Veteran’s Day is only days away. It is also the day I officially released True Surrender (my own story about a wounded veteran) two years ago – a date I specifically picked because of its significance.
This time of year I devote time to reading about real-life soldiers and wounded warriors (obviously a subject of interest to me, since I write about military soldiers, wounded veterans and PTSD). In recent weeks I’ve finished Paradise General by Dr. Dave Hnida and Battle Ready by Mark L. Donald (and I’m currently reading On Call in Hell by Dr. Richard Jadick).
It is Mark’s story I found myself thinking about when I started writing this blog post.
Mark was an ordinary kid growing up poor with an alcoholic father, looking for a way out of his rough neighborhood, when he enlisted first in the Marines, and then the Navy to train as a SEAL and a medic. He truly made something of himself.
Not to say that his journey was direct and easy. As with anything that shows the true courage and character of a person, he was tested mightily.
He spent several chapters describing in detail a pivotal event – the event that likely laid the foundation for his later struggles with PTSD. He talked about friends and colleagues who didn’t make it home, and two friends in particular that he felt he had “failed” to save in his role as a medic.
Yet there were two “forces” in his life that saved him: his mother and his faith.
And the two are closely intertwined.
His mother was a force of nature all in herself; her support for Mark was unlimited, the kind of ‘ferocious love’ mother I think we all wish we had (he says of her: “she had a direct line to God.”). There’s a scene in the book when Mark is at the lowest point in his struggle with PTSD, and out of the blue, she calls. Finally (finally) he admits that he needs help. And she says, “I know, Mijo, that’s why I called you.” It’s a story that shows true humanity, the vulnerability that exists deep inside each of us, as well as the unexpected gifts that appear in our lives when we least expect them.
Which leads me to faith. Mark’s mom was dealt a tough hand, yet her faith seemed unshakeable, and in the end, Mark has his own realization about his faith: “A belief in mankind wasn’t strong enough to hold it together… Without a resilient foundation the bricks came tumbling down.” We can’t put all our belief into ourselves or other human beings; we are all fallible and at some point, we will disappoint even those we love the most.
I often have my characters grapple with faith, especially in True Surrender, the story of an amputee veteran who returns home to find that he has yet to face his biggest battle: the battle within himself.
Faith and sensuality (and even sex outside of marriage) exist side-by-side in my novels. My avid readers are those who appreciate that these co-exist in our own lives; who hasn’t questioned their faith in the darkest times of our own lives? Why should a character in a novel be any different?
Which leads me to a special offer.
I want more people to experience the story of Major Aaron Bricewick in True Surrender. How low a person can go, as well as how the presence of a special person in their life can help them find their own triumph of spirit. (Is it too much to hope that a real-life wounded veteran might be inspired to explore faith him- or herself?)
For a limited time, I am offering True Surrender for just 99 cents. Click here to see how to get your download code and instructions. Hurry – offer only good through November 12!