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Teresa M Shafer - For books that kindle thought and ignite the imagination!
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Why do some ghosts linger?

My parents have both passed on, many years ago. And I know for some time that they lingered as ghosts to keep an eye on their children. But, in the past few years I have not felt their presence, especially mother's. I am fairly certain that she has moved on to whatever comes next while in some small part my father still lingers. But, this is not the point... my sister claims that mother is still very close to her. I do not disbelieve her but it brings up a question to my mind. How long do ghosts persist and why do some seem to persist for only a short time and others linger for centuries? 

Before I continue I must clarify that I do not believe that good people die and become Angels of  God in heaven. I do not believe that because in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and he created Angels to help him in his endeavor. These Angels helped him to create all that we now see and set into motion all that will be. They helped him the pallet and when they had done all of that they helped him to create mankind. Angels and man are two different, yet similar species. Much in the same way that Gorillas and Orangutans are different yet similar species, Labradors and Golden Retrievers... you get the idea. Man cannot become an Angel upon death anymore than a Lab can become a Retriever upon death. So no, my parents are not Angels and neither are yours. 

Yet ghosts are real and some linger for a long time and some seem to transcend the normal trappings of an ordinary spirit. God does speak of a righteous being, this is a different being than an Angel or a righteous man. This being is, I believe what become of a righteous man when he dies... at least for a time. I think that when a man (or woman) has finally reached a maturity where they no longer need to be reborn to continue their soul's learning process, their soul is either stashed away to await the coming of our Lord or they become a righteous being. This being then helps out God with jobs that involve mankind directly. There is evidence of these beings helping out Jesus Christ and Abraham with his son. These are the beings that are said to have removed Enoch from seeing death, not Angels. Angels are documented doing other things like helping God to pass judgement on places like Sodom and its sister cities. Angels heralded the birth of Christ, but when Christ prayed in the garden it was righteous beings that came to talk to him. 

This brings me back to ghosts... how long does a ghost linger? Is it their choice or do they just get caught and can't find their way out? Is it a bit of both? 

I can understand a person dying and wanting to linger to watch over their children and maybe even their grandchildren, but what good would it do to keep a watch over a family for hundreds of years? The ghost cannot meaningfully interact with the living, it cannot help them in any way... so why are they there? To watch? To scare? It makes no sense. Now I believe that at the moment of death, if a ghost is "born" of the death then that ghost's ability to think dies with the physical brain. This leaves the entity that is left with no real way of reasoning their way out of a situation. So if they chose to linger as a ghost whatever was on their mind when they made this decision will be their driving force. This explains why some ghost are perpetually sad or angry or just lost. I believe that the person's soul needs to be at a certain maturity level to make a meaningful ghost that has a time limit and then moves on to the next incarnation. Those that linger were not very mature to begin with and are now stuck. 

In the case of my parents... my mother would stick with my sister. She definitely needs more looking after and my sister's father would not care to do so. I on the other hand had a very loving father who seems to still be watching over me. He shows his pleasure in subtler ways. I have a house plant that has not shown any signs of changing for many years. It has remained the same for so long I just assumed that it had reached its end. Suddenly over this past winter it has sprouted a great deal of new life. At the same time I have taken a firm grip on my own life and am cleaning it up quite decisively. Other plants in the house died during this same period and yet this one plant is now thriving. Why do I think that this is a sign of my father's pleasure you ask... his ashes are in the pot with the plant and have been since my mother's death in 2001. Fifteen years is a long time for a plant to not grow one bit and then suddenly sprout new life when his baby daughter finally takes control of her own life. 

I fully expect my parents to move on when my sister and I pass away. They were after all practical and smart. There would be no reason for them to linger with the grandchildren. So why do some ghosts continue to linger? Perhaps I answered my own question, they get stuck. People fear death, generally speaking. A ghostly existence is better than none at all, at least in the minds of some people. I personally think that I would rather place my faith in something other than a ghostly existence. I am clearly not the only one to think that there is something more or we would be drowning in ghosts. 

A lot of people swear that they are going to "come back and haunt us" but they never do. What happens there? If becoming a ghost is a conscious act why is it that those people that swear that they want to be ghosts don't always make the cut? Is it possible that even this ghostly existence is regulated by a higher power? There doesn't seem to me that there is any rhyme or reason to ghosts. Some are the images of people that were strong and forceful when they were alive and yet others are the ghosts of quiet mousy people. It seems unlikely that strength of will determines the creation of a ghost, so what is it that allows some to become ghost and others to not? Unfortunately I'm still trying to work that one out for myself. But I think I get why some linger and some do not. I think that it is linked to their original mind set. They set a time limit for themselves and depart when that limit is met, even though they have no sense of real time. They have decided that when this person is alright or this person is gone, or well or whatever the limit is, when it is reached, they move on. It the ghost sets no limit they they have no idea how long they have lingered and slowly they simply deteriorate into a single emotion that lingers like mist on the moors. They no longer have a mission or even know why they are where they are. They simply linger. Maybe this is part of the job of the righteous beings, to help ghosts to move on. After all, Christ cannot return until everyone is mature enough to make the decision between God and Lucifer. And you cannot mature if you are a ghost.

Please remember to take a look at my eBooks and my free chapters. The revision of the cookbook is nearly done. Just a few more recipes to make and take pictures of. My genealogy book has taken off and I have managed to take some of my line back to the 1300's, crazy right? Anyway it is taking up a lot of time... about 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. It's like a real second job. But it is worth it.

Until next time... Live well and be good to each other.

The Real Men in Black

Most of us are familiar with the movies with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, The Men in Black and The Men in Black two and three. They make it funny and ridiculous and by doing so they completely disarm and misdirect any real evidence or conclusions regarding the mysterious Men in Black. But these people or beings are real and the rumors are thick regarding who they are and who they work for. 

Men in black show up when someone has had a credible UFO sighting. Neither the actual sighting nor the age of the seer is of any consequence to the men in black. Most accounts have them arriving, taking evidence, speaking with the person or persons that saw the UFO and then leaving. Most people do not remember ever getting any names, that are credible and few remember what they spoke of, hence the comical reference in the movie to the red light on the silver pen and the idiotic names of Smith and Jones. 

Most people remember only that the men in black arrived in a non-descript black vehicle and then were simply gone. Hours and sometimes days pass for which the person has no memory. Generally all evidence of the UFO has disappeared with the men, photos, rocks, crop circles and more have been known to simply vanish without a trace. When the witness attempts to track down the missing articles or even the men, they hit a brick wall and are essentially shamed or embarrassed into silence, occasionally they are threatened. It does not seem to be the goal of the men in black or those that hide them to threaten everyone into silence. This seems to be a last resort to gain cooperation. But what it is it that we are cooperating in? Who are these men in black and where does all the UFO evidence disappear too?

There are two rules of thought concerning the men in black. The first is that they are government agents that are working with their respective governments to cover up the existence of UFO's. I have always thought that this was ludicrous. Why after centuries of open communication with UFO's has the conglomerate world governments decided that we can no longer talk to UFO's and their occupants? There is ample evidence all over the world with most ancient cultures that UFO's were not only common knowledge but that communication and even worship of the aliens inside of them were just as common. So what changed? Why hide them now and try to debunk all of the obvious evidence? It is akin to trying to deny dinosaurs and is just as effective.

It is also surmised that the men in black are actually aliens wearing disguises. This theory is bolstered by the fact that so many people have lost time and memory. They assume that only alien's can take your memory away. This is of course another ludicrous claim. In one example a woman saw not only an UFO but a crew of aliens, not once but several times. They landed in her front yard for several nights in a row. Then the men in black came, took all of the evidence and left her with only a small triangle shaped mark on the web between her thumb and finger on one hand. She had no memory of what she talked about with the men or when they had left. But when she pressed the triangle she got flashes of memory. The more that the pressed it the more memory returned. It has been surmised that some kind of subcutaneous chip was placed there that made the woman forget. That's just stupid. Why would you put a chip under the skin to hide it and then put a mark on top of it? Besides the fact that no chip has ever been found. 

I offer a different explanation. I have worked for the government for a long time. Once upon a time, many years ago we had a hypnotist come in to show us how to hypnotize ourselves.  This was an exercise to help relieve stress thus allowing workers to stay healthier both mentally and physically while still performing at top notch capabilities in a stressful job. The program was a abysmal failure. Most people could not actually hypnotize themselves to achieve the Nirvana state. So it was canned after only one trial. However, I do remember that we used a pressure point that was designed to instantly induce a kind of hypnotic state so that if things became too stressful, instead of blowing our tops or losing our cools, hence doing something stupid and irrevocable, we would actually transport our minds and beings to this place of healing in our own minds. To achieve this we would repeatedly hypnotize ourselves to be in this place in our minds and we would press this spot on our hands, yup you guessed it, on the web between our thumb and finger on our weak hand. When I heard the story about the woman that had lost time after meeting with the men in black and had come out of the experience with a strange mark in that exact spot on her hand, my mind immediately went to those trial studies.  

Hypnotism is real. It works and it can be linked to a single touch. This actually works better than a catch phrase but it is difficult to control, so for long term hypnotic states a catch phrase is more practical. What I don't understand is why they marked the spot. Did someone want her to remember? If so, why? Remembering what had happened only served to hurt the woman over time. She was branded as a little shy of plumb and her claims were discounted as the ravings of a mentally unstable person. 

The idea that the men in black are aliens is not practical neither has this behavior by them ever been evidenced. The men in black are clearly human. They are hiding the alien's and any UFO siting for some reasons of their own. That reason is the key to all of this speculation. Why would the governments of the world unanimously decide to hide our extraterrestrial visitors? 

I think that the answer is in our technological advances since WWII. The German scientists that we brought over to the US after the war claimed that they had help with their designs and ideas... and they weren't taking about the Japanese. We talked before about alien involvement in our wars. They seemed to come down on a specific side in the wars. Never have they come down on the side of the United States. Three times in just the past hundred years they have come down on the side of dictatorships. I think that this is less about politics and more about control. In a dictatorship they need only get the complacency of one man. In a democracy they need to put it to a vote that may never fall in their favor. I think that this interference is more about control than anything else. They want control. This is easily evidenced by the wars that the Hindu people spoke and wrote of, that took place between their blue gods and the sky people. Clearly not all aliens are benevolent, to believe that they are is simply naive. 

Our governments hide them so that they cannot influence the general public. People in general will gladly accept anything that makes their lives easier in any way. The aliens may be able to show us ways to make life easier, like with a cell phone. 

What does this mean to us? That's a good question. Eventually the aliens will tire of playing canasta with earth and will come in force. What has stopped them so far... perhaps the blue aliens are not all gone. I know that they said that they were the last of their kind, but perhaps they were not, at least on a philosophical level. Another question that is begging to be asked, if Jehovah is an alien or god then is he and his kind protecting this planet from the others? Is there a cosmic edict to leave earth alone? If so, then why do we have so many extraterrestrial visitors? 

So many questions and so few answers. The men in black are most probably humans that simply hypnotize the people that they talk to and then leave with all of the evidence. The world governments hide the aliens to try and maintain control of our planet, because if we knew about our visitors we just might hand over the reins in favor of a simpler life. But if we did, would it really be simpler or would we be trading one bad apple for another?

I have finally acquired most of what I need to make the new book cover for the next installment of the life of Callisto Casey, i.e. The Veteran of the Silent War. But work on my family's genealogy is taking more time than I realized it might. Still my new book should be out by Christmas. It's called The Death Collectors and it's a fun read if I do say so myself. 

Don't forget to check out my free chapters and my collection of eBooks.

Remember to live well and be good to each other.

Aliens on our battlefields?

So has anyone else seen these reports about alien's showing up in battlefields? I saw this report that during the Vietnam war aliens were regularly showing up in the battlefield. They were so prevalent that the US Military were calling them "enemy helicopters". At the time the North Vietnamese did not have helicopters. So every time an American saw an UFO they would report it as an enemy helicopter. 

That's odd, but what I find odder is why the aliens were there in the first place. Reports say that the UFO's were routinely destroying US naval craft. Not destroyers or anything large, just PT boats. Still why would an UFO give a rats tail about blowing up small boats? Yet that is the testimony of many sailors. 

It could be argued that US naval craft were too close to an alien stronghold so they acted out of preservation, much like a bird would protect its nest, but I think that's ridiculous. There have been thousands of UFO sightings, but not one alien base sighting... only speculation. The point is, if we didn't or cannot see it then it is probably not in any danger from us. So now were back to the question, why would a UFO blow up a PT boat?

Before we explore that question some more let me tell you about another report about aliens on the battlefield. There are at least two reports of foot soldiers being "blocked" from advancing on the enemy, again in Vietnam, by several hovering UFO craft. This is not some kind of advanced technology that North Korea possesses, if it were then surely they would have used it more efficiently. The craft merely hovered and pushed back the advancing American troops in one account. In the second account the Americans tried firing on the UFO's and the ships fought back. They emitted some kind of light that caused what is described as radiation sickness. To this day, those troops still experience symptoms of the sickness, but they test negative for radiation.  So why would UFO's come down on the side of North Korea?

We as American citizens always must believe that our countries leaders  will always come into a conflict justly. But the truth is that the other country feels exactly the same way. History will never tell the true story as each side will write it's own version. So are the aliens trying to shape the conflict because they have some kind of foreknowledge or are they politically motivated?

Some people think that our nations respective leaders have been in contact with the aliens for decades. It stands to reason that if the aliens do have a treaty with earth leaders then they would choose the strongest countries. That being said, I don't think that anyone would have considered North Korea as being the stronger country in 1968. Yet the UFO's clearly came down on their side of the war. The question is why? 

After seeing the reports it seems clear that the UFO's were defending something, not attacking. Do they have a covert base in North Korea that even they don't know about? We really can't be certain as we have no way of knowing if the UFO's only confronted us. Perhaps the North Koreans also had some encounters. If we had their data we may be able to pinpoint whatever it was that the UFO's were defending.

The Korean war was not the only time that UFO's entered our battlefields. There are reports from every war all the way back to Napoleon and beyond that place UFO's on or near battlefields. Now here's the stupid part, some people believe that the aliens are trying to stop the conflict. I think that's crap. They have no problem killing us. That has been proven over and over again. So why would they care if we killed each other? 

There are lots of different kinds of aliens. This is also quiet evident. Surely they do not all feel the same way about humans or about anything. They are different species, so they have different cultures and values. They have been observed fighting amongst themselves. I do not believe that they are trying to stop our conflicts out of some kind of benevolence. I think that they are there to observe and incite and occasionally confuse.  Like children playing with fighting animals. 

That's a rather sobering thought. Animals.... are we just dumb animals to them? Are they advanced technologically and yet juvenile in their thoughts towards us?  It's entirely possible. They have posed as gods and taken our resources and used us as slaves... we have not advanced enough to warrant any kind of respect from them. So if blowing up a few PT boats makes the war funner for them to watch, maybe that's all it was. 

It is certain that we need to stop hiding our heads in the sand and realize that we are not alone in this universe. The thought is absurd. Our solar system is quiet young and we are hence the new kids on the block, and young kids at that. Other civilizations have been around for hundreds of thousands of years, perhaps even hundreds of millions, and we need to try and catch up, or the bullies on the block are going to continue to torment us. 

Just a little food for thought on this nice spring day.

I have finally updated my website and put the last Xena book in total on the site. I have also updated the front page to reflect the Xena books

I am still updating my cookbook, the task is proving to be a bit more difficult than it should be. I was new to formatting when I did the original and now I need to start over so that the book is cleaner and better. On top of that I need more pictures. I have completed several just in the past month but, I need quite a few more. Lucky for me I have a new guinea pig that is more than willing to let me cook for her.

I still have the first chapter for free and eBooks available for those that like to read from a tablet.

Next time we're going to talk about the Men in Black! Until then, live well and be good to each other.

Are you carrying guilt that you don't need to carry?

Over the last year I have been reflecting upon the people that I have met in my life. Now I don't know about you but when I start thinking of people I send out a small prayer for them as I generally have no idea why they have suddenly come to mind. But in this instance, I was actually thinking of several people that I had once had romantic relationships with. I still sent up prayers for their good health but more than that, I began to wonder what had become of them, and of course I also re-examined our relationship and began to regret some of the mistakes that I had made. I wondered if certain ones of them bore me ill will because of my actions and actually in some cases began to silently send out apologies. 

Then one day I took my sister to a spine specialist here in town. I was sitting with my nephew in the waiting room while my sister spoke to her doctor, when a woman approached us. She said, "Teresa, is that you?" Well of course I said, "Yes" without thinking (it could have been a creditor looking to serve me or some other oddity) I did not recognize her, until I read her name tag. She worked at the office. This woman, who looked a great deal differently 20 years ago, was the sister of one of my old flames. 

I hugged her and we began to chat. As it turned out my old love had passed on some 12 months previous from the weak heart that I never really believed that they had. It was a slap in my face when she told me how it had gone down. I had mixed feelings. I was happy that they had passed in their sleep, but found that I was very unhappy that we had left things the way that we had. I found it interesting that the sister had not been told any bad things about me, if she had she would have attacked me, not hugged me. She was, and still is a very emotional woman. 

So for many months I have carried this information around in my heart and mind. I felt like a heal. Then one day I was at a retirement party and I ran into a different old flame. We have been hanging out with each other ever since. Our problem was never that we didn't get along, my problem was their love affair with alcohol, but that has been solved. Anyway, we were in the grocery store shopping when the other old flame came up. After a short discussion, I realized that the person that I had dated and felt so much guilt for had been a bit of a cad and had in fact lied to me from day one of our relationship. I had been targeted and used and all of the boo hooing when I broke it off had been a show for me to make me feel guilty. It had been some kind of macho act. 

I can't tell you how shocked and in some ways quite relieved that I was when I found all of this out. Now mind you my friend never actually said any of this, we talked and they told me stories about the other person and what they had done together.... I put two and two together. 

Meanwhile, later in the conversation... my friend said, "I was a dog when we were together, for that I'm really sorry. I cheated on you and when you found out I got mad at you. I've had to live with that guilt for 20 years." I of course forgave immediately, not because I really felt that it was necessary for me, as I had forgotten about it, but obviously they had carried a heavy weight for 20 years, the least that I could do was relieve them of it. I had actually felt a bit guilty about how abruptly I had called our relationship off and carried that weight for 20 years, and of course my friend had no idea why I had left.

These are but two examples of the interesting closures that I have had recently. I find it odd that I have carried guilt and pain around for years concerning several people and not one of them ever had a clue that I felt that I had wronged them. In fact in most cases they carried a similar feeling about some perceived slight towards me. 

What an enormous waste for us all. To feel pain of any kind when thinking of someone that you once cared so much for is just a waste. I am determined now to make sure that all of these slights are repaired so that there is no hindrance for anyone's peace of mind or soul. 

So now that my arm is healed and my wrist is finally on the mend (had to see the chiropractor to put it all back in place today) I can get back to writing. I have been doing  a lot of research recently. I'm writing a family tree book and it is taking a lot of time. Who knew it was so time consuming? 

I have finished putting all of the Xena stories on the site and am trying to place links on the front page. My server is not cooperating. But when it is done I will announce it. 

Things are moving right along in the department of new pictures for the cook book. It will soon be ready to publish again. I'm thinking of asking my Graphic Artist friend to make the cover for me. 

Anyway, I've got all new alien questions, a few ancient ancestor questions and lots of religious theory that I am bringing your way so stay tuned. In the meantime check out my free chapters on the home page and eBooks that are available. 

Thanks for being patient with me and remember to live well and be good to each other. 

My Xena Con experience was an experience

I just got back from a Xena: Warrior Princess Convention. It was meant to be the last one... again.... but it was decided to have one again in 5 years. This is really cool and much more accommodating to the stars and the fans. I for one would not want to tie myself and my finances up every year for a single event. I am a fan of many different shows and would like to attend others. I know that I am not alone in this feeling but I certainly would not have voiced my pleasure at the Con at the final decision. I would have probably been beaten bloody. 

Anyway, I had a blast! I got to meet some really amazing people and some really great stars, sometimes they were one in the same. This was my first theme Con so it was a new experience for me and I learned a lot. For example, make sure that your hotel is within a five mile radius of the Con or you will miss things because you have to travel between locations. My hotel was amazing and beautiful but it was a long hour away from the Con. I missed out on a lot because I knew that it was a long hour away when I was tired. I also learned that a talking navigation tool like a Tom Tom or something, can be invaluable in a strange city like Los Angeles. I also learned that purchasing autograph tickets far in advance is really the best way to go. 

With all of that being said, I am really looking forward to the Comic Con that will be coming to my hometown once again this year. I am planning ahead and because it is in my home town I will not be bothered with lodging, travelling or food, so I can focus on autographs (which is a hobby of mine) and costuming. Yes I said costuming. I plan on dressing up for my next Con experience. I am thinking Steam Punk. It is so close to my own actual tastes and it looks like fun. 

With the Xena Con under my belt I realized that I really need to get my final Xena book onto the website. I will also be adding all of my Con pictures. I have my cast off and my wrist is healing quickly. My therapist was very encouraged by the progress I made just in our first meeting. So I should be 100% in no time. This means that I can get back to writing. Woo Hoo! It also means that I can get back to plugging my wears so to speak. I missed out on several local autograph sessions because of my condition and I do not plan on that happening again. 

So while I was at the Con I ran into an interesting phenomena. I never realized that the political schism was so pronounced here in America. I am what they call a Conservative Republican. This means that my political views align more with the Republican party, however they do so Conservatively. Essentially I am not a radical Republican or even a died in the wool Republican. I see things from both sides of the isle and recognize that some Democratic views are valid and should be adapted. So when I see extremism in either party I am, for lack of a better term, offended. Let me give you an example...

I was in line waiting for my turn at autographs. Behind me was a young man that was clearly, by his speech, whiny. He was complaining about everything. At one point he posed a question to me concerning the stars and their autographs that went something like this, "I wonder if when they get tired of signing, do their signatures change?" The obvious answer is "Yes of course" Speaking from experience. But, in the situation I did not think it appropriate to appear so arrogant. So my answer was, "Well, yes. It has been my experience when getting autographs from celebrities that they tend to abbreviate their names or use initials when they get tired." Then I did the wrong thing, I used an example. "Take Sarah Palin for example, to prevent exhaustion, when she signed her book, she signed with only her initials." I could not have said a more incorrect thing. The look on the young man's face was pure horror. He managed to stutter out, while he was retreating from me, "You went to a Sarah Palin autograph session?" I told him that I had not, because I had to work, but had seen the footage on television and was told what had happened from friends.  He by this time was seated on a stray chair about ten feet from me. On his face was a look caught between horror, disbelief and confusion. He did not speak to me again and at the first opportunity he found himself in a different autograph line. 

The young man was clearly a person that identified very strongly with the Democratic platform and was visibly terrified of Sarah Palin, even her name sent him into full on retreat. In my opinion this is a ridiculous stance for anyone to take. How can a country, or even just a community hope to grow and prosper when part of its population is so closed to the ideas of other members of its population? Now I am not stupid. I know that there are people like this young man on both sides of the political coin and some that have their own political stances beyond the two recognized. But, I still cannot justify this type of close-minded radicalism. It is what we here in America claim to be fighting against with ISIS and others around the world. 

The example was but one of many, but it was the most direct example I can give you. Many of the people that were at the Con were in short, very Democratic. However after this instance, I learned to keep my mouth shut as it was clear that very few of these people were in any way Conservative. I did meet a few and we had a lovely time discussing all sorts of things that we found annoying. Oddly enough it seems that those that are Conservative on both sides of the political isle find the same type of political starch to be offensive. It's too bad that Congress does not have more Conservatives in its chamber. We might actually get something done. 

What I find truly odd about all of this is that I ran into such a political soup at a Convention that was meant to celebrate a completely different kind of political view. Xena was always about the validation of the strength of women, making the young man's reaction to Sarah Palin even more suspect. For example, I do not particularly care for the political stance of Hillary Clinton and would never vote for her because of them, but I celebrate her ability to rise so far inside of her party to achieve what she has achieved. She is a beaming example of what women can do if they set their minds to it. 

For my first themed Con this was an education that I had not expected. But, I am not in any way disappointed. I have been given a great deal of illumination in many areas and will be taking my knew found knowledge and understanding into the world with me as I try to bring my work to more people. 

At any rate, please enjoy the pictures and my last and final Xena book. Also if you get the chance check out some of my other works. I offer the first chapter for free and all of my books come as a download as well as a hard copy. You can purchase them here or on Amazon.com.

Live well and be good to each other.

Does your IQ matter in the big scheme of things?

Since breaking my arm I have been laying off of writing, for the obvious reasons, however it has caused my mind to become quite full of ideas and random thoughts. One of those thoughts I have examined here before with you, but it has evolved. The thought that I am referring to is the one of human evolution. 

Yes I believe in creationism. I believe in one almighty God and his divine plan. I also believe that within that plan is the need for evolution, in fact I have come to believe that evolution helps Him bring about His ultimate plan. How can mankind grow as a species if there is no evolution? The idea is preposterous. No species can improve or grow as a species without evolution. That being said, how is evolution part of some divine plan?

There are two facts that continue to rattle around in my brain and for some time they could not be reconciled, until now. Fact number one: mankind only uses about 6% of his brain capacity. Fact number two: Adam and Eve ate of the tree of good and evil attaining the knowledge that made them as Gods. 

It is easy to see how these two things can be at odds with each other. If Adam and Eve did eat of the tree of knowledge then why is it that mankind only uses 6% of his brain and furthermore why is it that mankind can not reach more than a 200 IQ? The knowledge that he got from the tree was supposed to make him as a God. 

I have explored the Jewish idea that God intended for man to eat of both trees of the garden but only when they were ready, only when they had matured enough to handle it. This has led me to the thought that mankind is now going through the maturing process before he is allowed to become immortal. We have already discussed this, so what is new? My new thought is that the usage of our brains and our overall IQ's are part of the process of evolution. 

It can be surmised that our earlier ancestors did not utilize a great portion of their brains, although clearly they were not stupid. I also surmise that Adam and Eve stepped out of the garden into a world that was already populated by humanoid beings. These are the people that evolved naturally out of the materials that were available. They were no different than Adam and Eve except that the latter had been blessed by God and had been given life directly by him, much in the same way that Jesus was given life directly by God.... maybe that's why the Bible says that Jesus was the second Adam. Also Adam and Eve had knowledge that they had received from the tree, which they shared with their new neighbors and ultimately in-laws. 

This leads me to examine the theory about the usage of the human brain. Scientists are now surmising that with an increase in the usage of our brains, a human can begin to affect his own physical being and then those around him. That it is an extra usage of the brain that allows for clairvoyance, esp and other similar phenomena. Carrying that thought through to conclusion, with each percentage increase in brain usage more of the physical world could be manipulated and controlled. 

Keep that thought in your mind and follow me to the days after the resurrection of Jesus. It is written in the Bible, granted a third or fourth telling of an eyewitness account, but still relevant, it states that Jesus could change his physical appearance so that his own disciples could not recognize him. An account has him walking through a locked door or through the wall to enter a chamber that was sealed to join some of his followers. Other accounts, not in the Bible but written on cave walls and passed on through oral traditions find the resurrected Jesus visiting with Native Americans and other peoples around the globe. The Bible also tells us that Jesus visited the spirits that had caused the great flood. Is it possible that like Adam, Jesus utilized more of his brain and had the knowledge of Gods?

The Bible never tells us what this knowledge of the Gods is.. of course not, it was not meant for us... yet. Could it be that travel through time and space and physical manipulation are part of that knowledge?  I believe that they are only a tiny bit of the knowledge of the Gods, and that someday, when we as a race are ready, we will be given that knowledge. But right now, we're still using only 6% and with that amount we are still selfish, petty and greedy. Our capacity for compassion is limited and therefore we are not yet worthy of more knowledge, so it is locked away from us in those areas of the brain that we cannot access. 

Here's an interesting note, Dolphins utilize nearly half again more of their brain than we do. The bible specifically mentions the creation of Whales of which Dolphins are a very close relative. Is it possible that mankind is but one of God's children? Is it possible that not all of the creatures on the planet were meant to be in the care of mankind? The Bible only states that the animals of the field, i.e. land animals, came to Adam for naming. Is it possible that sea creatures were never part of the equation for man? Did we just assume and take what we wanted? But then why did Jesus serve fish to the masses? Ahhh.... I guess that's a few questions for us all to ponder. 

Remember to take a look at my eBooks and check out the free chapters available for most of my writings. Also look for Book #3 of the Xena saga. I will begin uploading chapters in the near future. In the meantime, live well and be good to each other. 

Did aliens teach us how to mummify?

I broke my arm and now must type one handed, and for a person that is very proficient in 10 key typing, this is extremely frustrating... yet I find that in times like this, perhaps more so in times like this, I am inspired to write. Just today I heard a story that struck a chord. 

There is a preponderance of evidence that if taken from a specific point of view can be seen to give proof that aliens once visited earth, a point that I concede, however it seems that there is evidence that one thing that these aliens wanted to do was to teach humans how to achieve resurrection after death. This is supported by the plethora of civilizations that practiced some kind of mummification. These civilizations were eons and thousands of miles apart, and yet all of them also show evidence of alien contact. This combination combined with other evidence leads some to believe that these aliens were trying to teach humans how to properly mummify a body so that it could be resurrected. The goal was to attain a higher level of consciousness or being. 

My only argument with this theory is the inevitable corruption of the flesh. Most religious texts agree that the physical body is just a temporary shell for the immortal being within. So, if God was or is an alien (as in something other than terrestrial regardless of name or culture) why would he say one thing and teach another? Then again why would the text of the bible read like correction if mankind had not been incorrectly applying previous instruction? For those that do not know the text reads... the body is corruptible, the spirit is not (paraphrased) it goes on to instruct in how to attain the next realm through the nurturing of the spirit not the preservation of the body. 

In my mind this biblical passage adds credence to the claim that aliens were trying to instruct humans in how to attain the next realm of existence, but I do not think that the instruction included mummification procedures. So where did ancient man get this idea and why is the teaching so strong that we continue to practice it?

I think that ancient man did what they do best, they imitated their odd visitors. Imagine a scary ship landing in your back yard. Some of the occupants are awake and interested in sharing knowledge with you, but some of the occupants appear dead. You are given tours of the ship and you understand almost none of it, but you draw pictures and even carve some of it in stone. But then something really shocking happens just as your visitors are about to leave, some of their dead come back to life. You see it but are unable to understand the brief explanation that your visitors offer. All you understand is that these who were dead are now needed so that all may leave and go to a different place, a place that you are led to believe is better than the place that you call home. You would like to go to this better place but you are told that you must get to that place on your own, and that they have given you some very important instruction that will help you on your way. Would you not attempt to imitate what you perceived as resurrection? Of course you would. If mankind is anything as a race, he is consistent. Man will always fear death and in his fear he will seek eternal life. 

Did aliens teach our distant ancestors how to mummify their dead? I think that they did, albeit inadvertently. It was their intent to teach a more intellectual approach to immortality, evidenced by later correctional instruction that we as a race have yet to heed. 

That wee bit took me over an hour to type, but it was well worth it.

Please take a look at my eBooks and those first free chapters. You never know, you may see something that you like.

Live well, and be good to each other.

In Search of Giants, Part two

The hunt for giants is still on. The brothers that have literally taken an hiatus from their lives to search for the giants, are still on the road and looking. The funny thing is that they are finding all sorts of circumstantial evidence. 

You may recall from my last blog that the problem with finding giants, as I see it, is the lack of hard evidence. This is still the problem. However, I do not think that this is the problem because the evidence did not at one time exist, or may still exist if it is still as yet undiscovered. I think that the evidence is being either hidden or systematically destroyed. 

Now why, pray tell, would someone try to hide evidence of giants from us? Now that is a good idea. You would think that the existence of giants either in our distant past or even in existence in some form today, would be something that the science community in general would be shouting from the rooftops, but they are not. I find it interesting that when someone identifies a new organism, something that is quantifiable a step lower than man on what is considered the "intelligence" bar, i.e. a new microbe or even a new fish or mammal, the entire world is notified, and celebrations abound. But, when anyone even suggests that some kind of "intelligent" life form, something that rivals our own intelligence, everything that can be done to discredit the claim is done, and in very swift fashion. This is a disturbing testimony. 

I'm not referring to aliens or giants alone, no, I'm also referring to dolphins, whales and even cats or dogs. Why is it that mankind as a whole summarily dismisses any notion that other animals on the planet may have evolved along a different and yet equal path? Why, just because we don't speak their language, do we assume that other animals do not have a language. They seem to understand each other, and in many instances, us quite well. Sometimes we can even learn some of what they are trying to say to us, Yet, as a whole we dismiss, discredit and even scoff at anyone introducing these theories. 

I suppose the question is, can mankind really measure intelligence? Scientists are finally and grudgingly admitting that dolphins and whales do possess an intelligence and a language that mankind does not understand. But, how long did it take for them to broaden their thinking? 

It is no wonder to me that the thought of a easily identifiable intelligent being would be dismissed and even hidden from the citizenry of the world. To admit that we are not alone in our supreme ownership of this world or the galaxy for that matter, would be to admit that we really are not all knowing. As a race, we are self-centered and arrogant. It is this arrogance that gives us the right to take what we want from each other and everything else without any conflict of conscience. To imagine a rival to that supreme ruler-ship that we perceive that we have over this world and beyond, would be to surrender, and this we simply cannot do. 

This is why I believe that organizations such as the Smithsonian were not designed to display the artifacts and information that make up our history and the history of our planet and nearby solar system so much as they were designed to control what the general citizenry regards as truth. If the Smithsonian isn't displaying a skeleton of a giant human like being, then one does not exist. That is the perception, because certainly the Smithsonian would be chomping at the bit to display something that would change the face of our world... or would they? 

People that find things of interest, like over-sized bones, have been led to believe that the Smithsonian is the holder or depository of our past. They are dedicated to finding, identifying and displaying things that are otherwise new or unknown, right, so send them what you have found and someday your find will be on display with a nod to you on the caption and all will be explained. Again, this is the perception. But, I believe it is not the reality. 

Over the decades the Smithsonian has built a reputation for being exactly what it wants the world to believe that it is, an organization that preserves and explains the world around us, past and present. In some ways, many ways it does just that, however it is in an unique position in which it can meter out the knowledge that it has collected to the masses. The unexplained things of this country are sent to them, without question, and their subsequent explanation is accepted, for the most part, without question. So, if they wanted to hide something like giants, it would be a simple matter. 

But why such a problem with giants? What is to fear from them? Are they not a dead or dying race? 

The brothers that are searching for giants have found some interesting facts from our Native American neighbors. Many Native American tribes have stories about giants. Most of the stories tell of a race of beings that once held a vast territory spanning from one coast to the other. These beings were, for the most part, quiet and peaceful. There were however factions of giants that were not so peaceful. They dominated the land and anything and anyone that lived on it. This story is not unique to this continent. To the ruling body of this country, the thought of our ancestors being dominated by a different race of beings is simply not acceptable. 

Scientists are just now admitting that dinosaurs were extremely intelligent and that Neanderthals were not dumb beasts, but were in fact just as intelligent if not more so than our direct ancestors.  The natural selection that killed them off had more to do with their physical limitation than their lack of intelligence. Furthermore it is now common knowledge that we all shared communities and bread together as equals in those societies. This information was hard for our leaders to swallow. The perception was hard to change and the information was suppressed for decades before finally being accepted. 

Proof of giants is out there. I believe that what has been found and sent in for study has gone missing for a reason. So, if these brothers really want to find giants then, they will need to find new evidence and verify it for themselves. But, I do need to remember that they are making a television show. If they had actually found something then, it would already be all over the news, or suppressed. The show is still entertaining. They expose a lot of old stories and lore. But in the end, they will come up empty, in the category of giants while their bank account grows. It is a sad reality.

Do I believe in the existence of giants? Yes, there is too much evidence out there that is literally written on stone for the existence of giants to be a hoax. The world once accommodated gigantic animals, why not gigantic humans as well? 

Remember to take a look at my home page where you can download the first chapter of any of my books for free, and my new EBook section. All of my EBooks are compatible with your iPads, iPhones, Nooks and even just ordinary computers, and their cheap! 

Happy holidays! Live well, stay safe and never lose your sense of wonder.

Are Giants Real? Is the Smithsonian covering up the truth?

As you know I have been re-structuring my life over the last several months. Now I am finally in a place where I can resume regular entries into my blog, and not a moment too soon. 

I have not been completely idle in the past few months, nor have I had my head in the sand. I have noticed (and how can one not) that the world has gone nuts for Giants, and no not the baseball or the football team. No, the world has taken a great interest in the existence of Giants. Did they exist, do they still exist today? These are the questions. 

Of course no search for giants can be complete without going first to the Bible, where one of the first or oldest accounts of giants roaming the earth is documented with the account of David and Goliath. It is such a common and well known account that the name of the giant, Goliath, has become a word that describes giants. But is this account accurate or simply misread? Giant hunters want to believe that it is true, that Goliath really was a nearly ten foot tall, six fingered being. Not only that but they want to believe that he was not an anomaly, but that he did in fact have an entire family or tribe and that they were not alone on the planet. In fact the Bible gives reference to several other giants, including entire civilizations of them, According to the Bible and Jewish historian Josephus, the Amorites were giants and that at the time of his writing, there was still fossil evidence to the fact. Unfortunately now there is no such evidence, in fact, the problem with all of this is that there is no physical proof of giants. There are other written records, but these are records of other bits of folklore that have no physical proof of the creature that they describe. 

For example; the Cherokee people of the Appalachian Mountains have a legend of a seven fingered giant that once lived in the mountains protecting its own hunting ground. They even have a rock upon which are many carvings. They claim that the giant once clawed his mark in the rock while balancing himself. 

The Paiute nation of Nevada have a giant race that they call the Si-Te-Cah. In 1911 over sized bones were discovered in the Lovelock cave. They have since disappeared. 

Greek mythology is filled with giants. The most famous of the giants was probably the son of Poseidon. The giant was also a man eating cyclops who ran afoul of Odysseus on his way home from the Trojan War. He put the giant's eye out and incurred the wrath of Poseidon, which is probably not a good thing to do if you plan on sailing home. Anyway, Poseidon gave Odysseus years of hell for putting out his son's eye.  

And of course as anyone that has gone to the movies in the last several years knows, the Norse Gods had an entire race of giants that lived on one of the planets in their domain. 

These are but a few of the legends, and none of them have any actual proof of the existence of the giants. Still there are those that still persist that the proof exists, if only they could find it. 

In the past half-century a giant skeleton was found in the United States. According to the local newspaper the skeleton was wired together by the local doctor and the finder of the skeleton shipped it out to the Smithsonian. The record goes cold here. The Smithsonian denies ever receiving anything from this person or even from the area. To me this denial sounds incredibly suspicious. Why would a local newspaper cover a story of a giant skeleton from the moment that it was found, through the measuring, the wiring, the local displaying, the request for the item from the Smithsonian and then the actual departure date and time of the packaged skeleton to the Smithsonian if it was all just a farce or hoax? Now if the Smithsonian had acknowledge receipt of the package and said that after strict examination the contents were found to be something other than a giant, then that would be a believable story, but to simply say that they never got it.... that is not believable.

Perhaps I am being to harsh on the Smithsonian, after all they receive thousands of new items every year... surely one can get lost from time to time. I find it odd that such a large item that they specifically requested should come up lost but perhaps I am just being to cynical. Although this is not the first time that I have heard of something "coming up missing" after it was sent or even collected by the Smithsonian. 

Nearly a hundred years ago a hiker found a cave in the Grand Canyon. This is not a huge discovery, there are thousands of them dotting the walls of the canyon. But this cave led to something extremely unlikely. It led to a vast horde of Egyptian treasures, including a Sarcophagus and many life-sized gold statuary. The hiker was an employee of the Smithsonian, so of course he contacted his boss. Within days the Smithsonian was emptying the cave. According to the local area newspaper, whose employee witnessed the events, the Smithsonian pulled out several tractor trailer loads of artifacts. Their procession made a long caravan. But the artifacts "never made it to the Smithsonian". The Smithsonian still claims to this day that they have never taken anything out of the Grand Canyon. 

The really interesting thing about the Grand Canyon story is that they do acknowledge the employee and that he found a cave and that he did report it, but that there was nothing there. Now once again, would someone go to such great lengths to perpetuate a lie? I don't know. Some have lied a great deal to cover up something that was much more important. But, what could that possibly be? Why would the Smithsonian not want the world to know about giants, or that the Egyptians traveled as far as North America? More importantly, I think is the question, What else are they hiding? And more than that, what is the true purpose of the Smithsonian? Are they really there to preserve and display history, or are they there to selectively display history?

We kind of deviated from the question of giants. But I couldn't help but notice the appearance once again of he Smithsonian in the midst of a cover up. I also noticed that although the same show host was involved, this time he made no mention of he apparent cover up. Instead he obviously ignored it. Hmmm... 

Live well and be good to each other.

Please don't forget to check out my books and the free first chapter

Cowards and trying on shoes

It has been a while since I have written. I won't make any excuses. I will say that it has been a long road for me but, I am finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. 

During my hiatus I couldn't help but notice the chaff that blew away in the wind storm that surrounded me for these many months. More than the obvious departure of so many so called caring individuals, I noticed that more than a few of them utilized social media, specifically Facebook to air some aggression in my direction. It was all done passively of course, in a manner that silently says "If the shoe fits".

On one hand the shoe can fit, if I had somehow deliberately deserted a person for something or worse yet, someone else. I suppose in a twisted way I did abandon many in favor of one person, myself, but that hardly qualifies as a betrayal of friendship or worse, a type of cheating. Still, I have found that several persons have taken the low road and decided that focusing on ones self without sharing every sorted detail with them, was in fact a massive betrayal, which requires repercussions even if they are delivered in a passive aggressive way on a public website. 

It has always been my opinion that passive aggression is the hallmark of a coward, either say what you are going to say to the person that you feel has wronged you, or shut up and deal with it silently. That being said, it seems that so many of these little sayings that are meant to be shared on sites like Facebook are exactly that, a passive aggressive dig designed to elicit 'likes' from like minded cowards. This only serves to further encourage this cowardly method of venting by reinforcing that 'yes there are other cowards that share in your cowardly practice'. 

I know by venting here it sounds like I am also one of these cowards, perhaps even more so since I am venting my displeasure on a private site. Rest assured that I have called these people on their private phones, since I cannot see them face to face, to discuss their actions. It didn't do any good, the idiotic 'sayings' only increased and the 'like' count for said postings has only increased, helping them to validate their cowardly behavior. 

I met one such individual on line. She and I have never met, and yet somewhere down the line she got it into her head that we were destined to be together. In her mind she had constructed a living breathing relationship with me, and had told all of her friends and family that we were more than the acquaintances that we are. So, when my life became a rat race that I needed to tend to without unnecessary distractions (this meant that I could not call her every day, she never called me, but became despondent if I did not call her), she began acting like a jilted lover. When I recognized this reaction I called her and asked her exactly what she was thinking... then I had to set her straight. This only elicited a stronger reaction, one thing led to another and now she is acting like we had a bad break up. The 'sayings' have gone from 'You're a worthless piece of shit' to 'You don't deserve me' and back again with lots of whining in between. Mind you, I've never met this woman and I never led her on. Now I really wonder what it was about her that caused me to start talking to her in the first place. 

At any rate, I digress. This entire incident with me is only a symptom of a greater problem. Social media sites have their uses, and don't get me wrong, I do utilize them for my own means, as does everyone else, however, there is a point where writing and cutting and pasting your feelings and messages on a public site becomes excessive. Point in fact, I work with a couple of young adults that have lived their entire lives immersed inside of the cyber world. This makes them very computer savoy and completely socially inept. In the cyber world, you see words, you imagine meaning and inflection. You never actually hear anger, fear, love or sarcasm, so when you hear someone speak and actually hear the intonations and see the facial expressions, you react differently, or you should. 

One of the youngsters was watching a movie with me. She became angry during the movie because the heroine did not reload her gun often enough, i.e. it was not realistic. I stopped the movie and said, "The movie is about Vampires and Werewolves, how realistic do you think it should be?" 

"It should be more realistic. You have to reload." 

"Seriously? She just used a glass round, filled with liquid silver to shoot out a window so she could run from the werewolves, and you're worried about how often she reloads? Have you never encountered sarcasm before? The handgun fires like a machine gun... She's a Vampire shooting at Werewolves... and what cop show have you ever seen where they actually reload when they are supposed to? It's sarcasm at its very best."

It took her a while to wrap her head around it and decided that it wasn't for her. 

This didn't surprise me. Those that use the computer to communicate their emotions and feelings are partially emotionally dull. They don't know real feelings when they encounter them, and the subtleties of speech are lost on them. 

The clip and paste or share mentality of social media has replaced actually sharing your real feelings. Now they need not even compose the words, they need only find something that comes close and 'share' it with the word 'exactly' above it, and they are done. That is all the emotion and thought that they put into it. This is why I call those that use social media to passively aggressively vent, cowards. They invest about as much emotion into their venting as I do when I clip my toenails. 

I feel sorry for the young adults that have been raised by the internet. They are not ready for the real world and in some cases, they are going to get a rude education really quickly. Hopefully they don't think that they get to hit reset and try again, because in real life, you only get one shot so you had better make the best of it. 

This is where I am at now. I am restructuring my life and focusing on me. For those of you, fans, friends and family, that have stuck at my side during my long months of silence, Thank you. For those that took my silence as shunning or worse, call me or walk away, but get off the 'share' button, it's getting old.  

As always, I am still working on bringing you all the very best in reading entertainment. I have been stalled in the remake of my cook book, as I do not presently have a home of my own. However, it will be done before Christmas. I am looking into audio books and hope to have some of those available within the year. Otherwise, I still have downloadable books that work on your phone, pad or computer and the first chapter is always free... so please check them out and as always, live well and be good to each other.

Being controlled by fear

Wow! Has it really been so long since I have written? Life travels by so fast when you are doing things and having fun. Most of you know that I moved. That alone was quite the adventure. You never know just how much you have accumulated until you try to move it... holy cow do I need to downsize!

But, that is not what I wanted to talk about today... in this past month I have once again found my creativity and my muse was once again able to break through the mental barriers that I had erected. Funny how fear can create its own walls. Those walls can block out just about everything. I have been having some financial difficulties and that can cause a lot of fear and that fear blocks any kind of creativity. It is hard to relax and imagine different worlds and stories when you are worried or afraid. 

So, even though I am still having some difficulty with money, I found a way to push that worry aside and write once again. How did I manage that little trick you ask? Well... there is this movie that pulls my imagination out and allows it to dream. I saw the movie now about 20-25 times. I know nearly every line and song in it... yes it's a musical, and it is a cartoon. But, something about it spoke to my creative side. The movie is Disney's Frozen. Frozen is Disney's re-imagine of Hans Christian Anderson's "Ice Queen". Disney's idea gives Elsa, the Queen, a reason for her out of control powers, and in fact directly addresses fear and how it can manipulate and control your life. 

In the story, fear nearly destroys everything that Elsa loves, including her own sister. Of course Disney's solution is for Elsa's sister, Anna to perform an act of unconditional love that not only thaws the ice but also gives Elsa a solution for fear, which of course is love. As simplistic as this sounds, it is correct. Love is a stronger emotion than fear, but fear can be crippling and can in fact lock up a person so tightly that love cannot get inside. When this happens, reason or external love must take over and crack the lock that fear will get on a person's life. 

In my life, fear had taken over and was locking me down pretty hard. The movie helped me to remember that fear is an empty emotion that is generally based on itself. One fear leads to another and before you know it your entire life is ruled by fear. In my case I feared not being able to pay a bill. That led to another fear and then another. Before I knew it the fear of not having enough money ruled my life and because I feared it all so much I did not think or plan correctly and my fears became real. I did not have enough money. So now I have to take back control. Tomorrow the banks will be open and I will take back my life. 

When I realized that my solution was a simple one, my fears began to break up. It was then that I realized that the fear had been affecting my health as well as my mind. Now I'm not saying that I am free of all of these fears, but I'm on the road to recovery. All of that being said, with my mind now freeing itself of all of that extra weight, I was able to once again write. I had not realized how long it had really been until I opened the file on my computer. The last time that I had written or even opened the file was in September of 2013. That time was stolen from me and I am now working hard to make up for losing it. 

I sat down and finished the last few chapters of Cali's latest adventure. It was by far the most intense and complicated story that I have written about Cali to date. In the past several books, Cali has taken a problem and worked through it with very little help. In this latest adventure, I gave Cali a large team of people that severely confused the situation for her and the investigation. I used it to muddy the water and to give Cali something more to bounce her problems off of . It complicated the crime solving by having too many hands in the pot, but it gave Cali a chance to expand her leadership abilities. 

There was very little ghost contact in this book. Cali's usual helpers were afraid of the being that she was tracking. So, there was a lot of simple Detective work in this book, mixed with a healthy dose of tech help and common sense. Of course at the end I gave it a bit of unexplainable creep factor as well. 

The point is that it was fear of things that I actually can control that blocked up my creativity. Realizing that things were not out of my control was the first hurdle to dispelling that fear. The second hurdle gets jumped tomorrow. For the first time in a year, I am excited about tomorrow, not afraid of it. 

Remember to check out my EBooks and my free chapters. Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to getting into some more crazy discussions here.
 
Live well and be good to each other. 

Tin hat people are everywhere!

I have an odd situation going on right now... A couple of years ago I met this couple. They seemed like a nice couple. The husband was a bit extreme in that he was very much one of those doomsday people. He was looking to build up his cache of survival equipment. I had a lot of camping equipment that I figured that I would never use again. I traded it to him for a tattoo. It's a really nice tattoo.
 
Now I spent probably three hours there at his house with him and his wife. We talked like normal people talk. The television was on the entire time that I was there, and for the most part the wife watched the television more than she engaged. That's okay, I get it. The shows that she was watching were all survivalists shows. Naturally the topic came up, am I a survivalist?  Well... no I'm not, at least not an extreme one.... If I was, would I be trading my camping equipment for a tattoo?
 
But, I do have friends that have talked about the Zombie Apocalypse with me. We have discussed exit strategies, hiding places, protection strategies and other such stuff. It's how we think, I am a cop and so are the majority of my friends. This is how we think on a general basis. Then we apply that thinking to something stupid like the Zombie Apocalypse and come up with all sorts of possibilities. But... we are talking about zombies here... really?!!????.  How messed up does someone need to be, to not get the tongue-in-cheek attitude that naturally comes with a 'serious' conversation about the Zombie Apocalypse? Well.. this guy was more than just a little messed up.
 
He was supposed to finish the tattoo. I called him. We made dates to get it done, discussed how it needed to be finished. Then one day when I called him to verify the date he suddenly was out of ink and needles and had no money to get more. He would call me when he got more. Fast forward to a week ago... I get a FB message from him. He tells me that I freaked him out with all the stuff that I said. What? I asked him to explain what he was talking about. After several back and forths I get enough of the muddled story to figure out that he had imagined that since I'm a cop, I had some kind of inside info about an impending Zombie Apocalypse and that the police and military were secretly planning for it. Okay... am I the only one that finds that entire idea absurd?
 
In response to all of the scary information that I gave him (????) he backed away from me and hid in a hole for two years. While he was doing that he did something and became handicapped as well. So while he's messaging me and telling me that I should be careful about the people that I give that 'kind of information' to, I'm telling him that I never said anything that could not be seen on tv.
 
So, then he accuses me of telling him stories that are not true to get more tattoo work out of him. First of all, I wasn't telling stories, we were talking about a fictitious event and what we would hypothetically do in such an event. Second of all, I gave him over $2000 worth of equipment for a $300 tattoo that he was supposed to finish and never did.
 
In the same message he tells me that he needs protection, (from what I do not know) and he talks about running over people. There is a lot of random words and thoughts that are strung together with no connection in his messages. I had a lot of trouble deciphering them. I'm beginning to think that the man that did my tattoo, as talented as he is, he is also just a little bit off plumb... Oh well, I have another tattoo artist that is finishing my tattoo.
 
And the moral of the story... I don't know... no matter what you do you will always run into 'those' kind of people.... you know the tin foil hat people. Haahhaha isn't life grand?!
 
Live well and be good to each other.
 
P.S. Don't forget to check out my EBooks and my free first chapters!

Trim the fat in your life

Well, I have gone through nearly every box that was packed into my new home. It was a cleansing experience. I found things that I had forgotten that I had and a few things that I never knew I owned. Needless to say I am now staring at a large pile of things that are going out to the local charity as soon as my hair dries, which here in Nevada, isn't going to take long. 

Staring at this pile and knowing that there is a room here that is still full of the boxes of stuff that I want to keep, I am reminded of something that I learned long ago. The lesson was about clutter and how the clutter that is around you is indicative of the clutter that is in your mind. I know that there are people out there that have the clutter filing system. They know where everything is, but it is all in a pile. My way of filing is a bit more conventional, but that doesn't mean that I know where everything is at. 

I don't think it is the system or the visual appearance of clutter that is the issue. I am thinking that the clutter that my instructor spoke of is the kind of clutter that blocks your view of what is really important. Kind of like a dirty window that obstructs your view. 

Certainly having too much physical stuff can be considered clutter, especially if schlepping it around is a burden on you. This is the realization that I came to when I moved in here... actually I was getting the hint when I moved into the apartment complex. I had to rent a garage, for my stuff. That is way too much stuff for one person. So now that I am here in a house, where I can at my leisure trim down on that stuff, I am doing so. 

But, does all of this stuff actually weigh on me or clutter my mind? I think that it does. It is one thing to keep things for the memories and quite another to keep so much stuff that memories is all that you have. So, as the next few years before my retirement continue I will be cutting out as much of this stuff as I can possibly get rid of.  

Does this mean that I will be going back to the time when all of my worldly belongings could fit into my car? I don't think so. But, I am going to trim it down to a much smaller pile. Part of my problem lies in what to do with some of the stuff that I would like to pass on to someone, but I have no-one to pass it on to. Choosing to not have children was a wise decision medically speaking, but it has left me with no heirs. So, I am forced to choose one of my nieces or nephews as an heir.... But that is another dilemma or at least a dilemma for another day. First I must trim it all down to a level that I am comfortable with. 

I never imagined that I would ever have so much stuff. Perhaps that is why I have so much. I had so little when I was running around with that religious organization. Maybe that is why I wanted to collect so much. Funny that, it was one of those teachers that taught us all about clutter. I wonder what he would say now to us all? Certainly having too much stuff is a burden. If I haven't seen it for years, not because there was no place for it, but because I had no use for it, then it needs to go. This was the rule that I employed while digging through boxes. Some of my stuff could not be used at an apartment, things like patio furniture, which I am going to fix up and sell. But other stuff... it is in the boxes in front of me. 

Oddly enough the vast majority of the stuff in front of me is books. I have decided that I am going to get a Kindle or something and unless the book is really special then I am going to toss it and get the digital version. That sounds odd coming from an author, I know. But, you would be surprised at how many books are special to me. Never fear, I still have boxes and boxes of the darn things. 

So why did I bother to tell you all about my clutter situation? I think that there is an important lesson to be learned here. You should never let things just build up in your life. It doesn't have to be physical stuff, it can be mental things, emotional things or even people. If something in your life becomes a burden, then you should trim some of it out. Burdens like this can make you lose focus and you could miss the best parts of life because something or someone is blocking your view of what is important. 

My advice is to regularly take stock of your life and only keep in your life that which makes you happy and gives you fulfillment.  If you are looking at a person or a group of people and for some reason they just don't make you happy, chances are that you don't make them happy either. Don't be afraid to stand up for your happiness, it is after all, yours. 

Live well and be good to each other... my hair is dry and I have a bunch of stuff to take to good will.

The importance of punctuation... I never thought I would say it!

Okay, it has taken me longer than I thought it would to get settled into my new home. I have decided that despite what I told you about keeping you up to date on repairs and improvements on the house I will not be doing any such thing. This is not because such a project would be boring, but because since we last spoke, the landlord has changed his mind. In fact he has become quite the dick. Had things worked out as we originally agreed, this house would have been perfect for my situation. However, things degraded quickly and I am now regretting my hasty decision to help a friend out. 

I am led to wonder just what things are coming too when a person that has been a friend for over 10 years suddenly turns on me like a rabid dog. Not only did he turn on me and deny all of our previous agreements, but he insisted after doing so that he hadn't turned on me at all... someone else must be texting on his phone. What? I might buy this line of shit except that this was a continual conversation, one in which he never left his house let alone had the time to lose his phone and recover it. 

So, now I am wondering if my friend has multiple personality syndrome or if he is just a liar that thinks I am a complete idiot. Either way, he is signing a renters agreement next time I see him. We aren't doing this on the honor system anymore. Not only that but he is either going to pay me for what I have already done, as we agreed or he is taking it off of the rent, also as we agreed. Something needs to get worked out or it is going to get really messy really quickly. 

Honestly I hope that we can work it out. It is still a good position for me, even if I am not the one fixing the place up. Who am I to care if he would rather pay someone else to fix the place up other than me, so long as he does it and doesn't just let it go? 

Anyway.... so much for that drama... getting settled also meant that I needed to get back to writing. I still haven't managed to sit and write anything in any of my novels, however I spent a great deal of time freelance writing in May, almost 200 articles to be exact. Writing freelance is a different kind of writing animal. It is intensive and you really learn how to write clearly, effectively and succinctly.  If you do not write like this, you do not get paid. 

Punctuation is a really big component of freelance writing. Proper punctuation, leads to or is necessary for proper sentence construction. One depends upon the other. There is no such thing as properly punctuating a poorly constructed sentence, and a properly constructed sentence can become a poor one without proper punctuation. 

I like Microsoft Office because it lets you know when you have constructed a sentence wrong. The entire sentence is underlined. Sometimes this is simply due to improper punctuation, and sometimes it is due to no punctuation, and sometimes the sentence is just wrong. When the Office program points out a wrong sentence to me, I first try to add punctuation in places that it seems to need it. If that doesn't work then, I simply rewrite the sentence. 

The same program tells you when a single punctuation is incorrect by underlining the actual punctuation or the adjoining word and the punctuation. Right clicking on these places gives you a suggestion that is usually correct. Generally speaking I take their word for it and make the correction as they suggest it, but sometimes, especially when they suggest a semi-colon, I will rewrite the sentence or simply add a period and start a new sentence. 

Learning what each character of punctuation means, is a big factor in knowing when to use them. Take the semi-colon for example. It is meant to cause the reader to come to a hard pause, before continuing with the sentence. This is a stronger pause than a comma and less than a period. A period brings them to a full stop. It is you, the author, that must decide if you want your reader to stop or just pause while reading. 

Of course a semi-colon has more meaning than a simple pause in the sentence. It separates thoughts and sometimes complete sentences that need not be joined. 

In freelance writing, I have found that it is better to simply bring the reader to a stop with a period, and make separate sentences out of one. Most clients do not want the writer to use a lot of semi-colons, because it makes the article look choppy and as if it was not well thought out, while periods make an article look clean and crisp and well researched. 

On the other hand, when writing stories, a semi-colon is well used, for example, when conveying the thought process of a character. People generally think in run-on sentences, they would write that way as well, if not for punctuation. So, when writing the thoughts of someone in a novel, the use of semi-colons can make the reading of those thoughts seem more realistic, and even though your writing program may want you to change those bits of punctuation, you might want to let them stand. 

You need only read Facebook or some blogs to see what I am talking about. Seldom do people on Facebook actually write complete sentences. They generally write partial sentences that are followed by other partial sentences, and there is no punctuation. To make matters worse is their lack of ability to spell and their ignorance of homonyms, or words that sound similar but are spelled differently. The later part of this problem is often caused by mispronunciation rather than an actual homonym. I believe that social networking and cell phone language is actually accelerating the prediction of the British over 150 years ago of the death of the English language in the United States. That however is very much beside the point.  

The point is... we can write like we think so long as it is punctuated correctly and there is an actual reason for the run on sentencing. Many novels today in the Young Adult genre are written entirely in broken and run on sentences. Many of them are very popular with the audience for which they are written. I believe this is so because, in these grammatical train wreck books, young people find a like minded or at least a like spoken person to which they can relate, if on nothing more than a grammatical level. I believe that as these children grow and experience life they will eventually view these books for what they really are, poorly written novels that would have made a more lasting impact had they had contained more substance and less rambling. 

I for one never thought that I would be lauding the merits of proper punctuation. I have never been the person that was any good at actually punctuating anything correctly. But, my recent bout with freelance writing has left me with a renewed sense of punctuation importance. 

I remember when I was in high school, one of my teachers asked me why I was speaking like I was uneducated. I told her that I was doing it because everyone else was, hence, I needed to fit in. I also told her that I had the ability to speak well but, because of these other factors, I did not. She expressed her disappointment with me, and at the time I did not really care, however, the conversation clearly stuck in my mine as something very important. So, here I am all these years later feeling just as disappointed as she must have felt, with the youth of America. I wonder if down the road they will also realize how asinine such a response really is? 

Please do not forget to check out my EBooks page for your opportunity to own one of my books for only $4.39, and if you are not sure if you will like my work then please read the first chapter for free and see if you like it. 

Live will and be good to each other.    

Making lemonaid out of lemons!

The last couple of months have been horrific! I hate it when things are going bad and then they just fall into the dump. Yet, I'm still here. I have not written for a while, not that I haven't tried on occassion to put something out there, but for some reason several times the blog post simply got lost and did not post. So here I am trying it again.
 
I must admit that although I like the colors of my new design, I do not like the limitations. The entire thing is thinner. I had to rearrange everything to get it all to fit. Some of you have been asking me what platform I use for my blog, that's easy, I use Vistaprint. It is not a blogging platform persay, it is a business platform that has a blog as optional. I choose the design from a huge selection and customize from there. It's really quite easy. Sometime next year I will be meeting with a good friend of mine that is a graphic designer. She will be designing for me a logo that is all mine. If we do it right I will not need to ever copyright anything again because everything that is mine will have my logo on it. Kind of like Coca-Cola. You don't need to see the name to know the logo.
 
I moved last week, well, on the 30th of May. It was a good move, although I was really sceptical at first. A friend asked me to move into one of his rentals and repair it, while remodeling it. It's a big job! The previous renters deliberately destroyed everything that they could before they left. Then they threatened to burn the place down. It was crazy.
 
The first thing that I had to do was buy a refrigerator. I dont even want to try and describe the absolutely disgusting odor that was coming from the one that they left. Then they allowed their dog to destroy all of the carpets... yes in that way. They all got ripped out, yet still the odor lingers on the linoleum flooring, so that goes next.
 
They stripped a big square off varnish from the hard wood floor in the living room and drizzled paint on the other ones. Speaking of paint, they never learned how to color inside of the lines and should be arrested for what they did with a paint brush. The yard is just dirt, weeds and dog shit. It really is deplorable the condition of the place.
 
So the first thing is to remove the sub-flooring from one of the bedrooms. The floor is completely ruined and there is no way to save it. Luckily it was the only bedroom in the house that did not have hardwood flooring. It was carpeted. Come to think of it... that is not so lucky. Anyway, I will remove the flooring and put in new, then get it recarpeted. That would be the end of that one. The dining room... that's a whole other story.
 
One thing at a time. Meanwhile, I do not yet have the internet at home so I will be writing of my adventures from work.
 
Today I jimmied one of the closet doors open, they had put a locking doorknob on it and locked it before they left. What the heck? I have no idea. There was nothing in the closet except an old coat. Tomorrow I am ripping out some idiotic 50s style breakfast nook seating in the kitchen so I can put the refrigerator back where it belongs and get it some water. If I have time I will pull out the vanity from the small bathroom and start stripping it so I can repurpose it. The vanity in the other bathroom is worthless.
 
If I remember to, I will take some pictures with my phone and share them here. I have some on my camera which I will transfer to my laptop, but alas I have no internet for now. Sometimes moving is a serious pain in the tail. The good news is that the landlord understands that I am doing him a big favor by moving in here. He is letting me do what I want and how I want it done, and he's letting me take off anything I buy for the house from my rent. That makes it so much easier to get things done.
 
Okay, I have to get back to work. I will talk to you all again soon. Please be patient with me. I have so much going on right now that my writing is taking a serious back seat, but I have still been sending queries to agents and publishing houses alike, still with no nibbles. But believe me, when I do hear back something positive, I will let you know.
 
Live well and be good to each other.

The Church is covering the truth to support their own agenda

So, it has been a week or so since I changed the face of my website, what do you all think? It is a bit narrower than it once was and I'm not liking that aspect. I think that this aspect alone will be the reason that I change it around again. I like the colors and the overall design, but it is just too narrow. 

It's interesting to me that design of a website should be so important, not only to me but to you my fans. A year ago I can't say that I would have cared one way or the other. The website was up and running but, I admit that I had little interest in it, especially in the blog portion. 

When it came to the blog, I felt exceedingly self-conscious. Sitting here and writing about things that are important to me seemed to be incredibly revealing, and I felt a bit exposed. In truth, I still do from time to time. But, to move forward, one must actually move. 

You all know that I am especially interested in biblical things, you know the Bible, the lands where the events of the Bible took place and any topic that touched biblical events. To that end I read a lot, examine a lot of web pages and watch quite a few documentaries. 

Recently there has been a great deal of attention placed on the "other" books of the Bible. I never really realized how many manuscripts were left out by those that compiled the book that we all know today. What is more interesting is what those books actually say and who they are attributed too. 

In the present Bible only six of the original twelve apostles are represented, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter and James. There is some speculation that the other James wrote the book of Acts. Even at that, only seven of the twelve are represented. What of the others? Most Christians are led to believe that the others never wrote anything. This is absolutely not the truth and in fact those that are included wrote more than that which is in the Bible. 

I am now absolutely convinced that these other books were kept out of the Bible so that a specific belief and agenda could be promoted. I also believe that key passages were added or modified to further that agenda and belief. These additions and modifications are what are causing the majority of the confusion between Bible passages. The rest has been caused because not all Christians believed the same thing.

It is a well known fact that any religious movement is strong and unified, so long as the man that started it lives and is there to correct and keep everyone walking down the same path in the same way. But, when that man dies, the movement will fracture. This is what happened to the Christian movement. It is also partially why some of them spoke so much about seeing Jesus after he had died. They probably did see him, but others scoffed because if Jesus was still there then they would need to adhere to what he said, instead of moving on. 

This absence of the leader also caused one faction to submit that Jesus had left a single person in charge and that he alone was the recipient of Christ inside and hence God on earth. I speak of course of Peter, the rock on which I (Jesus) will build my church. Now... there is a big problem with this entire premise. First of all, it was Peter that denied Christ three times. It was Peter that doubted on the sea of Galilee and needed rescuing and it was not Peter that Jesus first appeared to when he rose from the dead. 

Does it not make sense that if Peter were really Jesus' choice for the leader of the church, he might go to Peter first or at least send him a message, something? But, he did not. He appeared to someone else first. This person did not deny Jesus, they sat at his feet while he died on the Cross. According to many of the books that were not included in the Bible, this person was present for nearly every big event in the ministry of Jesus and was a trusted and highly regarded disciple. Yet, their gospel was not only not chosen for inclusion into the Bible, but every attempt was made to destroy every single copy of it and books were admitted into the Bible that strongly spoke against and ridiculed this person. I speak of Mary Magdalene. 

Paul speaks very strongly against women being leaders in the church, but he does so after he has a long conversation with Peter with whom he is not impressed. However, Peter is a man and according to at least one of the other apostles, Peter is the chosen leader. Yet, while this is happening, James the brother of Jesus is made head of the Christian movement in lieu of his brother. Now according to a later text, the one that was included in the Bible, it was Peter that was named by Jesus to be head of the church. Had Jesus ever actually said those words, then why did his own brother take the lead? Why was James chosen by the remnants of the Christian movement to take the lead? And why if Peter was chosen, did Peter himself calmly accept that James was in charge? I submit that all of this happened because the passage that gives Peter the reigns, was not actually spoken by anyone until long after the fact. This passage was added to promote an agenda. 

While James was in charge he had many local leaders that answered to him. One of those leaders was Mary Magdalene. She was one of several female leaders in the early Christian church. But she was the only one that we know of that actually wrote of her experiences while she was with Jesus. Now, many people speculate that Mary and Jesus were lovers or even married. There is no evidence to prove this theory one way or the other. Mary does not sound like his lover in her own writings. I am inclined to listen to her in this regard. 

The compilers of the Bible had several agendas and beliefs that they wanted their book to promote. The only way that they could secure their beliefs in history was to destroy all of the other beliefs. To destroy the writings of the other apostles and those of Jesus' disciples that wrote was only one way to achieve this goal. They then threatened anyone that even owned one of these books with excommunication. Today this means very little, but back then it meant that no-one was allowed to trade with you for anything. Unless you were self-sufficient, like a farmer, you would starve to death. Even money was worthless to one that was excommunicated. This is why the texts were buried and hidden in caves. 

The primary agenda of the Church was to become the most powerful religious entity in the world. They are coming close now, but their machinations are beginning to unravel. The truth cannot be hidden for long, for when it is, it grows and festers until it explodes and illuminates all of the lies. 

 Don't forget to check out my books. Read the first chapter for free and then buy the rest of the book for only $4.39. Download them right on to your phone or other electronic device.

Live well and be good to each other.

The official 'how to' from Seal Press

So a while ago I wrote a blog about how to write a query letter that will get you noticed. I posted a nice letter written by an agent that could help you to write that letter. I got a lot of great information from that letter and have subsequently submitted one of my books to quiet a few agents and even a publisher. As I have told you before, publishers often do not like it when you submit your work to more than one of them at a time, but Agents don't generally care. So I have been spreading it out with this book. Now I'm ready to move on to another book, but before I do that I want you to see the short version of how to write a query letter.. This is exactly what a publisher wants to see. This is from Seal Press.

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Project overview. Be sure to include a working title for your project. Provide a general description of your book (25 words or less). Be sure to answer: what is its mission, purpose, or overall concept? In addition, provide a table of contents and an outline with summaries/descriptions of each chapter. Let us know the current status of your project. (Is it completed? If not, when do you expect to complete it? What is its anticipated length?)

Writing sample. Include a representative sample of your writing. For a single-author book, include your introduction or first chapter. If you are proposing an anthology, include your introduction, proposed call for submissions, and a representative sampling of contributions. We are most concerned with getting a sense of your voice and style, and will request more writing when we need it.

Research the competition. What books have already been published on this topic? Refer to specific authors and titles. What, specifically, sets your proposed book apart from each of its potential competitors? Does it approach the subject from a different angle, include new coverage of the topic, or have some other element that will be irresistible to buyers?

Tell us about your platform. What are you doing regularly to build that platform? How will you help us to reach your followers, your target audience? This section of your proposal is just as important as the writing itself.

Target audience. Whom do you see as the audience or audiences for your book? (Try to think of at least three.) What specifically would appeal to them about your book? What questions does it answer, or what needs does it fulfill, for this audience?

Marketing strategy. How would your book’s potential audience(s) best be reached? What publications do they read? What television or radio shows do they watch/listen to? What experience do you have with public readings/public speaking? Do you regularly speak to audiences on topics related to your book’s subject? Do you write a regular column for a newspaper, magazine, or website? Let us know about any contacts, affiliations, or associations you belong to that will enable you to help promote the book after it is published.

Author biography. Tell us about yourself and your background. Include a copy of your current resume or CV, and provide detailed information about your previous publications. Why do you think that you are the person to write this book? If you are proposing an anthology, what makes you particularly qualified to serve as an editor, and what makes your contributors particularly qualified to write about this subject?

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That was the short and to the point version of what they want to see. I took this outline and wrote a proposal for A Return to Sanity. Of course I know that if I get picked up with that book, because it is self-published I will need to change the book considerably so that it can be published with a new ISBN and be legal. But, that book can easily be changed. The story is complete as it stands but in the situation of abuse, real abuse not just a story about it like my Cali, there is always more to tell. One thing that they like to hear is that the author is willing to work with the agent or publisher on their own creation. They like to know that the author is willing to change things to improve the book. After all, the agents and publishers make real money doing what they are doing and the author generally is not. It is not hard to see who should be leading between them. Some authors cannot see that through their own pride or ego. I don't have that problem, I know that I can improve.

Speaking of improving, I am still seeking the illusive short story. I can't seem to write a single story that is less than 6000 words. It's frustrating. I have been working very hard trying to write a story that is short enough to be accepted by a magazine or periodical. But, the stories just get out of hand and take off as if they have a will of their own. Clearly it's time for a new strategy. First I need to finish the story that I'm working on now. I think that I can keep it below 10,000 words. Still that is too much. 

I just got a whole lot of new music on MP3, which means that I can use it on my website. So look for big changes on the site as I change all of the music and make it easier for you all to navigate from one thing to the next. I will be linking all of my book covers to either the EBook page or straight to purchase with PayPal. I'm not sure which one would be better for you. I still want to give away the first chapter on the site so I don't want to downplay that part. I also want to make some of the poetry available. I've been talking to Cindy and she is all in when it comes to sharing. She just needs to tell me which ones she wants to give away, so I can make a page and link it in. I also have a bunch of pictures that I want to share from our family Easter celebration. My sister is in them and looking quite good considering that she literally died and was revived last month. I handed my camera happy niece my camera and got a couple dozen pictures in about 10 minutes. Then they switched to phones. Kids... even camera's don't hold their attention like they once did. 

I'm taking a long weekend, still getting Furloughed by the State so I have to take a day off without pay. But I will make the best of it by working on my website. I also plan on going out to the river and perhaps some horse back riding in Genoa. I will take my camera and see what I may see. Maybe even a real fresh Tombstone Pizza is on the horizon! 

Please keep the ELI group in your prayers as we try to get enough money to keep our charity solvent and moving forward. Also take the time to read a chapter for free and see if you like anything. 

Live well and be good to each other.

Publishing hints and links

I haven't posted because I have been so busy... in a really good way. Last time I posted I told you that I had a plan to sort through my contacts and get some queries sent. Well, that worked out really well, but when I started actually doing some research on some of the places I actually found something that is even more helpful than the site that I was using. I found a place called Poets and Writers. It is amazing and very helpful. They have a large database of the agents and publishers and what they are looking for, basically what I was trying to do with a smattering of contacts they have done with hundreds. It was mind blowing! I spent several days just reading the content. Then of course I decided to try and submit a book. Now up until this point I was still laboring over writing even one query letter for any of my books. So, here I am taking the plunge without a suit to wear. When I was done winging it, I realized that I had written a fairly good query letter. So, I copied it to document, worked it over several times and suddenly I actually had a query letter that I could use to query agents. They're a bit harder to win over and expect a lot more from a letter than a publisher does. Besides, it really is an agent that I want, because I have so many different genre's of books. 

I took the time to tell my niece about it so she could start sending her poetry in for publication in other media, like magazines. She got really excited about the site as well. While I was looking around I found several links to other exciting places. One of them is called Publisher Free.  On this site you can publish your work in little bite sized pieces, a chapter or two, or a group of poems. Then others that like to read can purchase each bit for a small fee. It won't make you rich, but it will give you exposure. It is easy to use and free as well. 

I am still working with the ELI group. That's the organization that is against child abuse. There's a lot of stuff that they are doing over the summer to try and increase awareness and raise funds. It's always a lot of fun to do things with the group as they tend to find out of the way places that turn out to be amazing. If you get the chance check out their site and get involved either with us or in your home. 

Even with all of this going on I am still working on my cookbook. My BFF has agreed to make some of the dishes and take some pictures for me. I can't tell you how grateful I was when she offered. I had not realized how many dishes did not have a corresponding picture. I guess I got lazy after a while when I was putting it all together. I had to rewrite a lot of it and will probably have to rewrite some more of it. When it is done it will be a whole new book and I am going to see if I can get a publisher to pick it up. If not, I have spoken with create space and they are looking into some more convenient binding options for cookbooks. That would be nice.

It is beautiful out today and I think that after I take a nap, I'm going to go find a stick for my lizards. They can't climb on the plastic stuff that they sell at the store. So, I am off to take a nap. Remember that my books are all still for sale as a download or as a soft cover book. If you purchase from me, it is cheaper than Amazon and you can have it autographed.  Just something to think about.

Live well and be good to each other. 

Finding a Publisher

I have been working very hard the last week setting up my new organizational system. Like I told you, I get the names of various publishers and agents that are looking for new authors on a weekly basis. In the past I have not been utilizing this information in a logical way. Sometimes I have just been letting these opportunities pass me by because it all just seemed overwhelming. This is why I've devised a plan of action to make it all just a little less daunting. 

I have copy and pasted all of the agencies that I have been given recently onto a word document. Then I actually check out every single one of them and assign a book that I have written to each one of them. Then I copy and paste again onto individual pages for each book. Then I visit the website again and copy whatever information that is relevant for submission. This is where it gets a little tricky, some companies will not accept simultaneous submissions, so I need to be careful when submitting. This can be very frustrating as a company that will not let you submit to other companies is tying up your manuscript for as long as it takes them to review it. That can take up to 6 months, and then they will only contact you if they want to work with you. So... I will need to make certain that when I submit to one of these that I put the date on my new 'paperwork' so that if they do not contact me I can submit to someone else after their review time is up. The good thing here is that they do give you a time frame, if I do not hear from them in X amount of time then I should feel free to contact someone else. That sounds incredibly sanctimonious right? It is and I suppose that they can be as they have your balls in their hands. They still believe that you cannot get published without them.. and again in a way they are right. 

As odd as it seems, even I, with an award winning publishing company of my own, want the recognition of a larger company. My company simply does not have the reach of the larger companies. I want that recognition. So I am still plugging away at organizing this information. The next step is to write the query letters. Once I have solid letters I can start submitting. 

Another thing that I get notifications for is contests. Sometimes the contests are something that I can participate in and some are not. Even with these you need to read the fine print because many of these do not accept the simultaneous submissions either, and most contests charge an entrance fee. Most are $25 or less, while some are $75 and more. This is really a pick and choose kind of thing. I need to weigh the possible prize money and exposure against the cost of the entrance fee. 

I have begun to organize these contests in the same manner as the publishers, but... here's the real kicker, I need to decide if submitting to a publishing house or agent is a better bet than submitting to a contest. I submitted Veteran of the Silent War to a contest once. It cost me $100. I did it because the contest promised a review. I figured that I could at least use the review on my webpage, so even if I didn't win, it wouldn't be a total loss. The review was crap. It said, "I like the cover... a lot. I wish the story had continued." Well we know that the story did continue, but I did not drop the end off of Veteran of the Silent War. I never do that in any book. I think it is a cop out. 

With that bit of bad experience under my belt I shied away from contests for over a year. But, now I am looking at them again, but in a different way. I think that I am going to submit poetry and short stories only to the contests. That way my books will not be tied up with a contest and I can focus on publishers and agents for them. If I win a contest then, we will see if they are interested in only what I submitted or my actual talent. 

Here's the fun thing that throws a small wrench in my plan... I don't write short stories. I never have. Usually when I start writing the story just keeps flowing. So... I am going to try to write some short stories that I can submit to these contests. On the other hand, I have lots of poetry. Much of it is trial and error stuff that is not worthy of publication, however, I have had a poem published before. So, I know that I do have talent in that area, it's just not what I had planned on pursuing. Still, getting published is exposure and I need the exposure. 

My most popular book, Un Sabor de Mexico is still in revision. I'm hoping to submit it to a publisher when I have finished adding the rest of the pictures. It is still unavailable for download as an EBook with the rest of my work and the works that Sherechita Publications offer. Of course for those of you that still want an actual book to read from those are still available here.

Thank you for your continued support. I enjoy reading your responses to my work, so please keep them coming.

Live well and be good to each other.

Adding characters to your story

I've set up a new system to help me send off queries. There is a company here on the net that organizes your interests and who you have sent what too, but that's kind of a pain in the tail to work with. So... I have made my own. Sometimes the company doesn't have all of the publishers or agents that are accepting new clients. I get email newsletters from several sources that give me one or two here and there. I have collected all of them and split them up into the different types of books that they accept. Now I just need to decide which one of my books I am going to promote. If I can I am going to send just a few to all of them. Well... one to each but some want fiction, while others want science fiction and some want something else. So each publisher or agent will get pitched one book that is within their desired genre. I should have several books out there at a time being pitched to someone. The fun part is not overlapping where the publisher does not allow overlap. In other words, some publishers do not like to accept what they call multiple submissions. This is where you send say Veteran of the Silent War, to two different publishers at the same time. This makes the submission process slow down to a crawl.

In the mean time I am still working on the restructuring of my cookbook Un Sabor de Mexico. This is a fun one to work on, as it means that I have to prepare meals and then take pictures of the finished product. It is still selling in its present format, which is always encouraging. Still people are going to Amazon to purchase instead of here. Consequently they are paying way too much for their books. I suppose that shows me just how much they want it. 

I am also still writing my new Cali adventure, book number 8, The Look of Evil. This is a real challenge for me. I am not writing anything majorly different, what I am doing is changing the style in which I am writing. Instead of a simple chase or even a complicated chase, I am changing it up and misdirecting both Cali, and hopefully my readers. I want them to focus upon the wrong thing so that when the right thing shows up under their nose, they are surprised. I like it when an author can do that to me and thought that I would try to duplicate the experience. It is harder than it seems. 

In the past I have belabored myself with trying to tell my readers everything within the story. I think that this might be a mistake. I should allow the readers to make connections on their own without feeling the need to tell them about it. So that is another thing that I am changing up with this book, Cali is no longer going to be telling all of her thoughts to the reader. The readers will now need to connect the dots without a cheat card.  I think that this is a natural progression of both the character and my writing. 

In the beginning, when you first start to write, you have all sorts of story running through your mind. You want to put it all down on paper, but even more than that you want other people to understand what you are thinking, so you explain and sometimes you over explain. A perfect example of explaining inside of a book is J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter series. Anytime that she needed to explain something she simply used dialogue with Hermione Granger. Hermione explained whatever it was that J. K. was thinking and the story progressed. I do this in the Cali books by using thoughts. Cali is not a big sharer, so unless she is speaking with one of her closest confidantes then she just thinks to herself. It works. All of that being said, I think that there is a time when you begin to share too much and the story becomes a giant explanation or it loses any kind of mystery. I think that readers like a story that makes them engage their brain. 

If you have been keeping up, in the latest Cali book, I have also added several new characters that are going to remain, but not necessarily in the same capacity that they occupy in The Look of Evil. I realized that Cali's universe was too limited, so I added more permanent characters. They will add different personalities and help fill in some logistic blanks as well as some emotional holes. Generally a cop shop is filled to the brim with personalities, and most of them are A type personalities. This means that they are dominant personalities, you know, top of the heap type people. Some of them are wanna be A personalities and a few of them are B personalities that only feel useful and loved if they are helping the A personalities and receiving their praises.  So, I am in the process of placing these people into Cali's life. I plugged in 5 new people, one of them will be transitory and the rest will make regular appearances from now on. 

Writing these people in is difficult and a whole new challenge, that is very different than what I did with my epic novel Michael's Folly. In Michael's Folly I actually followed each character and wrote their own story and how it tied to the whole story. That has its own challenges. Writing in an entire group of new characters is more difficult than it sounded in my head. Eventually I think that I will need to give them more substantial back stories, to help flesh them out for my readers. But, for now they are supporting cast for Cali and as that they work just fine. 

Okay, so I need to get back to that novel and see where Cali leads me today. 

I am still waiting on the results from the last contest. I'll keep you posted. Don't forget that you can get almost any one of my books as an Ebook for only $4.39 each and if you're not sure if you would like the book, you can read the first chapter free and then you can decide. 

Live well and be good to each other.

Dear Lucky Agent contest

So, I'm going to enter a contest. Most people know that it costs money to enter contests, and as I am right now trying to pay off some debt, I don't have any extra money to enter contests. However, there is one contest called the "Dear Lucky Agent" contest that is held annually and it is free. Of course being free, it doesn't offer any cash prizes, but if you end up in the top 3, you get your query letter and the first 10 pages of your manuscript professionally critiqued. That doesn't sound like much but hey, what do you expect for free?
 
The contest rules are fairly simple. You have to send in a short query, a one line catch phrase and some pages of your work. It is a live contest, which means that it is being judged as we speak and will continue to be evaluated until the contest is over on the 18th of this month. The problem that I am having is that it calls for unpublished works that are contemporary middle grade fiction. This means that even though I self-publish, that those that I do publish are actually published and are hence not eligible for the contest. Also, contemporary middle grade fiction is a fictional work that is set in present day time. It cannot be science fiction, fantasy, historical or steam punk. It can however have some fantastical elements to it, hence, Cali's little world does fit the criteria. But, I must choose a book that has not been published yet. That is harder than it sounds and I don't have a lot of time left to decide.
 
I would ask you all what you would choose, but you have no idea what I have written. I would love to enter the book that I am writing now, but it is not finished and part of the rules state that the book must be completed. So... I am thinking that book number 3, The Death Collectors might be good enough to present. It needs work but I have to assume that the judges expect the manuscript to have some rough edges. That being said, I am not certain that I actually wrote book 3 in a manner that would allow it to stand on its own. It is possible that I wrote it as a continuation, or as a part of a series of ongoing books and story. I can't remember when I decided that I should write each one as an individual book and not depend upon the other books in the series to help explain aspects of the current work. This is harder than it seems because, in my mind the story is ongoing and I know all of the backstory. My mind automatically fills in the blanks when I am writing. I must consciously fill in the back story to some extent in each book as I am writing so it doesn't seem like I am filling in the blanks. It must always flow smoothly, not feel like the reader needs to catch up.
 
When I started my first Cali book, Veteran of the Silent War, I had no idea that I would be 8 books deep into the story a few years later. It would be amazing if I could share this series with the world and I will continue to try to make that dream into a reality. But right now I need to re-read some of book #3 and get it sent.
 
Live will and be good to each other.
 
 

Writing a query letter that gets you noticed

So now that my sister is back at home, I can relax a little mentally. She gets therapy for a few months and hopefully she will have learned something about staying alive, i.e. exercise is not an option it is a necessity. You have to get up and walk a little bit everyday, and she just can't smoke any more. 

Nuff said... now there are several different types of letters or communique's that an author needs to write to introduce their work to a prospective agent or publishing company. There is the cover letter. This is the letter that will accompany a hard copy manuscript or portion of a manuscript it it is sent in the mail. Some companies still require the actual paper manuscript in their hands before they will consider a client. For digital submissions you only send a cover letter and manuscript after you have been invited to do so. Before hand you must get their attention with a query letter. 

A query letter is the letter that you write to ask if a company will be interested in your work. It is almost a pre-cover letter. Many companies, agents or publishing, do business over the internet. They have devised this abbreviated way to screen prospective clients from the chaff. A query letter consists of three parts, a hook line, a synopsis and an author bio. If you don't write a good hook line, the company representative won't even finish reading the letter. 

I have for you today wonderful article written by Emily Harston called How to write a query letter that gets you an agent. 

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 How to Write a Query Letter That Gets You An Agent
Written by Emily Harstone.

You have completed your first novel. You have edited it a few times. All the really obvious mistakes are fixed. It is readable. You have already put a considerable amount of work into it, but it is not a book yet, it’s still a manuscript, not to be found in bookstores, but on your hard drive.

You have reached the turning point. Now the bulk of your work will go into getting your novel published. The first step towards being published is writing a query letter to a literary agent.

A query letter is a single page cover letter introducing your book. A literary agent is someone who will act on your behalf, dealing with publishers and promoting the authors work.  You can also submit to publishing houses directly. However this is much more difficult.
Without an agent, your novel can end up in huge slush piles and some publishers will not even look at your manuscript unless you are represented by a literary agent.

How to Write a Query Letter that an Agent will Read

When you write a query letter, always remember that it is similar a cover letter on a job application. Be professional. Write in a formal style, even if that style is at odds with your novel. Make sure you edit it repeatedly for errors. Make sure it is typed and the font is easy to read. A standard font like Times New Romans works best.

Keep it short and sweet, don’t use language that is too flowery. The query letter should consist of three paragraphs. The hook, the mini synopsis, and the author’s bio.

Creating a Hook that Will Get You an Agent

The hook is a one sentence description of the book. It should be intelligent, intriguing, and concise.
Your hook should not be a rhetorical question.

An agent I knew handed me a small pile of query letters from authors that she rejected. Most of the letters she had not even bothered finishing to read. She asked me what they all had in common. By the third letter it was clear that they all started with rhetorical questions.

In one query letter every paragraph was composed entirely of rhetorical questions.

It is best to focus on your hook, be it your main character, the location, or something else entirely. That is the best way to keep the sentence concise and maintain the agent’s interest.

Also make sure that the premise of your book sounds unique.  Agents are unlikely to follow up with an author whose book appears to be generic.

Writing a Mini Synopsis that will Appeal to Agents and Publishers

The mini synopsis is the second paragraph.  It is difficult to describe a novel in a paragraph. The key is to just focus on giving the agent an impression of what your novel is like, without getting bogged down by all the details.

Reading the back flaps of books may really help you figure out the best way to convey the basics of your book to your prospective literary agent.

Writing an Appealing Author’s Biography

The author’s bio is not a necessary part of the query letter. If you have not been published before, or do not hold a degree in creative writing, it is probably best not to include an author’s bio at all, unless your profession influences the subject of your books. For example, the author Kathy Reichs, is a forensic scientist who writes novels about a forensic scientist who writes novels.

Conclusion

In the conclusion to your letter you should do two things.

The first is to thank the agent for their time and consideration.  The second is to inform the agent that the full novel is available upon request.

Do not include any part of your manuscript with the letter, unless what you are submitting is non-fiction. When submitting non-fiction you should include an outline, table of contents, and a few chapters for their consideration.

Once you have written your query letter, edit it repeatedly. Keep refining it, even after you have started to submit it to agents.  Good luck with the submission process.
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This is the instruction that I am applying to my own query letter writing. I have trashed all of the other ones that I have done, they clearly did not have the right stuff to get anyone's attention. I know that a lot of you are trying very hard to get into the writing field in one way or another, this is why I share these things. I hope that this information helps you as much as it has helped me. 

Live well and be good to each other.

Are you connected or did you disconnect?

My sister is finally out of ICU. She is somewhat coherent, although her cognitive abilities have been in question for years. At least now I know what is wrong. Her lungs flat decided that they were done. They simply stopped working. They refused to process oxygen at all. She died. Had it not been for the miracles of modern medicine and the proverbial iron lung, she would have stayed dead. But, they kept her hooked up to a machine that breathed for her and she is now comfortably breathing for herself again. This came at the price of sucking out all of the crap that was in her lungs. Don't get me wrong, her lungs are still pretty angry, but they are once again processing oxygen. This was a wake up call for her. She had allowed her life to become completely sedentary and she smoked like a chimney. These two things alone are a fine recipe for exactly what happened. She claims now that she will never smoke again, that of course doesn't include marijuana. I don't get it are pot smokers just stupid or what? Smoke is smoke... period! Try brewing the damn stuff into a tea if you're so damn addicted! Good God, lungs are not designed to process smoke... figure it out! 

I'm sorry, it's just so damn frustrating when people don't use their brains. 

Anyway... at least she has another chance to do it right. I don't think that she'll get another. 

Meanwhile, I got a visit from my muse. She didn't have a lot to say, but she did visit. It's been a while and I am glad to see her return. I had missed her quiet tones in my dreams. 

Speaking of dreams... there is a theory out there that people can see the future in their dreams. This is an interesting thought for me as I have seen future events in my dreams as well. I didn't recognize them as future events when I had the dreams, but when they happened in real life I recognized them. It was almost like a long wait for a deja-vu episode. The theory is that when people are asleep they can tap into their more primitive side, or the part of them that is connect to this world.  The world is our mother and she speaks to us, just as she speaks to the other animals. 

The argument was made that just prior to the eruption of a volcano, mother earth warns every animal in the area to leave. Most of them do, except humans. Only some humans hear the mother's warning. It is thought that those that hear her have a connection to her and hen recognize the warning and leave. Others hear her and ignore her and then there are those that simply have lost their connection. It is surmised that the concrete and manufactured structures that make up our cities remove us from our natural element. They disconnect us from the vibrations of the earth. Now I know that this part of the theory is correct. Those that live in a city do not feel connected to a farm for example. I don't mean a connection like knowing how to muck out a barn, I mean  a deep inner sense of feeling or belonging. I personally have felt this connection to mother earth on many occasions. It was not explained to me until I went on a camping trip many years ago. 

So what has that got to do with my muse and my dreams? I'm wondering if there is a connection between a person's personal energy or that energy's connection to the earth that allows their mind to connect to other things, other places or realms that those that live in the city cannot connect to. It also makes me wonder if the gap between city folk and country folk will continue to grow through the centuries to include this connectivity. Already there is a gap between the two. But, most city people can reconnect if they try or want to, while most country folk have no desire to disconnect. Living where I do in such a small town (by comparison) I maintain that connection, which is probably why I still hear my muse and why sometimes I dream of a future event. 

The one thing that separates us from other animals is our sense of right and wrong. Animals can reason, they can solve problems, they can learn and they have social communities. What they don't have is morality. They don't seem to have a need to 'move up' on the ladder or to make lasting civilizations. We as humans need these things. But, in attaining these things we are isolating ourselves from our own roots and I think that we are paying the price by losing some of the gifts that our species has in common with all other animals, the gift of prescience  and perhaps more. 

It's just a thought. I have often wondered where my muse gets her ideas. Is it my subconscious or something more? I may never know, but I will say this much, I will not ignore her.

Live well and be good to each other. 

PS check out the books that my muse has had me write over the years right here. They're only $4.39 a piece and you can download them onto any device, a phone, a pad or a computer. It no longer matters! Read them anywhere!

Pull your head out, so you can write!

The good news is that although my sister is still in ICU she is doing much better. They have taken her off of life support, which means that she is breathing for herself again, but they are keeping her on oxygen because she is still having trouble processing the air that she is breathing. Still all in all it is a great improvement. For those that took the time to send well wishes and prayers to the various Gods and Goddesses, I thank you and them. I don't think that I'm quite ready to loose my sister quite yet. 

In other things... last night for the first time in months I actually wrote another chapter in book #8 of Cali's adventures. If you have been with me for a while, you might remember that I actually wrote #7 right here on my blog. It didn't take long and turned out quite well. However for some reason I had some trouble getting the next one finished. This brought me to wonder exactly what causes some kinds of writers block and how do we overcome them? Usually I tell people to just start writing and the flood gates will give way, and usually that is great advice, but... this time around I tried to do that very thing and ended up stalling out once again... several times. So, I had to sit back and reassess the problem. 

I knew where I my story was coming from and where I wanted it to go. The outline was not the problem. I was trying to accomplish a story line that I had never done before, yet still the outline kept me in line and the basic challenge of this style was not the problem. I realized as I tried to force words onto the paper (figuratively speaking) that this forcing was the actual problem. In my day job, I carry a gun for a living. One thing that we learn early when learning how to fire the weapon is how to hold the weapon. It's not like television, although they are getting better. If you are having trouble hitting the target, 6 times out of 10 the problem is in your grip. If you hold the weapon too loosely the round will sling wide to the right and go high, but if you hold the gun too tightly the round will pull to the left and low. It will also become exhausting to hold the weapon. (BTW these principles don't change if you hold the gun sideways liken an idiot gangster. In fact holding the gun sideways will make it more difficult to aim.) Anyway... using this analogy I can accurately describe what I was doing in my writing, I was holding the gun too tightly. I was squeezing my mind too tightly and trying to force the words to come out. Because of this, I was missing the target. 

Once I realized this, the question became, why.... or what is making me so tense that I feel the need to squeeze so hard? I have pondered this question for quite some time and my only answer seems to be that my life had been in such turmoil for the past few months that it really did affect my ability to write. My personal problems had nothing to do with anything in the writing world, but they caused me to loose focus on writing. Looking back this problem had a profound affect on my freelance business as well. Funny that most people look at me and think that I am unmovable. Clearly they don't know what goes on in my mind. 

I suppose for those of you out there that are aspiring to be writers I should give you a bit of friendly advice, even if you hold it in and seem like a rock on the outside, what is happening inside of you can and will affect your writing. The best thing to do is to ride it out, take care of the business that is binding you up, and then continue with your writing. I say that because I don't think that I would be very pleased with any work that reflected the dark moods that I have felt in the past couple of months. If I had been writing Cali's story surely those moods would have infected the story and that would have been a disaster. 

I know that many a great painter and composer and yes writers have infused their works with their own personal tragedies... Edgar Allen Poe comes to mind. If works like the Raven are what you would like to write, then by all means pour your tragedy down onto the paper. But, if you are more inclined to other ventures, then please deal with the darkness and the struggles before putting pen to paper, this way you can think with a clear head. 

That being said, there is room for both in the life of a writer. I have written a book much like the darkness of the Raven, called A Return to Sanity which chronicles some of my darkest thoughts and some of my life's darkest times.  It is written in the third person and from the point of view of an outside friend. The hero is renamed Rebecca and her thoughts, which are my thoughts, are examined using the figure of speech of the simoly (yes I butchered the spelling). She imagines her mind as a room that is filled with clutter. Some of the clutter is just stuff, while other bits of the clutter is dark dirty things that need to be gotten rid of. All of this clutter combined keeps Rebecca from seeing the other side of the room. On the other side of the room she knows that there is a door out into a brighter place. Her job is to clean the room. Slowly through the book she pulls aside all of the useless clutter and finally reaches the floor. When she reaches the floor she finds it covered with mud and muck. This represents the growing filth that sticks to her feet and keeps her from moving forward towards the door out which is the door to her life. She must clean this floor, but to do so she must examine those events in her life that caused the muck to be made. 

The book is not long, but is was very difficult to write and when it was done I felt cleansed, much like the room that Rebecca cleaned. If you have a dark or troubling past, I strongly suggest that you attempt to write it all down. It can be cleansing, but it can also lead you down a dark path so be careful. This recent bout of mine with personal problems has opened my eyes once again to how easy it is to slip if I am not diligent. My inability to write was a symptom that helped me to realize just how far I had gone down the dark road. 

Needless to say when I realized the problem and turned it around I was immediately surrounded by light again and writing became easy again for me. In a way it is just a change of attitude and in another it was a more direct intervention in events in my life. At any rate... I am back and I feel good about being able to write again. It has been a long few months for me and I am grateful to you who stuck around and kept faith that I would return. 

Live well and be good to each other.

Ancient mysteries revealed!

I am so sorry for letting this slip. I have been super sick with food poisoning and my sister is also in the hospital with another problem. They just took her off of life support today. It has been a real roller coaster.

That being said, since I was confined to someplace near my bathroom for a week, I spent a lot of time watching television. To be specific I was busy watching a show called America Unearthed. This is a show in which the host is a forensic geologist and he investigates odd, unusual and hard to explain geological features and markings. While he is investigating these things he is solving some of America's oldest mysteries and uncovering some really amazing secrets. For instance, most people know that the Vikings came here to the New World long before Columbus in 1492, but did you know that the Welsh came here as well and they left behind at least one native American tribe that not only spoke Welsh but they also have paler skin, some have blue eyes, European features and Welsh customs. Yet, other than the native American tribe, the Welsh seem to have left no other evidence of their time here.

The Irish also came to the new world long before Columbus. They left dozens rock shrines and places of worship that are distinctly marked with their tell-tale signature of building and mastery of astro architecture (this is architecture that has alignments to the stars). The ancient Irish were very much into making things that had more than one purpose. Making a building for example that was both a tomb and a calender was not uncommon. 

Another great thing that I learned was that the Aztecs came from North America. I don't know why I didn't notice this before, the legends clearly state that their god told them to journey south until they found an eagle on a cactus with a serpent in its mouth. They did and they found such an eagle in what is now Mexico City. Everyone knows the story but, like everyone else I just assumed that they came from some lake community further north of Mexico City.This was part of the story, their city was surrounded by water. But, when you examine their history with a bit more attention you will see that they came from a place that they called "white". This is the meaning of the word that they called their homeland. Now, I've been to Mexico, not all of it to be sure, but enough of it to be fairly certain that north of Mexico City there is no place that would both be surrounded by water and white.  Theories abound concerning this. Were they talking about snow? And if they were, where is there both fluid water and snow and a city on an island in the center that is all north of Mexico City? This is quite the puzzle. The puzzle seemed to be unsolvable. Until a man in Wisconsin showed a series of land maps to the show's host. These were ordinary maps that showed new and proposed boundary lines after a treaty or land sale. The interesting thing about the maps was that in all of them (almost 200) a single place is marked out on the map as a place of reference, it is "The Ancestral Home of the Aztecs". This spot is pointed out to be in what is now northern Utah, in a place we know as the great salt lake. It is a body of water that is completely white with an island in the center. After a certain date all map makers stopped placing this point of reference on  their maps, so the information was lost. So... I suppose that some Americans need to stop telling some Mexicans to go back where they came from, we may have a mass migration to Utah. 

The Templar's were another group that came to North America early on. They also left a lot of stone temples and holy places. The New England area across to Michigan seemed to be very popular. I can understand why, navigation to these areas is easy in comparison to trekking about in the unknown woods and forests that prevailed on the east coast during this time. Not all of the Native Americans were happy to see new faces. Unlike the colonization process of the 1600's and beyond, those that came before were looking to either start over without causing a fuss or simply to strip the resources and leave. There was no great push to relocate or decimate the local human population, hence there was less friction between them and the white faces that showed up. 

Rumor has it that the Templar's came to avoid religious persecution. After the King of France declared them heretics and began burning them alive the Templar's fled Europe. They first went to Brittany then to Ireland and rumor has it that from there they came to the new world. This makes perfect sense as Irish seafarers had been traveling to the new world for centuries. The Templar's got what they needed in Ireland and set off. Now here is the interesting part, legend states that the Templar's were the caretakers of several religious artifacts that would change the course of most of the world religions if they were ever found. It is said that the Templar's were the caretakers of the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant. There is no solid proof, no royal order spelling it out, or papal decree telling the Templar's to take these items and hang onto them. There is only century old rumor and clues that could point to that conclusion. Of course, even with only rumor many people actively seek to find these items, including the host of this television show. He makes a good argument for most of his digging around, but like most people when it comes to the Holy Grail or the Arc they get a bit ahead of themselves. It is my opinion that if the Templar's brought them here, and if the Free Mason's are in fact descendant of that ancient order, then it stands to reason that they, the Free Mason's would still continue to protect those items today and they would not allow them to be found. But, I suppose the fun is in the looking. 

I find it interesting that with all of the wealth of knowledge and evidence that the Smithsonian continues to deny the early arrival in what is now the United States by anyone that was not of Asian origin... you know across the ancient land bridge that once connected Alaska with Asia. There is a recent movement within the Smithsonian to begin to accept that Europeans did come here in similar manner from the other side, following the seals across the ice that once connected all of the continents to the north. Evidence has been found of prehistoric migration from France to Florida and of course every State in between. It was a group of humans that apparently grew tired of living in the cold and slowly migrated south. 

I love looking at the migration patterns of early humans. It is how I learned of my own ancestry. I am an American and my parents were Americans before me, but their parents were not. Two of the four were born in other countries and their parents were born in still more other countries. I can trace my own lineage back to the ancient migration of the Celts when they came out of what is now Russia. How car can you trace your lineage? If you are from America, maybe not quite so far. But, if you are from some other country, maybe you can teach me a thing or two about tracing your lineage. 

Live well and be good to each other. 

By the way, never eat Pastrami at a restaurant! You will pay for it the hard way.

Going home again

I look out of my window today and I see so much fodder for writing. It is a blustery day, much like the day that Winnie the Pooh experienced in the Hundred Acre Wood so long ago. I have to imagine that AA Milne might have sat at his desk and looked out his window before putting pen to paper to write the very first Pooh story. I of course am not a children's story writer. Perhaps some day I will attempt such a thing. But, as I look out at the dark day my thoughts turn towards darker and colder stories. To me it is interesting that my mind is working towards writing today as other than this blog, I have not written anything in the way of creative writing for months. I wouldn't say that I'm uninspired, I'm just not interested in writing. My life has been so nerve-wracking for the last several months that writing seemed like a joy that I was not worthy of having. So, why is it that today my heart and mind feel light enough to want to write again? It must have been a dream that I had just before waking. I dreamed of the house that I grew up in. 

I know that the house has been sold, but my mind walked me up to the door and asked the new owner if I could just walk around and say my farewell's. After that I walked around the yard and saw every plant and tree that we had planted. I walked the porch that I helped my father build and I stood at the window that had been my bedroom window, and my window to the world. Now, I'm fairly certain that very little of the house and yard look as they did when I was a child, but my mind will always remember that house, that place that was my home. 

They say that you can never go home again. I don't believe that is true, you can go home, but only in your mind. That place, that feel, that life goes away when you leave it and you cannot reclaim it, but you can remember it. Because you remember it, it will live forever, much like lost loved ones. 

In my dream, I was moving to New York. Interesting that. I've never even been to New York. But, I am going next year. I wonder if my mind is just doing a bit of wishful thinking, or was this a bit of pre-cognizance? Now that is an interesting thought. Still it isn't the meaning of the dream that intrigued me, it is the light feeling that infused my soul while I was dreaming. It remains strong even to now. This feeling makes me want to write and gives me a romantic feeling inside, perhaps it is a feeling of nostalgia. I don't know what it is, what I do know is that I will be spending the night writing. 

This means that I need to decide what it is that I want to pick up. I would like to expand upon my new EBook, How to Write an Autobiography. I am thinking of making a workbook style out of it. That might help those that have serious problems organizing their thoughts. But, I think that I might actually renew working on Cali's new adventure. The good thing here is that I have so much that I can do and I don't have to stick with only one thing. 

In other news, I now have one of my co-workers interested in going to Winnemucca with me when the weather breaks. That should be a hoot! He is quite the personality and I am really looking forward to the trip. Tomorrow, I'll tell you about some of the skeletons they have found here in Nevada. Maybe we can piece together a time line that would include these odd skeletons. We'll see. Right now, my dinner is getting cold.

Live well and be good to each other.

How ancient is ancient?

Well I checked out those Petroglyphs that they found in Winnemucca. Scientists have not yet determined their actual age. They are either 10,500 years old, which would make them the oldest known carvings in North America, or they are 14,800 years old which would make them the oldest in the world. The problem is that they are found on boulders that have been under water for so long and the lake level has not remained constant. The boulders were exposed twice in the past to the air between 14,800 and 13,200 years ago and again between about 11,300 and 10,500 years ago. This is why they are having some problems. The one thing that helps them is sediment deposits inside of the grooves of the Petroglyphs.  By dating these deposits and measuring their depth scientists will eventually come to a conclusion. 

Either way, here's the lingering question; do these Petroglyphs resemble something that an advanced human civilization would make or are they the work of a newly emerging human race?  Here's some pictures for you to decide:



There are no pictures of human like forms or animals on any of the boulders. This makes the drawings even more curious. 








Look at the scale looking things. I'm not sure what to think about those. I need to do some more research about the region and what actually lived in the area at the times in question. I know that Nevada was the home of the world's largest prehistoric fish. We have tons of fossils of her, including full fossils with babies, which is why we call the fish "she". She is our State Dinosaur. We even named beer after her. 

This is an interesting puzzle for me. I think that I will need to draw it out on paper and make my own time line. What do you think. What are these things? What are they trying to depict? I see trees and the sun and I have no idea what the rest of that is... Ideas?

Something to think about. Here's the link for one article and a second link for another. Check them out. 

Live well and be good to each other.





 

The alien angle

Sometimes I watch some of those alien visitation documentary style television shows. They are done fairly well, although they do show some bias towards the existence of aliens, they are still pretty decent as documentaries go. Don't get me wrong, you all know that I believe in aliens, but if you are going to produce a show that is supposed to be unbiased then you should make certain that it is exactly that, unbiased.  Still, I enjoy them because they show things that I have never seen before in places that I will probably never go. 

For example, recently they have found some ancient carvings in Winnamucca, Nevada. Now Winnemucca is just down the highway from me here in Sparks and once the cold weather clears, I have ever intention of taking a short trip. In the meantime, these carvings are the oldest ever found in the world. They pre-date Mesopotamia which is insane. They were previously unknown because of the water level of the lake. Now the lake is low enough to expose these carvings. (Yes Nevada has lakes. In fact Winnemucca lake is the remnant of a prehistoric lake. Who knows what else is under those waters? We have another in this State that is prehistoric. We have been working hard as a State to keep water in it, now maybe there is a reason to let it dry up.) Anyway... These carvings suspiciously resemble the carvings of several different ancient peoples, the Egyptians, the Aztecs and the Celts. Odd combination of people, but it they really do predate other civilizations, then these other civilizations may once have been only one civilization.

This leads one to think that the theory of the cycles of mankind may have some credence. The cycles dictate that mankind rises and falls in waves. Civilization rises to a crescendo and then is all but swept from the earth. Only small bits remain and as man rises once again from the ashes, he believes that he is the first and those bits of the past civilization become mysteries, like Atlantis. This leads me to wonder just how civilized or rather how advanced these people might have been to be carving on rocks in this manner. I mean these are not pretty rocks, like marble, these are just granite. And the carvings are more like cave man style carvings as opposed to Michael Angelo. So... what gives?

Of course the show insists that these ancient people were only carving what they saw in the rock because they had no paper to draw on, and they were drawing aliens. That may well be true, but how does it relate to the so called cycle of man? One one hand they write these people off as uncivilized and on the other they hold them up as a great civilization that gave birth to the known world. Make up your mind. 

There is another odd mystery in the Grand Canyon, where a scientist found a cave that led to an underground city. This city had markings that linked it to the Egyptians, the Mayans and the Hindi... but the Smithsonian, who he worked for, deny any such claim. The funny thing is that they came, crated up the entire cave and then sealed it. They took their treasures back east and then the scientist that found it, disappeared. He was never seen again and the Smithsonian claim that they don't know who he is. The area of the Canyon that the cave was found in, is now not accessible without a government permit. 

The interesting thing about these two different findings is the dating of the two. Assuming that the cave was once at water level and therefore accessible instead of 2000 feet below the rim of the gorge, then the contents of the cave were very old indeed.  This would mean that the cave constructors would have made the cave long before the Grand Canyon was very Grand. Now, how far up from the river was the cave entrance? I have no idea. Because the show did not tell us. The show didn't even speculate. Instead they focused on a possible alien angle. That is the show's job, to seek out aliens, but still this shit was interesting without an alien angle and could have really been explored. Maybe I'll look into it myself. 

Speaking of alien angles... I do get a bit tired of hearing that everything is alien related. It's as if mankind never had an original thought in their heads. It all had to come from some other greater being. I think that much is bull. Mankind is not just an experiment that needs constant stimulation and supervision. We may have once been part of an experiment with DNA manipulation, but somewhere along the way we developed our own minds. Maybe that's why the alien scientists no longer just come and visit like they once did. Now they just come and slaughter livestock and abduct the random human.  As a scientist once your experiment has reached fulfillment all you do is monitor, take an occasional sample and let it be.  You move on to another experiment. 

Anyway, I watch the shows now with a grain of salt. I'm of a mind that mankind is now an experiment that has reached its fulfillment and must be left to its own devices. When aliens come to visit they either come to visit specific people or they have another agenda. We as a race think for ourselves now and if aliens are giving us technology it is because they have ulterior motives. Perhaps they want us to join them in space quicker than we would get there on our own.. who knows? What I do know is that we humans do think for ourselves and don't need aliens to direct our every day life.

So, no I've vented. What are your thoughts?

Live well and be good to each other.

How to write an autobiography

Well, I have finished the book "How do you Write an Autobiography". It took a little longer than anticipated, but to be honest I got distracted by a brief, really brief, possible romantic interest. I have but one more read through to make sure that I haven't made any errors that I missed in the last three read through's and it will be done.  Once it is I will put the link on this blog page as well as on the site. 

So what did I talk about in the book? Is it something that you might want to purchase? Let me give you a quick run through. 

I first talk about writing what you know. Now this sounds like a no brainer and we've talked about it before. But, it can be a bit tricky. For example, you may know how to flip a light switch but that doesn't mean that it needs to be saved in an autobiography. If however you have a smart, funny, scary or otherwise engaging story that involves the flipping of a light switch then, that might be something to put into an autobiography. So when a person tells you to write what you know you then, you should consider and possibly temper what that exactly means to you. 

I talked about setting the mood for your autobiography and how to introduce humor into an otherwise serious situation to lighten the mood. This does not dilute the story but allows your reader to better absorb it. To better underscore this chapter I tell a story of my own. Setting and maintaining the mood of a book is very important. 

Then I spend some time showing you the different ways of formatting an autobiography. There are more than one way to write in terms of style. I outline the most commonly used in autobiographies. When we have the format down then we begin on content. What exactly do you want to write about? Have you had an interesting life that you want to have documented, do you have a specific skill that you want to pass on or is this a journey through pictures? All of these and more are handled in the book. 

The hardest part of any story or book is the beginning. Where do you start? First I help you to decide where in your life or story you should start, and this decision has as much to do with the format of the book as it does with the content. Once we have a starting place I help you to write the first sentence. That's usually the tough one. 

Next we discuss your potential audience. All books are written with a view towards the intended audience, even autobiographies. Why do you want to write one? That's the big question, because the answer will help you to determine every other aspect of the book. Sometimes family autobiographies are best told through pictures, poetry and small stories of specific events that relate to the pictures. This is all discussed at length. 

Finally, I talk about editing. Most first time authors are better served by not editing as they write. Generally the first thought is the best one when writing a story, especially a memory. It does not serve you well if you try to correct mistakes or decide halfway through a story that you want to edit out some details. My advice is to write the story, all of it. Then go back in a week or two and read it, then you can edit it if you feel it needs more than spell check. 

I finish the book with a quick note on publishing. I don't include any publishers names or anything in this book. Perhaps if that is something that interests you I can make up a quick click type of pamphlet the gives the names, and addresses of publishers in their genre. This would take a bit of work but if you want me to do it then let me know. 

Okay, I'm going to go through How to Write an Autobiography so I can get it posted for you all. I hope that you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. I will be working on How to Write a Book next. There are a lot of similarities between an autobiography and any other book, but they are not the same.

Okay, so live well and be good to each other.


And here it is, How to Write an Autobiography! Phew.... I didn't think that was going to work. 

Revising your work is important

Over the past week I have been working very hard on completely reformatting Un Sabor de Mexico (my cookbook) so that I could add it to my EBooks section and actually feel good about it. You see my cookbook was the first full color book that Sherechita Publications produced. It was a real bear and I did a lot of things in that book that I could never reproduce because I have no idea what I did. So, I had or have tons of mistakes, both in simple spelling and grammar but mostly in formatting. In addition, at the time I thought that it would be cool to have lots of random pictures of Mexico, that I took while I was there vacationing, in and under the text. I faded out the pictures before I put them under the text so you could still read it.... well you can see the problem with all of that. What is the point of putting in a picture if you are going to fade it out anyway? Plus not everyone has great eyesight, I just made it harder for many people to read the recipes. I have learned a lot since then and now it is time to repair the mistakes. 

I thought that a simple repair could be done. But, I was wrong. Some of the things that I did cannot be undone, well at least not by me. I have no idea for example how I got the decorative line down the right side of the interior of the book. Consequently, I have no idea how to get rid of it. Also, some of the pictures defy correction. Some won't even let me click on them, as if they are part of the program. Well,with so many difficulties, I decided to start fresh. Thankfully I don't have to rewrite all of the recipes. I can transfer the text only onto a clean sheet of virtual paper and format it anew. 

Since I needed to start over, I decided that I should add a recipe and add more pictures of the dishes and fewer pictures of my vacation. Also there will not be any pictures behind the text and all of the pictures will have captions. There will not be any more random pictures. The final book should look a lot more professional than the one that I have now. I am also considering a new cover and if I can find another printer, then I will try to get it spiral bound so it's easier to use in the kitchen. Of course this last part doesn't affect EBooks. The other things that I am doing will affect the EBook, it will make it easier for the book to load... smaller pictures, make for an easier download. 

I am still working on the How to Write your own Autobiography book. It is easy to write in terms of knowledge, but a bit difficult as I have been having trouble typing. My hand keeps swelling up. My doctor says that it might be carpal tunnel syndrome or something else. All I know is that it is extremely painful and makes writing hard. I guess if we can't get it fixed or something, I will need to invest in the Dragon program and start dictating my books. That will be a pain in the tail all its own.

I am nearly finished with my change of law proposal for the ELI Group. As you know we are trying to change the child protection laws here in Nevada. The laws will be less confusing, more consistent and the punishments will be more severe. We are hoping that the changes will make the act of abusing a child less attractive, and at the same time they will stop punishing parents that seek only to discipline their child. In the future we are hoping to revamp some of the CPS laws so that they are not the first call a person makes but the second. All too often CPS is called into a situation that actually requires the Police, and visa-versa. Some of that is due to the laws and how they are written and some of it is due to citizens not understanding the roles of these two bodies in regards to child abuse and yes some of it is due to some people overstepping their legal bounds. Some clarification in the laws should help with all of that. 

Okay, one of the things that I am writing about in the new "How To" book is 'writing about what you know'. This is a simple and sometimes overused comment that is not properly explained. When writing an autobiography you should write about your life, obviously, but not all of your life. No-one wants to share everything and frankly no-one wants to read about everything. When writing an autobiography it is better if you write little stories. Choose incidents from your life that have meaning for you. Write about them. These are things that you know.  

I explain more in my new book and expand the explanation to include how to make your stories into a book that people will want to read. In the book I talk about your motivations, what you are hoping to achieve and a dozen other topics. Stay tuned for more as I finish it. I will make it available first as an EBook and then later as a paper bound book. 

Okay, my hand is not happy and I need to get running. I will write more later. 

Until next time, Live well and be good to each other.

Is the Canonized Bible the only words of God?

After re-reading my last blog post, I was left with a burning question. Why is it that Demons only quote the Canonized Bible? I know that I kind of talked about this with the previous post, but I'm still not quite satisfied with the answer, or in our case the speculative answer. The canonized Bible states that the Devil or Satan knows the words of God better than we do or ever will. That makes sense, he's been around since almost the beginning and God is his, or was his direct boss. It stands to reason that he would know God fairly well and probably remembers what he said. This begs the age old question, does the canonized Bible actually contain the words of God, or are they just stories and the interpretations of men? There was a time when I would have argued vehemently that the Bible was and always will be the Word of God, but now... well, let's just say that I'm open to a bit more than I once was, or I'm a bit less rigid, whichever. I've no doubt that God's words are in there somewhere, but interpretation and centuries of copying have altered things a great deal, and then there was the whole era where some folks didn't like some of the bits so they took them out and they changed others... anyway... God's actual words are in there somewhere. Finding them might prove to be quite the challenge. 

So, back to the question, why is it that Demons only quote from the Canonized Bible? Are they trying to prove that this version is the only one that contains the actual words of God? If so, why would they do such a thing? Wouldn't this bring people closer to God? If Satan can quote God better than we can, then surely if he or one of his minions quotes the Bible then he is quoting God, and at the same time validating the Canonized Bible. How does this benefit Satan? There must be a profit for him somewhere. Do you doubt me? The Bible clearly states, The thief cometh not but to steal, to kill and to destroy. The thief is identified as Satan. So, I ask again, how does quoting the Canonized Bible benefit Satan. How does validating the clearly erroneous book steal worship from God? 

This question is just mind boggling for me. All I can determine is that by quoting the book the Devil is showing the weakness of God. I mean we only get to hear a Devil talk if it is through a person that is possessed, generally unwillingly possessed. The possession alone is an attention getter and certainly makes people question the power and the love of their God. Maybe the quoting part is just another crumb in the Devilish little cake. 

Okay, so why not show that they are superior? Why not quote from a book that the church fathers threw out? Why not show how much more they know. Unless of course doing so would validate those discarded books. In the same turn they would invalidate the Church that threw them out. Now that's an interesting bit of theory. Do these Devils actively validate the Church by quoting only what they have approved? Certainly quoting from the Gospel According to Judas might throw a proverbial wrench into the cogs of the church. If nothing else it would send everyone scrambling looking for the location of the quote and its significance. Wouldn't Judas find that amusing after all these centuries to be validated by a Devil? Even the most devout of people would find that amusing, perhaps only in an ironic sort of way, at least for a moment. 

Many of you are probably wondering how I could question the validity of the Bible after having written Is Homosexuality a Sin?, A Biblical Answer. Have my views changes since writing the book? Of course they have, but not in regards to the content of the book or the research that brought me to my conclusions. In fact, I would say that even though I am more critical of the Bible now, than I was then, I think that my scrutiny is a good thing. It keeps me honest in regards to the Bible and its contents. I no longer dismiss the missing books, as I, and the church fathers once did. I read them as well. The missing books help tell a more complete story of the first, second and third century church. The additional books very clearly show the conflict and differences in belief that was so prevalent in the early church. We know who won the early doctrinal wars, those that are now in power. The discarded books give us the stories of the losers. As with all losers, they may not have been wrong. They simply didn't win because they lacked the power, or the numbers, or the money, or a combination. In the case of the Christian losers, most of them lacked the connections. Many believe that it was Constantine that gave the Christian church the religious power, but in fact it was his mother that held the big stick. One of the losers of the doctrinal war had Constantine. But, Constantine was not the power in that particular battle. 

Constantine believed something other than what his mother and the Church believed, for his entire life. The church will say otherwise, but historical documents prove that Constantine was a follower of Arian. Arian and his followers were all but scrubbed from history, by the church when it took power and became the Catholic Church. But, with the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls, his legacy was reborn. On his death bed Constantine 'converted' to the new Church doctrine, to achieve salvation. This is what his mother and her church taught, and still teach today. It is not what Arian and his followers taught. Nor is it what Judas and his followers taught. (Yes Judas had followers). He adamantly believed that he was doing the will of God when he betrayed Jesus. In fact if you read the four gospels that are in the Canonized Bible you will see that three of them also either suggest or come out and say that Judas could have done no other thing, because Jesus and therefore God was in charge of the situation. Jesus had to die, so he orchestrated the entire thing. Judas therefore was only acting upon what Jesus told him to do. The other Apostles did not fully grasp the significance of this and therefore turned on Judas, and murdered him. 

Isn't it amazing when you look at both sides of the story. Too bad I have no real desire to talk to a Devil to find out their side of the story. 

When I wrote Is Homosexuality a Sin? I made certain that the first chapter was about the Authority of the Bible. In it I document what I see in the Bible, that gives it Authority, in other words, what makes it the Word of God or the closest we're likely to get to the written 
Word. At the end of the chapter I challenge my readers to choose for themselves whether or not they will give the Bible the authority to mold or dictate their morality (get the first chapter for free HERE). This is essential to the rest of the argument. For if you have no faith, trust or belief in the Bible then the argument of Is Homosexuality a Sin? A Biblical Answer will not have any meaning for you. Is Homosexuality a Sin? is now available for only $4.39 as an EBook. EBooks can be down loaded onto any digital platform, even telephones. You can take them anywhere and they are yours forever. 

I still give the Bible the authority of a moral compass. Now I also have the discarded books to look at. The jury is still out on whether or not I will also give them the authority. Right now they are very intriguing, and extremely interesting as historical documents, but are they also the Word of God? I need more time with them to decide for myself. 

So... we still didn't really answer the question, but in all honesty I didn't really expect to answer this one. I have no idea what Devils think, I know their motives, but not their devices. But, it is interesting that they only quote the Canonized Bible. Just some more food for thought.

I've started a how to book. It is titled How to Write an Autobiography. It should be done very soon. This is in response to you, my readers. It seems that you like my deviations from the ordinary box of stuff, but you prefer the posts that talk about writing and publishing. So, I am writing How to Write an Autobiography, which will contain the basics on how to start a book, how to format your thoughts from beginning to end, and how to write a book that others would like to read. As soon as it is done I will make it available on my site for all of you, on my EBooks page where all of my books are for sale for only $4.39 each, a fraction of the cost of a printed copy.

Until next time, Be well and be good to each other.

Why do Devils quote the Bible?

I must apologize for not updating my blog in so long. I have been working diligently to get you the eBooks that you have been requesting. Now, I have all of my books available in ebook format. I priced them at $4.39 each. This is considerably less than the actual paper book is priced. Of course, this is expected. You can simply click on the Paypal button and complete checkout then have the book downloaded onto whatever device that you are using. My books have been available for Kindle since the beginning, but not everyone owns a Kindle. So, I made them so that anyone can have them regardless of the device that they own. The process was a bit more complicated than I was expecting, but I finally got it. You can find the eBooks on the page titled EBooks or you can look at any of the individual title pages for each book. If I can manage it, I will put the link in this blog post. 

That was the news, and I am very excited about it all, but I also have yet another odd question that has come to me recently, perhaps you will also find it as odd and thought provoking as I have. So here it is, why is it that every time you hear of evil spirits talking to people (like when a person is possessed and the spirit is speaking through them) why is it that those nasty buggers always quote the Bible? Does this not bug anyone else? I mean, other than people in Church positions and a few very devout, who actually knows the Bible? If a Devil was to throw a quote out at you, would you have any clue if he or she was actually quoting it right? For that matter, why is it that they always use King James English? Is that the official translation for humans and spirits, or just the official English version? Does this not sound as ridiculous to you as it does to me, or is it just me? 

We've discussed Devils before, so we know that they are simply fallen Angels... what does that really mean? Have they fallen from grace or have they fallen from a great height, or is it both? Here's a twist that I'm sure you were not expecting, why is it that these so called know it all ex-Angels only quote the Canonized Bible? Certainly they know that there are many other books that were thrown out by the Church fathers for whatever reason. One of those books was reportedly written by Peter the Apostle, you know the guy that the Church was to be built upon, according to the Church that threw that particular document out. Why is it that Devils don't quote any of the tossed out books, but they do sometimes quote books that exist only in myth, but we'll address that on another date. 

It bothers me that documentation shows that Devils only quote from the Canonized Bible and they only use King James English. This sounds like a scam to me. Of course, I believe that the scam could be perpetrated by the person or the Devil. Which one is running the bigger game? It generally comes down to profit. A human will run a scam for monetary or emotional profit. What do Devils find profitable? Do they seek souls? The Bible suggests that Devils seek to draw humans away from God in every way that they can. I suppose that would be a profit for them, if they could convince a person that God is not real or that he/she will not come to your rescue. In fact it would be a win for them if they simply got people to doubt. But, I'm at a loss to understand how quoting the Bible achieves that goal. 

How does quoting the Bible make a person question God? Truly this is a boggle to me. I just don't get it. For me it's bad enough that they quote only a specific Bible, but what exactly are they attempting to gain by quoting said Bible? Honestly, I have no bloody idea. Do any of you have any ideas on this issue?

Just something to think about.

Don't forget to get your copy of any of Sherechita Publications books for only $4.39 each. Go to the EBooks page. If you're not sure if you want to buy the entire book, then get the first chapter for free

Live well and be good to each other.

Do we worship the dead?

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I had a wonderfully relaxing time. I did spend most of December trying to educate myself. I was trying to learn how to add more things to my website, for your convenience. It was brought to my attention that many people would like a copy of my books but they don't own a Kindle and don't want the hardbound book. So I have been learning how to make an e-book available for purchase off of my website, and most likely, off of my blog as well. Most of you never leave the blog, which is wonderful, so I am going to try and have a widget on the blog where you can easily access any of my books. 

I have been thinking lately about death... not the morbid 'oh I'm dying' stuff, but more in the neighborhood of how we as humans treat death. Since the earliest of times, as far as we know, mankind has venerated death. Now what does that mean exactly? It means that in an odd way we worship death.... well at least as much as we worship birth. There are always exceptions, but for most people, when a loved one passes away, we have the body treated specially. Many of us cremate our loved ones. This is a very old way of giving honor to our loved ones after they have passed. Long ago when mankind, in its many tribes, was a hands on warring race, those that fell in battle were burned, quite often on the battlefield. This of course has a practical application. Who wants to cart home all of the dead and their many pieces? Bodies were burned or sometimes buried in the masses. It was not uncommon for a battle to be called to a halt so that both sides could clear away the dead, not to give honor to the dead, but to make room for the battle. In time religious orders started to give meaning to the burning of the dead. Some claimed that to burn the body was to release the spirit so that it could move on to the next realm. Many religions embraced this thought and ceremonies began to erupt all over the known world.

Special oils and spices were applied to bodies regardless of their ultimate fate. This again was a practical thing. It was all well and good to say that when the King fell in battle he had to be returned home for the proper ceremony to be performed. But, getting him there without gagging the entire way was going to be a challenge. This is when they took a page from those that preserved meat before there was refrigeration. The Egyptians became masters of it. They realized that any animal that keeps its guts is going to stink faster and longer, it will also bloat and cause all sorts of problems. So they took out the guts. Of course they placed those guts into special jars because they were after all holy guts. Other cultures mimicked the behavior in most categories, some felt that it was more respectful to pickle or salt the Kings guts instead of remove them. But, regardless the reason, most of those methods are still intact today in many countries around the world. 

We celebrate the day a person dies either by mourning or by actually celebrating. We have people stand up and speak about the person that they knew and then we look at the deceased and then, oddly, we eat and talk more about this person. That ladies and gentlemen is a religious event. Is this not what we do when we attend Church? We talk about the fallen Jesus and then we talk about the risen Christ, then we eat and talk some more. The pattern is exactly the same. This service is repeated when a new baby is expected and when it actually arrives. 

I'm not saying that it is good or bad, it just is. We worship death, even in cultures that will vehemently tell you that they most certainly do not worship death. Sometimes, they are the worst culprits. 

In some cultures this phenomenon is easily seen, in others, you need to recognize what you see to understand that it is a form of worship. Even in the Catholic Church, an institution devoted to life and lite, worships the dead. In fact they are the biggest proponents of worshiping the dead. What is praying to a Saint, if not worshiping the dead? The Church even has candles near the alter from which you can summon your dead loved ones. That's what the Witches used them for. The candles were the Church's concession to the Witches for becoming the number one Church in the world. The Saints were the Church's concession to the polytheists of the Roman religion and the Greek religion. Even the Trinity was a concession to the Romans for their favor. But, I digress.... were the Catholics or Christians forced to worship the dead? I don't think so, they were already eating the Eucharist and drinking the wine long before they became the dominant church. In fact, it was this seemingly morbid act that got many of the Romans angry with them in the first place. 

It must be that the custom of how you worship the dead, is important. I know that for each church it is just a tiny bit different. Each ceremony is a little different than the last. All of it however, boils down to one thing, we still worship the dead, after all these years, we just can't seem to get past it.

Look for lots of changes to come, and thank you all for reading.
book of your choice.                  
Live well and be good to each other.

Do you want to hear more Out of the Box thoughts?

I've been attending some courses recently. They are courses designed to help you become a better blogger, well that's what they advertise. The truth is that they want you to use your blog as an advertisement, for someone else. The hook is 'how to make money with your blog'. I checked it out, and after they had spent an hour telling us all how to market products from our blog and how to trick people into purchasing things using our blog, then they asked for money so we can receive more of the same type of tripe from them. I was appalled. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I thought that blogging was something one did to entertain, instruct and express yourself. I didn't know that somehow it had now been perverted into nothing but another marketplace where you lure people in and then get them to purchase things. Now don't get me wrong, yes I know that I sometimes market my own books on this blog, but it is my blog, and my books and my website. I don't send you to some other idiot's website to purchase something, so he can pay me a kickback. That's just dishonest as far as I'm concerned. I don't mind giving a plug to another author, product or website, if I believe in what I am saying, but wow... you should have heard the crap they were selling.
 
Anyway... there were a few things that made sense to me as far as how to make a blog better. I will be incorporating those things as soon as I can. For one, I need regular feedback from you my readers. There are quite a few of you out there, yet I seldom hear from you. It's hard to carry on a dialog with myself, and even harder to know what it is you might want unless you talk to me.
 
Of the comments that I have received I have by far gotten a much better response for my out of the box take on some of the world's weirdest questions or problems. I am thinking of expanding this to book form and I am curious if you my readers would find this something that you would find interesting? Please let me know one way or another. I am going to anticipate your approval by starting to compile some of my blog posts into more coherent and certainly better written material.
 
I have often thought of writing a book that centered around my personal opinions concerning odd things, but have never had much reason to pursue it, now with the scant bits of feedback that I have received primarily for some of those odd posts, I feel that I have a reason. So, to add to the original question, I have this question 'is there a topic or item that you would like me to discuss in my book?' I mean other than what I have already discussed in my blog, because all of those will be in the book. Most of them will be expanded upon and in a much more logical format. I will also be adding any references that I might utilize to form my opinion.
 
If you are wondering if this bit of banter is something that I might have learned in this blogging class the answer is, yes. It was taught as something else, but I would like to give you my faithful readers something to read other than my blog and my website. So this is why I am asking you if this is something that you might like to have in your little hands.
 
In other news, my website can now be found on your cell phone if you have internet access. I have yet to really work with it much, but I do know that it loads really quickly and everything is there. If you would like to see more or less of the website on your phone, please let me know as I can add and delete anytime that I like.
 
One last thing, would you my readers like to get emails from me? That was kind of one of those things in the class that I wasn't sure if I agreed with at all. It seemed like a cheap marketing trick, but I'm willing to give it a shot if you are.
 
Anyway, I'm supposed to leave you wanting more, but I'm not quite sure how as of yet. Rest assured, I am working on it. BTW, I do realize that I never told you what my niece did at Thanksgiving that out shone my zombie turkey incident, she asked me not to do so. Let's just say that she landed on her ass in a pool of dog water. I'm pretty sure that her pride was hurt more than her tail end. I laughed until I cried... three times. It was classic!
 
Okay, live well and be good to each other.

Attack of the Zombie Turkey

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday time with their families and friends. I personally had a blast! I actually ate three separate meals, all of which had their bonuses. But, the meal with my family was by far the most bazar holiday that I have had in quite a while. But let me start at the beginning...
 
When I arrived at my sister's house I was immediately conscripted into helping with the meal, which was not yet done. The turkey had been in the oven for 4 hours, it should have been done, but it was not. Despite the fact that the bird was still raw in the middle for some reason my sister and young nephew were trying to extricate the bird from the oven. They had run into a snag because they had used one of those cheap aluminum pans that once full will defy all attempts to lift and still retain their shape. In other words when they tried to lift the bird the pan folded in the middle and threatened to upend the half baked bird onto the floor. I stepped in and suggested that they slide a cookie sheet under the aluminum and then lift it using the cookie sheet. This worked like a charm and in no time the bird was happily cooling on the stove top. Minutes later my sister wondered what we were going to do... the bird was not done. This was the first that I had heard of it and immediately regretted helping them pull it from the oven. Needless to say I then helped them put the darn thing back.
 
However before I did that I syphoned the juice from the pan and started the gravy. The sweet potatoes and extra stuffing also made it into the oven before the door was once again closed. Meanwhile, the cheesecake that I had brought was being devoured by the nephew and my niece Cindy... the one that wrote My Life in a Nutshell. Apparently they were hungry. They manage to scarf down a few pieces before another niece, Melissa shows up with her daughter Annabelle. Then comes Cindy's boyfriend. When he gets home he decides that the dogs need to go outside. He had sequestered two large pit bulls, a Jack Russell, a smaller terrier and a Chihuahua in their bedroom. So, one at a time they let the dogs out... yes it was just like the song. Apparently they don't like my sisters Chihuahua and the fight was on, but not before they all decided that I was the new and most interesting lap in the room. I had my face cleaned several times before the dogs all found themselves outside.  I didn't mind, they were loveable beasties.
 
With the dogs now safely outside, I finish the gravy. We have turkey and ham gravy. Then I peak in the oven and find the little plastic pop up that's in the bird has popped, the bird is now cooked. So, I pull out the stuffing and the sweet potatoes and put them aside. I leave them covered because the bird needs to brown. Done or not, that pale white flesh is just unappetizing. I slide the entire rack out far enough to remove the foil from over the bird. I turn my head and ask Cindy to pass me the baster and before I know it something hot and wet is sliding down my leg. The Turkey had slid off of the wrack and was literally sliding down my leg like some giant hot turd. The nasty white skin is pealing like a nightmare sunburn and the juice has completely soaked my jeans. The side of my knee is beginning to burn. But, I don't flinch. There may still be a way to save this bird.
 
Cindy is watching from the sink along with Melissa who had been standing on the other side of the kitchen. You could have heard a pin drop, because oddly enough a living dead turkey that is trying to escape its fate makes no noise as it silently slithers down my leg to rest partially on my show and partially on the floor. The only sound it makes is when it finally comes to a sickening stop is a bit of a squish sound as the wings drop off onto the floor beside the body. You can't claim that it's not done at this point.
 
My calf is now beginning to burn along with my knee, so I gingerly pull my pants away from my leg and let them continue to drip turkey juice. At this point I can only thank God that I had already taken most of the juice out of the pan as the puddle beneath my own feet is fairly large and growing. I can only imagine what it would have looked like with the quart of juice that was thickening in the pot on the stove.
 
What did we do with the Zombie turkey that tried so valiantly to escape, even after he was cooked? Well, in true red neck fashion we picked the bird up and plopped him onto a cookie sheet. All the parts that actually touched the floor were still on the floor, lucky turn of events that was... yes Melissa rinsed the rascal off and then sent it to the table for trimming. What can you do? I brought the dogs in to clean up the mess. They were so grateful that they planted their turkey juice soaked paws on my shirt to give me another kiss before finishing the mess. Oh to teach a dog to clean his feet before doing that.... well we all can't be cats.
 
When it was all said and done and we were sitting around the table eating, no I don't like turkey anyway so I didn't have but a sliver of it, my sister leaned over and said, "I guess I should have warned you that my stove isn't level." All I could do was nod and say, "Yeah, that bit of knowledge might have come in handy."
 
Ahh, my life is always an adventure. I told the story to a friend today. Knowing as he does about my many mishaps through the years, he asked me how I had managed to survive. He further went on to tell me that if I ever find my vagina, not to play with it because I would break the poor thing... hmm now that's an interesting mind picture.
 
So... how was your Thanksgiving again?
 
Live well and be good to each other.
 
P.S. Tomorrow I'll tell you what Cindy did later that day that trumped my turkey leg incident.

I was on the radio

Well, I did go on the radio last Wednesday, but to be honest I was a bit disappointed. They really didn't let me talk or ask me many questions. I mean all in all it was okay, but I thought that since they asked for me they would have a few questions already prepared and that we would have some kind of discussion. Instead, I was asked two questions about my book, Veteran of the Silent War and the rest was just senseless banter. At this point I have no option but to chalk this one up to experience and hope that the small amount of exposure that it gave me will lead to bigger things.
 
After the radio show, I went up to a place called Wynoma Ranch where we took a look at a herd of Mustang horses. I'm adding my pictures to a new page here on the website and I will be adding the Wynoma Ranch website as well to my associates page. The ranch is a non-profit organization that is presently caring for a herd of horses that was slated for destruction. It's quite the battle here in Nevada, the wild horses are in danger all the time from home owners that have purchased homes inside of their natural range. The homeowners for the most part don't like the horses in their yards because they step on the flowers. Oh boo hoo. The herd that's at the Ranch right now were all displaced from southern Reno early last year. Other concerned people stepped in with their money and purchased the horses but had no place to put them. That's when Wynoma Ranch stepped up and took the herd. Now they feed and care for the animals using donations and volunteer help and by adopting out the horses or having the horses sponsored.
 
To sponsor an animal it's only $150. If you have no place to take your new horse they will continue to care for it for $50 a month. That's a bargain. They also have a couple of trainers that, for a fee, will gentle your new Mustang. He or she will not be saddle broke, but they won't bite or kick you on sight. 
 
Before going out to the ranch I listened to the radio show called Mustangs Matter with Lacy J. Dalton. She's a country music legend. She's also a huge Mustang advocate here in Nevada. It was a good show and I learned a lot. I also am a big animal rights advocate but have never gotten involved much with the Mustangs. I suppose I never realized just how precarious their position is here.
 
Anyway towards those ends I was out at the ranch looking at my friends new adopted horse and looking for one of my own. I can't afford to adopt one until January but I did pick one little filly out. She's only 8 months old and has quite a unique color. My dilemma now is do I allow her to simply remain free, or have her gentled? The jury is still out on the topic. Also up in the air is the actual boarding of a new horse. I will be moving when the lease ends on my present apartment. They are raising their rates at too high a percentage each year and although it is a nice complex I refuse to pay $1000 a month for a one bedroom. So.... if I get a horse, then I need to find a home that is horse friendly.
 
I know that many of you were wondering what happened at the radio station, so that was it. I am going to see if I can get a round two with them and have them make more of an issue about child abuse. First I have to talk to Keia about the ELI group to see where they are. She's been silent for a while. At any rate, take a look at my website. I will be working on it for a few hours. New chapters of Alti's Odium will be added as well as pictures of part of the herd of Mustangs that's out at Wynema Ranch.
 
Live well and be good to each other.

The latest news from Sherechita

For those that didn't notice I have started to upload Alti's Odium. Book two of my Xena story. Because this website cannot integrate with Microsoft Office very well, it is taking me a bit of time to upload the book. I also am putting each chapter on its own page to make it simpler for you to download the script to read.
 
I give this note of caution, Alti's Odium turns very dark towards the end. This is not a book that I recommend for those that have difficulty reading intense sexual and violent material. In the television stories Alti was always portrayed as being evil incarnate. However, because it was television she was severely toned down. I figured that if, she is so evil then, I was given a certain amount of latitude to explore just how evil she can be.  
 
In the vein of George Lucas, I have written three books on the Xena saga. The first is an easy win for the protagonist. The second is a counterstrike by they antagonist and the last is a longer battle with a built up for both sides. But, in a change from the Lucas formula I extended the story of the protagonists after they defeated the antagonist. In other words, I gave Xena and Gabrielle a life after Alti was destroyed.
 
Also unlike the Lucas formula, I did not leave Alti's Odium open ended. I ended the story. I really thought that Lucas let his fans down by leaving Empire Strikes Back open ended. It was a horrible betrayal and just unnecessary. In a long story it's expected that the bad guy will win once in a while. For Lucas to just leave that win hanging in the wind was just not right.
 
In other news, I am working on getting a radio interview. It looks like it might be sometime next week. The show is called Nevada matters and it's on 102.5 early in the morning. As I get the time and day nailed down I'll let you know.
 
I'm also working with my dear friend Joanne, the graphic artist, to develop a design that is all my own for my company. She cringed when I told her how I had developed the publisher tag that I'm using now; I used Paint. Yeah, it isn't meant for anything that is to be published. I did however give me the freedom to design the logo that I want, or at least the basic idea of what I want. I'm sure however, that when she's done with it, the whole thing will look amazing, instead of just cool. I will get her website logo on my connections page as soon as she approves it. She's an artist of the highest order in every medium. I own several of her paintings. That beings said, you can imagine that she is always concerned with anything that represents her, so she will need to approve any type of picture that I use to link her website with mine.
 
Okay, that's the news. So sorry it has been a while since I have written. I think of things all the time to put here on the blog, but I never seem to have the time to write them. I will make more of an effort. It seems that when I have the time I am so tired that I have forgotten what I wanted to share... I usually make notes... I've been slack at that in the past few weeks. So, I will talk to you tomorrow.
 
Live well and be good to each other.
 
 

Our love affair with vampires

I've had this thought on my mind for some time now, but I just haven't written about it... now is as good a time as any. We've discussed ghosts at long length and even werewolves but never vampires. This is mostly because vampires are truly fiction. They do not exist, not really, in any realm of our society. Yet we as a society are obsessed with them. But why?
 
I understand the entire love affair that teenagers have with the Twilight saga, and it has nothing to do with vampires, and everything to do with the sexual erotica that the sexy characters invoke. That's the real sell point with vampires, not the idiotic story or what passes for a 'young adult' plot. Face it, what person, vampire or not, in their right mind would want to go back to high school or date a high school student if they were over a hundred years old? What on earth would they have in common, other than sex? Nothing. Even a teenager turned vampire would mentally grow up in that amount of time. The character in Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire, not Louis, the little girl. She was a perpetual little girl, but mentally she was an adult woman, with the needs of a woman. It was much more believeable than a perpetual teenager that never grows up and falls in love with a sixteen year old human.
 
This brings us back to what is it about vampires that makes us obsess about them? I asked myself that question and found that I began reflecting on the original vampire story by Brahams Stoker. Most people that love vampires have never read the original. It really is a masterpiece, but I warn you it is not Twilight or Interview with a Vampire. Dracula is a dark saga that is centered around Johnathan Harker, not the vampire. It is written as a diary, (something that I will challenge myself to write someday). The diary not only takes you through the events, how he meets the vampire, but his internal turmoils and passions. It is a diary after all. It makes the story so much more personal than one that is written from an external point of view. I think that it is here in the mind of Johnathan Harker that we first recognize the sensual part of the vampire, for although Harker is repulsed by the vampire he is also drawn to him. it sickens him to think of the creature with his fiance and yet he finds the embrace of Dracula's concubines to be enticing.
 
It is with Dracula and vampires in general that we can embrace our most erotic and forbidden sexual fantasies. Who else can simply bite anyone that he, or she, wants but a vampire? They have no class restrictions, no-one is out of their league. They have no age restrictions, although biting a child is just too far out for me personally. Biting a baby keeps them in the realm of monster and killing for no reason other than blood lust both excites and repulses us at the same time. Vampires embody every vice and forbidden imagination that we have, so why not embrace them, they are us. They are the part of us that is only civilized when they want to be and completely off the rails the rest of the time, and that ladies and gentlemen is what makes them so incredibly sexy and irresistible.
 
Live well and be good to each other.

Playing with Cali

Wow how time flies! I've been organizing information so that I can get my new business up and running the second that I get the information and master the concepts. I'm really excited! Last week I was extremely upset over a door closing for me. I had been making quite a bit of money from an association with a particular business, but suddenly they decided that they wanted to completely control how I did business independently of them, right down to how I delivered the product. I was incensed. It was a clear violation of any type of business arrangement. So I am severing ties with them and now need a new way to make money. As I told you I am going to start writing resume's for people. I think of it as a new door through which to go. Considering my latest problems with other companies it will be nice to have my own independent company that moves product without ties to anyone else.
Anyway, I've also hit a bit of a writers block with Cali. I know where she's going and for the most part how she's going to get there, but I need to just let it flow. I'm deliberately blocking myself because I see just how big this book is going to be. Already it is larger than most of the Cali stories, in size alone and it is no where near even halfway through. For some reason I am having trouble letting it write itself. But... this is what I asked for isn't it? I wanted to challenge myself with something new. This is definitely new. So... here's my next chapter. You may have noticed that I am starting out slow so that I can build up to a crescendo. I'm hoping that it works.
//////////////////////////
 
Playing with Cali
 
 
 
Not long after leaving the garage, Tao received a phone call. When he was done speaking with whoever was on the other end of the line he turned to Cali. “We need to head over to the Sumner home.”
 
Cali pulled her foot from the gas and pulled the car over to the side of the road. “What? What’s happening?” Concern was clear in her voice, and her hand was resting on the emergency lights and sirens console.
 
“Relax, it’s nothing like that. I just got a call from the station. Copeland and Trapp have just called for a tow. Their at the Sumner home. The car started, but it won’t shift into gear.”
 
Cali sighed. “Okay, call Copeland. Tell her to stand by. We’re on our way.”
 
They arrived only moments after the department tow truck. Cali had the driver wait for a moment while she checked something on the car. She jotted down a note, thanked the driver for his time and walked towards Copeland and Trapp. Tao was already standing with them on the sidewalk.
 
Both of the newbies started talking as she approached. She held up her hand. “Relax, this is not your fault. I will deal with it.” She took a long cleansing breath. “Now, if there is nothing else?” She waited, they all shook their heads. “Good, then we can brief each other in the car.”
 
At the station they met up with Bryce and Lyn. Their project was complete and all they needed now was to add in the new information that the rest of the team had gathered. Then they put it up on the big television that was assigned to the squad. It all worked out very nicely.
 
“So, is that a television or a computer screen?” Cali asked after several minutes of staring at it.
 
Lyn and Bryce looked at Tao. He ignored them. Cali turned and looked directly at Bryce. “Uhh, it’s kind of both ma’am.”
 
“Both?”
 
“Right it’s linked in with our computer system.” Bryce was trying not to stutter.
 
“Can it show more than one thing at a time, like a split screen?”
 
“Uhh, I’m not sure.”
 
“Why are you not sure?” Before he could answer she turned to Lyn. “Do you know the answer?”
 
He looked at Bryce.
 
“Don’t look at him. He’s already told us that he doesn’t know the answer. Do you?” Cali didn’t sound angry, but she sure was scaring the hell out of the newbies.
 
Lyn finally answered. “I don’t ma’am.”
 
She nodded at one and then the other. “Okay, we know what it is, but we don’t know all that it does.” She looked up at it again, and then turned her full attention to all of them. She dropped her voice into teaching mode. At least she hoped it sounded like teaching mode. “This is a tool. It is new to all of us. But, it is a tool that we will need to get our jobs done.” They looked confused. “It’s like a gun. If we know what it is, but not how to use it, then it’s not much good to us. Is it?” She didn’t wait for an answer. But, the confusion cleared up. “Okay, Bryce and Lyn you did great work this afternoon with this model. I appreciate it, I really do. Now I need you to fool around with this thing and find out what it can really do. We all know that it can mimic your computer screen and play a Jets game. What else can it do? Anything?” She turned away and then quickly turned back. “Before you do all that, could you send that stuff to my email?” They nodded. No-one spoke.
 
Just then Lieutenant Little walked into the room. He smiled at Cali and then retracted the smile. “What’s wrong?”
 
“Oh, you and me LT, we got some talking to do.” She growled. “I got a bone to pick with you.” She glanced back towards her desk and turned back. “Make that two bones. Do you want to pick ‘em here or in your office.” To her amazement he was grinning like the Cheshire Cat.
 
“I’ll do my picking right here Sergeant Casey.” He watched her eyes get a suspicious look. Good, this should be amusing.
 
“Fine” She folded her arms in a defensive posture and started walking towards him. She didn’t want to air this bit of picking across the entire room. But, again to her surprise he closed the gap quickly and met her in her area.
 
“Let’s share this with your squad, shall we? It does affect them, right?” He was playing with her.
 
She could see the sparkle in his eyes now. She unfolded her arms and put her hands on her hips. “Fine, but don’t blame me when they realize just how big an ass you are.” Her voice had turned playful as well.
 
“So tell me, what’s your beef Sergeant?” He mimicked her stance.
 
“Well, first and probably most importantly, considering the weather, where’s my coffee maker?” She could feel the tension bubble burst behind her. “I was pretty specific. I want my coffee maker.”
 
“I had to order some. They should be here in a week.”
 
“Seriously, I only need one. I’m pretty sure that someone sells this damn machine in this area.”
 
“Oh, they do. But, they only had six left in stock. It seems the weather is prompting everyone to buy a new coffee machine.”
 
“I only need one. Where’s my coffee machine?” She was playing stubborn.
 
“I got everyone coffee machines. Do you really want to be the only one with a coffee machine in the building?” He could see the emphatic, yes, sitting on her tongue, but before she could say it he continued. “Everyone would be using it.” Her reply died, and she made a face. Yup, I was right, this is fun.
 
She growled deep in her throat. Fine, round one to Ray. She was nodding. “Okay fine, I’ll wait for my machine. But, I do have a second rather large bone to pick with you that might not be so easily bypassed. What the hell were you thinking assigning my people with that hunk of junk from 1989? Where the hell did you find it?”
 
He actually started laughing. “I had heard that they actually drove it off the lot. Holy shit! You have some brave people workingwith you Cali!” He laughed for a bit more, but other than smiles, no-one joined him. They didn’t get the joke. Cali told him as much. “Look, the guys upstairs they wanted an answer. You blew me off. So I got your attention.”
 
She knew exactly what he was talking about. New Detective’s cars. “You are an ass Ray.” She spoke with a smile and a shake of her head.
 
“So, what are you going to do about it? I can find more cars like that last one.”
 
“Oh, please no.” Mandi’s half whispered reaction was heard by all. It caused a round of chuckles.
 
“See Cali, your squad is already suffering. What are you going to do about it?”
 
“Actually, ever since you brought it up, I have been considering the options. This is what I’ve come up with. Give me a check for whatever the department was going to spend on cars for my squad. I will spend it my way and get them what I want them to have.” She was serious.
 
Ray caught the fact that the playfulness was gone. Cali meant what she said. “I’m not sure that I can do that. The money has to be paid to a dealership. It can’t go to an individual.”
 
Cali considered his words for a moment. “Okay, have them make it out to the Dodge dealership, and give it to me. I’ll use it to buy what I want. Oh, and make sure we have enough emergency units and grill lights for my cars.” She wasn’t giving away any more information. The idea was still young.
 
“They have to be grey.”
 
“Fine, they’ll be grey. Any special color grey?”
 
He shook his head. “Just grey.”
 
“Okay, in the meantime, while their cars are being delivered and properly equipped, I don’t want any more junk. Okay?”
 
“Okay” He was nodding.
 
“And by the way, it was kinda funny.” She leaned closer to him. “If you would have seen their faces…” She smiled. Her voice had been high enough for everyone to hear. She turned back to her squad and winked. She saw Ray start to head towards his office. Round two, to me. Now, for round three. “Oh yeah, do we have a soda machine on this floor?”
 
“You don’t drink soda Casey!” Ray said with a growl.
 
She giggled. “Who said it was for me Ray? Other Detectives drink soda.” The entire squad room could hear the conversation now. “I mean it’s not like I’m asking for our own break room up here or anything… right?”
 
Ray stopped and looked around at all the Detectives that were now thinking about a break room. Okay, so playing with Cali is a crap shoot. I won one out of three. That’s better than usual.  “Right, I’ll look into it.” The break room of course.
 
Cali headed for her desk. Mandi stopped her. “Hey, thanks.”
 
“No problem. I’m sorry that it came to that. He offered me three new cars. But, I don’t like the cars that they get for the Detectives. They look like cop cars, and sometimes you need to not be seen.”
 
“So what are you going to get us? A car like yours?” Nathan asked. His earlier nervousness forgotten.
 
“No, my car is impractical for Detective work, a fact that has been brought to my attention several times in the past year. No, I have something better in mind. But, it will probably be at least a week before we can even have the cars here, then they will have to be fitted with the right equipment. In the meantime, I didn’t want you guys stuck with crap cars.”
 
There were no more questions, so she urged them to get back to work.
 
/////////////////////////
 
I didn't want to jump into some odd story line. Cali deserved to close out a chapter in her life without being rushed into something else. This is what I'm giving her, time to acclimate.
 
Live well and be good to each other.
 

Just the facts

I have decided that I am going to start another aspect of my business. I am going to start to write resume's for people. It will take me about a month to get up and running but it should prove to be a lucrative deal for me. If all goes well then I can become more independent from my job. I am looking at retirement in 2016, which seems like a long way off, but I assure you that it is not. I don't want to be one of those poor people that are stuck being a Walmart greeter. I want to write in my retirement, and I want it to pay for my life in a manner that I have yet to become accustomed to. I hate waking up everyday and knowing that I must go to work. I absolutely hate it. But my job pays the bills and I don't hate my job. I hate the idea of needing a job. I would rather write when I want to and get paid well to do so. That is my aim.
The first step is this piece in my business. Writing resume's is easy and people pay well for a nice resume. This will give me the funds to get a little more education so that I can add more things to my own resume. Recently I have received the information that I need to begin the first step. There are lots of ways to start, I have chosen to do so with resume writing and I will move on from there. Anyway, keep your eye out for that change in my web page.
For now, I am still writing Cali stories. I haven't gotten a reply yet from the last submittal, no news is good news. If they accept you, they send an invitation by snail mail. If I get an email then they rejected my proposal. So keep your fingers crossed.
Okay... I am really excited about where I'm taking Cali right now, but you need to catch up. So here's the next chapter.
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Just the facts
 
The first thing that she did was break them up. Bryce and Lyn were both really good with computers. She put them together analyzing pictures of the house and all of the physical evidence that they had. Mandi was a talker. She had a way of getting people to open up to her. Nathan was a marksman. His aim was sure and his eyes were keen. Cali sent them back to the woman’s house to talk to the husband again, and to just look around. She and Tao went to Linda’s place of work to talk to her co-workers.
 
Bryce and Lyn started out by building a virtual model of the Linda Sumner’s daily routine. Once that was completed they set up mock scenarios of the day that Mrs. Sumner disappeared. Of course, they had limited information, but they hoped that when the others got back they could fill in some gaps. As it looked now, Mrs. Sumner was there one minute, and simply not the next.
 
While they worked through the information and built their virtual model, they talked. “So, where did you attend College?” Bryce asked without looking up from his screen.
 
Lyn glanced over at his colleague. “What makes you think that I went to college?”
 
“Seriously?” Bryce stopped what he had been doing in mid keystroke and looked at Lyn. “Everything about you screams college boy. So which one did you attend?”
 
For a moment Lyn considered lying to him, just to see if Bryce would catch him at it. But, he thought better of the plan. “ITT”
 
Bryce smiled. “I knew it.” He looked back at the keyboard. “So, what do you think of our boss?”
 
Lyn had returned to his keyboard as well. “First you tell me why you requested her team.” He tried not to look up, he managed only a glance.
 
“Hmmm, I worked with her once. It wasn’t long ago. In fact it was the case that she worked just before leaving on vacation. The one where she hunted down Naastad.”
 
“I heard that he was a real piece of work.”
 
“Yeah? I saw him. He looked like a normal guy. But, he’s in the cracker factory now.”
 
Lyn nodded. Everyone had heard the story of how Detective Sergeant Calisto Casey had hunted down and captured Sam Naastad, a man that had raped and murdered almost a hundred children, at last count. Mandi had not worked with her on that case, so Lyn had not heard a first-hand account. “Can you tell me about the case? Clearly she impressed you enough to have not only requested her team, but convince the big guys that you should be here.”
 
“Truthfully, Sergeant Casey was a bit of a mess. She had been shot three times. Her left hand had undergone massive surgery and was in a giant bandage, and Lieutenant Little was always concerned that she would overstress herself and pass out from the holes in her chest. Honestly she shouldn’t have been on the job, but she wouldn’t let it go.” He was staring at his screen as if it held his memory. “She wasn’t on the job, not officially. She was on leave when she found a clue to one of her cold cases. She investigated it and well, one thing led to another, and the next thing you knew she’d found several bodies, each in a different jurisdiction. So the Feds were called in. Still she wouldn’t let it go. It was like those kids were her own children. She had to find the man that had killed them.” He finally looked over at Lyn. “I really think that had the FBI not closed in on the bastard, Casey would still be hunting Naastad today, or be dead in her own grave.” He shook his head. “You know she wasn’t there when they arrested him? She was too sick. The LT, Tao and her girlfriend finally put their feet down and kept her at home.” He sucked on his lower lip for a minute. “So, ask me again why I wanted to be on her squad.”
 
Lyn looked sufficiently wowed by the story. He had heard that Sergeant Casey was tenacious, but he had no idea. “After that, I’m not sure what to say.”
 
“One thing I learned working around her, it’s best to just spit it out. Don’t lie, cuz she’ll personally bite you if she finds out.”
 
“Well, everyone hears the stories right? To some she’s fucking superwoman. To others she’s full of herself and needs someone to take her down a peg or two. When they opened up the boards for Detective, I wanted the job, but I didn’t want to work with her. Frankly she intimidates the hell out of me. At the same time, I respect what she’s done if not how she’s done it. D’ya understand?” He knew that he might have said too much or said the wrong thing. He wasn’t a fan of their Sergeant, but he didn’t dislike her either. That made him an unknown, and in a team, unknowns are bad, in a team of cops, an unknown can be dangerous.
 
Bryce grunted and stretched his neck. He pointedly didn’t look at his junior partner. Instead, he collected his thoughts. I need to stay objective. He’s a kid and he’s never worked with her. All he knows is stories. Finally he opened his eyes and looked at Lyn. The kid looked pretty apprehensive. He knows he’s said something wrong. “I understand what you are saying, and I can even respect where you are getting your opinion. But, I have to tell you, I wouldn’t go repeating what you just said around here. You could cause World War III. Like you said, she has her fans and her haters. But, before you set your opinion, I suggest that you work with her and keep an open mind, because frankly you have no idea how she does things, all you have is rumors.”
 
Lyn watched Bryce haul his own emotions in. Damn, Sergeant Casey sure does cause people to have strong emotions, in both directions. He waited for Lyn to finish and thought about what he had said. “You’re right, I’m basing my opinion on someone else’s opinion.”
 
They worked in silence for about a half an hour until finally Bryce couldn’t take it anymore. “Did you tell Mandi what you just told me?” He couldn’t help it, his voice betrayed his anger.
 
“No, she never asked.” He could see the lava rising in Bryce’s face.
 
“Good… don’t. Cuz you know what, that’s bull shit! Those fuck tards have no idea how many lives she’s saved. Who the fuck cares how she gets the scum off the street, just so long as she does?” He fumed for a few more seconds then exploded a bit more. “She puts her life on the line… how do you think she got shot, standing in the shower?” He glared at Lyn, daring him to contest his words. “It’s a Goddamn honor to work with her, and don’t you ever fucking forget it!” He finally broke eye contact and tried to continue towork as if nothing had happened. His voice had carried a bit, but not enough to give anyone a clear picture of what had happened or even what had been said. Bryce could feel Lyn’s eyes on him still. “I’m not going to apologize for anything I said, so if you’re expecting it…”
 
“I’m not. You’re right. I heard stories and jumped to conclusions. Detectives aren’t supposed to do that, and I did it right out of the gate, against my own Sergeant no less. I’m sorry.” He stalled.
 
“Don’t apologize. Just don’t do it.”
 
Lyn swallowed hard. “Right, I won’t.”
 
“Okay, let’s get back to work. She’s gonna need this shit when she gets back.” Bryce tried to smile reassuringly and bent back to hiskey board.
 
****
 
Mandi and Nathan had been handed the keys to an old cruiser that had been stripped of the decals. It looked like shit. The air conditioner was broken, but the fan wouldn’t shut off. On top of that the fan motor sounded like it was trying to drop a load on their feet. They had ripped out the sirens and the radio system and not replaced any of the dash. Wires that had been joined together with electrical tape and a prayer hung out like porcupine quills.
 
Mandi turned the key over. The engine started on the first click. It purred like a kitten. She grunted in surprise. She eased it out ofits parking spot and pointed it in the direction they were going. The power steering squealed in protest.
 
There was no radio, of any kind, so they rode in silence for several blocks. “So Nathan, I’ve read your file… part of it anyway. You were a Marine. You served five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thank you for your service.” She didn’t sound like a parrot, she meant what she said.
 
It always made him uncomfortable when people thanked him fordoing what he felt was right. But, it was better than what the Vietnam vets had gotten. “Your welcome.” He felt his face turn pink and took a deep breath to try and keep it from going to red.
 
“What, you’re not going to correct me?” She sounded insulted.
 
He truly looked confused, but had no words.
 
“I said you were a Marine… aren’t you going to say something like, once a Marine always a Marine?” Clearly she was goading him.
 
Nathan smiled. “Why should I, you seem to already know it. ”His eyes glowed with mischief.
 
Mandi glanced at him, and laughed. “So tell me Marine, how long did you wear camo?”
 
“Ten years, why?” He spoke with pride.
 
“Cuz boy, you sure don’t know how to dress civi.” She glanced sideways at him and started to laugh at his ridiculous look, both his clothing, and the look on his face.
 
Nathan looked down at his new suit, and sighed. I knew I shouldn’t have listened to mom. She has no fashion sense whatsoever. Now his face really did turn red, and without looking he could tell that Mandi had seen him turn crimson. She was laughing all the louder. But, he was a Marine, and Marines know how to dish it out too. “Keep laughing sweet cheeks, look what you’re driving.” His grin got a bit of devilish play in it. Just then the fan decided to screech a bit more, almost as an exclamation point on his comment.
 
She laughed some more. “Ass hole.” She replied playfully.
 
He had to laugh as well. The car squealed loudly going around another corner. “I may be an ass hole, but I think we’ve both been screwed with this car!”
 
“Man you aint just talking shit with that one. What the hell… really? We got to talk to the Sarge when we get back about this heap ofshit. It runs great, but everything else is broke!” She turned her final corner. Their destination was just ahead.
 
“You are assuming a lot. Are you sure this thing will get us back?” He wasn’t joking.
 
She barked out a laugh. “Hell, I aint walking, and if they make us call a tow, I’m still gonna be in the driver’s seat when they set it down on the lot!”
 
Nathan was nodding. “I’ll be right there with ya.”
 
They parked the car on the street and rang the doorbell. Nothing happened. They rang again. This time they heard some movement inside. They waited. Soon they heard the sound of pounding feet on the stairs and a moment later the door latch was thrown and the door opened. They stood facing a teenage girl. She was about 5 feet tall. She was wearing jeans that had a torn out knee and were badly faded. There was what looked like pink nail polish on one thigh and a red on the other. The pants were probably brand new. She had on a t-shirt that most certainly had seen better days, which meant of course that it was a perfect match. Grunge, it was the rage. 
 
In her hand she held a smart phone. She glared up at Mandi and Nathan as if they had just interrupted the most important event of her life. “Well, whatcha want?”
 
“Hi, I’m Detective Copeland this is…”
 
The teenager cut her off. “Dad, it’s for you!” She yelled at the top of her lungs as she threw open the door and backed away. The cell phone was now between her thumbs, and they were tapping away on the touch screen. The phone was making faint beeping noises, keeping time with her thumbs.
 
Nathan stepped in first, with Mandi close behind. They hesitated at the door. The girl kicked the door shut. It slammed with a rattle. “Dad!” She yelled again.
 
“What, dear.” A man that sounded browbeaten answered.
 
“There’s some cops here to see you!” She didn’t yell quite so loud this time. He didn’t respond. “Oh for Christ’s sake… he’s in there. ”She finally said, in a very exasperated tone. Her fingers never left her phone, for that matter neither did her eyes, even when she jerked her head to the side to indicate where her father could be located. She turned without another word and walked down the hallway.
 
Mandi looked a Nathan, shrugged her shoulders and proceeded in the direction that the teenager had indicated. They found Mark Sumner staring at a television. A football game was on. Mr. Sumner’s back was to them so they went around his chair to face him.
 
“Who the hell…” He blubbered to a stop when Mandi casually pulled her blazer aside far enough for him to see the badge that was clipped to her belt. “Oh” He fumbled with the remote and put the game on pause. He shrugged. “Don’t you just love being able to do that?”
 
Neither of the Detectives answered him. Nathan’s head was on a swivel. He was taking in everything. He noted the empty food wrappers from various fast food places, the empty and half eaten snack packages and the several dozen empty cans of beer as well as the two empty bottles of rotgut whiskey. Not all of it had been consumed today. Some packages showed signs of having been there for a while, and one whiskey bottle had a smear of brown go oat the bottom.
 
Mandi was studying Mr. Sumner. His eyes were puffy, his clothing was dirty, and he smelled of urine, sweat, old food and beer. He had a scruffy sand and white beard growing on his face, and he was trying very hard not to meet her gaze.
 
“Mr. Sumner, my name is Detective Copeland, this is Detective Trapp. We’re from the Windsor Locks Police Department. We would like to ask you a few questions concerning your wife Linda. If you’re up to it.” She had caught his attention when she had started to speak. She had found that Americans are enchanted with accents. So she thickened hers a bit, just to keep his attention sharp.
 
“Uhh, yeah I guess that’s fine. I don’t know what more I can tell you though.” He tried to kick down his foot rest so he could stand, but ended up nearly tripping over it instead. He plopped back into the chair with a thud and a grunt.
 
Neither Detective moved to help him. He was fine.
 
“God dad! Are you drunk again?” The teenager was watching from the kitchen doorway.
 
“Don’t sass me girl!” He snapped. Then he remembered that they were not alone. “Why don’t you go do your homework?” His voice changed to one of a concerned parent.
 
“Whatever…” She turned back into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator.
 
He deliberately looked back up at his guests. “Teenagers, whatcha gonna do?” His question got no response.
 
Mandi moved towards the couch. She moved some of the detritus onto a table and took a seat on the edge of the couch cushion. “Mr. Sumner, could you tell me how you got on with your wife?” She pulled his full  attention while Nathan headed for the kitchen.
 
“We were great she and me.” He nodded sluggishly. “Yeah, she was a good mother to the girl and she made a lot of money.”
 
Mandi jotted down a note, but didn’t speak. She just nodded at him. It silently encouraged him to continue.
 
“She was a business woman you know. Worked her way up from the bottom.” He sounded proud. But, it sounded forced. “She’d have gotten a raise again soon. If she wasn’t…” His words trailed off, and he broke eye contact.
 
“If she wasn’t… what Mr. Sumner?”
 
He stuttered a bit, and looked everywhere except at Mandi.“I don’t know… what do you want me to say… she’s gone… she’s left… she’s… not coming back!” The last three words were said with venom.
 
Mandi studied his body language. He was angry, that much was easy to read. But, was he angry that his wife was gone, or was he just an angry man? Mandi decided to poke the bear. “You sound angry Mr. Sumner. Are you angry at Linda for leaving?”
 
His head snapped up. He looked like he was chewing on some words that he really didn’t want to spit out. “What exactly are you saying Detective?” He managed to get his foot rest to drop so he could lean forward in his chair. “Do you think that Linda just left me? Is that what you think?” He was now projecting his anger onto Mandi.
 
It was interesting to her that he hand not answered the question, only asked one in return. It was also interesting that he focused on Linda leaving and not his anger. “Is that what you think happened Mr. Sumner? Is Linda that kind of person?”
 
Her questions seemed to confuse him. He dropped eye contact again. But, this time it was to focus on the floor, as if it held some kind of untapped wisdom. “No, Linda wouldn’t leave Kylea. She loves our daughter.”
 
“Tell me Mr. Sumner, what do you think happened to your wife?”
 
His face turned into a storm. “I think that someone took her. But, you people won’t believe me!” He practically spit the words out onto his all-knowing floor. “Instead of going out there and looking for her and whoever took her, you’re wasting time talking to me.”
 
Meanwhile in the kitchen Detective Trapp was having a nice chat with Kylea.
 
Kylea had put her phone down long enough to make a sandwich.“D’ya want one?”
 
He held up his hand. “No, thank you.” He was dividing his attention between Kylea and what he could see of the conversation in the other room. He could see Mr. Sumner, but Mandi was behind the television. This was the best that he could do under the circumstances. Nathan didn’t like to think that he was sexist, he was just protective. He was certain that Mandi was quite capable of handling herself, and he was only one room away. Still, Police Officers always protect their partners.
 
The teenager shrugged him off. “Whatever” She closed the sandwich and took a bite.
 
“Are you a vegetarian?” He had noted that she hadn’t put any lunch meat on the sandwich, but there had been some in the refrigerator. She had moved it to get to the cheese.
 
“Yeah, or vegan… whatever. Whichever one lets me eat cheese and egg products. I can never keep them straight.” She threw a glance at the other room. “He doesn’t get it. But, mom does… did. She would go to the local health food store and get the cheese and milk that comes from a free range dairy in New York.” She dug into the refrigerator and dug out a package of cheese. “See?” She handed it to him.
 
He took the cheese. It was from a farm in upstate New York. It had a picture of a Guernsey cow standing in front of a tree on the package. Apparently the farm also had fruit trees and vegetables. “Does your mom buy all of her fruit and produce from them as well?”
 
Kylea nodded while chewing. “And meat, for him.”
 
Nathan remembered seeing all of the fast food packages. If they normally ate this well then, Mr. Sumner’s body is probably in shock right now. “Does he normally drink a lot?”
 
She grunted. “Only on the weekends. But, since mom… well he took time off work and now all he does is watch rerun football, eat junk food and drink. He stinks! Did you smell him?” She wrinkled her nose and made a face.
 
Nathan nodded. “Yeah, kind of hard to miss.”
 
“Try living with it.” She took another bite of sandwich.
 
“Did your parents get along?”
 
She finished chewing before responding. It was unusual for a teenager to not talk with her mouth full. For a moment she looked embarrassed. “Not really. I mean they didn’t really fight… they didn’t really see much of each other. Mom worked days, dad works swings. Dad hangs out here on the weekends, mom was always out doing things.”
 
“Surely they slept in the same bed at night?” He wasn’t sure if this was an appropriate question for a teenager, but the file didn’t really have a lot of information on the family life, and if she was willing to answer some questions, he was going to ask.
 
“Do you mean did they have sex?” She didn’t wait for a response. “Not that I ever heard. If they did then they were super quiet. I think they slept in the same bed, and that’s all they did.” Mom was always up early to run before work. She was gone long before dad ever crawled out.”
 
“You don’t sound like you like your dad much.”
 
Now she did look embarrassed. “Look don’t get me wrong. I love my dad. But, ever since mom got that big raise and promotion… ever since she started raking in the dough… he’s just become a couch potato. We used to try and get him to do things with us. But… we just gave up after a while.”
 
“How long ago was that?”
 
“Almost two years now. I remember because I had just started High School.” She smiled. “They could finally afford to send me to a private school.”
 
“You wanted private school?”
 
She smiled. “Don’t sound so surprised. Yeah, I wanted private school. They have a better student to teacher ratio, and the chances of getting into a good college increases when you have a good private school on your app.” She wiped the counter and put her knife in the dishwasher. She turned to leave, but stopped short of the doorway, and looked back at Nathan. “Look, just because I’m a teenager, doesn’t mean I’m stupid. I want a life. I want a good life.” She glanced in the direction of where her father sat on the other side of the wall. “I don’t want to end up like that.” She let that be her final word.
 
Nathan couldn’t call her back in, she was under age and technically he hadn’t asked her parent’s permission to talk to her. As it turned out, it was probably a good thing that Kylea had ended the conversation as  Mandi was done with Mr. Sumner and she was heading in Nathan’s direction. Well, I guess it’s time to see if the car will actually get us back to the station.
 
*****
 
“So, where did you say we were going?” Tao asked as he was climbing into the passenger seat of Cali’s custom Challenger.
 
Cali fastened her seatbelt before answering. “I didn’t, but since you asked so nicely… we’re going to Mrs. Sumner’s place of business.” She turned the music down before starting the car. She had been blasting the speakers this morning.
 
“Why, this is a missing person case. She didn’t come up missing from work… did she?” He snapped his own seatbelt and settled into the custom leather seat.
 
“Not according to the reports that we have. But, the reports that we have are not very complete. They were done under the assumption that Mrs. Sumner left of her own accord. The Chief thinks otherwise.” She started the car. Music came from the speakers. She punched a button and switched from iPod to radio.
 
“Really, is that how we got this case, the Chief thinks it might be a homicide?” Great a political case.
 
“Yup, that’s the gist.”
 
“What makes him think that it’s a homicide?”
 
“Well I could say that it was because the Chief’s massive intellect has detected some inconsistency, or because the Chief has had some brilliant insight into the case that we have yet to see, or even that some bird has whispered sweet nothings into his ear, and now he wants to get to the bottom of it all.” Cali didn’t care much for the Chief. He had been a good cop, or so they say, when he was coming up through the ranks, but now he was a politician, and Cali really didn’t like politicians.
 
I wonder whose bread we’re buttering this time. “But, the truth is?” Tao didn’t like politicians either.
 
“The truth is that Mr. Sumner has called the precinct at every hour of the day, every day since it happened 10 days ago. They have logged an impressive 218 calls from the man.”
 
“Hmmm, that is impressive. But, it’s still just a nuisance.”
 
“Yes it is… both impressive and a nuisance. It’s also an election year and the Mayor doesn’t want any unnecessary noise. And that is why my dear Tao that we are left tracking down this woman.”
 
Politics, great… “So what is your gut feeling?”
 
“Are you asking for my actual gut feeling, or do you want to know if I’ve seen any helpful ghosts?” It was good to talk with him about her gift.
 
“Either or will be fine.”
 
“Humph, I’ve seen lots of ghosts, but none of them have anything to do with Mrs. Sumner. As for gut feelings… I don’t have one yet. There ports are inconclusive. How about you?”
 
“Well… I read what little we have… and I think that it could go either way.”
 
“Are you just saying that because I did?”
 
“When have I ever done that?”
 
“Never”
 
“Right” Tao watched the traffic from his window for a moment. “So, what do you think of your new team?”
 
“I like Mandi.”
 
“That’s it?”
 
“The jury’s still out on the rest of them.”
 
“Why do you like Mandi?”
 
“I don’t know… I like her accent.”
 
“Seriously?”
 
“No, not seriously. I read her file. She’s a good solid Detective.”
 
“What about Bryce? He’s got a good file as well.”
 
“Yeah, but he’s a tech head. I don’t know what to do with tech heads.”
 
“I disagree. You seem to know exactly what to do with them. You’ve got our two techies working together to give us all a better picture of this problem. I would say that you know exactly what to do with them.”
 
“Maybe… jury’s still out.”
 
“Fine”
 
The pulled into the underground parking garage. They managed to get through security and find a parking place. Within minutes they were on the right floor heading for the reception desk. They sat in the lobby and waited. A few minutes more and a very sharply dressed man emerged from behind two frosted glass doors. His hand was extended and he wore a big inviting smile.
 
“Welcome Detectives, welcome. My name is Oliver Polanski, I’m the Vice President of Global Trading. What can I do for you?”
 
Cali and Tao introduced themselves and shook Mr. Polanski’s hand.
 
“Mr. Polanski, do you know Mrs. Sumner?”
 
“I do, she’s a valued employee. We miss her. Have you found any clues yet as to what happened to her?”
 
“We just got handed the case Mr. Polanski, so we’re trying to get all of the facts. Reading reports is just not as… informative as actually talking to someone.”
 
He was nodding. “Yes, I can see how a personal interview would be much more telling. What can I do to help you?”
 
“Where exactly does Mrs. Sumner work, and what does she do?”
 
“Come I’ll show you her office. She was one of our more successful employees. She is in client acquisition and satisfaction.” He led them away from the reception area and down a long hallway. All of the offices had frosted glass doors. Some had single doors and others, the larger ones had double doors. The reception area had been in the center of the floor. The offices spread out on all sides of it. There was a lot of glass everywhere. Blinds were used to keep out the sun and provide privacy.
 
“Let me get this straight, Mrs. Sumner gets new clients for the firm and she then maintains that relationship, is that correct?”
 
“Yes, that’s it exactly.”
 
“Did she get paid on commission?”
 
“No, we are not a used car dealership, Detective. She was paid a salary. We do however offer our employees bonuses based on productivity. They are paid bonus checks once a quarter.” He turned yet another corner.
 
Cali sidestepped a ghost dressed in 17 century dress. How did he get here? She would probably never find out, it was nearly impossible to get information from a ghost that old. She yanked her mind back to the questions at hand. “And Mrs. Sumner is one of your better employees in acquisitions?”
 
“Yes, she is very successful.” He passed a secretary desk and unlocked frosted double glass door. “This is her office.” The lights came on as the door swung open.
 
Cali followed Mr. Polanski into the room. It was spacious. The back wall was covered in windows and it had a nice view of the city. By the furnishings it was clear that the company was doing well. “I suppose the real question here is, who gets her clients if Mrs. Sumner doesn’t come back?”
 
“They would be split up between our other associates.” He stopped at the doorway and let the Detectives have the room.
 
“Would I be correct in assuming that not all of these clients are created equal?” She and Tao both perused the room while Cali continued to ask questions.
 
“If I understand you correctly, the answer is, no. Some of them are worth more than others, because they invest more.”
 
“And because they invest more, then the bonuses for them would be higher.”
 
“Yes”
 
“Would her clients be split up equally?”
 
“We would make every attempt to make it so, yes.”
 
“But, who would get what Mrs. Sumner has already earned in bonuses… if she didn’t come back?”
 
He seemed stumped. “I’ve honestly never needed to ask that question. I suppose that the company would keep it.”
 
“Really? It seems like it is an earned income. Therefore it would be given to the next of kin. Much the same way that a last paycheck goes to the beneficiary.”
 
“But, that only happens if a person has made those arrangements. You must have designated an beneficiary you see.”
 
“Right, does your company offer those arrangements for bonus money?”
 
“I… I… I’m not sure. Please allow me to check on it and get back to you.”
 
“That would be fine. Thank you for your time Mr. Polanski. If you think of anything else, please give me a call, and do call when you get that answer for me.”
 
“Of course.”
 
As they were being escorted back to the reception area Cali did have one more question. “One last thing Mr. Polanski, if I may?”
 
“Please”
 
“Exactly how much are we talking about here, monetarily I mean.”
 
“Well, it’s not generally our policy to discuss these things, however in light of the circumstances…” He stopped and leaned in conspiratorially. “Mrs. Sumner’s salary was about $124,000, her last bonus check was half again that amount and she was going to get a corner office soon.” He glanced around to make sure that no-one had heard. “That would have effectively doubled her salary and her bonuses.” His face showed real concern.
 
Cali understood. “Thank you Mr. Polanski. Never fear, we’re not telling anyone.”
 
Once they reached the car and were driving out of the garage, Tao spoke what was on his mind. “Hmmm, well Mr. Polanski just gave us about 15 people with a very powerful motive for killing Mrs. Sumner.”
 
“Yeah, and those are just the associates in this office. I wonder just how global, Global Trading really is.”
 
////////////////////////////////////
 
Live well and be good to each other.
 

Cali's new squad

There are so many things that an author can do to market their work. I am going to try something new. There is such a thing as vanity publishing. This is where you pay the publishing company to publish your book. Depending upon the company, you might need to convince the company, just as you would convince a conventional publishing company to print your book. Others will print anything given enough money. I have one book, Is Homosexuality a Sin, in a publishing company like the first one. I had an agent, of sorts, that helped me to find this company. It was a long process. You can find the letter that I wrote to attract the publisher on the page for the book. This is one way to attract a publisher. It was not what I wanted in the beginning, but it is a step up from self-publishing. There is another method to help a person find a publisher. You can hire a company to act something like an agent to promote your work. They are vey clear, they are not agents, but they can help you to write query letters and they present your work to agents and publishers that would be interested in your specific piece.
With a company like this, if you want their full service, in other words, if you want them to do more than just add your work to a long list of works and actually promote your piece, then you need to pass their vetting process. You need to impress them, much like an agent or publisher. I was asked to apply to one of these companies. This invitation is not unusual. They are always looking for new clients. What is interesting is that I put in Veterans and was denied. They did not tell me why, but I believe that it is because that book is just too shocking for a first book. It has an extremely limited readership. What is interesting is after they denied the work, instead of dropping it and walking away as most companies would, they sent me a personal invitation to try again.
I had indicated when I applied with Veteran that I had other works, they invited me to send them one of those works. This tells me that they liked my work, they just didn't feel comfortable trying to market Veteran. So, I sent them Forever, Love. I hope that it is more the style that they are looking for. I hate to pay for someone else to find me a publisher but, at this point I will do what it takes to get my work out there. I am also still sending Michael's Folly to Daws books this week. The manuscript is almost 400 pages long. Still I expect competition to be fierce for one of the few slots that Daws publishes each year.
In the meantime, I am still writing my latest Cali adventure, and here is the next chapter.
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Cali’s new squad
 
 
 
The break room had too many people in it so Cali called a meeting of her squad in one of the conference rooms on the second floor. It wasa simple room. A table in the center surrounded by chairs. A television sat atone end of the room next to a pull down movie screen. Cali stood at the head of the table. Tao sat at her right.
 
She looked around the table. She recognized the two that had been Detectives before she had gone on vacation. Detective Bryce Wood sat at the end. He was young and fairly handsome with one of those scruffy not quite a beard on his face. As she could recall, Wood was still trying to prove himself. He was fairly new to the gold shield. But, he was solid.
 
Detective Mandesa Copeland was the other face that she recognized. She smiled when she saw Copeland. Of all the Detectives in the department, this one was one that she would have requested, if she had been here for the forming of this squad. Copeland was a muscular, thin runner type with ebony colored skin. She kept her thick kinky hair cropped short, and she wore very little make-up. Cali didn’t think she would look good with make-up.
 
The young man that was sitting next to Wood, could have been his brother. He also had a scruffy not beard. Other than that Cali couldn’t tell what he looked like. He was in a full suit. It was baby blue with a tie to match. He appeared to be of average weight and height, with dark brown hair and brown eyes. Baby blue, was not a good color on him.
 
The young man sitting next to Copeland was wearing a sport jacket over a polo and blue jeans. He looked seasoned, but his darting eyes and strained neck muscles gave him away. He was clean shaven and looked to be a bit thicker of body than boy number one. He had non-descript brown hair with dark hazel eyes.
 
It took Cali a matter of seconds to make her assessments “Welcome, Detectives Wood and Copeland, it’s good to see you again. I hope that no-one roped you into this duty.”
 
They both grinned. Wood tried to defer to Copeland but, she insisted he address Cali first. “No-one needed to rope me in Sergeant. When they decided to divide the department up into squads like this, I asked to be placed on your squad, and you can call me Bryce.”
 
Cali nodded. Inside she was surprised. Why would anyone in their right minds request to work with me?
 
It was Copeland’s turn. “I also requested your squad. Although I know for a fact, that a lot of Detectives requested your squad. We just had the best reasons, I guess. I for one have been wanting to work with you again for quite a while.” She had worked briefly with Cali on a kidnapping case. It was the very case in which Cali had been shot in the hand and received the nice white scar that she was showing around. “And my name is Mandi, unless I’m in trouble, or we’re talking to the press.” Her comment was said with as mile and elicited giggles throughout the room. Mandi spoke with a South African accent, one that was often mistaken as Australian.  
 
“Well, I had no idea.” She glanced at Tao. “I’ve been a bit out of the loop. Thank you both for joining us. I’m new to this whole idea, so we may hit a few bumps in the beginning, but I’m sure that we can learn to become an effective team. First off, I suppose I should meet your new partners.” She pointed at young man number one, sitting next to Wood.
 
He sat up straight and began by stuttering. “I’m… my name is… that is I’m Detective Nathan Trapp.”
 
Cali ignored the stuttering. There would be time later to find out if the man could be teased. “Welcome Nathan, and you young man, what’s your name?” She turned to the sport coat.
 
“Lyndon Jasper ma’am. My friends call me Lyn.” His hand was shaking, but at least he didn’t stutter.
 
“Welcome Lyn and congratulations to you both on making Detective. I’m not sure what Tao has told you but, I can guess. As I said this is new to me. That means that I’ll be making up the rules as we go along. That being said, I do have a few rules that I tend to live by, and you should know if we’re to get along. First off, be professional. Do not give the press, or anyone else anything that they can use against you, or any of us. If that means biting your tongue, then I would rather see real blood on your tongue than proverbial blood in the water and sharks circling. Next, you see with your eyes, not your hands. Don’t touch anything until you know what you are doing, and then you had better have gloves on. This is not television. We do not enter a crime scene, and begin touching, and moving, and breathing on everything. Next, don’t jump to conclusions. That being said, do think about what you are seeing, and try to extrapolate the information and formulate a logical chain of events or probability. Next, it’s okay, and I even encouraged you, to ask questions, just be smart about it. Learn when asking a question is appropriate, and when it is not. And finally, I’m not generally a very talkative person, and when I’m on a case, I can be downright surly. Don’t take it personal, unless I tell you that it is. Okay… that’s enough of that. Are there any questions?” 
 
Lyn very tentatively raised his hand. It wasn’t like a second grader would raise their hand, he kind of just held it out away from his body. “I was wondering ma’am, do you know what we will be working on?”
 
“That’s a good question Lyn. I wish that I could tell you that we’ll be working on a major murder investigation. But, I can’t. You might already know that Gronkowski and his squad are working on the departments only murder case, and Surrey and his squad are working on a kidnapping. That means that we get what is left over.”
 
“Which is?” Bryce asked when neither rookie did.
 
“A missing person case. Mrs. Linda Sumner has gone missing. It could be a murder or it could be that she just got out of a bad situation. I don’t know. We have preliminary reports taken by the boys in blue. We have some pictures and a few pieces of personal clothing… oh and a few pictures.”
 
The room fell silent. This is where you’re supposed to make assignments. Tao and Ray had told her how a team worked, since she had never participated in team sports in school. It was simple actually, everyone had their job. If everyone did their jobs right, then the team benefited. If someone didn’t do their job right, then the team suffered. Cali had prepared for this meeting by reading the files of all of her new squad members. She knew what they could do, what they couldn’t do, and what they needed encouragement to do. Now it was time to find out if she was the leader that everyone wanted her to be.
 
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Live well and be good to each other.
 

Welcome Home

I've decided that as good as Veteran of the Silent War is, it is far to shocking for any ordinary publisher to want to take a chance on publishing it. Therefore, I am going to make some adjustments to the second book Demon Cleanser and try to get that one published. If I am successful, in time demand will come for Cali's back story, then Veteran can be published. It's just not first book material, it is too shocking. It's not conventional horror and it's too true to life. Publishers will automatically shy away. That will not stop me from writing her story.
So.... Here's the next chapter in The Look of Evil...
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Welcome back
 
Their apartment was cleared of a few listening devices and a clandestine camera, on the following day. As strange as it seemed, both ladies had grown accustomed to the oddities. Mind you that, neither was home when their apartment was being cleaned. They had gone to Bobby’s house to relive the pet sitter of his duties, and to pack up the few things that Bobbie had asked them bring to her. Cali had been right, other than clothing and personal toiletries, Bobbie wanted only the single picture and the odd box. The box was unlocked, and it was quite the temptation to open it. But before either could succumb, they packaged it up for the trip. When all was said and done, considering their recent escapades, it was an uneventful day.
 
The following day Cali returned to the office. She was met with smiles and heartfelt greetings. She couldn’t help but wonder what her co-workers would say if they knew what she had done. They might throw me a party. Ben was a crook after all. They had officially moved the Detectives unit up three floors in their expanded building. It was the floor that she had worked from with the FBI on that horrendous investigation of Sam Naastad. It had ended well, but it had been grueling for everyone involved.
 
Cali had a new desk. It was on the western edge of the floor. She was a Sergeant so her desk was in the corner. The floor plan was open. Work spaces were separated by space, not walls. Like every other Detective, Cali had her own clear white board instead of a wall to pin up pictures and information. It was the hope of the Department that such open display of cases would help ignite free thinking and shared information.
 
The exterior walls were made of heavily tinted glass, with a brass handrail nearly all the way around. Only Lieutenant Little’s office had privacy walls, they were still made of glass, but they were thicker and tinted. Blinds covered all of the clear windows to help shut out the sun when needed. In the center of the room they had placed several flat screens that could be used as a television or a computer screen. Sound was pumped to the stations that the screen faced. Theoretically they could all be on at the same time, andnot interfere with each other. That bit of theory had not been field tested yet.
 
Tao showed her to her desk and helped her to get set up. He had boxed up her old desk and brought it up for her. She literally had a brand new desk. It was twice the size of the last desk and it came with storage cabinets. It was one of those new modular desks that literally wrapped around her on three sides and left only the west wall completely bare. Behind her were low cupboards over a flat workspace. On the east side was more workspace that fed into the computer in the corner, and on the front piece that faced the room, there was even more workspace. Under the table tops were four file cabinets and on the end next to the wall, but not touching it, was a tall two door cupboard that was clearly designed to hold clothing. Below that was two drawers designed to hold shoes. Above the clothing cabinets were two smaller cabinets for accessories. The entire ensemble was made of press board, but it looked and felt like wood grain plastic.  
 
Cali’s box of stuff sat on the desk. She didn’t have much, but what she had was hers and it helped to define her space. It was odd for her to know why she felt so protective of her space and have no desire to change or alter her view. This was her space. This was her desk, her computer and her trash can, and that long clear board on rollers, was hers as well. This was her workspace, and it made her proud to look at it. The thought made her mind flashback to a dingy skinny bedroom that had two old lumpy beds. She pushed the memory aside. Lots of kids share rooms with their siblings! She chastised herself angrily, and forced herself to smile and think only of this space.
 
She had managed to empty the box before Lieutenant Little called her to his office. Tao came with her. Tao shut the door behind them and took a seat. Cali followed his lead.
 
“It’s good to have you back Sergeant.”
 
“Thank you sir, it’s good to be back.” She knew that he was stalling. He didn’t want to say what was really on his mind. He had already welcomed her back.
 
Ray steepled his fingers in front of his nose and scrubbed at his mustache with the two in the point. “Listen Cali, I want you to know that I don’t care what happened in Italy. None of us do. But, you should know that the CIA has been here asking questions and showing some pretty nasty pictures around. So… that being said, how are you? Did you get hurt? The pictures don’t show enough to determine anything except that it looked like that jack-ass Ben Vinccencio died on top of you.” He shook his head with disgust. He needed her to say something.
 
“I’m fine sir. Thank you for asking. Ben bled out. He jerked away from something hitting him in the neck. His momentum drove us both to the ground. I hit the concrete hard, and I was dazed. When I was able to figure out what was happening, I was pinned, and frankly… that was a good thing. Bullets were flying everywhere.” She stuck to the truth.
 
Ray was nodding again. “Yeah, that’s kind of what it looked like to me. Of course the Feds, that wanted Ben dead, are now suddenly very concerned with who killed him. I’m not sure if they want to crucify you or give you a medal.”
 
“I’m betting on the crucifixion, sir.” Tao threw in his two cents.
 
They all nodded in agreement. “So what now sir? Do we have a case or am I on something else for a while?”
 
Ray had long since dropped his hands to the desk. Now that the hard stuff was out on the table he was no longer nervous. “Well, that depends on you Cali. How are you… really? Are you fit for duty? Are your wounds healed up finally? Give me your real status, physically, mentally and emotionally. We need the whole package back, so are you here?”
 
Cali smiled. “Yes sir, I am here.” She held up her hand. The scar was bright white and was on both sides, but it was healed. “It doesn’t like getting poked, but otherwise it’s fine. As for my chest, it actually healed faster than this thing.” She was still brandishing her hand. “As for emotionally, I’ve seen death before and it doesn’t bug me. As for Ben, I’m really glad he’s gone. The damn fool tried to have me killed here, and then turned around and kidnapped me in Italy. I wouldn’t have even been there to see him die, had he not had me stuffed into the trunk of a car with a lump on my head.” She managed to sound as indignant as she should feel. “As for my mental state… I’m still just as imbalanced as I always have been.” She ended with a genuine smile. It would be good to get back to work.
 
The smile was shared by her co-workers. “Good, I know that Tao is glad to have you back. He didn’t like breaking in our new kids.” Cali gave them both a questioning look. “Oh, I’ll let him have the honors of introducing you. Their good kids, but they’re really green. After the Naastad case, the powers to be decided that we needed more help and more room and just more stuff. Most of it is great, hell it’s about God damn time for most of it, but they decided to lower the time in service requirement when they tested for more Detectives. We got eight new faces. Two of them are under you.”
 
“Under me?”
 
“Yah, under you. That’s another thing they decided. You became an instant celebrity when you helped the FBI catch that guy. It was your case and had you not hung on to your hunches and kept following them, even though I wasn’t real comfortable with it, the ass-hole might still be raping and murdering little girls. You’re a God damn bonafied celebrity sister, and the bosses think that you should be training the up and comers. So now, besides you and Tao, you got four other Detectives to help you out.”
 
“To help me out, with what?”
 
“Solving cases of course.” He had a huge shit eating grin on his face. Clearly he was enjoying this. It was common knowledge that Cali didn’t really like to work with anyone else.
 
Cali let out a stream of air that sounded like a balloon going flat. She covered her face with her hand and mumbled. “Oh for the love of God.”
 
Tao burst out laughing. Ray was not far behind. Cali looked like a lost puppy. “Oh shut up.” Her words had no force and only made them laugh harder.
 
She let them laugh. It was kind of ironic. “Fine, can I have my own coffee maker? You know, one of those one cup wonder things that has a little cup tree thingy?”
 
Ray had to cough and clear his throat before he could answer her. “Of course, I’ve been authorized to give you just about anything that you want. They’ve even given me the funds to buy some new cars. Do you want one?”
 
She shook her head, but then stopped and actually thought about it. “No, I don’t want one for me, but I’ll take a few for my squad. Can I have one for each of them or only one per team?”
 
“I can get you three total. How you split them up is your affair. What do you want?”
 
“Let me think on it. I will get with my people and give you a wish list.”
 
“So, you’re good with this?”
 
“Would it change anything if I wasn’t?”
 
“No.”
 
“And there you have it.” Her final grin as she left the office looked a bit like a grimace.
 
//////////////////
 
Live well and be god to each other.

I'm not Nancy Drew

Wow, did this week go by quickly or what? I can hardly believe that it's Sunday. I'm so sorry for not writing. It has been super crazy what with the government shutdown. I'm working with people that are not getting paid to come to work, yet there they are. Congress actually has to approve any back pay for them. If they don't approve it then many of my co-workers will never be paid for standing their posts in protection of our country. Normally I don't write about political things, but this stuff is hitting close to home, because I may be joining my co-workers soon. Right now those that are on furlough are under specific orders. I am not under those orders, but have been told that if the government is still shut down at the end of the month those of us like me, may be furloughed as well. In which case I may need to shut down my website for a while. If I don't get paid I have to concentrate on my rent, not my website. So, if that happens I will let you know.
In the meantime, I would like to continue to share with you Cali's new adventure, The Look of Evil.
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I’m not Nancy Drew
 
Cali released a small hide-a-door and flipped one of three switches inside. “Okay, now we can talk for real. First off, how are you? Did they hurt you? Who was that man?” She reached over and took Connie’s hand and pulled it to her mouth. She tenderly kissed the red line on Connie’s wrist.
 
Connie couldn’t help but smile. When Cali had finally stopped resisting their obvious attraction towards one another, she had become a regular romantic and even more protective. “I’m fine honey. That man was Glen Devine. Do you recognize the name, because I don’t? But, you saw the ring on his finger, and he clearly spoke as a representative of the Devine family.”
 
“Really… hmm… I saw the ring, but you know that I’m not in organized crime, so I don’t recognize the name, but I most certainly will find out who they are now.”
 
“Do you know what all the buzz was about?”
 
The smile erupted on Cali’s face.
 
“Did you do that?”
 
Cali nodded and laughed. “Yeah, that was me… well to be fair… me and Angela and some really amazing special effects and proper planning.”
 
“What did you do?”
 
“We knew that the C.I.A., Interpol, M.I.5 and half a dozen other organizations were watching Ben’s house. We knew that there would be pictures. That’s why we had the umbrella. But to insure reasonable doubt, we got a prop gun and rigged it with a blank. Then we put the activation button on the backside of a small nude bandage. I stuck the bandage to my knee. If anyone saw it they would think that I had cut myself shaving and forgotten to remove the bandage. I pushed the button when I put the blade to Ben’s neck. That way the cameras would pick up a small caliber flash at the same time that Ben started to bleed. No matter from which angle that a picture was taken, it will look like he was shot in the neck and bled out. In the resulting confusion, and all the shooting, it will be assumed that the shooter escaped and left his gun behind.” She looked incredibly pleased with herself.
 
Connie looked at her with a stunned expression for only a moment and then broke out in laughter. She calmed herself long enough to ask a question. “So you pointed out the gun in the bushes to them, right? They hadn’t even bothered to look for any other explanation.”
 
“That’s right. I told them that I was dazed when I hit the ground, which wasn’t far from the truth. But I also told them, that before Ben had begun to fall on me, I had seen something in the bushes, which also was nota lie. Then I pointed out the nice gun in the bushes. Let them figure it out from there.”
 
The both laughed.
 
In truth, Italy was glad to be rid of Ben. For them Angela was a better choice. She was working with Italian officials to help clean up certain aspects of the underworld. Because of her friendship with Cali, Connie was cutting out her father’s human trafficking trade, and helping the government crackdown on other offenders. She was a far cry from a model citizen, but she would keep her own house in order and help clean up Italy as well. Italy did not care if someone had killed a mobster. It happened all the time.
 
“Now, as for this Glen Devine, what did the two of you talk about?” Cali was still nuzzling Connie’s hand when she pulled the car into a parking spot in a large park. She put the car in park and left it running. Finally she released her seat belt and turned to face Connie.
 
Connie was already facing her. Connie related the conversation as she remembered it. She was sure that she was missing something but, if it was important, she would remember it later. “Do you think that he had any power to help us get released?” She asked when she was done.
 
“I don’t know. It would be quite a bluff if he didn’t. I wouldn’t put it past the mob having at least a toe hold in the CIA. I’ve heard of plenty of Police forces that still have known Mafia affiliates that also carry a badge. But, I’m pretty sure that the reason that they let us go is because of the pictures that they hadn’t really looked at.” The pride had gone out of her face. She was playing with fire and she knew it. Those Agents had meant business.
 
“But, there is no crime. America can’t prosecute or even arrest a person for a crime that didn’t happen in a different country. That’s just ridiculous.”
 
Cali giggled. “Ahh sweetie, you’ve had time to think about it.” She tweaked Connie’s cheek.
 
Connie slapped her hand away. “Don’t condescend to me, you shit!” Her remark was only half joking.
 
“I’m sorry honey.” Cali was not joking. “I didn’t really mean it.” She took in a deep breath and let it out in a huff. “It’s been a long vacation. I’m glad to be going home. Maybe I can relax a bit… well once we’ve had the place swept for bugs.”
 
“Don’t be sorry. I’m sorry. It’s been a real rollercoaster for you. It couldn’t have been easy, doing what you did.” She put her hand on Cali’s cheek. “You cared for him once.”
 
“No… well yes, at one time, when I was a child, I did care for him. But, those feelings have been dead and gone for a really long time. I just had not realized it until that whole fiasco with the FBI.” She leaned her cheek into Connie’s hand. “I hate to say it, but it wasn’t hard to kill him.” She looked at Connie, with tears in her eyes. “Admitting that… scares me. Am I becoming hard and cold? Am I becoming what I hunt?”
 
Connie reacted. She grabbed Cali’s head in her hands and climbed up onto the seat so she could pull Cali’s head to her chest. “No, honey you are not becoming that. You wouldn’t be crying or worrying about it, if you were. I don’t know what this thing makes you, except free.”
 
Cali cried with her head on Connie’s chest. Eventually they moved to the back seat so Connie could climb off of the arm rest. They talked for over an hour before finally resuming their trip home.
 
On the way Cali explained that until she was certain they would need to be careful what they said in their home, but both of their vehicles would be safe if the damper was activated. When it was on the only thing anyone heard was music. Any bit of conversation concerning Cali and Angela’s wayward adventure with Ben was a forbidden topic on any phone, at least for a while. If they never spoke of it, the very lack would seem suspicious. So they decided on exactly what they would talk about, how much they would say and how they would say it.
 
“So, Angela is sending a sweep team tomorrow, right?” Connie was just making sure she had the facts.
 
“Right, and I go back to work on Monday.”
 
“Okay, so we can pretend to have our argument about being stopped by the CIA at the airport today and then after the sweep team leaves we can get back to normal life?”
 
“Yeah, that’s the sum of it.” Cali said with a big smile.
 
“Good, I don’t like the cloak and dagger stuff. I’m a fashion designer, not Nancy Drew.”
 
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I hope you are liking my new book. I'm really enjoying twisting it up a bit. You can't see it yet, this is only chapter 3, but trust me, it's coming.
 
If you are of a mind, please pray for my situation, if that's not your style then please just send some positive energy this way.
 
Live well and be good to each other.
 
 
 

Changing a main character

Alright, I'm going to try this again... over the past several days I have attempted to write a blog, but about halfway through, I get a stupid notice and the blog is deleted when the page suddenly reloads. Frustrating!
 
Okay, so after writing about making Cali's mother Patricia into an Angel in an unconscious attempt to keep my own mother alive, I realized how the entire blog could be erroneously attributed to reflect on my father. Make no mistake about it, my father and Cali's father have absolutely nothing in common. Cali's father is based on a real person, but not a person out of my personal life. I have many friends that have been abused or were abused as children. It was from their descriptions of their fathers that I formed Mr. Stewart.
 
I do admit however, after reviewing the last blog post, to some retrospection on how I handled the final showdown between Cali and her father, which occurs in The Maine Reason. Originally he was just an ass hole, they type of man that most of us would gladly hang. But, when it came to Cali finally facing him, adult to adult... or more accurately adult to ghost.... I felt a certain desire to rescue him. Now of course I couldn't absolve him. He had committed so many atrocities. But, I did find myself torn when it came to granting him forgiveness. This is part of Cali's job, giving ghosts what they need to move on. Of course her father would need forgiveness or something like it, to move on. How, could I possibly ask her to forgive him? I guess if you want to know the answer to that, you will need to read the book.
 
Still, the feelings that I had for Mr. Stewart in that book reflect my love for my own father. Had I addressed Cali's father in the first book, as I did her grandmother, the outcome would probably have been different. But, I waited and while I waited my subconscious injected it's own bit of influence and I softened him a bit to reflect that love for my own father. In the end I think that the small curve in the road didn't hurt the story any. In fact, I think that it helped move the story along. It could have been a complete disaster. The book The Maine Reason is kind of a transition to begin with, so changing the basic make-up of a major character, was really risky.
 
It just goes to show that not every character needs to be based on someone you personally know. In fact, an author should strive to branch out and write characters based on other people as well. Not everyone in a story needs to be bigger than life. People in real life are not like that. Nearly everyone has a moment when they are bigger than life, but even rock stars don't live their entire life in the clouds. I guess what I'm saying is, it's okay to write a character that is boring. Not everyone can be in the spotlight. And sometimes, a lot of times, you need to take your main character and bring them out of the spotlight. I do that a lot with Cali. She doesn't just have down time, she digs a hole and goes in head first, when she has down time. She's not perfect. In fact she's really a shady character, but one that you love despite yourself.
 
Anyway, this is my take on character development today. If you're in doubt, ask yourself if the character feels real. Could such a person really exist, even in a fantasy story?
 
Live well and be good to each other.

Keeping mom alive

Authors talk about imbuing their characters with bits of themselves and I have always admitted to doing this frequently, it's difficult not to. But, sometimes something wanders into a character that is part of you, and you had not realized that it was. Recently, Joan Jett put out a new album, the first in 7 years. In it she exposes her heart in ways that she never has before, at least not to the world. She has two songs on the album that refer to the loss of her mother. Both are very moving, but one of them got me to thinking. In it she infers that with the loss of her mother she had to grow up, yet at the same time she still feels like she is still her mother's little girl. I completely understand this concept, as I feel the same way. I suppose I always assumed that everyone did. But, now that I am reflecting on this idea, I realize how naïve that sounds. Of course not everyone feels this way. Not everyone has a good relationship with their mother, not everyone loses their mother as an adult.... the point is that everyone is an individual and they have individual experiences.
 
I wonder as I'm thinking on this if there is some specific formulae that must be achieved before a person feels like a child their entire life. I wonder if my own mother had these feelings when grandma passed away. She never spoke of her own feelings to me, until after daddy passed, and then it was very brief. We are a very private family and do not even share intimate feelings with each other. So, I will never know if my mother felt like I do at the same age. I feel like Joan does. I'm always my mother's little girl, and yet at the same time I am not a spring chicken. Again Joan says it well in her songs, that age is only something between the ears.
 
I think to me growing up is somehow associated with leaving home, and once your parents are gone forever, you don't want to leave home. Somehow you want to keep them alive by not growing up. If you don't grow up, they wont die. But, they did. And that hurts in a deep gouging way. To avoid that pain you remain young and flexible in your mind, because if you don't the pain will catch up to you, and you don't want that.
 
So, back to imbuing characters with part of me, the part I'm talking about is Cali's relationship with her mother. I noticed after hearing this song by Joan, that I had killed Cali's mother and yet conveniently kept her alive as an Angel. This comes from me, my deepest and most fervent desire. Unfortunately I know that it is a desire that is not nor could ever be true. But, this particular concept of Angels is one that is readily accepted by the masses, so hence I used it to keep Patricia alive for Cali. I know that my mother is not an Angel. Humans are not Angels, they can never be Angels, they were born human, they die human, and if they get resurrected they will be so as a human. Angels are Angels, they are different life forms and cannot be human. This is a fundamental truth. But, the belief that humans can change into Angels at death if they life their life righteously enough is akin to believing that a human can be reincarnated as a cow. It's just not logical in any way of thinking. Yet, a lot of people believe it to be true.
 
Still, keeping Patricia alive by making her an Angel, and allowing her to continue to watch over her children helps to make Cali's story more palatable. Besides, how else could I have given her the abilities that she has without someone like an Angel giving them to her? Who better to do that then her own mother? It worked and it worked well. I just never realized that it was coming from my own desire to keep my own mother alive.
 
I know that people say that 'they are always alive in your heart.' But, they don't remark on the fact that once you are dead as well, that person that you kept alive in your heart is now also gone and most likely forgotten. Time has forgotten millions upon millions of people from the dawn of time. We even forget those people that we once were when we come back for another round of lessons. And still we pine over those people that personally meant something to us. Is this a progressive evolution for us, or something lower on the scale? I would like to think that our ability to feel sympathy and empathy and simple love, is on the upper side of the scale. I also think that when those emotions are transferred to the rest of the world, animals and plants and everything else, then we are evolving upwards. But, of course, I really have no idea. It's a hunch. When we put away pettiness and strife and hatred, we still have those emotions, but when we put them away and control them, that is a sign of evolving. What's this got to do with my parents? Nothing. It's just a thought that strung itself onto the first thought.
 
Anyway, that's what I felt when I heard Joan's new album, well when I heard the song "Hard to Grow Up". I'll find a good Youtube of it and post it on the site. I highly recommend the entire album. She still has it! 
 
Live well and be good to each other.

A Tale of Two Rings

My new book is moving right along. I was surprised yesterday as I was writing that the book kind of took it's own course for a while. This happens when I can feel the story. In the case of The Look of Evil I wasn't sure of anything let alone thinking that I could actually feel the story. But, there it was writing itself. It was beautiful. I absolutely love it when the story takes a path that I had not foreseen or planned... and its better than what I had planned for it. Amazing.
 
Anyway, I thought that I would catch you up with how I tied off the story with Ben. Of course he will come up from time to time, but this is how Angela and Cali arranged it so that no-one could pin his death on either of them.
 
////////////////////////////////////////////
A tale of two rings
 
As expected they were met by some very angry looking Agents’ right before they got through customs. They were whisked off to separate interview rooms. Both looked the same. They were white with a plain metal tablein the center of the room, and two chairs facing each other across the table.In the corner was a camera, and one wall had a large two way mirror. The tablehad a metal U-shaped bar bolted to one side. Both women were handcuffed in thefront and the chain was run under the U.
 
It angered Cali to think that Connie was being treated insuch a manner. But, she knew that they thought that they could rattle her by chaining up Connie. Otherwise, why would they have made sure that she knew? No,Cali knew that they were trying to manipulate her. They played child games compared to her Aunt and the Grandmother.
 
An average looking man in an off the rack linen gray suit came through the door. He was followed by a man with a square jaw that lookedtoo large for his head. He wore a similar suit, but his was dark blue. Both hadhundred dollar slip on shoes. They were the rage now because they felt like running shoes and actually were easier to run in, but they could be polished and become passable in the office. Both men were still wearing their guns. She had to shake her head at the arrogance.
 
Gray suit pulled the chair out and sat down while slicking his tie down. He dropped a manila envelope on the table and slid the chair up abit. He got comfortable.
 
Square jaw folded his arms and leaned against the wall bythe door. He was trying to look intimidating. When he crossed his foot over theother, Cali could see his pink and blue plaid socks. She smiled.
 
“Is something funny?” Gray suit snapped.
 
Cali cocked her head to one side and glared at him. She intertwined her fingers on the table in front of her. These weren’t normalcuffs. They were designed for this table. That meant that the chain in themiddle was longer than normal. To Cali this meant that it didn’t matter whichside the key holes were facing. A person could reach the key hole no matter where it was at. They were too flexible. If she wanted to escape, it wouldn’tbe difficult.
 
“Got nothing to say?” Gray suit snapped again.
 
Cali sniffed. She hated changing climates so abruptly. It always messed with her sinuses. “Got a Kleenex?”
 
“Oh sure, why don’t I just run out and get you a box.”Square jaw barked while he pushed off from the wall. Now he was looming andwaiting for a reply, or a response of any kind. He got none. He scuffed hisfoot on the floor like a child and returned to his spot after Gray suit gavehim a look.
 
Cali held her smile inside this time. Let’s not get this jackass going too soon.
 
Gray suit opened the envelope and pulled out a pile ofpictures. The one that Cali could see was black and white and had obviously been taken from very far away. It was grainy and the definition was poor. Satellite pictures, taken of moving objects. That was Cali’s guess.
 
He put them out one by one. It was like looking at a flattened flip book, one of those books that a picture has been drawn on each page on the same spot as the page before, but with small differences. When you flip the pages the image seems to move. But, these pictures had not been taken quickly. They were a few seconds apart from each other.
 
When he had laid out sixteen pictures he took the rest of the pile and turned it upside down. Then he looked up at Cali. “Would you like toexplain to me what I am seeing here?”
 
That was good.Cali now knew why square jaw was in the corner. Gray suit was the real interrogator. Let’s see how the woman canincriminate herself. Good tactic. “Well” Cali leaned forward to make a showof it. “I see pictures. Really bad ones.”
 
He nodded, while trying not to look impatient. He was good,but there seemed to be some pressure on him. He was nervous. “Do you recognizeanyone or anything in them?”
 
She reached out and grabbed one of the pictures. She moved so suddenly that square jaw jumped and started to draw his weapon. Gray suit jumped out of his seat and stumbled backwards. He grabbed the chair both for support and to keep it from toppling over. Cali smiled broadly. But, she did not look up. She pretended that nothing had happened. She shook the photo that she was holding. “You know, I do recognize this place.” She then looked back atGray suit, who was just readjusting his tie and settling back into his chair.“I’ve never seen it from above. Isn’t this the Vinccencio mansion in Italy?” The picture showed Cali on the ground under Ben, and Angela pointing a gun at aman that was pointing a gun at someone else.
 
Gray suit had composed himself again. “Yes, it is in factthe Vinccencio mansion in Italy. Do you see what is happening in the picture?” Now it sounded like he was talking to a five year old.
 
Now it was time for the spin. “I think I do. Is this what was going on when I was dazed?” She put the picture down and shuffled through the others. Finally she picked up another picture. This one was taken just as Ben began to fall against her. The picture showed her arm flailing out from under the large pool umbrella. It was all that could be seen of her, Ben andAngela from above, nothing but her arm. More importantly it showed the glint of gun metal and the shape of a weapon in the bushes that she and Ben had beenfacing. Had the picture been taken a split second sooner it would have showedwhat appeared to be a muzzle flash. But, this would do. “I remember seeing something, and look here, your camera has caught it.” She put the picture down and pointed at the rifle barrel and sight that could just be identified in the poor quality picture.
 
Both Agents looked surprised and clamored for the picture.Within moments the door was opened and other Agents were looking at thepicture. Cali had been forgotten. 
 
 
 
*****
 
Next door, Connie sat in a similar situation. She was not nearly as cool as Cali, neither were the Agents afraid of her. She was just afashion designer. She got the impression that they felt sorry for her, as if Cali was somehow bewitching her. Well, that much is true. The damn woman bewitched me the day we met. She smiled.Cali had been such a pariah. She had been wearing a dress two sizes too big,long socks and old grandma style shoes. Shehad been pathetic and adorable at the same time, and I loved her at first sight.
 
The Agents that came in to question Connie were both average sized men. They were meant to make Connie feel more comfortable. Neither was wearing a gun. Connie couldn’t help but be amazed by that fact that she had noticed that detail. One man wore a suit off of the rack. It was a good brand and overall it fit him well. The other man had a tailored silk suit. His shoe shad cost a grand, on sale. Either this man was a rich boy playing at being acop or he wasn’t just a cop. Not even the C.I.A. paid their men enough to afford what this man was wearing. An Agent might be able to purchase one suchsuit with matching shirt, tie, socks and shoes in a lifetime, and they sure wouldn’t wear it to question a witness.
 
Fancy suit took a seat. He placed a manila envelope on the desk. His hands were soft. His fingernails had been manicured and maintained for years. His teeth gleamed and his hair was perfect. She got a whiff of his cologne. It had cost him several thousand dollars an ounce. Then she saw the ring on his finger. It was a pinky ring. Now she knew what he was, if not whohe was.
 
The other Agent stood in the corner by the door. He crossed his arms but, made no attempt to even look interested in her or the man in thefancy suit.
 
She locked her fingers together and waited.
 
Fancy suit smiled. “So, Miss Artiega, Connie, can I call you Connie?” She nodded slightly. “My name is Glen, Glen Devine.”
 
She didn’t recognize the name. But, that was not surprising.She would however love to have his clothing sales account. “I would shake your hand, but I seem to be a little tied up.” She lifted her hands.
 
Glen snapped his fingers and pointed at her cuffs. “Hey, can you get those off of her? I hardly think that she’s going anywhere.”
 
While the one Agent removed the cuffs, Glen spread out someblack and white photos. Connie could see what she had not seen in real life,only from an aerial view. Frankly, there wasn’t much to see. She saw Cali gounder the umbrella. Then she saw a series of pictures that appeared to show Ben falling sideways onto Cali and forcing them both out from under the umbrella. Ben died while on top of Cali. While he was dying she saw Angela emerge from under the umbrella and pick up a gun and start shooting. You can’t tell by these pictures how Ben died, or who killed him.Cali’s right, without an eye witness and a body, they’ve got nothing.
 
“Do you see something that you would like to share?” Glen had watched her reactions to the pictures very closely.
 
“I see Ben, a man that I had only ever seen in pictures,fall on top of my girlfriend and die.” She pushed a picture showing Cali pinnedunder Ben, under his nose.
 
Glen nodded and tapped the picture. “But, who killed him?”
 
That was direct, and from everything Cali had told her, notthe right way to go about this kind of questioning. Then again, this man was notan Agent, or at least he was not just an Agent. She glanced over at the otherman.
 
Glen followed her eyes. “Hey, why don’t you go get me some coffee?” The other man did not hesitate. He left the room, but before he shutthe door, Glen added; “Tell the other guys to get some coffee too.”
 
He and Connie sat in silence while they both listened to the men on the other side of the mirror leave the room.
 
“Now Connie, who killed Ben?” He steepled his fingers under his chin.
 
Connie sat back. She rubbed her red wrists absently and looked up at the camera. The green dot that had been on was now out. He noddedand smiled. “Okay Glen, here it is, I don’t think you give a damn about who killed Ben Vinccencio. I think you’re concerned about what his death may mean to his business here in America. I can tell you with full honesty that I have no idea what Angela is going to do. What I do know is that Cali doesn’t care about the Vinccencio family business. She cares about Angela, and Angela caresabout her. If the lines around that relationship don’t get crossed…” She shrugged. Connie was trying to sound cool, because she was sweating bullets. You never trust anyone in an interrogation room! That’s what Cali always told her. Just don’t say something stupid girl! Stick with the truth.
 
“If Angela Vinccencio is not endangered then, Calisto Casey will not feel the need to interfere.” Glen finished her sentence for her. Hiscompletion made it sound like Cali was a hired killer. Maybe that’s what the other families thought.
 
“Cali is a Police Officer. She’s good at her job, and she likes it. But, her job is to bring depraved child molesters, rapists and murderers to justice, not to chase organized crime. She loves few things Glen,and fewer people. Angela is one of those people. Angela returns that love…fiercely. They are… as sisters.” Connie was feeling pretty good about how she was playing the game. Keep it simple stupid… and tell the truth.
 
“And Angela Vinccencio is now the boss of the Vinccencio family.”
 
“Yes”
 
He nodded. “So, it might earn some good will points for the Devine family, if I were to see to it that you and Miss Casey were allowed togo home without fear of any further molestation.”
 
“Such a thing could be seen as a nice olive branch, orperhaps more.” Connie had to be careful, things could get dicey here. She could not make promises that she expected Angela to keep.
 
“Hmm, let me see what I can do.” He understood that her ability to make promises was limited. Still, it couldn’t hurt. Who cared who killed Ben Vinccencio? He was a jackass anyway.
 
“Whatever you do will certainly reach Cali’s ear.” Still just the truth. He’s revealed more than me… I hope.
 
“And hence her sister’s ear.”
 
“Of course” She could ask Cali to tell Angela and let the woman decide what to do with the information.
 
As they finished their short conversation, the hallway began to buzz with activity. Suddenly the door burst open. It startled Connie. Shethought for a moment that this entire conversation had been a set up. She hadbeen tricked with fancy clothing and a kind word. Damn it! Cali had warned her so many times about trusting this very type of set up. Good cop, bad cop… damnit!!! But, the people rushing in were ignoring her. In fact when they realized that she could move, they moved her. They wanted to look at thepictures.
 
Connie saw an opportunity so she walked out into the hall. Glen followed her. She went into the other interview room and found the samescene that she had just left, only Cali was still cuffed to the table, andbeing pushed around like an overgrown mole. Glen quickly removed the cuffs andled them both to an area where their belongings had been left.
 
After a few minutes another man came in. He showed Glen apicture. They talked for a few minutes. The conversation was clearly about Calias they both kept pointing in her direction. She and Connie had not spoken aword to each other except to ask if the other was alright.
 
Glen finally approached them. “Okay, I’m signing you both out. My man will take you out. Is your car here or do you need a cab?”
 
“We have a car waiting.” Cali answered. She had seen his ring, just as he had seen hers when he removed her cuffs. She didn’t know whatit meant, but she did know that he was low level, but trusted. Probably blood.
 
He nodded and motioned for them to precede him to another door. He opened it with a key and left them in the care of the Agent that had been standing on the other side. They followed this man down a side tunnel that went from the detention area all the way to the street. The Agent walked themto their car and he left.
 
Neither woman dared to breathe until they were seated in their own car and rolling down the highway towards home.
 
//////////////////////////////////////
 
With that part of the story done, Cali can move on to another story.
 
Live well and be good to each other.
 
 
 

Never settle for this is good enough!

I'm super excited that I have recently been published by Yahoo. Now, I know that in the writing world this is not a huge accomplishment. A lot of people get published by Yahoo. But, up until recently, I hadn't. So, I have jumped one more hurdle in my writing career. In writing, it is important that people can see your work, or at least samples of it. This is hard to accomplish if all you do is either write novels or stuff at home and never publish, or if you are a freelance writer where all of your work is sold and another person claims credit for it. At Yahoo, you get the opportunity to write and have your work professionally critiqued, and if you're lucky it gets published... under your name. That's the important part, it's your name on the byline.
 
How well your work does at that point is kind of up to the public. It may be a literary masterpiece and never get viewed because it isn't a popular subject. It could also be a piece of crap and have 10,000 views. People are fickle, we all know that. So, it's no good to take yourself or your writing too seriously. If you take it all too seriously, you'll drive yourself insane. Getting published, even by an online news source, like Yahoo is a big accomplishment. Sure sometimes they publish crap articles, everyone does. But, they are staffed by professionals that take their jobs seriously. When they look at a submission, they don't just look at the composition as a literary piece of work, they have to look at it in a whole different way. They need to determine if it is going to get them into any kind of trouble, personally, politically or legally. They need to decide if the subject is relevant. And finally they need to decide if people will want to read it. All of this and probably a lot more goes into one single submission. Anything and everything from a simple meal critique to the news of the day is scrutinized with the same set of filters. So, in the grand scheme of things, getting published by Yahoo, is a big deal.
 
They make it simple by walking you through each step. They have a University, it's an online Yahoo school that teaches you all that you need to know to submit content and get paid. Yes, that's right, they pay you to write. Here's the really cool part, they pay you to write whatever you want to write and give you several options on how you want to be paid for it. I took the sure fire they will publish it avenue for my first two articles. That is, they only pay for it if it gets viewed enough times. I chose this method for two reason, one I wanted them to publish them so I could use that fact to my advantage, and second I wanted to see if the topics could generate their own readers. This tells me if I need to rework my titles, my key words (how people look up and find an article) or my actual writing. I'm using them to further my career and my writing skills.
 
I did this because every writer needs to know that they can never be the perfect writer. They must always improve their writing skills. This is also why, in my last two books I have challenged myself to write in a way that I had never done before. First I took a small single hero book and turned it into an epic novel in the vein of the Fire and Ice saga by RR Martin. In fact I used his writing and the writing of Robert Jordan as templates for my own style. Let me tell you stepping out of my comfort zone and up into an entirely different genre was eye opening and a mind blowing experience. Soon I will be sending that manuscript to DAW Books to see what they think of it. That will be yet another challenge in my writing career.
 
In my most recent book, I am challenging myself again. But, this time I am trying to write more than just a crime novel. This time I am trying to write a crime novel that is also a mystery. Now crime novels can always be a mystery if you don't tell people who the killer is. But, in this novel I am going to create some misdirection and some smoke and mirrors so that when my readers reach the finale they will be surprised, and hopefully will be going back through the book looking at encounters and situations where they might have missed something or misread something. I personally love stories like that. They give me an appreciation of the author's skill. Now writing one, gives me more of an appreciation of an author's ability to not tell part of the story, when it's is burning a hole in their mind.
 
In both cases I am pushing myself as an author, but I don't have to be writing a novel to do this. I remember when I wrote poetry on a regular basis. I would often try to write in styles in which I was not familiar. I tried Haiku for a while and when I became somewhat decent at that style I tried to write without rhyming, then I went on to what can only be described as an epic poem that was written almost entirely as a figure of speech. Unfortunately that particular poem is awesome, but it can only be understood by a very specific group of people. This characteristic makes it so that I could never publish it, but it was a great exercise for me.
 
I have always tried to improve my writing. I remember the first time that I incorporated a conversation into my story. I was in 7th grade. My teacher gave me an A+ for original thinking. Prior to this I had always used thoughts and feeling to portray events in a story. I got A, for those. But, the idea of conversation, which was first used by one of my talented classmates, was liberating for me.
 
The point here is that an author should never rest on his or her laurels. They should always strive to improve, even if that improvement seems mundane or even a waste of time to other people. If the author grows or their writing improves, then the exercise was worth it. Hence my exercise with simply writing some articles for Yahoo and not getting an immediate payment for them. With my very next article I improved my skills. Then when it was sent back for revisions, I wasn't angry, because it gave me yet another chance to improve my writing skills.
 
I suppose what I am saying is this: never be satisfied with your writing. You can always make it better. I think that if you simply become satisfied as a writer, your writing and your stories will become stale. We've all read stories that just didn't meet the mark, when other stories by the same person were outstanding. Don't become this person. Always seek to improve.
 
Live well and be good to each other.

Did you do it?

I know that I have been super busy and not having the best of luck. I am still sick and busy at the same time. But, I really wanted to write here in my blog today. I know that a lot of you don't like to see what I am writing, while others really do like to see what I am working on. So... I am caught between the two. I have decided to give you the first chapter of my latest book, for two reasons. First off it will help answer some questions that were certainly left after A Family Affair ended and two I would like your opinion on the direction that I took this chapter.
//////////////////////////////////
 
Did you do it?
 
Connie had been studying the side of Cali’s face for the last ten minutes. Cali had her eyes closed and was trying to ignore it. She knew that Connie would ask whatever was on her mind, when she was good and ready. How does one bring up a topic like that, especially on a plane full of people? Connie of all people, will find away. Cali actually had to control her face while she thought of the tenacity of her beloved girlfriend.
 
I know that she’s awake, and I know that she knows that I’m watching her. Connie sighed and glanced out the window beyond Cali’s face. They were in first class, so there was no wing in the way of her view, and for the first time since take-off, there were no clouds either. She sighed again and lay her head on Cali’s shoulder while wrapping her hand around Cali’s arm. Connie was worried. So much had happened in Italy, and yet with a wake of dead bodies behind her, Cali had waltzed into the airport, boarded a plane and now sat here pretending to be asleep. Italy had not objected. They hadn’t even given either of them a second glance. Angela had escorted them all the way to the check-point. Of course when you say Angela escorted them, what you really mean to say is that Angela and half a dozen body guards escorted them. Still, it had been too easy to leave Italy behind after such chaos.
 
The concern was oozing off of Connie. Anyone that bothered to look would see it. Cali didn’t need to look. She turned her head enough to kiss Connie on the top of her head and wrapped her own hand around Connie’s.
 
“So, you’re done pretending to be asleep?” She looked at the gleaming gold ring on Cali’s hand. House Vinccencio. It had been changed slightly, a blood red ruby had been placed at its crown. It was Angela’s color, and a message to anyone that knew how to read it, it said, “I’m family, and I’m deadly, and harming me brings deadly retribution”.
 
Cali laughed in her chest, it sounded like a grunt. Then she let out a quiet sigh. “I wasn’t sure if you were ready yet.”
 
“Ready?” Connie pretended to not know what Cali was talking about, to buy herself a few more seconds. Maybe in those seconds she would figure out how to ask what she needed to know.
 
“Yeah, ready.” She stretched her neck and let it pop, then clenched her fists and let her hands pop. Her left hand looked good. It had a nice white scar on the back that looked like a paint splotch. Maybe, I’ll keep that. It’s kind of cool looking
 
Connie twisted her head a little so her mouth was closer to Cali’s ear. She didn’t whisper, as that would surly draw attention, even herein first class with these new privacy minded seats, but she did lower her voice. Let them all assume that it’s pillow talk. Maybe they’ll be less likely to intrude. “Now that we’re a mile in the sky and halfway over the Atlantic, we might not be over heard, right?”
 
“Yeah.” They may not be overheard, but then again… There was no need to give up anything.
 
Connie understood the short answer for what it really was, a single word of caution. She decided to start with something less problematic. “What do you think of Bobbie staying with Nonna?” Bobbie was their 98 year-old friend and Nonna was the kind old woman that had taken Cali in while Cali was in Italy. 
 
Cali smiled. Damn my woman is smart! But, I’ve always known that. “I liked her logic. She and Nonna got on famously and Bobbie is no stranger to Europe. It does mean that you’re going to have to return to Italy to bring her Mr. Giggles and Mrs.Frisky.”
 
“What?” Connie was truly surprised. “I thought that we were going to send them.”
 
“Seriously, you want to package up two fourteen year old cats into a crate, pack them into the suitcase compartment of a huge noisy plane, and ship them half way across the world?” Cali was just as surprised, for a different reason.
 
Connie lifted her head and leaned back. “I hadn’t considered all of that. Now that you mention it… no, I wouldn’t do that. But, why can’t we both take them?”
 
“Hmm, after all of the time that I’ve been gone, I doubt seriously if I have any sick time or vacation time left, and maybe not a whole hell of a lot of good will either. I will charter a plane for you and the cats. You can all ride in style.”
 
Connie nodded her agreement. The conversation lagged. They had been talking about cats, but there was an elephant in the room.
 
“You can also take Bobbie’s stuff to her.”
 
“Whew, she’s got a whole house full of stuff.”
 
“Yeah, but I really don’t think that she wants most of it. Her stuff isn’t who she is. It might have been once, but now it’s just there, so she leaves it.” She thought for a moment. “I think the only thing in that house that she really cares about is that box, and the picture on the mantle of her and Anna.” For a blissful moment Cali remembered back to that first time she had met Bobbie. Cali had been on the trail of a nasty serial killer. He had been a sadistic bastard as she recalled. But, Bobbie had been a breath of fresh air in the midst of a case that had stretched Cali’s control to the limits. For a moment she could still taste the pumpkin cookies on her tongue, and the hot tea that she had used to wash them down.
 
The box that Cali referred to was hand tooled silver and oak. It had once belonged to Bobbie’s grandmother. Cali had never seen inside the box. She had never even been told what was in it. But, she had seen the loving caress that Bobbie had given it on more than on occasion, while at her home for dinner and conversation. It wasn’t one of those tiny little trinket boxes. This one was shaped more like a document keeper. The kind that you might see on an old ship in the Captain’s quarters. Bobbie had called it a jewelry box. But, Cali had thought that it had been made for another purpose. 
 
Connie had let Cali reminisce. Cali had far too many dark memories. To have a good one that could be brought up, was a treasure that Connie was more than happy to let her have. Eventually, Cali did return her attention to her girlfriend. “So, what would you like to know, really?”
 
The time was finally upon her. She was ready. “Did you get what you were after?”
 
It took a moment before Cali responded. “I got something, but not the something that I thought I was seeking.”
 
“You were seeking ghosts.” It wasn’t a question.
 
“I thought that I was supposed to seek out the ghosts of Lilly and maybe even JW, but they are gone. Apparently they have been for along time. Neither of them ever blamed me or even thought much about me again. I guess Lilly was too vain and JW was just too stupid.”
 
“So you have blamed yourself all these years for something that only Monica blamed you for?”
 
Cali’s face screwed up in thought. “Yeah, it looks that way.”
 
“Still, you did run into a few ghosts?”
 
Running into ghosts was common for Cali. She had been given the gift of ghost whispering from her mother, the Angel. Her relationship with them was twofold. They helped her when they could, and she in turn helped those that wanted to move on. “I did, but I think that they were supposed to leave me alone to find what I was supposed to find. But, they were there and they were in so much pain. I couldn’t leave them there if I could help them.”
 
“So you did.”
 
“So I did.”
 
Connie smiled and kissed Cali on the cheek and quietly whispered in her ear. “Did you kill him?” Him, referred to Ben Vinccencio. He had purchased the then twelve-year-old Cali when her stepmother, Lily had been selling her as a child prostitute. His crimes against Cali had been many. As a mob boss, his crimes against humanity were innumerable.
 
It was Cali’s turn to smile. She took Connie’s face in her hand and pulled her in for a real kiss and a nuzzle afterwards. In her ear she whispered, “You know”.
 
Connie tried not to swallow hard. She had known that Cali had done it. She had seen how she and Angela had looked at each other. He had deserved it. That much was certain. He had kidnapped Cali and had intended to kill her and Angela both. Angela was his daughter, but that didn’t matter. They had simply beat him to the punch. Connie was not upset that Cali had once again defended herself. She was concerned because as a mob boss, Ben’s house had surely been bugged and watched electronically and by people. This isn’t over, not by a long shot. She wrapped her arms around Cali’s neck. “They’ll be waiting for us at the airport.”
 
“I know, that’s why we’re getting Bobbie’s cats.”
 
“She’s too old for such hassle.”
 
“Yes she is.”
 
“What are we going to do?”
 
“You weren’t there. Angela never spoke to you about it. Tell the truth. You saw nothing. Any evidence given by you is circumstantial. Besides, there is no crime, because there is no body.”
 
“You don’t really think that I would turn States evidence against you, do you?”
 
“Of course not, I’m just laying out the facts. Even if for some unknown reason, like you were possessed by an alien or something, and you turned on me, your word would not be enough. You saw nothing at all, and I’ve not told you anything except, ‘you know’.”
 
“Mmm, I get it. That’s why you’re not speaking, plausible deniability.”
 
“Right, what you don’t know, you can’t say. So, tell the truth. You will be more believable if you just tell the truth. You don’t need to make up anything.”
 
“What about you?”
 
“Don’t worry about me. I know that you will anyway, but there is no need.”
 
Connie knew better than to ask for details. She would get them later, after the F.B.I. or the C.I.A. and whoever else, were done with them.
 
They had many hours before the plane touched down and suddenly Connie was exhausted. She asked Cali if they could lay the chairs down and make a bed. Cali was more than happy to sleep the rest of the way as well.
 
////////////////////////////
 
Live well and be good to each other.
 

Deja Vu

This has been a week to try and forget. I wish that I had an assistant like Anne Rice has in her Beckett, to write for me when I find myself in a position where I cannot. I had anticipated writing quite a bit this week. I was house sitting for a friend and to help keep their animals feeling like they had not been abandoned I was spending my nights at their house and returning to my own in the morning to sleep with my own pets and spend time with them. When I am at home at night I generally get quite a bit of writing done, including this blog, but I had not been off work for more than six hours before I started to feel under the weather. So instead of getting anything done, I spent my nights in an unfamiliar home curled up in a fetal position watching television. This went on for three days. Then as if it weren't bad enough, despite our best efforts, one of my friend's pets passed away while in my care. She returned home to find her pet dead in her cage. And even as I sit here watching my two favorite football teams battle it out and writing this blog, I am still feeling poorly. But not so poorly that my brain is in a fog.
 
So yesterday I was sitting in my chair and I had a moment of deja vu. I wasn't doing anything, I was just sitting here contemplating what I was going to write next. My laptop was in my lap, I had the file of my new book open to the page that I had been pecking on. And suddenly, there it was, I could see what was going to happen next. I could hear my own thoughts, those that I hadn't thought yet. When the feeling was over and the deja vu had run its course, I began to wonder, what is deja vu? I know in the Matrix movies they explain it as a glitch in the system. That is a fun little explanation, but there is no way that it can be true. I wasn't moving, well except for my fingers, it was almost completely in my thoughts. That cannot be a glitch.
 
So what is it? Is it our own prescience showing? Are we seeing ahead of ourselves upon occasion? Is that even possible? That's the question isn't it? I suppose that the question that bothers me about this is, why. Why would we use such an ability to see ahead to nothing? It's not like deja vu ever gives us a preview of something important. I mean, why cant it show us something ahead of time, not just before it happens. Deja vu always happens just seconds before something happens, not five minutes or even one. It's not like you have a chance to change things. Its not like the movies Final Destination where we are given an entire series of events and time to change those events.
 
I have tried to change the outcome of a deja vu moment. I was successful on I think two occasions. Oddly my victory felt wrong. It was as if I had done something wrong. So now I don't try to change anything, I just ride it out. Still, I wonder, what are they? They don't seem to hold anything that is of any importance but, are they bits of events that make huge differences in out lives? Or does the deja vu event itself have some kind of significance? So are we meant to try and change the outcome or are we simply meant to watch helplessly?
 
I guess I'm just stuck with wondering. It must mean something, but I have no idea what it could be. It's a horrible feeling not knowing something and not even having an idea.... it's maddening! Usually I can find some reason for something, but deja vu... that one baffles me completely. Now that it's on my mind, I think that I will take the time to research it, as I must go to work tonight although if I could stay home, I would. I should have some time to do a little research at work. I'll get back to you tomorrow with what I find.
 
Live well and be good to each other.

Does magic still exist?

An interesting question came up this week. I have been asked this before, but honestly I'm not entirely sure if my answer is quantifiable. The question is, does magic exist? We would like to imagine that miracles exist so why not magic. Certainly throughout the world's history people have believed that witches exist and we all know for a fact that witchcraft is real, but is magic?
 
For this topic I once again will draw upon the history that is documented in the Bible. King Solomon consulted a witch so that he could speak with the dead. The witch conjured the images of the desired dead for him. Now this account throws nearly all of man's present beliefs right on its head. Not only was the witch performing an extraordinary feat of magic, but in doing so she proved that the dead do not pass on to some unreachable place. This documented fact was only one piece of evidence that has been available to mankind through the ages to prove the existence of an afterlife. It is also one of the reason that when the Catholic church was formed by Constantine that the candles of the witches was placed in every church. So parishioners could commune with the dead. This alone is extremely powerful magic. But, in its present form it is not the same magic that this witch of Solomon performed.
 
It is also interesting to note that the ghosts that this witch retrieved for Solomon were not happy to have been summoned. They were angry with him and rebuked him soundly. Here's another interesting note, the witch was not a follower of Jehovah. The Bible does not say what god she worshiped. It is assumed by many that all witches worship Satan, but this is not true. Most documented witches worship nature in some manner. They may be Druids or have some other earthly god or goddess. Most worship mother earth in some form, as do the Druids. Most witches believe in a much more benign magic that comes from the earth and can be harnessed by a witch. This is not the type of magic that we are discussing here today. I have seen this earth magic and it is more ancient lore and knowledge of herbs and alchemy than anything else. To some it is magic, to me it is as natural as walking. No, today we're talking about magic that has enough power to raise or summon the dead.
 
I find it interesting that those that denounced witchcraft and in fact murdered thousands in their crusade to destroy witches, used a single passage from the Bible to justify their acts. The verse that I am referring to is one where God, supposedly ordered Solomon (yup him again) to kill all the witches. The verse reads, thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But, if they are so bad, why is it that Solomon used one himself to contact the dead? He had surely consulted this woman before because in the text they seem to have a familiarity about them. They knew each other. But, then almost out of the blue, God orders Solomon to cleanse the land of them.
 
Now we know through study that Jehovah is kind of a fickle God. He is very jealous and in some ways he is greedy, especially in the Old Testament. Having a son that obeys him, softens him in the New Testament. I shudder to think what would have happened had Jesus told his father to pound sand like Adam did. But... because of this order, witches are believed to be evil women and men that consort with devils. They are said to have odd marks on them, have familiars and hex people that they don't like. The odd thing that I see in all of this is that before God ordered their demise, you never heard anything but good things about witches. People went to them all the time when they needed healing. Witches were a viable alternative to doctors. But what they performed in the field of medicine, as amazing as it was, it was not magic. No.... the only magic that the Bible lays testament to is the calling of spirits for Solomon.
 
There are other testimonies that claim to document real magic being performed. But they cannot be corroborated any more than the account in the Bible. And most accounts claim that the witch or practitioner needed supernatural help to perform the magic. It was not part of them, this is unlike the witch of the Bible. She needed no extra help and certainly Solomon or the ghosts would have said something if they had been summoned through the power of Satan.
 
So what are we left to believe? Did Jehovah decide that he wanted witches, real legitimate women that had real magical power eradicated from the world? And did his flowerers actually succeed in causing their extinction? Or did they just besmirch their reputation so much that they now hide in plain sight? What does this have to do with the original question? Is magic real?
 
I believe it was real once. I believe that it was practiced regularly. But, for some reason Jehovah didn't want the ability used in the world by just anyone. He, in a way, controlled magic by causing his followers to see witches as something that even his book does not always portray them as, evil. Certainly if there is still magic like that in the world, then it is held by a very few people and hidden from sight. For the world in general hates witches, the smear campaign worked and now they must hide to live. Their blood lines would be very thin by now, since Solomon's time was a very long time ago. Perhaps their power also has faded.
 
Everything in my soul wants to believe that magic is real and some still wield it. But, I doubt that I will see it in this lifetime. I am curious to know just how those poor witches challenged the almighty Jehovah, or was that section added by a man that didn't get what he wanted from a witch? Now that is a question for another day.
 
By the way... I have had two articles published on Yahoo. I cannot reproduce them here as I gave Yahoo exclusive rights. Please check them out. on Yahoo.com. One is about President Obama and the other about legalizing Marijuana.
 
Live well and be good to each other.