Category Archives: Writing

Sale of Newly Updated Version of “Four in the Garden”

Four in the Garden is newly updated. This week and next, the second edition of Four in the Garden is on sale in all the online stores. I spent a year revising Four in the Garden, applying what I have learned about writing in the last few years and adjusting the story based on feedback I’ve received. I added two new chapters, also. The e-book sale price is $0.99 and the paperback sale price is $7.99. The sale ends August 26th. If you have any friends who you think might be interested, please let them know about the sale. Thanks.

Here are the Amazon links:
Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0991557700/
E-book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00POGV5F4

On August 27th, the e-book price returns to $4.99. The paperback price returns to $14.99 on September 1st.

Guest Columnist For Local Paper

The Martinez Tribune

In October, I started my free subscription system for people who wanted to read my inspirational articles. In November, I contacted my local paper, The Martinez Tribune, about submitting these articles for their Faith section. After reading some sample articles, they were delighted to publish them. Since then, I have been writing a new article for the paper each month as a guest contributor. You can read them at https://martineztribune.com/category/life/faith/. These same articles can be downloaded at http://www.rickhocker.com/articles.html. My intent is to write about topics of faith in a style that is practical and accessible.

Subscriptions

If you wish to subscribe to receive these articles, you can do so at http://www.rickhocker.com/subscribe.html.

Character Names in Four in the Garden

Most people don’t know that I renamed the Teachers in Four in the Garden many times. In my first draft, they were named Initiator, Fulfiller and Enabler. Those names didn’t work for me and every subsequent set of names didn’t work, either. I devoted a lot of time to figure out the best names for them.

Ennoia, who is the mind of God, was chosen because it is a Greek word meaning “mind.” The word also means thought, understanding, will, intention, and purpose.

The Teacher, Manna, expresses the words of God. The name refers to manna from heaven, which symbolizes spiritual nourishment from God. Mana is a Japanese name that means truth or love. Mana is also a Polynesian word that describes the supernatural force found in and flowing from all things.

Aable is the power of God and performs the works of God. Abel or Able is a Hebrew name that means breath. Breath and spirit are implied by this name. Aable is a variation of able, which means capable.

The name Cherished for the protagonist came to me from the very first draft. The name fit and stuck throughout the entire revision process. I never had reason to question it.

Illuminos, the fallen angel, started out as Luminous. Adding “ill” to the beginning gave the name a slightly sinister cast. Both names are based on the Latin word lumen, which means light. The Bible mentions that the devil can masquerade as an angel of light.

The name, Radiance, was chosen for the good angel because she is all about light. She has the ability to project God’s light into a scene and to focus it into narrow beams at a target.

Blaze, the most complicated character, was chosen because I wanted a word that had to do with fire, his obsession. His name needed convey something out of control. His favorite phrase, “Conflagration!” also conveys an out of control fire.

Four in the Garden is Making an Impact

The feedback I have received from readers has been encouraging. For many, Four in the Garden has reaffirmed their belief in God’s love. Most everyone has said that they want to read it again and take notes or highlight favorite sentences. Some have ordered additional copies to give away to friends or family. One couple ordered eight more books after reading it. They are my biggest fans and promote the book wherever they go.

One lady ordered a book when she became intrigued with her husband’s comments about it. One day into reading her own copy, she called me to say she found it fascinating and to request five more books. She admitted that she had read only one book since college. I was amazed that the book had that much appeal to her. She finished it in a few days. She and her husband have purchased a total of thirteen books, the largest number so far.

A Solitary Adam, without Eve

One of the most dramatic detours from the Garden of Eden story is that Four in the Garden explores the relationship between one person and God. In the Garden of Eden story, God created a companion for Adam because none of the animals proved to be a suitable companion for him. In the book, Four in the Garden, Creator chose to not create a companion for Cherished because He wanted nothing to distract from their relationship. That relationship is the focus of the story and that’s why I made the decision that Cherished would not have a companion or even a pet. So many things distract us from our relationship with God and yet that relationship is so important to God.

What is an Umbilicus?

In the story, Four in the Garden, the umbilicus is presented as a unique connection to God, a channel through which God’s life flows into us. Spiritual abundance is often compared to a well or fountain that overflows and spills out from within. The dictionary definition of umbilicus is “center” and this makes sense, since it is our inward center where God intersects us and fills us with His spiritual nourishment. God fills us from the inside out, not the other way around. The umbilicus is our spiritual connection to God and to the abundant, divine life that He brings to our souls.

Books at last!

The first shipment of books got delivered a few minutes ago. I just sent a mass email to friends and family to let them know the book is available. So this must mean that I am a published author. Wow.

It’s Out of My Hands Now

Today, I submitted my files to the printer. Like anything creative, the work is never complete; it can always be improved. But there comes a time when the painter must put down his brush to signal that the piece is finished. Finished is not the the same as complete, which implies that nothing is lacking. Since my last blog post, two proofreaders read my manuscript for errors. During this time, I reread it and made a surprising number of changes, including the addition of a final chapter.

In the days before self-publishing, the author would hand the manuscript to the publisher. In my case, I uploaded my text and cover and clicked on a button. The action had as much fanfare as submitting my taxes electronically. Not the sort of thrill to mark the culmination of seven years of work. I do feel accomplished and excited for the future, wondering how well the book will sell. When I hold a printed book in my hand, then I will have something tangible to testify to my labor and my excitement will peak and I will celebrate. But I will rest on my laurels for only a moment because there is more to be done. I must begin marketing my book. I plan to create discussion questions for my book as a downloadable PDF file. And I already have a concept for my next book, which I am eager to start working on.

Why the book?

In February 2007, I had a dream. I dreamt that I was sitting in a college religion class. The class was discussing a book that presented a world where God had created only one person. The story described the growing relationship between this person and God. When I awoke, I concluded that God wanted me to write this story, believing that it had not yet been told. I started writing later that year, beginning with a chapter in the middle of the book. It didn’t take me long to discover that I didn’t know how to write a book. In September 2009, I found a writer’s workshop that I have been attending ever since. My writing teacher, Sue Clark, is brilliant and I have learned so much from her. With her help and thirteen revisions later, I finished my manuscript on February 7th of this year. Over time, the book gained a life of its own and took me places I didn’t expect to go. I take that as a good sign and hope that the journey for the reader will be as rewarding as it has been for me.