw,

The sky filled with Heavenly Hosts,

Proclaiming a wonder, in voices of thunder,

A hero of the highest, the Most.

An end to an age this hero did stage,

And a beginning of ages to come,

After the toils, troubles, and foils,

The battle would surely be won.

The prophets did say, there would come a day,

During which a hero would rise,

Seeking no tower, no authority, or power,

As a servant he would surely disguise.

A veil would tear and a load He would bear,

At dawn He would climb His tree,

The sun would rise, the sky, come alive,

Mankind would look up and see.

A chain does break and withers a snake,

The horizon fills with royal blue,

A Kingdom rises, an enemy despises.

Now none will conquer the Truth.”

I sincerely hope that this Christmas can be filled with as much joy and magic as possible, flowing straight from the heart of the Hero that came to save mankind. There is so much excitement at Christmas that is based off of things that won’t matter a week after the big day is over. But He will reign forevermore. Let your hearts come alive with life this season, because on this day He has come to the earth to save us. Our champion. The one who came to go to war on our behalf. Who raised men from the dead and sent armies of angels to change the world. He goes before us, He stands beside us, He follows after us and watches over us. He will never fail.

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!

cranberry-blog

Christmas in July?

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Sure. Why the heck not?

I’ve had something brewing the last little while like a hot cup of slightly overcooked, grind infested java. Okay, minus the grind infested because apart from being mildly over analyzed, this idea doesn’t have major grinds.

Yes. Call me a weirdo. Everyone else probably does. But I’ve been dilly dallying here and there putting sparkly, vibrant, and vastly absurd ideas into a story.

About Christmas.

What?

….Yes, I said Christmas. And I didn’t stutter. That’s impossible on here.

I know its not typically where our minds go this time of year, but for whatever reason I was inspired; enough so that I got up off of my butt and just did it. Now my novel is complete, slapped together from the scraps my brain spewed, and I’m rather fond of the thing. Sometimes I write novels and I deem them equivalent to garbage, so I never try to make anything of them until years later when I rediscover their magic and redirect the course of the story to make them something exciting. Other ones I’ve written are a bizarre combination of my nerves prancing into existence because I took some odd risks, and my pride beaming out of my face because I think its probably the best thing I’ve ever created.

It’s probably not. But I always think it is at first.

This is somewhere around my thirty fifth novel that I’ve written just for kicks (this is not a brag, its more of an embarrassment actually because I have that many in existence and I’ve never truly set out to do anything with them), but I think it took me that many to get to a place where I feel I can write moderately better than rotten garbage.

Anyway, literary agents take half of eternity to get back to us hopeful beggars, so you aren’t going to get any juicy news about this for a long time. Sorry. Pray for me. I probably need it and stuff.

Thanks, people I know and random others I don’t. I hope the peace of God finds you today. Remember that loving God and knowing Him will get you further than anything else in this life.

Kropf out.

It’s Rude to Treat God Like Santa

Here’s why,

I don’t know about you but it’s pretty easy for me to make a list in my mind of things that I would like and “send it up” to God. This is generally the nature of my prayers, since I’m a ‘list person’. Even if you’re not a ‘list person’ though, I bet you sometimes do the same:

Dear God,

1) Please do this

2) Please change that

3) Please cause Janine, my least favourite co-worker, to choke on her banana this morning

4) I want more money

5) I want more happiness

6) I want more candy

7) A Ferrari would be nice

8) A McLaren F1 is my second choice

9) Please make Janine go mute

10) I will settle for a new Mazda 3

11) Please God, for the love of yourself, don’t let these maniac drivers on the road ram me into a tree. They all drive like idiots. Maybe it’s the snow… Okay it’s probably not the snow, they look like idiots too. Everyone is an idiot. God, why did you make a whole heaping world of idiots?

Lists, right? Admit it. You do it too.

But here’s the thing, as handy-dandy as lists are to write for ourselves to remember things, they seem to sometimes get in the way of our relationship with God.

Feel free to try and disagree with me. But I think I’m right.

God seems to constantly be asking for a relationship. If he wanted us to whip up a list and submit it to him, we might as well call him Santa Clause and treat every day like Coca Cola’s version of Christmas. Because that’s basically what we’re doing. But all throughout the Bible God had conversations with his faithful ones, relationships that were so strong that certain human beings actually changed the course of the world by having a conversation with God that made God change his mind about things. That seems crazy, but it also seems so obvious; why wouldn’t God value our opinion enough to be swayed by it? He is asking for a relationship. Moses was constantly conversing with God, asking him to give the Israelites another chance even though they became rude ungrateful whiner babies on more than one occasion. God made the animals but then let Adam name them. And God’s relationship with many others throughout the Bible was the same as these. God wants to know how you feel, what you think and he wants to ‘talk it out’. He doesn’t want your Christmas list. Save that for the fat fraud in red. What he really wants is to know the real you, not what you want, and for you to know the real him. He wants us to listen and wait for him to respond. But maybe we’re too busy reciting our list, trying to make sure we tell him everything we want in the ten seconds we reserve for prayer. But the joke is on us. God already knows everything we want. In fact, he knows all the desires of our hearts.

Do we know the desires of his?

I’m SO guilty of getting caught up in my list. What will I tell God in the end if I see him in person for the first time and he says, “I told you the desire of my heart. I told you because I knew you could fulfil it.” And then I say, “Well you see…I really wanted this car…and then there was all of this drama at work…and then the dog crapped on the floor…and I really just needed to get it all sorted out.”

He also doesn’t want us to simply surrender all of our hopes, dreams and passions though either. He gave us those things for a reason. If he didn’t want us to have free will, to have passions, opinions, or gifts, he would have built himself robots – not humans. But he made us human for the sake of relationship. He says, “I know your dreams. Bring them to me and let’s discuss them”. He wants to give you the desires of your heart. He doesn’t want you to toss them out the window and then turn to him and say, “God, what am I supposed to do? I need direction! What am I supposed to do with my life?” I like to imagine him sitting in a lazy boy with a cup of coffee and pondering this. Then finally he leans forward, smirking a little, and says, “What do you want to do?”

All I’m saying is that I think God cares more about what we think than we realize. He will sit with you for hours and ‘hash it out’ until you can both come up with a solution to the problem, if that’s what you really want. But he wants to sort it out with you. It’s okay to let him help, because no offense but he’s better at this life stuff than you are. He has a gazillion more years of experience. And if we’re willing to build on that relationship, we will start to understand his heart. And that’s where the fun begins. Because you never know, he just might say, “Go to Jamaica and preach the gospel. Then go to Mexico and build homes for the homeless so that the people can see that I love them, and after that, go to South Africa and minister to orphans and teach about me in the schools. You, precious one, are going to live a life of adventure.”

Can you feel it? He’s speaking to you.

Kropf out.