Kind words from Mr. Alderman about ‘Sozo’.
Originally posted on David N. Alderman:
Sozo, by Patrick Todoroff, is the story of Booker, an ex-marine suffering from PTSD. When he’s recruited to do a job for some shady folks, his suspicions that he may be walking into more than he bargained for try to deter him from following through, but he ignores his moral compass at first, succumbing to the numbness that years of violence have brought him.
After reading this story and Patrick’s other short tale, The Barrow Lover, I’ve come to realize that I really enjoy Patrick’s writing style. Many of Sozo’s sentences are short, snappy, and to the point. Patrick’s writing gives you just enough detail to see the world he wants you to see without holding your hand through it. Characters come to life through a gritty, non-apologetic lens, and the story bleeds off the page in a hell-driven cascade of bullets and memories.
Sozo is the…
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The shift to Shift Tense is complete: all three novellas are now compiled in a single volume. Thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement.
Apologies to you print book lovers; at present, my status as a writer combined with the reader demographic for spec-fiction doesn’t make it worth the extra ISBN, effort, and cost to do POD. If anything, it gives you late-adopters another reason to buy an IPad or Kindle.
Speaking of which…part one of both Running Black and Shift Tense are available in PDF here on the site. Scroll down past the Amazon links on the right sidebar, then click on the Incursion and/or Red Flags covers. Free stuff to give you a taste of the novels and my take on Biblical perspective spec-fiction. (notice I didn’t use the phrase ‘Christian fiction’) Hope you enjoy.
Next up: Clar1ty Wars, book 2: Under Strange Stars
I don’t talk about my disability much.
It might explain some things about me but it doesn’t define me. It’s not how I want to be identified. More because I’ve learned over the years self-pity is debilitating. It’s a vicious narcotic – something to stay the f**k away from.
That said, my life began waking up in ICU in a hospital bed with two people next to me. My first memory is trying to air-spell ‘Who are you?’ and ‘What happened?’ Turns out they were my Mom and Step-Dad. And I’d been hit by a car. I was seven years old.
Story went I had received a new bike – a cool one with tall handle bars, tassles, and a banana seat. Remember them? Well, a next door neighbor older kid wanted to ride it bad, real bad, shiny new that it was, so he said he’d ‘teach me how to go down hills.’ And off we went, him pedaling, me on the back. Next thing we were flying down the steepest, tallest hill in that part of Poughkeepsie. Apparently, at the bottom he saw the taxi coming, couldn’t stop, and jumped off. Leaving me on the back. To get hit by the taxi.
I ended up crumpled on someone’s front lawn.
Later it came out a nurse caring for an elderly patient in a nearby house heard the accident and called an ambulance. Don’t know her name and never even met her, but she’s the reason I can write this today. (‘Grace of God’ and all that, I know, but…) Paramedics arrived, gave me an emergency tracheotomy on the scene, and brought me into ICU in a coma – where I stayed for some days and a lot of operations. (in a coma, in the hospital)
I had to learn how to walk again. Talk again. Today I can’t walk all that well and I’ve been told I talk too much, so you decide how effective the rehab was.
Fact is I get being different. Self-conscious. Being ostracized, excluded, picked last, picked on, teased, mocked, misunderstood, underestimated, condescension… I don’t remember anything BA ‘Before Accident’, so those things have been part of my life as long as I can remember quite literally. As has the physical disabilities with attendant insecurity, pain, lack of mobility, and the inevitable deterioration that comes with wear and tear, and age.
I could go and talk about more recent surgeries, one where I hugged my kids the day before the operation knowing it might well be for the last time. But I’m not writing this to cry ‘Poor Me’ or catalog my struggles. I loathe the faux ‘high moral ground’ of victimhood. It’s an insidious mirage disguising nothing but quicksand. I can’t go there.
I’m writing to tell you it’s not what you can’t do that matters, it’s what you can do. That’s what counts. That’s what you’ve got to keep at, focus on, and do. It has taken me years to learn that in my bones. And only with God’s help.
Is it hard? Does it hurt? Do things backfire or fall flat? Do I feel like quitting, saying “F**k all y’all” sometimes?
But I can’t escape the cast-iron, cold hard fact that it’s true. Forward is really the only direction God has given us. You’ve got to get up and keep going.
And those other people? The critics, the nay-sayers, Job’s comforters? It’s mind over matter, baby: those that matter, don’t mind, and those that mind don’t matter.
Today, I’m married to a beautiful woman, the same woman for 29 years. I have three adult children, three grandchildren, who I love with all my heart. I run a stained glass studio – have for 16 years. I’ve written books, plays, poems. I’ve had the privilege of leading ministries, even being an inner-city missionary in Canada for three years. And my life isn’t over.
So that’s a bit of my story. I don’t know the road you’ve got to walk. I might sympathize, empathize, but I can’t really know it, ’cause it’s yours.
But as a fellow traveler a bit further down the road, I can say ‘You can do this. Keep going’.
It’s worth it.
I have decided to compile the three previously published Shift Tense novellas – Red Flags, Soldier Dreams, and Angels - into a single volume. The serialization strategy did not work as intended and I believe a single novel will serve everyone better in the long run. I apologize for any hassle, misunderstanding, or bad feelings. It was never my intention to inconvenience or mislead anyone.
By way of compensation to anyone who has purchased one or two of the novellas, I am offering all three for free for the next five days, from Feb 12th through the 16th at Amazon. After February 17th however, Shift Tense will only be available in the single volume.
Thank you for your understanding and support.
Here are the links:
A fellow Christian and author was asked recently how he could like (and write) science fiction and still be a Christian. So assuming the questioner wasn’t adversarial to science, (a whole other discussion) that query strikes me on the same level as demanding how someone ‘could like Thai food (Chinese, Indian, sushi…) and still call themselves an American?’
Seems to me the unspoken assumption of this non sequitur morsel of Stalinist logic is treason; a person’s faith and salvation are precarious if they enjoy spec-fiction, suspect if they write it. As during the Inquisition, thou art guilty until proven innocent.
Hyperbole and harsh comparisons, you say? Maybe, but how about a little blunt-force trauma against sloppy religious-think?
C.S. Lewis said ‘Reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.’ Not only does fiction exercise God-given creativity and imagination, it flavors what otherwise might be bland, banal, indigestible transmission of ideas and experiences. Don’t confuse content with medium, or knowledge with understanding. Has fiction (the arts in general) been misused and misunderstood? Sure. So has the Bible and Christianity – more so, with greater ramifications.
It’s beyond time for believers to employ their talents and convictions with passion, clarity, and courage in any and every facet of life, including the arts.
End of the Day, God will be the one who makes the final call on our work. No one else.
Trying to offer the first portions of the Eshu International novels Running Black and Shift Tense for Free at Amazon. (The Shift Tense serialization doesn’t work as intended, so Red Flags, Soldier Dreams and Angels would be unpublished, then rolled into one complete volume.)
However, I can’t work around KDP’s minimum .99 pricing. It seems Amazon no longer lets you offer books at no cost. (why should they, I guess)
So should I…
1. Price them at .99, then use the Amazon Free Book Promotion as often as possible?
2. Leave everything as is.
3. Bin the Free Excerpt idea. Just release Shift Tense as a complete novel and move on.
Any thoughts or experiences on this? Thanks.
By the way, Under Strange Stars is still on schedule for late March.
Have an amazing way of re-working songs I otherwise loathe or dismiss.
If anyone would like a free e-copy of ‘Sozo’, leave a comment here and I’ll send it along. I’ll give away 10 copies to seriously interested persons. It’s a quick read under 5K words. I’d like to get feedback and Amazon/Goodreads reviews if possible. Let me know. Thanks much.
Is the title of the chapter I’m currently working on. Heh.
I don’t have to write – I get to write.