Hope in Hopelessness

A lot of my narratives deal with protagonists in extreme or seemingly hopeless situations. I’ve been told by some that my narratives have perhaps dour sensibilities, and lean towards darker adventures and struggles for their heroes. The thing about the thing, as I like to say, is that while some of my narratives for older readers certainly fall into the “dark fantasy” genre, I prefer to view them as “Psalm 23 narratives”.

Psalm 23’s arguably most famous line comes from verse 4; “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” I really like how verse 5 goes on to say “thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.”

The purpose of narratives like “Kill All Christians” and “Tribus Dulce” as well as several completed but not yet released novels is to take heroes who are in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death, or as John 1:23 says, “John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'"

Personally, I have no use for a narrative that goes “Life is horrible and it sucks and then you die THE END”; dark for the sake of dark, dour for the sake of dour, controversial for the sake of edgy, to me personally, is fairly worthless. There is something to be said for comprehending the dark of the world; I take no umbrage with a narrative that leaves us with “unless”. Even a narrative such as the Korean crime/martial arts drama Old Boy (if you’re reading this and you’re not reasonably aged do not take this sentence as an endorsement to go watch this film; it is very adult and not for everyone) that weaves a Shakespearian tale of darkness, human wretchedness and an ending that ought to make you sick to your stomach had a purpose in so doing.

My issue is with a narrative that goes “How sad/hopeless/upset can I make you feel for the next thirteen hours of your life?”

The goal in my narratives is never to weave hopelessness, it is to illuminate the darkness we navigate and the dangers of leaving individuals to cope with despair on their own. It is to highlight the entropy we must combat and to offer a guiding light from utter chaos to hope and joy. It is to comprehend that in this life there will be troubles, and to offer a Godly way through them and to hope at the end.

I never feel a need to lampshade or shy away from who and what my characters are, or what their trials and journeys will be. If I have to trick you into buying my book I’m not an artist unless I agree to put the word “con” in front of that label. To that end, in the first chapter of upcoming novel “In Defense of the Heart”, you already know you’re dealing with a modern day temple knight at the edge of his limits trying to find a reason to hold on to his faith, you already know he’s going to be interacting with a gay couple with questions regarding their beliefs and their lifestyles, you already know he’s got a lesbian younger sister trying to comprehend her orientation with regard to her faith, you already know he’s got a lover on the opposite side of the battlefield, that the long reaching effects of abuse and deception will be explored through multiple protagonists, and that the primary lead has comrades all but betting on when he’s going to tip over the edge himself.

Our Lucas Lane, as well as secondary protagonist Jeddah Rinzler, has quite a lot to deal with, but we’re going to watch them struggle through and against that darkness and find their way to the light at the end. And, while I’m not going to pretend that you’re all going to like where each character decides they’ve got to go with their lives, while you may be pissed about how the narrative ends for certain characters, while you may be triggered or charged or whatever other buzzword you’d like to utilize, if nothing else I grant you this:

You will see protagonists struggle through complicated, messy and at times heartrending circumstances, you will see them stumble, you will see them question, you will see them falter, but in the end you will be left with a path to hope, restoration, and the peace that comes from comprehending that you may be wandering through the valley of the shadow of death, but on the other side?

Joy can, and will, come in the morning. So it is with Moon and Fox in “Kill All Christians”, a dark fantasy/mystery/sword epic that will explore depredation, abuse, entropy, but will also constantly move towards growth, redemption, healing and hope. So it is with “Tribus Dulce”, a low key super hero drama that will explore protagonists dealing with toxic masculinity, domestic abuse, societal pressures, as well as good old fashioned super power battles, but also charts and then navigates a path to healing, forgiveness and self-worth.

So it is that my promise to you with every Dragon House Studios narrative, whether you read my more light all ages novel “Nora and the Eternal Waterwheel” and upcoming all ages novel “Farewell, Dreamers”, my young adult paranormal romance/action drama “Pretty Little Whispers” or my dark fantasy epics “Kill All Christians” and upcoming re-release “Murder the Citizens”, you’ll never pick up a book with the desire to drag you to the depths of despair and leave you there. Instead you’ll pick up a book that says “I can’t help but notice you’re getting kicked while you’re down; take my hand, this sword and shield, and let’s fight our way to the light together.”

God bless you all my wonderful mavericks, and have a wonderful weekend and hereafter.

-Eugene the Author a.k.a. Xeawn Cross a.k.a. Gentleman Raptor