If you consider yourself one of my hardcore followers, I’d love to know what you think about this!
John Hedekira is the main character of my fantasy series, Elithius.
Obviously, as much as possible, I want all of you to love my characters. I want you to feel for them. I want you to care about them.
So I think it’s only right that I tell you about them.
Meet John Hedekira
He feels trapped. He feels alone. He feels unappreciated. He feels abandoned.
John Hedekira’s parents disappear when he’s thirteen, leaving him to look after his two little siblings. Can you imagine the sense of confusion? The anger? The frustration? The sudden, incredible weight of responsibility?
John dutifully looks after his siblings for three years. He does “everything an older brother should do”…until it all becomes too much. His siblings have become so distant and delirious, they start to shut him out. Even though he is throwing away his life to provide for them, they won’t even acknowledge him.
So he blows up at them. Wouldn’t you?
But he also decides that, if they’ll neglect him, he’ll neglect them.
But there’s this eerie sense of fate in the story. The same night John decides he will neglect his siblings, their home is attacked. John is left bleeding out on the floor of his own home, and his siblings–Cassie and Luke–are captured…
…by the Evil.
The Evil are the fabled monsters of the Dark Lands. They are Evil incarnate; immortal through their spiritual connection with each other, though their bodies can be slain. And they always flock to wherever an evil act is committed…and thus they find John.
John survives the attack…but is determined to get revenge on the Evil for nearly killing him. He still doesn’t care about his siblings. Everything will change…but not yet.
Who Is John?
John Hedekira is like each of us. He just wants life to make sense. He feels like a question without an answer. He knows that he is called to something deeper; he knows that his life has meaning. But he doesn’t know what that meaning is yet.
And, like so many of us, he searches for meaning in his life in the wrong ways. At first, he finds meaning in the obligation he feels towards his siblings–to provide for them after their parents disappeared. Then he feels empowered by his feelings of hatred and vengeance towards the Evil that nearly killed him and kidnapped his siblings.
But something happens that changes him.
It takes his hatred consuming him to realize what he’s doing wrong.
He learns that he doesn’t have to fight out of anger or wrath. He doesn’t have to fight because he hates his enemies.
He is given a second chance at life.
He can fight because he wants to protect. He can fight because it’s the right thing to do. Even in battle, he can love.
Believe me, it’s an epic transformation.
John is a person who is driven by his emotions…but learns to control them. He learns to channel them. And he allows himself to undergo a spiritual change.
He still struggles to do what’s right, but now he knows why he’s fighting. He has purpose. He has drive.
He’s going to rescue his little brother and sister because he loves them. He’s going to fight the Evil because he cares about the world.
And he’s going to become a kick-ass swordsman while he does it. He’s going to wield supernatural powers. He’s going to unlock godly powers so that he can kick out the evil ones inside.
This is my main character. He’s a determined, passionate 16 year-old guy, who fights for what he loves, but is scarred by a rocky childhood. He can have trouble controlling his anger. He can feel despair. But he’s determined never to give up or give in.
So, I guess you could say he’s a fighter.
And that is John Hedekira.
All right, so if you really want to get to know John Hedekira and his story, you can get my book here. One of the best ways you can support an author is by reading his (or her) work! And it’s only $0.99 as a Kindle eBook.
Whether you’re interested in downloading my story or not, as always, I want to know: What do you think?
The world is constantly calling out to him. He hears the world’s cry for help…but also its taunts. The world seeks to crush him.
He steps into his lonely apartment building. Walks up the steep steps. There is no one to greet him when he walks through his door. He is alone. And his loneliness, along with the world, speaks to him.
You are no good. No one will ever listen to you. You are alone. You are unwanted. And you will stay that way.
And so he is discouraged. He sits on his bed, elbows on his knees, head in his hands. Pain fills him, breaks his heart, infests his mind. Life seems to cave in on him. It’s a question he can’t answer.
“Is this the end?”
He takes a deep breath, raising his head. The light falls softly, warmly, through the blinds of his windows. And through one of these windows, he can faintly see the setting sun. It’s beautiful. He has no one to share it with. But it’s beautiful.
So he will find someone to share it with.
Like a spark among cold, dusty ashes, he glimpses the light…and it’s all he needs.
The thing that he has that no other animal has; the thing he possesses that is so powerful, it can move mountains. A God-given power, made for God-like things.
It fills him. It drives him. Beauty drives him. Love for that beauty. Love for his imagination. And a love for the world…because he must share the Beauty with the world. He must bring it to life. He must not be alone anymore.
In case you didn’t know, I have successfully finished Book Two of my fantasy series, Elithius.
I know this is going to sound cliche, but it’s actually the truth. I’m pretty honest with myself and with you guys, so believe me when I say: this book is going to be better than the first.
So here it is:
Release date for Elithius, Book Two: The Darkness Within —— December 18, 2017
For those of you that know me well, you might remember that December 18th is my birthday 🙂
I know December 18th seems like a long time to wait, but I’m a freshmen in college, so I want to give myself plenty of time to prepare. I need time to edit the story, make sure it’s perfect, and work with my cover artist.
Elithius, Book Two is coming everyone!
As always, I’d like to thank everyone for their continued support of me. You guys rock. Like seriously. I have been so blessed with a vibrant, caring community of writers…and readers! I couldn’t do this without you.
We can’t do this on our own. The world is like a giant brain, a mind, a soul, that is constantly at war with itself. We are trapped inside of ourselves, fighting to get out, but we can’t see a way how.
Why does the world need fiction?
Fiction shows us the way. Fiction shows us that there is a different way.
Fiction inspires us; it reminds us of what we have forgotten.
I think lots of people can view fiction as “the things that will never happen”. Whether it’s an evil plan that is just too evil to be real. Or a magical power that is just too strong to exist. Or a love that is inconceivably intense.
We are tempted to look at fiction and everything it contains–the morals, the values, the innocence, the intensity, the danger, the darkness–and think that none of it’s real.
But it is real.
No, not literally, but the goal, the mission of fiction, is both to bring us back to our roots…and also spread our wings so that we can fly and GET THE HECK OUT OF HERE.
I’m not talking about escapism. I’m talking about hope. I’m talking about showing us that we don’t have to cave in to the evils of the “real” world. It is possible to hold on to some of our innocence. It is possible to be loving and kind. It is possible to be courageous in the midst of despair. It is possible to be faithful in a relationship.
Fiction doesn’t have to blur our vision of reality; fiction can transform it.
Fiction can show us the way.
The real world is dirty, and messed up, and trashy, and full of hatred, lies, arrogance, pain, suffering…
All of this is true.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The world is also full of joy, hope, bravery, loyalty, honesty, virtue, innocence…and love.
Fiction reminds us of this. And it keeps us safe.
Do you write fiction? Yeah, me too.
Go fiction writers.
My fantasy novel, Elithius, is available for purchase here. Just 99 cents for an eBook or $12 for a gorgeous paperback.
I talked to about 200 different people at the New Jersey shore in June. I was a part of a missionary group called Generation Life.
Our mission at the beach? Walk up to random teenagers and talk to them about life, love, and sex so that they could better understand their sexuality and what it means to be men and women…what it means to love or lust, to give or take. Basically, we were there to talk to people about the meaning of love and sex; we were combating the hook-up culture. We were trying to build a culture of love and life.
Usually when we’d walk up to a group of teens/young adults, the first thing we’d ask them is, “What is your definition of love?”
90% of them couldn’t answer this simple question.
What is love?
Even when the teenagers/young adults were sitting right next to their significant others, neither of them could give us an answer.
Isn’t that sad? You’re dating someone and you don’t even know what love is?
So, naturally, we would start talking with them about what love is. The most basic way for us to describe love was like this:
“Love is wanting and doing what is best for the person you love.”
It sounds simple. That’s because it is simple.
Some people would try to say that “Oh, love is something that just can’t be explained. It’s too complicated.”
Wrong. It was an answer that sounded educated, but really, it was just their way of copping out.
Now I get it; sometimes love catches us by surprise. It reveals itself to us in different ways, ways we couldn’t imagine. But that doesn’t mean that it is a complex CONCEPT. Conceptually, love is simple. If you love someone, you will do what is best for them, and vice versa.
People, please….PLEASE. If you’ve ever asked yourself “What is love?” and not found a clear answer, search for the answer. As humans, we believe that life ultimately revolves around love. Everyone knows this at heart. We all desire love. We all want to love other people. It’s what we are made for.
That being said, find the answer in the right place. If you find an answer that is wishy-washy…all “love is complicated and it makes you feel like this when you’re doing this with this person and it doesn’t matter when or how you’re doing it…”
No. Love gives. Love sacrifices. Love demands. Love challenges you. Love keeps you whole. Love keeps you safe (not condoms or the Pill). Love blesses you. Laughs with you. Cries with you. Love makes you feel joyful and happy (porn and masturbation don’t, in case you were wondering).
If you have an issue with what I’m saying, let’s talk about it.
Love is simple: it means that you will do what’s best for the person you love.
Also, in case you were wondering, the 90% of the people we talked to using THIS definition of love agreed with it. We are all capable of understanding the true definition of love. The problem is, we let our own views get in the way; we want love to be something easy or suiting our own comforts. We don’t want love to be demanding. But it is.
As always, I want to know: What do you think?
Interested in the way I write or the things I write about? Want to see love in action? Hardcore, intense and realistic love?
Buy my book as a Kindle Edition for only 99 cents. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. Click here.
All right, let’s face, we ALL love it when characters are human. Nobody likes it when characters are so perfect that we can’t relate to them. We want characters who have realistic struggles, realistic emotions, realistic anger, feelings of hurt, love, lust, revenge, pride…etc.
(Hopefully) we want to see these characters rise above their weaknesses and flaws. But, we also can’t deny that we…enjoy the fact that they have these flaws. We enjoy watching the struggle.
Perhaps we enjoy the struggle of a character who can’t seem to find a decent girlfriend; we watch him go through relationship after relationship, and we enjoy the ups and downs of his story. It’s much better than a happy, perfect love story that has no drama at all, right?
Or perhaps we enjoy the feelings of determination, anger, and vengeance of a certain heroine that has lost EVERYTHING, and she focuses all her energy on getting back at the people who hurt her.
Perhaps we even love listening to the depressed ramblings of a divorced, lonely character, who watches the world through a window and just thinks. Perhaps we can relate to this person in some shape or form, and it eases our pain.
Human characters are great. But when do they not become great?
I’ve been reading this book about the life of Pope John Paul II (now Saint John Paul II). Don’t worry, I’m not going to start writing about tons of religious stuff. This great man just happened to say something really smart and wise (he was a pope, after all!), and I thought I would share it with you, since I believe it applies to writing and “human” characters:
“Without the Gospel, man remains a dramatic question with no adequate answer”-Pope Saint John Paul II
Why is this quote helpful and meaningful to understanding the problem of “too human” characters?
Let’s break the quote down first, starting from the end and going back to the beginning.
“…no adequate answer…”
The way I see it, this part of the quote refers to the part of “human” characters that we love. We love the complexity of characters that have flaws and problems; at times, it doesn’t seem like those flaws or problems have any answers.
There’s an element of mystery, wonder, and even awe in regards to the intricacy of the human person. We cannot seem to grasp the true depth of each character’s train of logic, his or her emotions, or his or her view of life.
Our mystery-craving, awe-inspired minds relish in the fact that a person can be considered a “question with no adequate answer”. It’s exciting.
Which brings us to the next part of the quote.
“…man remains a question…”
Once again, there is an element of mystery that surrounds every person’s thoughts, words, and actions. Also, every difficult, morally ambiguous situation we find characters in present the characters–and ourselves–with that question of who we are and what it means to be human.
Every character with flaws, with skeletons in the closet, with childhood scars, with seemingly impossible endeavors, is a question unto himself or herself. And this is another part of “human characters” that we enjoy, that we take delight in…because we often feel like a question ourselves.
We can all feel like a question without an answer.
Get Your Head Out of the Gutter…
In my mind, characters become “too” human when they start to wallow in their own flaws, problems, habits, etc. This is perfectly realistic, as real-live humans do it too…but it isn’t in any way a good thing.
Trust me. Anyone here listen to songs by Twenty-One Pilots? Adele? How about Linkin Park?
So many songs that these artists write are about inner struggles, inner demons, past regrets, etc….and I get it. Maybe these artists want to vent what they’re going through. But there comes a point where it’s not venting anymore; it’s living in your problems and making everything, even your hobby/calling, all about your struggles.
I’m guilty of this too. I’m tempted to make my own characters from my story so steeped in problems, so filled with flaws, just so that I can feel okay with my own. But guess what? That’s going to help nobody.
When we see characters wallowing in their sins or crises–whatever it may be–instead of rising above them, the act of wallowing in our flaws becomes NORMALIZED. It’s NORMAL to allow hatred to consume you. It’s NORMAL to let your previous, abusive relationship ruin your current one. It’s NORMAL to make out with someone so that you’ll feel whole inside. It’s NORMAL to become the bully because you were bullied as a child.
It’s NORMAL for every character, every real-live person, to be “a question without an answer”.
And you’re right. It IS normal.
But only “without the Gospel…”.
Following the quote-analogy that I’ve been using, we must discern the phrase, “Without the Gospel”.
“Without the Gospel…”
For the sake of the analogy, insofar as we apply it to characters, I take this to mean “Without a sense of right or wrong” or “without a sense of truth”. Or “without a sense of hope” or “without a sense of faith” or “without a sense of love” or “without a sense of mercy”.
Because all of those things–right and wrong, truth, hope, faith, love, and mercy–is what the Gospel is all about.
Rewrite the quote now:
“Without a sense of right or wrong, truth, hope, faith, love or mercy, man remains a question with no adequate answer”
Why does this fix things?
Because the flaws and struggles of characters will only ever drown them if they don’t have this sense of “the Gospel”. Without this sense of “the Gospel”, there IS no answer to man, who is a mighty question indeed!
Anger will have no purpose or end. It will only lead to more anger. It will lead to revenge. There will be no satisfaction.
Lustful, steamy attractions will just go on and on and end in heartbreak after heartbreak. There will be no love, no romance, no happy ending.
Depressing moods and streams of consciousness will have no meaning without hope. Without mercy. Without faith. There will only be despair as the mind slips into a state of constant resentfulness and quiet brooding.
This “sense of the Gospel” that I speak of is the only way that we, as writers, as bloggers, as authors, will be able to create characters that do not keep humanity down in the dumps. We must acknowledge how broken humanity is, how destructive we are unto ourselves…but we must also acknowledge that, by our art, we have a duty to strengthen the world around us by proclaiming the truth.
And what is the truth?
Humanity is a broken, fallen race, that will never be able to rise above its flaws and sinfulness…
…without the Gospel.
But with this sense of the “Gospel”, everything falls into place. Everything makes sense. Anger is satisfied by justice. Sadness is satisfied by love and comfort (not depression). Doubt is satisfied by faith. Despair is satisfied by hope. Longing and attraction are satisfied by love and sacrifice. Confusion is satisfied by the truth.
And humankind, a question unto itself, is satisfied with an adequate answer: the “Gospel”.
This took me a long time to think about and write…so please let me know what you think in the comments!!!
If you like the way I write and the things I write about, you’d really enjoy my fantasy novel, Elithius!
Happy feast of the Assumption to anyone who cares! 🙂
Today I want to talk about something that has recently been very important to me. I’ve been going through a difficult time lately, discerning what I should do with my life as I head off to college. The major I picked for myself (mechanical engineering) has been seeming less and less appealing to me, and I’m not sure what other field I should go into that would provide me with a steady job.
Lots of other people are going through difficult times too; perhaps even more difficult times than myself. It’s the world we live in. Life is a struggle, living isn’t cheap, and the world can be heartless.
It’s in these moments that we need encouragement from other people; we need inspiration; we need strength and comfort, reassurance and love.
Thanks to the goodness of God and the graciousness of others, I have received that.
My friends, this is what blogging is all about.
I’ve said it plenty of times before and I’ll say it again: blogging is about COMMUNITY.
If you want your blog to be successful, if you want to have a successful blogging experience, work to build a community. There is nothing else more valuable on WordPress than finding and establishing a community of people around yourself who like the same things as you, help you, critique you, and support you.
It’s empowering to know that someone you’ve never met cares about you. Maybe they don’t really “CARE” about you. After all, we are just random people across the world, meeting and talking on the internet. But there are still generous souls on WordPress who care enough to say something, to encourage you, to listen to you, etc.
This is what blogging is all about. The vast world of the internet needn’t be a land of strangers (although you SHOULD be careful). You can find so much here; you can prosper here.
The first piece of advice I will give you is that you must first become a part of what you hope to obtain. You must first become a member of a community before you expect to be received by it. That’s where you start. That’s how this all begins.
What happens after that is up to you. What you make of it is your choice.
To any new bloggers welcome. I hope you find a community here.
As always, What do you think?
Wanna show your support for me???? Click on the link below and check out my new fantasy book, Elithius. It’d mean the world to me!
It’s difficult moving forward in life when you don’t know exactly where you want to go.
There are phases that we go through; times when you’re convinced of your convictions, and when beliefs seem to feel like the truth. But once these phases lose their luster and the part of you that was originally stone turns to sand…
…all that’s left is your hollow, formless body, driven by the wind.
There will always be decisions to make; we know that. And we can control what decisions we make. But we can never see the future or know whether or not our choices will make us happy. We can choose a path, but we don’t know where it leads. How can we choose when so much seems to hang in the balance?
In regards to phases, it seems fair to ask Which phases stayed the longest? Which phases keep reoccurring? Are these really not phases at all, but simply something that must be rekindled again and again?
I am in love with writing. I am in love with my girlfriend. I am in love with God and my faith. I am good at many, many things. I am a people person. I am a strong person. I am a weak person. I am a doubtful person. I am a realistic person. I am a hopeful person.
I need money. I need friends. I need God. I need love. I need security.
I want happiness. I want everything. I want to need nothing.
Who am I? Where am I going? What does God want from me?
What choices can I make that will fulfill all these longings?
Alright everyone, I’m only 11 days away from college! It’s all happening so fast…I’m not sure I’m totally prepared for all the changes happening in my life.
But…as usual…oh well 🙂
Some updates! I FINALLY got a new computer. It’s a nice, silver, shiny HP that actually has this weird retro look (kind of like those old Dell computers). But it’s a great model and it should serve me well throughout college.
Another update: I…um…well…FINISHED BOOK TWO OF ELITHIUS!!!
You read that correctly.
Book two of my fantasy series, Elithius, is finally complete. I don’t have a cover to show off (yet), but here’s a brief overview of the story!
Name: Elithius, Book Two: The Darkness Within
Length: 375+ pages
Plot: John Hedekira and his friends must venture into the Gray Lands in order to rescue John’s sister, Cassie. Upon entering the Gray Lands, they make new friends…and new enemies. Before they know it, they are thrown into the middle of a raging war, in which loyalties and friendships will be tested, darker and more heinous powers will challenge them…and souls will be ripped apart.
The adventures of John and his friends have only begun.
More information to come! As always, let me know what you think!
You are too calculating. Don’t tell me you are young. Youth gives all it can: it gives itself without reserve.
-St. Josemaria Escriva
There is an innate desire within a young person to respond to the “callings” of youthhood. What are these callings?
Callings for greatness. For change. For renewal. For love. For Truth.
These are not only “callings” that every youth possess, whether knowingly or not. They are cries; even if a young person doesn’t know it, even if I don’t know it, there is a part of me that cries out for these callings, desperately yearning to fulfill them.
To be young is powerful; to be young is to be innovative. To be young is to be idealist–and a little naive, yes. But to be young is to have strength and, to quote the saint above, to “give itself without reserve”.
Have you ever turned on a popular kids TV show and been amazed by the simplicity, the beauty, the innocence, and the passion with which the characters think, act, and speak? Think about Avatar: The Last Airbender. There is so much we can take away from this television series; the beauty of it all, the innocence of the characters, their child-like yet laudable determination to bring justice to the world…the list goes on and on!
Think of Katniss from The Hunger Games and her desire to bring about change within her world, to rip out the old and bring in the new. Think about so much of the anime out there that features young characters pitted against older opponents. This style of story telling, in which youth struggles against the old, the innocence of truth fights against the lies of the world, is not practiced merely so that the stories will appeal to children. Having younger characters is not merely fanservice. There is something unique, deep, and profound that the youthfulness inside of us is trying to say, whether we know it or not.
The world needs youth, and it needs change. We must never cast wisdom and experience aside; we must never cast Truth aside. But the change that the world requires must come from youth…because it is the youth of the world that will shape the future.
What are we doing to empower young people to initiate this change in the world and renew the good parts of the old, while casting off the mediocrity of the past?
Writing is my way to be a rebel. To be defiant. To rise up to the challenges of the world and declare that I will not be defeated. I am strong and powerful because of writing. Because of writing, I can create change. Because of writing, I can declare the Truth.
Roaring out like a lion, fighting with the fire of innocent, pure determination…crying out that youth has come to reclaim what the world was always meant to be.
I’m an idealist, I know 🙂
If anyone is interested in joining a young writer’s club, please contact me in the comment section below or email me at aultsom23(at)gmail(dot)com! Age range: 15-22 (exceptions can be made). Participation required: (minimal/as much as you want!)
Oh, and did I mention that I wrote a book that simply BREATHES everything I just talked about above?