Works in the works

The following are projects I am working on that I hope to one day bring to fruition. These listed exist in written, though perhaps not completed, form.

As Yet Untitled

Me, not so much—but this woman’s life deserves its own book. So I am writing it (and yes, she has authorized it). The woman I speak of is my wife, Dr. Elsie Reyes Cook who has been a teacher, administrator and missionary in Asia since the late 1980’s.  Most Americans would find it hard relating to the humble living conditions Elsie took for granted growing up in a village barangay in the Philippines—a makeshift house for two adults and ten children, no running water, a constant scarcity of enough food and material for clothes. Still, Elsie was blessed to have two school teacher parents who – despite their meager earnings-- stressed the importance of a good education.  Initially hoping to one day become a lawyer, Elsie instead (much to the displeasure of her father) decided to pursue the ministry after accepting Jesus at a church in Naga City.
In the years that followed, Elsie would follow God’s leading to the mission fields of Asia, serving in her native Philippines, Cambodia and several years in India (where she experienced a horrific physical attack).  Later, she served as a teacher and administrator at Asian Center for Missions in Manila where she also worked on several projects with Manila-based 700 Club Asia. In that capacity, she came to the attention of U.S 700 Club executive, Gordon Robertson. It was Gordon who influenced and helped her attend Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where she earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership in 2007.
Elsie has been no less amazing since coming to live here in the United States after our wedding. In addition to preaching and speaking at numerous churches and schools in several states, in her five years at SUM Bible College in Oakland, she has risen from Adjunct Faculty to Academic Dean to Vice President of Operations.
This as yet untitled book will hopefully be complete in a few months. Because of her strong contacts there and also because she is so well known, we are eyeing a Philippines publication of this work.

Nueva California: Garden of God

My artifact inventory work with the Carmel Mission, as well as my long-time study of Monterey Bay Spanish period history, inspired me to write this novel.  That, and reading the James Michener novel, Hawaii, which inspired me to write my own version of California (which this would be, though my 534 pages don’t match up to Michener’s normal 1,000 page epics).
The core story of Nueva California is that of Diego Soberanes, whose 102-year life parallels the rise and fall of the California missions. A young singing “superstar” of the Mexico City stages in the early 1770s,  Diego is forced to flee to remote Alta California when a sexual dalliance with an officer’s wife puts his life in danger.  Diego takes refuge at Mission San Carlos Borromeo, under the tutelage of the man he reveres as a living saint:  Father Junipero Serra. Diego is employed as a guard and music teacher at the mission.
Within the first year, Diego falls deeply in love with a mission Indian girl (Antonia), but tragedy ensues when he tries to spirit her away from the mission. Diego is arrested, then banished from Alta California by Serra.  Nine years later (after Serra’s death), Diego returns to Mission San Carlos to do penance and to spend the next several years there as music teacher.
For the remainder of his life, Diego will observe and take part in the passing parade of California history—which includes pirate attacks on Monterey Bay, the 1830’s secularization of the missions, California being taken over by the “Yankees” of the United States, and the missions falling into ruin.
Though the life journey of Diego Sobernaes makes up the bulk of the novel, Nueva California traces Diego’s ancestors back to early 16th century Mexico.  One of his ancestors, in fact, takes part in the epic “War of the Worlds” that was the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire.  The story also traces Diego’s ancestry—as well as the ancestry of Antonia—to the violent 1680 Pueblo Revolt in New Mexico.

67 Smile!

Named after the Beach Boys album, Smile, that never came out (but finally did come out 40 years later as  Brian Wilson lp) – and the title is actually appropriate. This book is not only about all my memories of the 1960’s (and I do mean, ALL), but it’s also about a phase of life when adults seem to be constantly be smiling at you! In other words, this work is a personal look at the 1960’s as seen through the eyes of a three, four and five year-old (which, for me, was 1966, 1967, 1968 and half of 1969). Yes, I was also alive 1963 to 1965, but I was too young to remember anything from those years.
Yes, innumerable celebrities and regular folk have penned their memories of the 1960’s, and for many of them, their memories are somewhat surreal (given what they were experimenting with at the time).  My memories of the 60’s are also surreal—but for a very different reason. Namely, the world, as seen through the eyes of a three, four and five year-old, is ALWAYS surreal—let’s face it, you can’t process what you are seeing and hearing just quite yet. So this work is the first and only (that I know of anyway) detailed account of the 1960’s as seen through that particular surreal lens. And it’s the LAST eyewitness account of the 60’s history will ever have, because (other than codgers who are 104 or 105 in 1967) who else is going to have a personal memory of the Summer of Love on its 100th anniversary? Think about it. Of course, that’s assuming I live to be 104 or 105—which, these days, I think is doable. Think about it.
So there can’t be much I can recall from my days as a three, four and five year-old, right? Wrong! I remember quite a lot—which is why this memoir covers the following: TV cartoons, TV shows, TV commercials, all things Disney (including Disneyland), kiddie books and records, comic books, toys, houses, shopping centers and stores, automobiles, furniture, all things Christmas, church and Sunday School, clothes, haircuts, hippies and counter-culture (as seen through a toddler’s eye of course), non-Disney amusement parks, roadside attractions, race relations, military bases, Vietnam, family life, southern California, 1966 Kentucky, fast food eateries, killer crabs that lived behind our trash cans, and other weird ‘Did-I-really-see-that-or-did-I-just-imagine-it?’ mysteries.    
All written down, but probably need re-polishing. Is there a market for this now? I don’t know. In 2067,  DEFINITELY!