"God loves each of us as if there were only one of us."
~~Saint Augustine

Hi all,

This would be our April Fool's Day newsletter but I always feel a bit weird doing that during Holy Week.  So, instead, I thought we'd take a look at just how demented the Dyeland stories could have been had I gone with some of my initial ideas.  I figured that way we're sorta in between goofy and contemplative.

Before I get to that, I just want to wish everyone a happy Easter, blessed Passover, and warm welcome to Spring!

God bless,

The Dyelanders and Friends... As They Might Have Been

JenniAnn: Poor JenniAnn had a number of horrible variations.  Perhaps the worst was some idea I had in which, by the time the Dyeland finale would have rolled around, JenniAnn would have died in childbirth leaving Andrew to raise the baby.  This was highly problematic because 1. Who fathered the kid? and 2.  Way to be a downer!  Thankfully, I soon realized that was crazy and, in the original Dyeland finale, JenniAnn ended up married to Eliot and had recently given birth to twins by the time the action of that story started.  Weird?  Yes.  Especially when you consider...

Eliot: In his original iteration, Eliot was not a Tunnel dweller but, instead, the son of one of Andrew's assignments.  Andrew liked the young man and introduced him to JenniAnn with designs on them becoming a couple.  It worked... in the original finale that will now never happen, of course.  Which brings us to...

Andrew: Beyond rather creepily setting JenniAnn up, Andrew was originally simply a way for me to get everything for that character that Monica and Tess got on Touched.  And maybe that would have made sense if this was itself a TV show and an actor was getting money and accolades for the part.  But this is all online stories and no one is going to get an Emmy.  Nonetheless, through the years I did toy with Andrew being tempted by Satan and/or sent to the Netherworld.  After all, Della Reese acted so wonderfully in "In the Name of God" and, while I continue to be wary of the writing in the episode, Roma Downey's acting in "Netherlands" was quite good.  Why shouldn't John Dye have had that sort of opportunity?  So I at least wanted to write a story about that and mentally imagine Mr. Dye acting out that angst.  However, the timing just never seemed right.  I couldn't have it happen when LJA and the others were teens because I'd never forgive Andrew for scaring poor, innocent teen girls like that.  And by the time LJA was of an age when I thought that was no longer an issue, Andrew was simply too wrapped up with the Dyelanders to imagine him turning his back on them.  Then Joshua showed up and it no longer seemed even the least bit credible that Andrew would get duped into thinking Joshua had been wrong the whole time. 

Still, Andrew got a pretty weird stint in the original finale.  An assignment died in childbirth and her husband, the baby's father, had proceeded her in death.  Their parents were awful so, in order to give her child a chance at happiness, in her final moments the young lady had Andrew listed as the father on the baby girl's birth certificate.  While Andrew was concerned by the lie, he also knew about the horrible grandparents so went along with it and raised baby Abby as a single father.  Here's where it gets weird...  Andrew didn't want Abby to know he'd given up Heaven for her so he and all his friends (including the married LJA and Eliot) kept his identity as an angel secret from Abby.  Eventually, when Abby was in her twenties, Andrew was called Home.  The way this was accomplished was Andrew had gone on a solo fishing trip, a storm started up, Adam appeared with the news that Andrew was to return Home, and so... Andrew and Adam disappeared and the boat sunk.  Abby was left to believe her father drowned and... wait for it... Andrew's friends continued to keep the secret!  Now, Andrew did eventually show back up, glowing and young again, to explain everything to his daughter.  But still...  I had an entire finale written based on mass lying. 


Max: So...  Firstly, Max was originally named Cody.  And... Cody was supposed to die at some point during his and Andrew's captivity in Afghanistan.  The *only* reason Cody became Max and survived is because I just happened to reread "To Be With You" and remembered that Rose's future husband was a serviceman named Max.  And I thought "Wow.  Wouldn't it be cool if it was Rose's future husband who Andrew saved?  It'd just make his sacrifices for his assignment so much more meaningful."  I went with that and, thus, Max was saved so he could go onto marry Rose and father at least two kids.

It was also never in the plan for Max to start calling Andrew "Dad."  However, it started to really bother me that JenniAnn got given the name/title "Maja" and Andrew... who went through hell for Max... was simply Andrew.  Combine that with Max having a sucky father (more on that in a future story) and Andrew became "Dad." 

Emma: Originally, Emma was just a really snappish, unpleasant young lady.  She didn't really have a tragic past beyond having slept around quite a lot and become discontented with it... not that she would admit it.  She was very blunt about Joshua being unattractive and pretty much resented his being around.  I really don't know why I was considering this characterization other than that I don't think it had yet occurred to me to involve the Eastville* cult and I felt I needed a "villain." 

Once I had Emma settled in my mind as a sweet though jaded and untrusting young woman, I had to figure out what had wounded her so badly.  For a while, I considered her having been a victim of a pedophile priest but I knew Fr. Mike was also going to be key to helping get to the bottom of Emma's issues and I just didn't want to do that to him.  Plus, I felt like I already tacked that issue in "The Butterfly."  So then there was Derek.  On the plus side, this also led to Jocelyn and Zoe who are characters I actually like.

Fr. Mike: He never much changed in my mind.  However, Fr. Mike was supposed to be a one-shot character and never reappear after
"The Butterfly."  I'm glad I didn't stick with that!  I think Fr. Mike serves an important function in the stories and he gives me a chance to write homilies which is not something one expects to find themselves doing as a Catholic woman.  ;-)

Peter: Oooh boy...  Peter is probably the most radically different from my initial vision of his character.  About the only thing concerning Peter that I kept from that first imagining was that he was a widower.  Beyond that, the original Peter was an alcoholic who repeatedly went straight from rehearsal at St. Genesius' to the nearest bar or pub.  At one point, Joshua had to physically move him because he was too wasted to walk.  (This actually ended up happening with Emma in the final version of "The Carpenter.")  Peter was also white and didn't have any family he kept in touch with which is totally different from the "real" Peter's backstory.  Eventually, he got himself into such a state (and I can't even remember if it was an accident or illness caused by the constant drinking) that he wound up in the hospital.  While I had him ultimately surviving, it was going to be this crisis that rallied the JCS cast and not Lucy's death.

Yehuda: I think I did always sort of toy with somehow bringing Judas Iscariot into
"The Carpenter" but in a really minimal way, at first.  I think maybe even just that conversation that Joshua and Zeke have about him before visiting the Tunnels.  However, his actually being a character only occurred because I'd trapped myself.  In "Asking the Answer," Joshua tells Andrew that they have to do the JCS show, with him in the lead, because "There will be someone in that audience who needs to see it."  That was supposed to be Doug Harmon but he just came out as a man of such faith, thanks to his wife, Lucy, that I no longer felt like he needed to see JCS starring Joshua.  Certainly he was very blessed by the experience but he already fully trusted that Jesus had died for his sins and was God and had welcomed his wife into Heaven.  So then I decided Emma was the person Joshua was referring to.  But one problem: Emma was onstage, not in the audience.  So in my scramble to justify a line in a story I'd written a year before, I found my way to Yehuda and I'm quite pleased with the work-around. 

One added bit of weirdness: I had considered Yehuda being Zeke Wilson's ancestor (you'll note that I deliberately made it clear that Yehuda had children) but I ended up abandoning that.  I didn't want it to seem like some sort of genetic/blood magic accounted for Zeke's eery ability to pick up on Yehuda's presence in the theatre.  I wanted it to simply seem like Zeke, so full of faith and love for Joshua, somehow felt the void that was Yehuda's crushed spirit.

Was a widower!  For those who don't know, Catherine died in the third season of Beauty and the Beast.  And for some reason I originally felt like I needed to stick with that.  Thankfully, I got over that and Catherine and Vincent are very happily married.  However, as part of the original Catherine-less vision, JenniAnn was blood-related to Vincent and not Catherine.  That really coulda been interesting but not at the expense of losing Catherine.

Eric: Mr. Hansom was supposed to be sorta a walking parody of the pretty boy Jesuses seen in many a movie.  I also needed to easily dispatch him so Joshua could take the lead.  I didn't want to resort to character-murder so I turned Eric into a jerk.  And that's all you were ever supposed to know.  But then one of you (Hi!) asked if we'd ever learn what became of Eric.  So...  I had him reappear in "The King" as a very changed man.  So now here's the scoop on Eric:  As a boy, Eric was quite chubby and between that and his love of musical theatre, he was teased mercilessly at school.  Some of the other students assumed he was gay and flung insults at him.  This was especially bad since poor Eric just really wanted a girlfriend.  Then puberty hit and Eric slimmed down.  He started exercising.  He moved onto junior high.  And suddenly he was handsome and cool.  So Eric went from bullied to being a bully.  But the effects of the bullying still lingered and young Eric constantly felt the need to advertise his heterosexuality.  So he became a player and was in and out of relationships with a series of girls.  This continued clear up until we met him.  And then came the American Idol embarrassment...  With a lack of funds, Eric also could no longer afford a gym membership and excessive grooming.  Without his culturally-designated "hotness," Eric was floundering.  And then he met Joshua... who introduced him to Neela and Zane.  So Eric's back to being chubby and loving musical theatre but he knows God loves him and so does his wife and Zane and that's all that matters.

Joshua: Like Fr. Mike, he never had any sort of drastic personality/backstory makeover.  However, Joshua was never supposed to be more than a cameo character.  But now I can't imagine that.  And, with his increased role, we've been introduced to Maryam and Yosef and John.  Of all the changes I've made with these stories, Joshua's constant involvement is definitely the most important.

So that's it...  I think.  If I went through old notes, I'd probably find more evidence of terrible character ideas.  But, thankfully, Andrew and JenniAnn are anam caras, Eliot and Brittony are happily married with their three children, Max is alive and well and engaged... as are a non-dysfunctional Emma and Peter... Yehuda is back among the Twelve, Vincent and Catherine will never be truly parted, Eric found himself, and Joshua is in His Heaven and all's right with Dyeland.

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye whose work as Andrew, the angel of death, reminded us of the promise of life after death.  As we approach both Easter and Passover, may we all reflect on God's mercy which delivered His people from true death.

*Originally referred to the cult as West Hollow.  Yikes!  West Hollow was the city where "Safe" was set.  Not a cult!

JABB Portal
JABB 434

(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from Touched by an Angel and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions. They are not being used to seek profit.)