Tuesday, January 31, 2012

May Peace Prevail....

Chasing the Wind has been re-released as an ebook! Check out William Kendall's review at his blog, Chasing the Wind has been re-released as an ebook! Check out William Kendall's review at his blog, Speak of the Devil
...and buy the book at Amazon!

Collin found this photograph when we first began researching Chasing the Wind. At that time, the story was set primarily in Israel--Megiddo, to be precise. Megiddo, as you know unless you've been living under a rock, is, according to the Book of Revelation, to be the site of the final battle between Christ and Satan at the end times.

The phrase on the post at this observation point above the Jezreel Valley is written in a different language on each side.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Celebrating a New (Old) Book!

I'm thrilled to announce that the 2012 edition of my 2008 novel, Chasing the Wind, the first book in the Messiah Project series, is now available in ebook format (with paperback soon to follow) at 

To promote the book as much as humanly possible, I'll be reposting reviews of the book and interviews I've done at my website/blog, Beishir Books

Today, I've posted Beth Muscat's review from Writers of Mass Distraction and a recent interview we did at Beth's Reviews and Promotions. Tomorrow, I'll be posting William Kendall's interview from his popular blog, Speak of the Devil. Hope you'll check out all of them!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Guest Blogging

William and I are doing guest blog duties today! He's got a great post on the incredible Niagra Falls at the Sacred Ground Travel Magazine's site, while I'm posting on things to make a writer's life easier at my good friend Eve's blog, The Desert Rocks.

Hope you'll check us out!

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's the End of the World As We Know It....

It was End of the World Weekend at the Syfy Channel!

I love science fiction movies, especially those in which the fate of the planet is in jeopardy. One of my all-time favorites is 1951's When Worlds Collide. Armageddon, Deep Impact, Day  After Tomorrow, The Core...you name it, I've probably seen it a dozen times. I'll even watch the really, really cheesy ones...which brings me to the Syfy Channel's original movies.

They're so cheesy they should be served with crackers. And maybe some wine.

Their end-of-the-world movies follow a formula that incorporates the following elements:
1. Earth is faced with an extinction level event or the total destruction of the planet...
2. One lone scientist knows the truth and is capable of preventing the event, but arrogant government officials not only won't listen to him/her, they block his/her efforts to act in mankind's best interests...
3. There's a love interest, but the pair are separated by distance or marital issues...
4. The scientist is always aided by a pair of young geeks or slackers to save the day...
5. The separated lovers are reunited to usher in a new day!

In Saturday night's Collision Earth, the story opens with a trio of astronauts (two men and one woman) headed for the planet Mercury. Given that Mercury is the planet closest to the sun and the temperature there is something like a million degrees (okay, that's an exaggeration, but not by much), I'm not sure how astronauts can go there without ending up extra crispy. A major solar event occurs as they're about to land, knocking Mercury out of orbit, and in the process magnetizing it. Pieces of the rogue planet break off and go flying into space...in Earth's direction.

Not Venus, the planet next door. Earth. It's always Earth. Our home planet must be wearing an intergalactic Kick Me sign. Any time an asteroid, comet or planet runs amok, it ends up in Earth's path.

The spacecraft is in jeopardy, and two astronauts are killed. Only the lone woman, Victoria, remains alive, struggling to free her spacecraft from Mercury's magnetic pull. Earth's communications satellites are taken out by a solar flare, and her only means of contacting her husband, James, back on Earth, is through a tricked out two-way radio-in-a-briefcase built and operated by nerdy Christopher and Brooke.          

James, of course, is persona non grata with the US government. His former boss can't stand him and won't listen to him. James, a scientist and Nicolas Cage wannabe, has developed a weapon known as Project 7, capable of saving the planet. For whatever reason, it's floating around on an asteroid and has suddenly been activated. Isn't an asteroid a strange place to put our last line of defense? Don't those things travel throughout the galaxy? What if the asteroid's not in the neighborhood when we need it?

I think I know why James got fired.

Add to the mix some bizarre events related to Mercury's new magnetism messing with our gravity--like floating cars and moving mailboxes. In a scene worthy of Wile E. Coyote, an angry old SOB shooting at the young heroes gets a flaming vehicle dropped on him. 

As James and colleague Matthew race against time to activate Project 7, they encounter the requisite carjacker who steals their SUV and, of course, is killed when a magnetic surge picks up the vehicle and slams it down again. Carjacker, meet Karma.

For a while there, I thought poor Victoria was going to do a Bruce Willis and have to stay on the asteroid to manually activate Project 7.  

I won't ruin the ending for anyone who might still want to see it--Syfy does frequently re-run their films--but before you assume the Earth was saved at zero hour, remember Syfy's previous end-of-the-world movie, Annihilation Earth, in which the experiments conducted in a giant collider created a man-made black hole that swallowed the planet without so much as a burp afterward. 

Most of Syfy's movies are much-lower-budget versions of theatrical films. Example: last year's hit from Marvel Studios, Thor. Syfy's "original" movie, a Thor knockoff, featured a guy who looked and acted like a bouncer in a redneck bar. 

Syfy's answer to Deep Impact was Post Impact. Earthstorm was all too similar to a network TV movie, Impact, in which damage to the moon threatened life on earth. There were also a few Day After Tomorrow and 2012 knockoffs.

Original films? Isn't that false advertising? 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Forgive, Maybe...But Don't Ever Forget

I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions, but I started 2012 not wanting a repeat of 2011. Last year, I lost someone who was an important part of my life for over twenty years: my grey-cheeked parakeet, Sam, who was like my second child. I've experienced loss many times in my life, and it never gets easier.

Years ago, I had two friends, both authors, who were so close the words "joined at the hip" usually followed their names in conversation. When they set up meetings with agents at a writers conference, those of us closest to them were sure they'd end up with the same agent. They didn't--but they did decide to collaborate on a novel.

Long story short, the novel was never finished. There was a dispute between the two, and they never spoke to each other again. A few years later, one of them passed away. I haven't seen the other since. I often wonder if she has any regrets. I would.

My pastor says we have to forgive but we don't have to forget. I've had a lot of trouble with both. In the past year, I've severed many ties. I've terminated friendships for a variety of reasons and had conflicts with people I barely knew and a few I wish I'd never met. And I've found myself dwelling on that anger. That's a waste of time and energy.

It's not easy (though not impossible) to teach an old dog new tricks. This old dog is trying to learn. As Thomas Wolfe wrote, "You can't go home again." Even forgiving someone doesn't mean we can restore the relationship. Relationships that have been broken can't always be repaired.

No matter how much I try to forgive, in some cases it's just not going to happen. I wish I could say I'm a good Christian who gets everything right, but I'm not. I'm a work in progress. I have a long way to go. And it's really hard to forgive someone who doesn't think they've done anything wrong to be forgiven for.

Pastor John also said in one sermon that we should respond to the mistreatment of another as if it were being done to us. That comes easy to me. I can't be a friend to someone who mistreats people or animals. Nor can I be silent about it.  I recently found myself in this position. Someone I thought was a friend had been very close to someone else who is dear to me. Abruptly, everything changed. The so-called friend found herself another friend and discarded my surrogate family member. Talk about a Jekyll and Hyde transformation! She became a vile, hateful creature, and I found myself wondering how I could ever have called her a friend.

Can I let go of the anger I feel toward this person? I'm trying, but it's not easy. No wonder her husband prefers internet porn to her. It's got to be a whole lot warmer than cuddling up with that viper.... 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Snowmageddon? Well, Not Quite, But....

I had planned to post something entirely different today, but nature intervened.

Snow. A four-letter word if there ever was one. We'd known it was coming for a couple of days. No, a major snow event was not predicted, but it was news nonetheless. We haven't had much snow this year. Some people actually wanted it. (Ah, William...you're not the only one, after all.)  Collin was supposed to be off work today, Friday and Saturday, but he volunteered to fill in for a co-worker today. If he ever does that again, I will lock him in his room until he comes to his senses.

The snow came, as you can see in this graphic from our local CBS affiliate, KMOV-TV. Not a lot, but when accompanied by a bitter, gusty wind and freefalling temps, it made for treacherous driving. There have been a multitude of accidents. The public was warned to stay home unless travel was absolutely necessary. Even public transportation is running about an hour behind schedule--not because of road conditions, but because of all the accidents. That's bad.

Still, Collin went to work. He called a cab and was upset when it was late picking him up.

I am now wondering if I was given the wrong baby at the hospital. When I was out in the workforce, I did not go to work in such conditions. I called in. I did not make up stories about being sick or anything like that, because my bosses wouldn't have bought it anyway. No, I was direct with them:

"I'm not coming in today. It's snowing, it's slick. And frankly, you don't pay me enough to risk my life. The world will not end if Southwestern Bell doesn't get their promotional crap today."

Surprisingly, I was not fired. But then, they were used to it. When I was called in for my job review, I was asked, "Where do you want to be five years from now?"

My answer: "Not here."

Collin, however, takes his job far too seriously.  He gets his work ethic from my dad, who would--and did--go to work with pneumonia once. This is one of the many perks of being a writer: working at home. Not having to go out in nasty weather. Not having an impossible boss. Not having to deal with traffic. 

I just heard sirens. According to the local TV news, there's a fatal accident nearby. I'm glad Collin is already at work....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Word It Out

William introduced me to Word It Out, a fun  way to create a word cloud image of text from our books. Here are word clouds I did for Chasing the Wind:

For Final Hours....


And for An Army of Angels....

I know I'm going to have T-shirts made from these! To make your own word clouds, go to Word It Out!