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Carpe Mañana

Faith, signs and human nature move Joe Bullock’s pen

The story follows Jim Viejo, a recently retired Marine colonel, as he struggles with depression and disillusionment after losing his wife Betti and son Michael years apart. By most standards, highly decorated Marine Colonel Jim Viejo would be considered a hero . . . but not in his own eyes. Personal tragedies have led him to conclude that he is a sinner, and God is rightfully punishing him for his transgressions.

Moving to Albuquerque to be closer to his daughter’s family, he first encounters Renee Romero, a judge and law professor. They develop feelings for each other, but Jim remains tentative in opening his heart again after so much loss.

Renee recruits Jim to volunteer at a youth clinic run by Father Herb, a priest with a unique spiritual connection to Jim. Through his work with troubled teens, Jim begins to heal. But gang violence oppresses the neighborhood. When escalation puts the clinic at risk, Jim must confront his demons and take a stand to protect the community.

The story explores themes of grief, faith, courage, and redemption. Jim searches for purpose after the military while navigating a new romance. Acts of violence thrust him into the role of protector once more. Though a fish out of water at first, he finds inner strength through commitment to the clinic’s mission. A satisfying story of one man’s journey from darkness to light through the guidance of loved ones and belief in a higher power.

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