Eden Found is like Romeo and Juliet, The Giver, and Lord of The Flies in the Garden of Eden and Jurassic Park.
If Jesus and Darwin teamed up to write a novel it would have been Eden Found.
The Garden of Eden, a peaceful world formed from Creation, and Valdar, a harsh survival of the fittest world formed from evolution, have existed side by side with only a river separating them for earth’s entire 72 year existence. The two worlds have had no interaction because domed over Eden is Innocence Guard, an invisible protective energy field that keeps anything from leaving or entering the garden as long as Eden is innocent.
A half angel and half demon entity named Demjel sits in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil waiting to carry out his mission, which is to convince the first human sinner that their decision to eat forbidden fruit was a good choice. But in Eden’s 72 years neither Adam, Eve, nor any of their three hundred descendants have eaten forbidden fruit.
The story opens with Demjel performing his favorite hobby, restlessly mocking sinless Eden for how ignorant and boring it is. Then Eden’s newest couple, Ariel and Lena, consummates their relationship under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, a practice that has always been done under the Tree of Life. That night, alone, one of them comes back to the tree and eats forbidden fruit, eliminating Eden’s sinlessness and destroying the protection of Innocence Guard.
Meanwhile, the most physically and mentally evolved creature in Valdar, a four armed flying self-aware beast named Sife, has been trying to find a way into Eden because he thinks the garden contains a higher level of evolution than what Valdar can provide for him. With Innocence Guard decimated he finally has his wish.
Will Valdar destroy Eden or will Adam find a way to restore Eden’s sinlessness, thus restoring Innocence Guard to full strength? Will Eve, feeling empowered by the knowledge of good and evil, thwart Adam’s goal of restoring Eden’s sinlessness? Will Demjel be able to show the first human sinner all the good that comes from having the knowledge of good and evil and in doing so convince the first human sinner that eating forbidden fruit was a good choice? Or will the first human sinner conclude that the evil of pain, death, and sin far outweigh the good of eating forbidden fruit? Why were these two worlds created side by side to begin with?
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I try to be wary of making resolutions because I think New Year's resolutions are often doomed to fail. That's the half glass empty guy in me. The glass half full guy thinks the new year is a great time for renewal and change. If nothing else, the new year gives easy timeline parameters to follow for goals. My 2015 begins with three months military training to get qualified for a new job. No drill sergeants yelling or anything like that. I'm already an officer. This will be like college only in a military uniform and in one of my favorite cities (Sorry, not going to say which city, security reasons).
2015 will be filled with a lot of book marketing, both for Eden Found and a couple of other books that will be coming out this year. I'm learning to embrace and enjoy marketing, after resisting and resenting it for a while, wishing I had been born in the 70s or 80s when I didn't have to do all the marketing.
It's been 7 years since I hugged a tiger. I think I'm going to try and do that in 2015. I miss those animals so much (I was a lion and tiger trainer for 8 years). Also, as long as something doesn't happen from now until then, on I will celebrate my tenth anniversary of being cancer free. Every year on that day I celebrate by smoking a cigar. For the tenth anniversary I think I will smoke two (no inhaling, only symbolic). For the record, I didn't get cancer from smoking because I never smoked.
Anyway, I am looking forward to 2015 with much excitement. I have a lot planned, but I also know well that there will be unexpected obstacles that will hinder my plans at times. That's life, the military has definitely taught me that no plan survives first contact so you'd better make contingency plans.
END OF CHAPTER ONE
Demjel looked up into the branches. “I assumed it would be only a matter of time before one of them gave in. But days turned into years, and neither of them ever touched another piece of this tree’s fruit. Now Adam and Eve’s children have had children, and their children have had children, and their children are starting to have children. There are now as many humans in Eden as there are pieces of fruit in this tree, and none of them have come as close to freeing me as Eve did that day. I thought the temptation would have been too strong for sinless Eden to have lasted this long. But no one else has even approached our tree, let alone considered eating its fruit. ”
Demjel ran a thumb over Almost. “I know you tire of me telling this story. I wish you could be liberated from your burden of having gotten so close to being the one that freed humanity. And I wish you could be freed from all the relentless mocking by the other pieces of forbidden fruit because you failed. I am glad I have you, though. You are the only one who understands what it is like to be an outcast, to no longer feel like you belong in the world you are from.”
The demonic angel then rotated Almost and ran a finger over a small hole in the middle of the fruit that a worm had made before Eve almost took a bite from it. “If only an animal eating forbidden fruit had the same effect as a human, then this wormhole would have been like a portal to another world, a new Eden.”
The angelic demon looked up at the clouds. Frustrated, he said, “I need change! I have become like the humans, repeating the same words and patterns over and over again every day. I cannot take this anymore! A human needs to eat this fruit!” More quietly, Demjel said, “I need to see Galatea again.”
Having completed his routine for the eighth time that day, Demjel sat silently and watched Adam and Eve continue mating. Eventually, he got frustrated with that and so started his routine again from the beginning, pacing back and forth on the tree’s lowest branch. “They will never see the good in evil. They will never experience the pleasure of pa—”. Startled, Demjel stopped talking and looked down at Almost. His fruit friend was moving on its own.
Almost then tried to pull free from Demjel’s grip. The angelic demon looked up. Every piece of forbidden fruit was moving on its own, but they were randomly pulling in different directions. He looked down at Eve who had her legs wrapped tightly around her man, screaming in ecstasy as Adam brought her to her finish.
Almost is not pulling toward her. Demjel scanned the Crucible and Middle Path, looking for someone who appeared out of the ordinary.
No one did.
Then the demonic angel noticed the blue light from Heaven’s Hole grow dimmer. Looking around his tree’s trunk, Demjel saw the white leopard enter its hole and portal back to Heaven.
Strange, Demjel thought.
Seth and Anthea, along with the couple that had just given birth, began walking down the Crucible. Almost was not pulling toward any of them.
Almost then focused its pull to Demjel’s left. The angelic demon quickly scanned that part of the Crucible.
There was nothing unusual.
Then Demjel noticed a lion leave the front half of Middle Path and begin to ascend the Crucible. Halfway up the hill it stopped, turned, and began scanning the crowd.
“It looks like it knows something that no one else does,” Demjel said.
Almost pulled again. The demonic angel swiveled his head, trying to pick out the human Almost was pulling towards. None of them stood out.
Demjel began to doubt the forbidden fruit’s premonition. Looking down at Almost, he said, “I think you and the rest might be mistaken.”
Almost pulled again, this time slipping out of Demjel’s hands. The angelic demon quickly reached below the branch and grabbed the fruit before it fell to the ground. He pulled Almost to him as if it were his heart that had fallen out and he was trying to put it back in his chest. “No. I believe you. I was wrong. The forbidden fruit never makes a mistake when it comes to this. It has just been so long.”
Demjel knew that all the forbidden fruit moving on its own meant only one thing. There is a human that possesses that same quality that no one has had since Eve almost ate Almost.
About the Author:
Dustin Lawson was born and raised in central Ohio. All throughout high school and college he worked as a lion and tiger trainer at the Siberian Tiger Conservation in Gambier, Ohio (YouTube “Lions, and Tigers, and Lawson, Oh My!” for video). In high school he dreamt of becoming the next Jungle Jack Hannah traveling the world with his own Safari show. Instead, he went to college to become a preacher. During his junior year of college (2005) Dustin had testicular cancer and has been in remission ever since.
After college, Dustin passed on an offer to move to Vegas and help take care of Siegfried and Roy’s lions and tigers. Instead, he spent a year traveling all over North America, Europe, and the Middle East as the assistant to a preacher and author named Josh McDowell. Seeing McDowell’s daily discipline as a writer demystified the book writing process for Dustin and gave him confidence that he also could be an author. Along with writing, Dustin wanted to serve in the military. But because of his history of cancer, the military rejected Dustin 13 times over the span of five and a half years before letting him in. He is now an officer in the National Guard. During basic training Dustin won the Iron Man Award for having the highest physical fitness score in the company (over 200 soldiers). While waiting for the military to let him in, Dustin earned a master’s degree in Global Politics and worked in Washington D.C.
Eden Found was rejected about a hundred times before Dustin found a publisher. From all of his manuscripts he has received over 300 rejections. He kept a list of famous authors who were rejected many times before they received their break to keep himself encouraged and motivated.
The great writer Henry David Thoreau wrote, “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” After lions and tigers, preaching, cancer, traveling the world, grad school, Washington D.C., the army, and all the rejection from the military and publishers Dustin feels he has stood and lived. Now he wants to spend his days sitting down to write.
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