Saturday, June 29, 2013


Having made the choice to go by my first initial since the age of 17, I have been "D" for so long that I've almost forgotten the sound of my given name. For writing purposes, however, I became "DL," and I was just toying with the idea of asking people to call me "DL" rather than "D." This thought led to a train of thoughts that now has me giggling.

When I write out my name (for instance, on a name tag), I write "Dee" rather than "D" so that people will know how to pronounce it. So if I want people to call me "DL," I'll probably have to spell it Dee-El (since Deel is just begging for trouble).

This implies a relationship to the famous -El clan of comic books and movies. Those of you who are into that sort of thing probably saw the connection before I mentioned it. For the rest of you, a little visual aid:

Kal-El, son of Jor-El (from Man of Steel)

Does that make me a "super"?
Maybe I should just stick with Dee.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Qayah Qlalah and Q---!!!

A few years back, one of my colleagues agreed to help me with a revision to a story that is now being released as Talmid. She commented that some of my expletives sounded too modern and suggested I find some good first-century Aramaic cuss words to replace them. I enjoy a challenge, so I attempted to find a few.

Tonight, thanks to the gremlin that has decided to move into my laptop, I have been using those words. Not in the novel—in my living room. Good thing there's no one else in the apartment tonight. (The snakes don't count since they don't understand Aramaic.) Been trying all week to upload book two of Talmid to the publisher, but my proofs keep coming back with blank pages interspersed randomly throughout the novel. That's a distinct improvement over last week when the proofs were  forty pages short, but it's still making me want to utter deletable expletives.

One of the fun things about Aramaic cuss words is that they all seem to start with the letter Q. At least, all the ones I use in my novels start with Q. I find them a refreshing alternative to English cuss words. You know the ones I mean. There's the A-word, the B-word, the C-word, the D-word...and of course the ever-increasingly-popular F-word. But English doesn't seem to have a Q-word.
Side note: Ten years ago I was babysitting a friend's first-grader and he wanted to watch a certain TV program, but I didn't think it was age appropriate so I wouldn't let him watch it. He confessed that his mom wouldn't let him watch it either, "because they use the S-word and the E-word." If you are baffled, don't feel bad. I spent hours trying to figure out the E-word. Later I asked his mother and she told me the E-word is "idiot." (He was raised in Miami.)
Anyway, some people might object to the fact that the characters in my novels cuss. My philosophy is simple: except for Yeshua, every character sins, because every character is human. Sometimes this means they say naughty things. If I were writing for children, my characters would use the E-word, but since I am writing for adults, they use the Q-words. On occasion, they use select English cuss words (usually the D-word or the S-word but never the F-word). They also use Biblical allusions. My personal favorites: "Balaam's ass!" (Katan, Brothers) and "Job's boils!" (Yochanan, The Voice). The Q-words are particularly useful because they allow my characters to lose their tempers without too greatly offending my readers.

An unfortunate side-effect of my discovery of the Q-words is that I have become aware of ironic homonyms and sometimes giggle inappropriately...for example, when someone refers to "men's cologne" I cannot keep a straight face.

Disclaimer: If I have offended you with this post, I am extremely sorry. I've been up 'way too late trying to finish the revision and I am getting a little punchy. But like my characters, I am a human being and sometimes I say naughty things, especially when I've been immersing myself in a character who is going through a naughty phase, such as Yuannan goes through in Talmid: Bread. (He is very naughty in this book, I am sad to say, but the Holy Spirit will straighten him out eventually.)

Monday, June 10, 2013

She's Baaack

In 2012 and 2013 I've broken just about every rule of blogging. Consistency? Fresh content? Not gonna happen. That's why my masthead warns that I might periodically drop off the face of the (virtual) earth. While I hate to disappoint any loyal readers I may have, I don't feel too guilty about this. Face it, I am not trying to build The Huffington Post here. I'm just sharing my thoughts in between books, but for the past year the only thoughts going through my head have sounded something like this:
I have a paper due for Missional Anthropology in three days and I still haven't finished reading The Diffusion of Gospel Music in Postmodern Denmark. I'd better get busy.
My group project for Dr. Smith's class is due tomorrow and I can't find the video adapter for my Mac. It's not in my laptop case, it's not in my office, it's not at the church, it's not in the car, it's not in the pantry... I can't find my video adapter and it cost $23.95 and I can't afford another one and the group project is due tomorrow...
Okay, according to iCal, today I am leading a kayak trip from 8am-2pm, working at International Space Camp from 3pm-9pm, and writing the paper for Dr. Russell's class that's due before midnight. Easy day.
Something smells funny. Did the snake poop on his heating pad again?
So you will forgive me (I hope) for not keeping my blog consistent and fresh. I didn't really think this was the sort of stuff people would want to read. (Maybe I'm wrong. If so, let me know and I will start posting copies of my school assignments.)

I did have one week off between spring term and summer term, and during that week I completed a rewrite of the first part of my first novel, which has been in revision off and on since 1997. It was 'way too long, so I decided to emulate one of my heroes, J.R.R. Tolkien, who was obviously a better writer than I am (that's why he had THREE initials and I merely have two), and publish the story as a trilogy. For those unacquainted with the reason The Lord of the Rings was published as a trilogy, it has to do with the paper shortage in England following WWII. As far as I know, there is no paper shortage in the USA at the moment, but thick books are expensive books so shorter books are easier to sell to publishers. You will have to wait for parts two and three, however, because I am still revising them.

I do want to take a moment to thank everyone who has bought one (or more) of my books this year. Thanks to you, I was able to pay my rent last week instead of getting evicted. This is always a good thing, since our nation has more than enough homeless people and I don't want to add to the problem. So keep telling your friends about my books! There are links at the top of the page that will take you directly to the publisher of the paperback versions, and you can follow the link to my Amazon page to buy digital copies. (Save paper, save money.)