Category Archives: Carpe Terram

Write A Story With Me – Part 46 – “Fae-reness”

The delicate crown on Morath’s head and her gilded garments gave her an air of old-world aristocracy, of riches that the world almost forgot had once existed. The rustle of her long dress filled the hall as she sat on her throne and gazed upon her subjects with gentle, yet inquisitive eyes.

“Be seated, my kin,” she ordered, and her subjects complied. “Today’s gathering is long overdue. We have been suffering for far too long. Our freedom has been taken from us, and along with it, our dignity and safety.”

Vigorous nods and shouts of approval from around the room accompanied her words. “It’s time we regained our rightful place in the kingdom of Argot,” Morath declared. “It’s time for justice.” Her subjects’ voices became loud and angry, but the shouts ended as soon as Morath lifted her right hand to ask for silence. “Our kind of justice, not theirs.”

She paused and smiled at Yoran’s girls, who were sitting together to her side. Tears were streaming down Marci’s face, and Bethany, too, appeared on the verge of crying. Only Sian sat defiant, her eyes cold and unmoved.

Then Morath turned her attention to Yoran.

“Protector Sumner. Some would argue—most, in fact—that you don’t even deserve to be in this room. That your actions have already condemned you to the pits of hell, and there’s no need for us to review the past. But I believe in justice. And I believe, unlike you, that everyone should be given an opportunity to explain their actions. Including you, a man who has spent his life trying to eradicate our kind from the face of Argot.”

Yoran watched Morath with disgust. “I don’t need your filthy justice,” he shouted, followed immediately by fiery protests from the audience.

“Daddy, please,” Marci cried, her words lost in the cacophony of voices.

“Silence in the court,” Morath’s voice boomed. Her eyes remained fixated on Yoran. “Want it or not, you will receive it, Protector. And all your children will bear witness,” Morath said and turned to face an officer of the court standing to her left. “Officer, bring the child,” she ordered, once again accompanied by murmurs.


Visit To Earth

I wrote this post back in October and never published it (or any other post since for that matter). I’ve had an interesting few months, filled with all sorts of things. I’ve been trying to balance my day job with my writing and it hasn’t been easy. Hoping 2013 will make that easier. Happy new year to all!

This past week I had the great nerve of taking a week off. I know, I know, a week off is almost unheard of nowadays. And in all fairness, I had my work ball-and-chain, aka smartphone, on me at all times and checked email a few times a day; but it was a vacation regardless.

To make it even better, not only did I have a week off, but I also got to spend it in a magnificent village on the Central California Coast called Cambria. And, the cherry on top: I drove there! Imagine: no standing in a security line, no limit on how many bags I can take with, no limits on liquids (which came in quite handy since I stopped en route and acquired a serious stash of Dreamweaver), no worries about what to wear that’s both public-ready and comfortable, no headphones necessary to listen to my music and books. And I stuck mostly to the PCH,  which meant that the views stayed spectacular as soon as I hit Malibu.

I did a lot of thinking this week. And how can one not have lots of quality thoughts with this view before one’s eyes?

I won’t bore you with the details of every rumination I had, but I will bore you with the most important one:

We, the people, are effing messed up.

There’s so much beauty around us yet we fail to see it. And there are so many truly significant things in this world that need our attention and energy–HUNGER, POVERTY, WAR, DISEASE, SOCIAL INEQUALITY, EDUCATION–yet we waste our lives on absurd pseudo-problems and ridiculous emotions (guilty as charged right here, by the way).

I know this is not an original thought. In fact, many have been talking up a storm about this forever. And yes, there are those who are focusing on the right issues. But in our country in particular, we also seem to have an overwhelming number of people who are glamorizing the idea of savage capitalism, who believe value is equal to wealth, who desperately want to start new wars and put more resources toward killing others, who think people who are poor are so because they’re lazy and entitled, who think the color of one’s skin or one’s gender determines one’s superiority. I could go on forever, but I have a feeling I don’t have to. I have a feeling that those whose souls still dwell in the land of humanity, know what the issues are. Now only if there were enough of us to start a spiritual revolution that would make all these issues things of the past.

You may think it’s a bit strange (and even ironic) that I would start with my great vacation, and I would end on this serious, somewhat depressing note. The point I’m trying to make here is that we don’t need to renounce our current lives in order to be human every day. We don’t need to give up our worldly possessions in order to make a difference in this world. I can still have a vacation, which I’ve earned in the environment I live in, and at the same time try to become a better person and course-correct. Excess and ignorance do not equal happiness or peace of mind. Living in the present and manifesting our humanity, however, will get us closer to it than anything else.

I’ll leave you with some more shots from my week in Cambria.

Cambria CoastBoardwalk on Moonlight Beach Vineyard Houses Little Sur Inn Sunrise Furry friend Surfers Boardwalk2 Houses 2


You Know How I Feel

This is the perfect metaphor for the writer I dream of being (I wish I were?). I bow down to young Carly Rose’s perfect mix of innocence, talent, confidence, and old soulfulness. Here is hoping she’ll hang on to this amazing spirit forever and won’t listen to those who will invariably come out of the woodwork and will try to project their own bitterness on her.


This Girl Is On Fire

The latest addition to my Karina Vega play list…


The Kindness Of Strangers And Friends In Need

Two days.

That’s how long it took for Healers to make it to #4 on the Kindle Science Fiction High-Tech list, #22 on the Kindle Science Fiction list, and #432 on the overall Kindle free list (from #390,000ish the previous day).

Healers entered a five-day free promotion on Friday at 00:00. I had hoped the free promotion would get the book a little closer to the surface, because a book ranked in the 390,000s technically doesn’t exist (I can attest to that, as I couldn’t find my book in search results on Amazon, including when I searched for “Healers” specifically–no kidding). And when you hope to someday make a living as a “real” author, that can be a little disheartening. Though, in all fairness, I didn’t make any significant efforts to market Healers — and I’m still not, as I’d like the full Carpe Terram Trilogy to be on the market before I give marketing a real shot.

So imagine my surprise when I woke up on Friday to find my book had climbed the ranks over night to make it to #19 on the Science Fiction / High Tech list and #3,384 on the overall Kindle free list. I had a flight to catch that morning and I almost missed it because I couldn’t un-glue myself from my computer screen. By the time I made it to my hotel in Salt Lake City in the afternoon, the book had climbed further, and by Saturday morning it made it to the numbers I shared in the first paragraph.

So what happened?

Well, the first happening was the lovely editor at Free Ebooks Daily, who agreed to feature Healers on her Friday free list after I submitted it on the site. No charge, no begging. She responded shortly after I submitted the book and told me she was going to run the book on Friday.

She is the kind stranger in the title. I’m always amazed at all the angels scattered around the world who help others out of sheer kindness, or conviction, or desire to make a difference. Sharrel — and others like her — helps authors spread word about their books, and readers learn about new authors. For me that’s an angel.

As for friends, there’s no better way to determine who is one than to be in the vulnerable position of asking them to support your dream. It’s not a “can you take care of my dog for the weekend” or “can you give me a lift to the airport?” It’s a “I need you to market my work regardless of what you think of it.” But I’m lucky to have some great friends. All the ones I was counting on shared my book with their networks right away, and were excited to do it too. My amazing friend Jeff actually took the time to create a banner for my book on his heavily-trafficked music site, and asked his audience to download the book. I was moved to tears.

All of this resulted in my book breaking the top 25 on the Science Fiction free Kindle list. A-MA-ZING.

The book started sliding today, but only a couple of spots. I imagine it will continue to slide, unless the hundreds of readers who downloaded the book read it, like it, and tell their friends. I guess I’ll just wait and see. Or better yet, I’ll keep working on Rebels, the second Carpe Terram installment,  and let everything else work itself out.

Thank you for the support!


Free, In More Ways Than One

Healers is free. Free because it’s published. Free because my thoughts ran wild in it. Free because it’s on a free market. And FREE for the next five days on Amazon.

Please do me a huge kindness of great karmic consequence: download Healers. You may end up liking it, or it may not be your cup of tea (or, dare I say it, you may end up really disliking… though I hope it won’t come to that).

But you’ve got nothing to lose, literally, because it’s FREE! So hit that download button, I’ll be forever grateful and will pay it forward to all struggling writers with books on promotion. 🙂

http://bit.ly/HealersFREE



Meet Karina Vega

She saves lives and then jumps off buildings. She’s a rock on the outside yet plagued by secret insecurities. She’s beautiful but she doesn’t really know it. She wants to be loved but she won’t allow it to happen.

And she thinks she’s reached the peak of her existence at the age of thirty.

But the Universe has other plans for Karina Vega. Bigger, bolder plans, that will turn her life upside down in a matter of seconds. It’s nothing supernatural, mind you. No lightning flash, no witch’s curse, no alien intervention. It’s just science; a gene she’s always carried finally comes into play. And now she’s able to perform miracles outside the operating room. Miracles that put her in danger’s way, make her question her sanity, and push her heart’s limits.

Genetics favor some and punish others. Karina Vega still doesn’t know which end of the stick she’s got. But she’s willing to find out.

And Nicolas Aragon is willing to teach her. If only he could do it on his terms. But even he cannot control the wheel of destiny. And when destiny brings Peter King to Karina’s proverbial doorstep, there’s just so much Nicolas can do to stop its plan. And so their journey begins. Tanzania, India, China, Cuba, and beyond. At each step another decision, another lesson, another piece of the puzzle.

But ultimately, it boils down to this: Karina Vega saves other people’s lives. Now she needs to decide if her own life is worth saving. But why save it, if the only option she’ll have is to give it right back to the world?

Karina Vega is the heroine of Healers, the first installment in the Carpe Terram Trilogy. Healers will be available as a free download on Amazon between Friday, August 24, and Tuesday August 28. Please download it and give it a shot!


Machine Gun Preacher

I just finished watching “Machine Gun Preacher,” a movie in which Gerard Butler portrays Sam Childers, a man who turned his life around and is now running a charity in Sudan and Uganda.

A few thoughts:

– Devastating. What’s happening in the African war zones comes to my mind frequently, but I have to admit that at times it all becomes a little bit of a philosophical concept than an on-the-ground reality. Movies and documentaries are good reminders to keep the reality top of mind.

– I wish it didn’t take movies to remind us of these atrocities, but I’m grateful that they exist and someone realizes the importance of making them.

– It’s hard not to feel guilty; I try to remind myself that feeling guilty doesn’t solve the problem. And that compassion is completely different than guilt. So I donate what I can, and I hope that one of these days I’ll be able to get involved in more significant ways.

– It’s also hard not to feel disgusted by everything that’s happening around you, by all the trivial pursuits and petty complaints; unlike guilt, I wish everyone realized how few things in this life, in this world, truly matter, and we all started behaving more like human beings and less like rabid wolves. I know I engage in stupid, petty things all the time, especially during my work day. I’ll make a much more conscious effort to not do that anymore and this time I won’t need another movie to remind me of what really matters.

– What an amazing spirit Sam Childers seems to possess. What he’s doing is outstanding. And I bet that the reality is a lot more harrowing than even the movie portrayed. It also turns the idea of individual transformation on its head and provides an example of how one person living on the fringe of humanity, where little hope ever exists, can end up changing and making a massive difference in the world if they put their mind to it.

– I hope that Carpe Terram will someday become a beacon of life for those in need. I realized that what I described in Healers is much too timid. I am going to be a lot bolder in Rebels, and make sure the message of freedom and food for all is much clearer and more vividly illustrated (even if it’s still fiction).

– Everyone should watch this movie. Because I think collectively we can make a difference, even if it is simply by donating. Everyone can make a difference if they want to.

You can find the Machine Gun Preacher site here. You can donate to their charity here. And this is the movie trailer:

 

 

Carpe Terram!

Kai


Imagine A World

This reminded me of the message in Healers… (Especially the final words: Do Epic Sh*t :))

(Source: http://www.highexistence.com/images/view/imagine-a-world/)


World Map of Hunger



Dreams

I have a lot of dreams. I don’t mean the figurative kind–of which I also have plenty–but the literal kind, that come at night. I have a lot of nightmares too, depending on the day. And I find them all fascinating.

The things our minds can conjure up are nothing short of extraordinary. We bring together details that our conscious mind would never think of. We build worlds that reveal to us what we’re afraid of and what we yearn for. (That’s why I thought Inception was a really smart movie.) And we have the most vivid feelings possible. At least for me, there are feelings I get in my unconscious journeys that stick with me for days, sometimes weeks. I even have a few that have stuck with me for years and I can still remember instantly.

Karina Vega, the heroine in Healers, has a dream that’s been haunting her for years. A dream without an ending. The ending will come when she’s ready (and I won’t tell you when that is, you’ll have to read the book). Here is the dream that always leaves her anxious:

I am tiny, maybe four years old. I come out of the mansion and walk toward the vineyard, the green, damp grass tickling my bare feet. I see Grandpa Demetrio inspecting the vines with his friend Anton. If the rain doesn’t come soon, this crop is gone. We’ll have a hard time this fall. The fruit won’t be rich enough for a new Puertas vintage. If we settle for a cheaper blend and bring in grapes from the outside it will be hard to do any business; we’ll lose this year’s contracts. I can feel the sadness in my Grandpa’s voice. This vineyard is his life and legacy, the keeper of his dreams. Why wouldn’t rain come if he needs it? I lift my arms to the sky, look up at the snowy peaks, and think of big drops of fresh water pouring down and drenching everything and everyone. I remember the times when my older brother Jorge and I would run around in the rain, laughing and jumping in all the puddles. My grandparents would watch us from the porch, smiling, their love surrounding us like a bubble of warm light. Thunder and massive clouds break over the land. Somewhere between imagination and reality, the rain comes pouring down. My grandpa throws his hat high in the air and starts cheering. He turns around, sees me standing there with my arms lifted to the sky, and runs toward me, the happiest I’ve ever seen him. He twirls me in his arms and says… Nothing.


The World’s Greatest Solvable Problem

Nobody on this Earth should die of hunger. I think we have enough for all. If only we were willing to share…


Love The Light

One of the messages in Healers is a universal one that has been expressed in countless ways already: life can change in a second, and if you’re not paying attention, you may realize too late that what you had was already what you were looking for. Our heroine, Karina Vega, is faced with such a realization at a crucial time in her life:

(…) The light above resembled natural sunlight, which, after the weeks Karina had spent in her prison, was the most beautiful thing she had seen in her life. It dawned on her then that what she had thought was a cage only a few months before, was the whole wide world lying at her feet. And she had always taken the light of the shining sun for granted. (…)

If you were to ask yourself right now, “am I happy with what I have?,” what would be your answer? And if you lost what you have right now, how would you feel?

I know I have to make a conscious effort to always be grateful for everything I have. Forgetting who you really are, and what’s really important, is the easiest thing in the world.


Carpe Terram

Welcome to my blog! This is where I’ll be sharing musings on writing, the world, and everything in between. I hope you’ll consider sharing your thoughts!

Kai