Tag Archives: novel

DAD’S MESSAGE TO ME 38 YEARS AFTER HIS DEATH

With Father’s Day 2018 approaching, it is natural for many of us to think about our dads. Some of us only have cherished memories of days long gone, and others are blessed to still have the opportunity to visit and/or talk to their dads on earth.

I happen to fall into the category of having fond memories of my dad from long, long ago, so I want to share a true story about a message I received last week—thirty-eight years after his death in 1980.

Before I share the story, I have a simple question. Do you believe in God-winks—those surreal situations where you experience something akin to divine intervention?

Some folks tend to brush-off such situations as mere coincidences, but if you’re a person of faith, you probably understand how special God-winks can be. I certainly do because I’ve experienced them—many times in recent years. I feel sure some of you have also had such experiences

For those who do not believe in God or God-winks, please keep reading before your close your mind completely to the possibility that God-winks may be far more than mere happenstances.

+++++ The Story +++++

I was twenty-seven when my father had his first heart attack and could no longer work—he was forty-nine. Unable to exert himself physically, he started tinkering with lightweight metal sheeting—copper, tin, etc. in his workshop.

After Dad’s fourth heart attack in 1980, God called him home to the big workshop in the sky. Dad was fifty-four-years young.

I struggled to understand why God called Dad home at such a young age. Dad had so much more goodness to give others. I prayed many times for God to help me understand, but all I received was silence. I soon became frustrated—one might even say angry, which severely challenged my faith. The big unanswered “WHY?” question clouded my sense of being for many years.

A few months after Dad’s funeral, my mother asked me to get rid of things in Dad’s workshop. The task proved to be more emotionally difficult than I could have ever imagined. Still in a state of numbness from Dad’s passing, I packed items in a few boxes and gave some to family and friends.

I kept a few of Dad’s tools only to have them stolen in 2005 when some “kindhearted soul” stole my truck with Dad’s tools on-board. Those tools held many memories, and every time I used one, I thought of Dad and smiled.

Now, fast-forward to 2011—the year I felt the “call” to write my first novel, If Tigers Were Angels: With God All Things Are Possible. Trust me when I say, I had never in my life had any desire to write a manuscript, let alone publish a book. However, “something” kept prodding me to write the story. I tried to ignore this strange “calling” only to find myself involuntarily pounding away on the keyboard one evening. The rest is history as new ideas kept popping into my head and I couldn’t stop writing, even though I had no idea where the story was going—something was leading my thoughts from one chapter to the next.

The result of this mysterious joint effort produced a story about a middle-aged man who received messages from God through an unlikely source—a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. If you care to get a better understanding of the story, please go to the Amazon.com “Look inside” feature about the book.

In the last chapter of my novel, I describe an actual encounter I had with a real Tiger Swallowtail when I suffered writer’s block in the middle of writing the story. It was one of the most surreal moments in my life to that point. The book’s cover photo is the actual Tiger that appeared that day. My experience is one I hope I never forget.

In late May 2018, I started cleaning out my garage. A task long overdue, but in the process, I found a box marked Dad’s Stuff. The box had remained closed since 1980 and I had no idea what was inside. I hesitated to open the box for fear of revisiting some sad times. However, I felt compelled to open it—pushed, as if some force was urging me to break the seal.

The first item I saw in the box was a copper figure of a Tiger Swallowtail perched on a leaf (see photo). My eyes quickly swelled with moisture as I thought of Dad having made the Tiger. I wondered if Dad had received messages from a Tiger after his heart attacks. Could it be that the “call” I sensed to write my novel came from Dad? Could Dad have made the Tiger to convey a special message to me thirty-eight years later? Could Dad’s copper Tiger be a “God-wink” moment for me?

The naysayers of the world will likely say it was a silly coincidence and I’m a fool to think otherwise, but I believe that’s wrong. I have no doubts it was a special moment of divine intervention and ranks as the most surreal moment in my life. I’m feeling blessed to have discovered Dad’s special gift and understand his message of inspiration.

My only regret is it took me so long to find Dad’s gift that was literally right under my nose for years. After struggling for thirty-eight years to understand the answer to my “Why?” question about Dad’s early departure, I am finally at peace. I sincerely believe God used Dad’s copper Tiger as a messenger to tell me who guided me through the writing of my novel—it was Dad. It’s nice to know you’re still watching over me. Thank you for your guidance, wisdom, caring, and love!

Happy Father’s Day, Dad, and to all who are blessed to wear the title—FATHER.

+++++ The End +++++

If you have been kind enough to follow my blog, aTimeinLife, I am truly thankful for your support. I hope you have found the blog’s content inspirational, motivational, and heartwarming—maybe even interesting. If you’re not following my blog, I invite you to signup—it’s free!

Blessings to all…

Tom Tatum – Author – 2018

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

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AUTHOR! AUTHOR! BOOK EVENT

Come join me for some conversation, storytelling and meet the authors at the same time. Looking forward to seeing you there.

If you can’t make it to the book signing, look inside the books on Amazon at:

http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Your comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

Blessings to you and thank you for your support.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor  LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

Writers – Authors – Readers

NovelsJourneyWeb

As an engineer in my past life, I did what engineers do—made a “symbolic” graph to convey what an author faces when writing a novel. Albeit crude in appearance, the graphic presents the “hill” of a novel’s journey.

There are five general categories involved: 1) story idea, 2) writing the manuscript, 3) publishing the book, 4) marketing the book, and 5) engaging readers. Each category is a topic unto itself and deserves a more detailed discussion than can be provided here.

Writers and readers obviously view a novel’s journey from two different perspectives. Per the graphic, writers look up the steep hill they must climb and readers peer down, anxiously awaiting for the next boulder to arrive. Writers want readers to read and readers want writers to write. When the two get together, there is a meeting of the minds. The writer exposes his/her soul to the world and the reader has an unfiltered view of it all. In a perfect world, a sense of satisfaction would ensue and both would be happy campers as the sheer joy of the moment engulfed them. Well, maybe not exactly that much euphoria, but at least there would be two people wearing smiles for different reasons.

When the idea “light bulb” for a story begins to glow, a writer wants to develop the thought in hopes of turning it into a brilliant manuscript and an engaging novel. That’s wonderful! Wish nothing but the very best for every author who takes the plunge, or better yet, the journey up the hill. However, before you begin pecking away on the keyboard, you should know a few things about what’s ahead of you. The journey from idea-to-novel is not as easy as you may think.

If you are a veteran author, you have been there before. You have the scars of a battle-tested writer and know what to expect. Carry on, but consider helping the soon-to-be author when they ask questions. Your experiences could help a fellow warrior-of-words with the boulder they are about to push up the hill.

A soon-to-be author would be wise to do lots of research in advance to help prepare for what is to come before turning that glowing idea into his/her first manuscript. A good way to do this is to join some author/reader groups and ask “seasoned” authors/readers questions about their experiences. Then listen carefully to what they tell you. Many veteran authors are more than willing to offer advice that could help you tremendously. Those who aren’t, well, to put it nicely, they have probably simply forgotten they were once a soon-to-be author seeking advice. Taking time to ask questions will definitely be well worth your effort, even if some of the “veteran-minds” snub you. Just have thick skin and a short memory when asking the questions. Those veterans who do help will allow you to survey the landscape/terrain along the path ahead of you. As the graph indicates, it’s not a smooth, flat road to travel. In fact, it becomes steeper and more difficult the closer you get to putting your book in the hands of readers.

The path gets steeper at each category, which makes your boulder harder to push as you continue the journey. Each milestone becomes increasingly more difficult, but not impossible because you should already know what to expect. You listened to the insights of some friendly veterans who armed you with valuable knowledge about the process. Take things one-step at a time, stay focused on your objective, and don’t let surprises overwhelm you—there will be many. You’re not the first person to experience the frustrations of the journey, nor will you be the last. Just think; you will soon be an author who can help other soon-to-be authors push their boulders up the hill. At that point, you can smile because you know the hurdles they will be experiencing.

Okay readers, now it’s your turn. You like to read. You like to read good stories in different genres. You spend several hours with a novel and you’re done. It’s finished. You either enjoyed the read or didn’t, but regardless, you’re ready to move on to the next novel. Before you do, think about the arduous journey experienced by the author to get the novel into your hands.

The author labored for hundreds-plus hours creating the content/format that you read in just a few hours. As you can see, the author’s journey from idea to placing the novel in your hands isn’t easy. As a reader, you hold an author’s fate in your hands—literally and figuratively. You want to read more, but the author must want to write more to enable you to do that. It’s a two-way relationship.

You, as a reader, can help authors by writing an “honest” customer review for each book you read. It’s not hard and doesn’t take long to accomplish. Let authors and other readers know your thoughts about the plot, characters, structure, and the story. If you didn’t like it, say why in a constructive manner. Authors can learn things from your reviews and become better writers. If you liked it, say that as well. It will encourage authors to write more, which gives readers more and better novels to read. That should bring smiles to all. Right?

Hope this information helps authors and readers understand the journey of a novel a bit better. Authors keep writing and improving your skills. Readers keep reading and giving those important reader reviews. Working together will help make all novels even better.

If you’re reading this sentence, I thank you for your valuable time. Enjoy the rest of your day. Go write or read another book.

Tom Tatum – Author

Please join me at the following locations:

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor  LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

Website: http://www.IfTigersWereAngels.com

AND THE EDITOR SAID…

I received the following comment from the editor who worked on my manuscript ON GREEN DIAMONDS: PURSUING A DREAM. The editor did not have to send the comments to me, nor did he/she receive additional compensation for doing so. Yes, the editor also made some helpful suggestions that enhanced the story, which were incorporated into the published novel. Nice to work with someone who appreciates the content of a story and is willing to share their thoughts! Feeling blessed!

++++++

Editor

“The manuscript was a joy to read and it warmed the heart. The straightforward way of telling the story was great, and it was pretty much on point—some stories go into tangents, but this one never does, so the narrative felt solid throughout. It was well written and easy to read, qualities which are always a plus. Thank you for sharing this story. I enjoyed it very much. All the best!”

++++++

ON GREEN DIAMONDS FRONT

Unfortunately, due to my publisher’s internal policies, I cannot reveal the name of the editor who shared the comments without getting him/her reprimanded. However, the manuscript is now a published novel and is available for purchase from the majority of online bookstores. Get a copy and see if the editor got it right. The book comes in paperback, hardback, and eBook formats.

As always, I thank you for your support—enjoy the story. Please don’t forget to share your honest comments!

Blessings,

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels