Part 2 of Donkey Sense and of Life

What could symbolically represent the second leg of one’s life better than a brief, medically induced coma out of which you awake reborn, in some way better put back together? I don’t want to bore you with personal details but for me it was hip surgery and weeks later I am walking without great pain and sans a limp.

I believe in both God AND Science and the two are not mutually exclusive here. This recovery represents my second life… my second chance at a happier life.

Sometimes our brains sell us on the objective of becoming something we are not. I used to want to outshock the leading horror novelists of yesterday and today by taking it up a notch. I was good at it, but my mind was in the wrong place. It’s not about disturbing people, even in horror. It’s about inviting them to care, hold their breaths in suspense, and finally smile and share the story with their children or friends. Now I try to make my readers’ already challenging lives a bit more inspired through tales that lead readers to empathize and find joy.

This spiritual change in me began pre-surgery, when I drafted a tale for my mother who wouldn’t live long enough to read it. She’d always wanted me to write a sweet tale that anyone could read, not horror or bleak science fiction that shocked and disturbed in an, albeit, cautionary way.

Perhaps inspired subliminally by Davey and Goliath and Mister Ed, and definitely by Mark Twain and Bugs Bunny, I researched and wrote Donkey Sense quickly in 2012 and into 2013, receiving months of multi-peer feedback. Fellow novelist and friend Susan Finlay read Donkey Sense online and pointed me toward a small traditional publisher now doing business as Clean Reads Books. My submitted manuscript was sweet enough to be warmly accepted by this publisher whose authors’ material sometimes feeds G-rated Hallmark Channel movies.

Davey-and-Goliath-1

Davey and Goliath

This physical and spiritual reawakening was just the break I needed toward channeling a healthier voice long hidden inside of me and toward telling professional tales in a new genre: Middle grade / tween fiction, or if you prefer tales for children of wonder who are near adulthood.

The remaining big challenge in this second life of mine is to continue to write charming books my mom would be proud of, tales that have realistic conflict and villains, but that still leave us with hope. Because hope should be the focus, balanced with healthy respect for any realistic future threats. I for one have shed that dark and hopeless past of horrors in a metaphysical exorcism disposal bag full of surgical detritus and my extracted bogus hip. Let’s forget it. Let it go. It’s gone. I’ve re-found myself as someone who tells stories that inspire.

I humbly invite you and your family to try Donkey Sense in paperback or e-book. Along with another inspirational animal tale I’m working on, Clean Reads Books and I will have a sequel for your enjoyment in early 2018: It’s called Donkey Sense 2: Saving the Farm.

Donkey Sense, the E-book: Try it for just 99 cents.

Donkey Sense, in Paperback. Own the beautiful paperback edition from Astraea Press, now Clean Reads Books.

Donkey Sense, a Middle-School Novel – Sneak Peak at the Cover

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to share a first look at the cover of my latest novel, “Donkey Sense,” a story for middle-school ages and up.

Donkey Sense takes you into the thoughts and senses of a bullied eleven-year-old boy named Timmy Unterkanz. Already having suffered the death of his father, red-haired Timmy is nicknamed “Shrimpo Underpants” and teased and bullied by kids at school in the new Pennsylvania town where he and his mother have just moved.

Inspired by the yarn-spinning humor of Mark Twain, Donkey Sense is both a Cinderella story and a slice of harsh reality. In the natural world, we don’t have fairy godmothers or wizards to protect us from bullies. However … WINK … once in a while an animal will emerge to soothe, teach and strengthen us. In Donkey Sense, Pedro, the feisty and magical donkey, provides Timmy with a special friend and a guardian angel who can guide him toward spiritual graduation and happiness.

Okay, so here’s the cover, followed by what the back cover might say.

"Donkey Sense" by Dean Lombardo, coming this winter.

“Donkey Sense” by Dean Lombardo, coming this winter.

Hi, again. Now here’s what the back cover might say:

Eleven-year-old Timmy Unterkanz suffers the death of his dad, and then extreme bullying in a new town. Timmy’s in serious trouble – that is, until Pedro steps in. You see, Pedro’s not your ordinary friend and bodyguard. He’s a talking donkey and he’s got a feisty attitude, similar to that of his owner, a former Texas ranch-hand named J.T. Atkins. Pedro and Mr. Atkins teach Timmy the ropes, like how to defend himself when there are no adults around. Timmy also meets Kelly, his eccentric voice of reason and confidence. Timmy’s safety and happiness will come down to one final showdown against his tormentor, the bully Eddie. Can Timmy turn his life around by proving to friend Kelly – and to himself – that he’s not going to withdraw from a sometimes cruel world? That he’s going to be as feisty and stubborn as a donkey.

*Violin serenade.*
(Donkey Sense, coming this winter from Astraea Press.)